Michigan Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How to Apply

Important: We updated this article in July 2023 so all the information below is current and correct. If you were hurt or got sick on the job in the Mitten State, here’s the information you need to get the Michigan workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.

Who Gets Michigan Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Employers meeting any of these criteria must offer Michigan workers’ comp insurance:  

  • All private employers regularly employing 1 or more people 35 hours or more per week for at least 13 weeks during the prior 12 months
  • Private employers who regularly employ 3 or more full- and/or part-time employees
  • Agricultural employers with 3 or more employees working 35 hours or more per week for 13 or more consecutive weeks
  • Households employing domestic workers if they employ anyone 35 hours or more per week for 13 weeks or longer during the preceding 52 weeks
  • All public employers

Pro Tip: Part-time workers have automatic coverage when employed by private businesses with at least three regular, full-time employees.

Read more about how to qualify for workers’ comp.

The following employees are generally exempt from Michigan workers’ compensation coverage:

Pro Tip: You May Qualify for Michigan Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Covid-19

Governor Whitmer issued an executive order authorizing Michigan workers’ compensation claims for the following designated first-response employees:

  • Any person working in either a home health agency or visiting nurse association
  • Physicians, nurses, physician assistants, EMTs, paramedics and respiratory therapists
  • State or local corrections officers
  • Police officers, including state police department officers that work in the motor carrier enforcement division
  • Firefighters, including on-call fire department employees
  • Any person working in ambulance operations or advanced mobile emergency care services, including emergency services and emergency medical services
  • Volunteer civil defense workers, on-call life support agency workers or members of an emergency rescue team
  • Employees working in county medical care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and homes for the aged

To confirm if you case qualifies under current Michigan state law, review these Covid-19 workers’ comp FAQs.

Should I Hire a Michigan Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

According to Michigan workers’ compensation law:

  • Your employer doesn’t have to keep your job open until you’re able to work again.
  • You cannot choose which doctor treats you during the first month after your illness or injury.
  • Your employer can dispute the doctor you choose and insist you see their preferred doctor.

These rules put you at a serious disadvantage when filing a claim, but hiring an experienced attorney can help you get the care and benefits you deserve.

Pro Tip: Learn how to tell if you need a workers’ comp lawyer.

How Does the Claims Process Work?

Pro Tip: See a nurse or doctor immediately if your workplace injury or illness requires emergency or urgent care. Tell them your condition is work-related and keep your receipts and bills.

Every case is different, so your specific experience may vary, but the Michigan workers’ compensation claims process usually works like this:

1. Report your workplace injury or illness to your supervisor or employer immediately, preferably in writing, and ask for a physician referral before seeking medical treatment.

Describe the accident that injured you or caused your illness. Include the time, date, place, and any witnesses who saw it happen. State law says you must see an employer-authorized doctor during your first 28 days of treatment.

Pro Tip: Report your workplace accident or illness promptly. If you wait longer than 90 days, you may not qualify for benefits.

2. Verify time off to recover.

If your injury doesn’t require at least a week off work to recover, your employer covers your medical bills but not lost wages. If you can’t work for 7 days or longer, your employer must notify the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency (WDCA) by filing Form WC-100, Employer’s Basic Report of Injury. Once you miss seven consecutive shifts, you should qualify for partial lost wage payments, but you won’t get benefits for that first week until after your 14th missed workday.

3. Wait for your check.

If approved, then you should get your first lost-wage benefit payment within 30 days. The maximum weekly amount is $1095 in 2023.

4. Take action if you’re denied.

File Form 104A, Application for Mediation or Hearing, within two years to appeal. If you don’t have a Michigan workers’ compensation attorney, the WDCA will try to resolve your claim dispute through mediation. If you have a lawyer, you’ll receive a hearing date once the WDCA transfers your case to an available magistrate’s docket.

Pro Tip: If you have any pre-existing health conditions, you may want to consult a Michigan workers’ compensation lawyer.

Click here for details on the Michigan workerscompensation program.

What Else Should I Know About Michigan Workers’ Compensation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes workers’ comp data on most U.S. states and territories. Claims activity in the Wolverine State was declining before COVID-19. The total number of recordable cases dropped from 109,300 in 2017 to 101,900 in 2019 and continues to be below pre-COVID levels.

The number of claims reported in the service sector – and the total number of employees missing work, transferring jobs, or receiving restrictions – surpassed pre-COVID levels in 2020. Both metrics spiked in 2020, likely due to accidents and illnesses driven by the return to work. Since then, the number of service industry claims has returned to 2018 levels, but the number of employees affected remains higher than before the pandemic.

When you’re dealing with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the Michigan workers’ compensation system can make the discomfort and frustration even worse.

A skilled attorney can help you get maximum benefits faster. They’ll do a free, confidential claim evaluation. If they take your case, they can negotiate with insurers, gather medical evidence to support your claim and represent you at hearings.

If you don’t win a cash settlement, then you pay your lawyer $0. But if your case is successful, you pay only a reasonable, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you qualify? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call during regular weekday business hours:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.