Can I get worker’s compensation benefits if I was quarantined but didn’t get COVID-19?

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If you are an employee in either Kentucky or Indiana you may be able to get wage replacement benefits (Temporary Total Disability, or TTD) by making a claim for Worker’s Compensation.

In Kentucky, Governor Bashear has issued an executive order stating that any employee who is told to stay home and self-quarantine is automatically allowed to receive TTD benefits as long as he or she meets the following criteria:

  • the doctor states the reason for self-quarantine is due to occupational exposure to COVID-19
  • the employee would normally qualify for Worker’s Compensation benefits.

The usual one-week waiting period before TTD benefits begin is waived.  The order makes it more difficult to deny benefits to first responders like health care workers, emergency first responders, grocery, corrections, and some other workers.

In Indiana, the employee still has to prove their exposure to COVID-19 happened at work for the employee to be able to recover Workers Compensation benefits under the Act. The Worker’s Compensation Board has urged employers to communicate to their employees, in advance, how they plan to handle situations under the following circumstances:

  • quarantining at the direction of the employer due to a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 exposure,
  • a Covid-19 diagnosis from a physician without a test,
  • a presumptive positive Covid-19 test, or
  • a laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis.

Wage replacements benefits in Indiana would begin on the 8th day you are taken off work.  If you are off work for more than 21 days, then the employer is required to pay the first 7 days of TTD to the employee.

Ultimately, whether full worker’s compensation benefits are awarded to an employee is a fact-based determination specific to each employer, job, and employee. Should a worker contract COVID-19, the employee will ultimately have to prove their exposure arose in the course and scope of their employment, unless they are a Kentucky worker who is specifically enumerated in Governor Bashear’s executive order – but even there the company can rebut the presumption.

Whether you live in Louisville, Kentucky or Indiana, in every instance the worker should make sure their doctor is very specific in the order placing the employee off work for either quarantine or because they have contracted COVID-19.  The doctor’s order must specifically state they contracted COVID-19 while at work.  Make sure you tell your employer that you have been placed off work and be ready to show them a copy of the doctor’s order placing you off work.

Please contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-809-3776 for further help.