Who is eligible for workers’ compensation in New York?

Workers’ compensation helps New York employees who have been injured on the job, but not everyone is eligible for this form of assistance.

People who are employed in New York City or even other parts of New York State may automatically assume that they will receive workers' compensation if they suffer a work-related illness or injury. This is not necessarily always the case. The workers' compensation program does cover a great many people in the state but not all employed persons.

People covered by the federal program

For starters, there are some groups of people who may be eligible to receive federal workers' compensation benefits. These are a select few according to the United States Department of Labor Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. There are special compensation programs set up for coal miners, longshore and harbor workers, federal employees and energy employees.

People covered by the state program

Putting those groups aside, there are still parameters for coverage by the state. The New York State Workers' Compensation Board indicates that the following are some of the types of employees who may be able to file for state benefits:

  • Employees and some volunteers of the state.
  • Domestic employees who work in their capacities on a full-time basis.
  • Most non-profit organization employees and most for-profit organization employees, including those who work on a part-time basis only.
  • Employees of a New York county or city that work in jobs deemed to be hazardous in some way.
  • People who work on farms that had earned more than $1,200 in wages in the year before a workers' compensation claim was made.
  • Officers of corporations if there are more than two stockholders. Officers or of corporations with fewer than two stockholders or officers can be covered if the corporation also employs other people.

Many of the state's public school teachers may be able to receive benefits from the state workers' compensation board. However, teachers in New York City are not allowed this coverage.

People not covered by the state program

There are some explicit exclusions to the list of people able to file for New York State workers' compensation assistance. These include volunteers at non-profit organizations and people who participate in sports programs run at an amateur level.

Religious staff members are also not provided coverage. New York City employees in the sanitation, firefighting and law enforcement fields do not qualify for state workers' compensation benefits. There are additional groups of employees that cannot receive the state benefits.

What injured or ill workers should do

Regardless of the nature of a person's injury or illness, if it is somehow related to a job contacting an attorney is recommended. This course of action can allow employees to understand their best options for compensation.