Albany, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that New York State is offering new, online educational opportunities to help workers who believe they contracted COVID-19 due to an exposure at work, especially those suffering from ongoing long-haul symptoms. A new series of webinars – offered through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board – will provide information on workers’ rights when it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim and the cash and/or medical benefits they may be eligible to receive.
“It has been nearly two years after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our state, and many hardworking New Yorkers are still experiencing long-haul COVID-19 symptoms that are adversely impacting their health, wellbeing, and ability to support themselves and their families,” Governor Hochul said. “Those still suffering from the lasting effects of this horrible virus deserve to understand their rights and to have access to assistance with filing workers’ compensation claims. By launching these new online resources, we can ensure that those who had to work despite the risk can secure both the adequate medical treatment and lost wage benefits that they deserve.”
Those with a work-related injury or illness have two years from the date of becoming injured or ill to file a workers’ compensation claim, so the deadline is approaching for workers who contracted COVID-19 due to their employment in the early days of the pandemic. Filing a claim is important because workers’ compensation benefits in an established claim include lifetime medical care for the treatment of the work-related injury or illness. Even workers who have had a good outcome after COVID-19 can file a claim to protect their future rights to these medical benefits, should they ever need them. Workers should know that while not all claims will be accepted, there is no risk or harm in filing a claim, even if it ends up getting denied.
These webinars are free and open to the public. Participants do not need to register in advance, and can join the sessions via the links above, which will also be accessible through the Board’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at wcb.ny.gov/covid-19.
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez said, “We at the Board are proud to help hard-working New Yorkers, who deserve every benefit they are entitled to while recovering from work-related COVID-19 complications and enduring any ongoing effects. We want to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights so they may receive the lost wage benefits and medical care that they need now, and in the future.”
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “Working New Yorkers have put themselves at risk throughout this entire pandemic. It is critical that workers exposed to COVID-19 at work receive the benefits and care that they need, deserve, and are guaranteed by law. We encourage every worker who believes they were exposed to COVID-19 at work to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board. We thank Governor Hochul and the Board for their work on this important issue.”
While the online sessions are targeted toward workers who have lost time from work, have ongoing medical problems and/or fall into the category of “long haulers,” the information is relevant to anyone who believes they may have contracted COVID-19 due to an exposure at work.
Information on the webinars, along with new fact sheets and other COVID-19 resources for workers, employers, and insurance carriers is available on the Board’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. In addition, information and assistance with filing a claim for COVID-19 is available by calling the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board at (877) 632-4996.
Injured or ill workers are encouraged to let the Board know if they face resistance or obstacles to getting information about the claims process or are discouraged from filing a claim. Such workers can send an email to: AdvInjWkr@wcb.ny.gov for assistance.
Source: NY Governor’s Office/WCB