Almost all workers in Oklahoma are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job and miss at least eight days of work. But the key word in the previous sentence is almost, as some workers DON’T receive workers’ compensation benefits after on-the-job injuries. The type of work you do, including the industry you work in, does affect your chances of getting compensation.
Who Gets Benefits?
Oklahoma law requires that all employers with even one part-time employee must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Employers who are required to purchase workers’ compensation through the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission can opt-out, but only if they purchase equivalent insurance through another provider.
As mentioned above, this requirement covers almost all employees in the state, ranging from salaried office workers and medical professionals to retail employees and bartenders. When these people suffer on-the-job injuries, they will follow the same process of getting benefits, including reporting their injuries to their supervisors, getting medical attention, and submitting their claims through the workers’ compensation system.
Who DOESN’T Get Benefits?
As with almost everything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. And when it comes to Oklahoma workers’ compensation benefits, the exceptions include:
- Certain agricultural or horticultural employees—People who work in agricultural or horticultural jobs with employers who pay less than $100,000 annually in total payroll may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
- Certain domestic employees—People employed in domestic or household positions where total payroll for the household is less than $10,000 annually may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
- Federal government employees—People who reside in Oklahoma but work for the federal government aren’t covered under state workers’ compensation benefits. However, they ARE covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Program.
- Certain real estate workers—People who are licensed real estate sales associates or brokers and who are paid on a commission basis may not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma.
- Certain employees who work in family-owned businesses—People who work in family-owned businesses where there are five or fewer employees and all are related by blood or marriage may not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
- All independent contractors—People who work in contract or sub-contract positions aren’t considered employees and are never covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, they can purchase workers’ compensation insurance for themselves, and they must purchase it if they hire employees of their own.
What Should You Do if You Don’t Get Benefits?
It’s important to protect yourself if you’re in the category of workers who don’t receive workers’ compensation benefits after an on-the-job injury. Two ways to protect yourself include:
- Purchasing disability insurance—Holding active policies for both short-term and long-term disability can help offset many of the costs associated with losing your income if you get hurt on the job and aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Purchasing workers’ comp insurance for yourself—If you’re a sole proprietor or are otherwise not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you still have the option of purchasing coverage for yourself. Policies for a single worker are typically inexpensive, and the annual cost may be well worth it if you get hurt through the course of your work but aren’t covered by an employer’s plan.
Not Sure If You’re Covered? Look It Up!
Whether or not an employer has valid workers’ compensation insurance is public record, and this website will allow you to quickly verify this information. Just enter your state, employer’s name, and the date you want to determine whether coverage is valid and click “search.” You can also search by your company’s Federal Employer Identification Number.
We’re Here to Assist with Workers’ Compensation Claims in Oklahoma
Even if you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, there’s no guarantee you’ll get them. The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission is notoriously strict when reviewing claims, and even the smallest mistakes can result in denials. Don’t risk losing out on the benefits you deserve!