How to Apply for Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Important: We updated this article in June 2023 so all the information below is current and correct. If you were hurt or got sick on the job in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, here’s the information you need to get the Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.

Who Gets Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

State law requires employers with at least one part- or full-time employee to offer Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Pro Tip: Get more details on how to qualify for workers’ comp.

However, state law does provide a few exceptions to this mandatory coverage policy, which exempts the following employees:

  • Casual workers (seasonal employees, volunteers and those who work only occasionally or infrequently, i.e. doing odd jobs)
  • Domestic workers employed in someone’s private home earning less than $1,000 in wages over three months
  • Farmers, their immediate family members and any temporary or seasonal agricultural workers who meet certain income limits
  • Federal employees (get the details for filing a federal workers’ comp claim)
  • Sole proprietors and their immediate family members, if working for a family-owned business or LLC

Learn about workers’ comp for independent contractors.

How Does the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Claims Process Work?

Hiring an experienced attorney can make the process easier for you to navigate.

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

Each case is different, but the Minnesota workplace accident claim process usually works like this:

1. Get help immediately if you workplace injury or illness requires emergency or urgent care.

Tell them your is work-related and keep your receipts and bills. See how a Minnesota workers’ compensation doctor can help you.

2. Notify your supervisor or employer immediately in writing within 14 days.

Describe the accident that injured you or caused your illness. Include the time, date, place and any witnesses who saw it happen. 

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the deadline! Failing to notify your employer within 180 days (i.e., 6 months) may disqualify you from receiving any Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.

3. Make sure your employer completes and files a First Report of Injury (FROI) form with their insurance provider within 10 days.

If you miss more than three calendar days from work, they also must notify the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

4. Wait for a decision.

You should receive written notice of the insurer’s decision within 14 days. 

Pro Tip: If your employer’s insurance provider requests an independent medical exam (IME) before approving your claim, you cannot miss it without risking your potential benefits.

5. Verify if you qualify for wage-loss benefit payments.

After the fourth calendar day your injury or illness forces you to miss work, you’re eligible for weekly payments. You’re only paid for those first three days until you miss 11 days total at work. You should receive your first payment within 14 days.

6. Take action if you’re denied.

Reach out to the insurance company’s adjuster first to dispute the decision. If you can’t get a resolution, contact an Alternative Dispute Resolution specialist at the Minnesota DLI to ask for help.

Pro Tip: Determine if you need a workers’ comp lawyer.

For more about Minnesota workers’ compensation, read this employee’s guide.

Am I Covered by Minnesota Workers’ Compensation if I Get COVID at Work?

Minnesota state law authorizes some people to receive workers’ comp for COVID-19. This includes employees in these occupations who contract COVID-19 on or after April 8, 2020, while employed:

  • Peace officers licensed under Minnesota Statutes, section 626.84, subdivision 1; firefighters, paramedics or emergency medical technicians
  • Nurses or health care workers, correctional officers or security counselors employed by the state or a political subdivision (such as a city or county) at a corrections, detention or secure treatment facility
  • Healthcare providers, nurses or assistive employees employed in a health care, home care or long-term care setting with direct COVID-19 patient care or ancillary work in COVID-19 patient units
  • People required to provide child care to first responders and health care workers under Executive Orders 20-02 and 20-19

Pro Tip: Employees who have COVID-19 and do not fall into one of these occupations can still claim a workers’ compensation injury or occupational disease if they believe their illness is due to their employment.

Download more details about Minnesota workers’ comp for COVID-19 here.

What Else Should I Know About Minnesota Workers’ Compensation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes workers’ comp data on most U.S. states and territories. The total number of employees missing work, transferring jobs or receiving restrictions spiked dramatically from 36,500 in 2019 to 46,600 in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging. In 2020, the number still hovered well above pre-COVID levels. Accordingly, claims activity in the Gopher State rose sharply in 2020. The total number of recordable cases swelled to 76,700 in 2020 from 73,000 in 2019.

In 2021, however, claims returned to a pre-COVID rate. Part of the jump was driven by claims reported in the service sector, which increased to 50,500 in 2020 from 44,900 the year prior. By 2021, service industry claims were declining toward pre-pandemic rates.

According to DLI records, about 37% of people who filed claims in 2018 were denied Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. That’s nearly 2 in every 5 workers who were injured or became ill at work!

A skilled attorney can help you beat those odds. 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 the lawyer gets paid $0. However, 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:

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Margot Lester is the CEO ofThe 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/