workers' compensation benefits by state
workers' compensation benefits by state

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Which States Are Employee Friendly?

Each state manages workers’ compensation in its own way, and each workers’ compensation claim is unique. For the sake of looking at the numbers, we will examine states based on Temporary Total Disability (TTD) conditions. Take a look and decide how where you live stacks up against other workers’ compensation benefits by state:

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Statutory Waiting Periods

If you have been injured at work, you should file a claim immediately, even if the claim involves psychology trauma or ongoing pain such as carpal tunnel. Each state has a statutory waiting period before your Temporary Total Disability or Partial Permanent Disability benefits can begin to be paid, so file your claim immediately:

 3 daysAlabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota,  Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, VermontWashington, West Virginia, WisconsinWyoming

4 days – Montana

5 daysIdaho, Massachusetts, MississippiNevada, North Dakota

7 daysArizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,  Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Company Size

Because accidents can happen on the job at a restaurant as well as on a construction site, the majority of states require that employers provide workers’ compensation insurance for all of their employees. Here are the company sizes mandated in state laws before the workers’ comp provisions begin:

2 or more employees – Virginia

3 or more employees – Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin

4 or more employees – Florida, Rhode Island, South Carolina

5 or more employees – Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee

Non-mandatory coverage – New Jersey, Texas

All other states require private employers to provide coverage for even just one employee. New Jersey’s laws dictate that an employer either obtain coverage or qualify to self-insure, putting the vast majority of private employers on insurance coverage.

Texas laws do not require a private individual or organization to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, in 2020, about 79% of private employers had workers’ compensation coverage. If employers elect not to provide workers’ compensation, then they must disclose that to their employees. Common employers who opt out of workers’ compensation insurance are healthcare/educational services (42%), finance/real estate/professional services (31%), mining, utilities or construction (23%), other services except public administration (38%), and manufacturing (25%).

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Statutory Limitations on Medical Benefits

Laws in 45 states favor employees, whose medical benefits can go uncapped so that the injured employee never has to worry about exceeding any maximums when trying to receive proper care.

Here is a breakdown of the workers’ compensation benefits by state for the five locations that enforce medical payment limitations:

  • Florida and Montana require employees to pay a co-pay.
  • Tennessee limits psychological treatment when that treatment is not prescribed or referred by a licensed physician.
  • Ohio requires a re-examination once you receive total disability benefits for 90 days.
  • Arkansas absolves the employer of responsibility for medical costs after six months if the worker has not lost time from work, returned to work for six months, or once medical costs reach $10,000.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Percentage of Wages Paid in TTD Benefits

Calculating workers’ compensation benefits can be a hassle. In order to talk about a level playing field, we’ll look at payment for Temporary Total Disability, or TTD. The majority of states pay 66.67% of your pre-tax wages when you are on TTD. Let’s look at which states pay more than — and less than — that percentage:

Above 66.67%:

80% after tax earnings – Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Michigan
75% after tax earnings – Rhode Island
70% pre-tax – New Jersey, Oklahoma, West Virginia
67% – Idaho

Below 66.67%:

60% pre-tax – Massachusetts, New Hampshire
66.67% of actual monthly wages – Wyoming


75% for workers who earn less than $10/hr; 70% for all others – Texas
72% during first 12 weeks, 66.67% after 12 weeks – Ohio
60%-75%, depending on marital status as well as the number of dependents – Washington

Workers’ Compensation Benefits by State: Maximum TTD Benefit Duration

There are 16 states that do not provide benefits for the duration of the disability. Instead, they have a maximum number of weeks that eligible claimants can receive benefits:

104 weeks – Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas

156 weeks – Massachusetts

208 weeks – West Virginia

312 weeks – Utah

400 weeks – Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee

450 weeks – Arkansas, Mississippi

500 weeks – Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia

Montana does not put a limit on how long an employee may be treated for a given injury, though the state does require that the employee pay a co-pay. The other 33 states guarantee employees the benefit of continued medical care directly related to that injury at no cost.

If you are either denied coverage or your injury extends past the above limitations, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you get back on your feet. In fact, if you have preexisting health conditions, an attorney may be the only way you can secure workers’ comp benefits.

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

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Megan Kelly is a former blogger and copywriter for LeadingResponse.