How to Apply for Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Minnesota workers' compensation

Every state has its own specific workers’ compensation laws and claim process in place for most employees. If you get hurt or sick on the job, we’ll explain how to apply for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. Then, you can review how the Minnesota workers’ compensation program changed from 2014-2018 in an interactive chart below.



Which Employers Must Provide Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Most businesses with at least one part-time OR full-time employee must have Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance. 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 that earn less than $1,000 in wages over a three-month period
  • Farmers, their immediate family members and any temporary or seasonal agricultural workers who meet certain income limits
  • Federal employees
  • Sole proprietors and their immediate family members, if working for a family-owned business or LLC

New Rules Regarding Presumptive Minnesota Workers’ Compensation for Covid-19

On April 8, 2020, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a new law regarding workers’ comp claims for Covid-19. This new rule stays in effect through May 1, 2021, unless the state takes additional action. The new law means the state must assume certain workers who develop Covid-19 have a qualifying occupational disease. Anyone sick with Covid-19 will likely automatically qualify for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits if they work in the following jobs:

  • Licensed peace officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Nurses, healthcare workers, correctional officers, and security counselors employed in state, county or city-run correctional facilities, including detention centers and secure treatment facilities
  • Healthcare providers, nurses and assistive employees who work directly or indirectly with Covid-19 patients in hospitals, home health care settings and long-term residential care facilities
  • Anyone required to provide childcare services to first responders and healthcare workers under Executive Orders 20-02 and 20-19

How to Apply for Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you get hurt or sick at work, follow these steps to apply for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Notify your supervisor or employer about your injury in writing within 14 days of your accident. It’s okay to seek emergency medical attention first, if needed. However, you must tell the doctor that treats you that your injury or illness is work-related. Failing to notify your employer within 180 days (6 months) may disqualify you from receiving any Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. Your employer then completes and files a First Report of Injury (FROI) form to notify their insurance provider. Generally, your employer has 10 days to complete this step. If you miss more than three calendar days from work, they’ll notify the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).
  3. You should receive written notice that the insurer approved or denied your Minnesota workers’ compensation claim within 14 days. If your employer’s insurance provider requests an independent medical exam (IME) before approving your claim, you cannot miss it.
  4. If your claim’s approved, you cannot qualify for wage-loss benefit payments until after your waiting period ends. This means after the fourth calendar day your injury forces you to miss work, you’re eligible for those weekly payments. State law considers those first three days unpaid time off until after you miss 11 days total at work. You should receive your first payment within 14 days.
  5. Contact your employer’s insurance claims adjuster first to dispute your claim’s denial. If that doesn’t resolve your issue, contact an Alternative Dispute Resolution specialist at the Minnesota DLI to ask for help.

Every Minnesota workers’ compensation claim is different, so your experience may vary. For more about Minnesota workers’ compensation, read this pamphlet: An Employee’s Guide.

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2014-2018

An annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes workers’ compensation program data for most states. It includes things like total claims filed, job sector-specific data and which employees changed positions or received work restrictions. Our interactive chart tracks Minnesota workers’ compensation program changes over the five-year period from 2014-2018:

As you can see, 2014 saw the most claims filed during this timeframe. While 78,700 sounds like a lot of injured people, it represents just 1.4% of Minnesota’s total population. The good news is, claim numbers dropped significantly across all tracked categories during this period. Total Minnesota workers’ compensation claims fell 9% from 2014-2018. Service-industry claims fell 8.5% between 2014 and 2016. This is particularly important since that job sector files the majority of claims in any given year (60%-62%).

Finally, claims from people who missed work, received job restrictions or transferred positions fell 10% from 2014-2016. This indicates which employees got sick or injured badly enough to qualify for weekly wage-loss benefits. In most years, less than half of all people filing Minnesota workers’ comp claims qualify for those benefits. That’s because most people’s injuries aren’t bad enough to require more than three consecutive work days off.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

According to DLI records, about 37% of people who filed claims in 2018 got denied Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. That’s nearly 2 in every 5 injured workers who filed claims that calendar year!

Why not sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney near you? It’s a fast, easy and free way to get confidential advice that applies to your specific situation. You can talk to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer for free within one business day without leaving your home. All workers’ comp lawyers work on contingency, so you pay $0 if they don’t help you win a cash settlement. And if you do win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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