How long do I have to be employed to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits?

In Pennsylvania, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from day one!  As long as you are working your job, as defined by your job description and you are injured, making you unable to work your job, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. 

You must meet the following requirements, however, to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  

  • You must be an employee, receiving a W-2, not an independent contractor.
  • You must give timely proper “notice” of your work injury to your boss, supervisor, or foreman within 120 days from the date of the injury.  It is best, however, to give notice as soon as possible so that steps can be taken for the employer to submit the claim to their workers’ compensation carrier.
  • Treat for the work injury and have a physician write a note and/or report that you are “disabled” as a result of the work injury and that you are unable to work your regular job or any type of job (setting, desk, light, medium work). 

It is always a good idea to write down or journal how the injury occurred, when, and where. Keep in mind that even if you meet the requirements, the workers’ compensation carrier may still deny your claim, and your claim may go to a workers’ compensation judge to ultimately decide if you are entitled to receive wage loss and medical benefits. 

If you do have to file a Claim Petition, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you gave “notice” timely and properly to your employer and that you have medical evidence to substantiate your claim.  The medical evidence would come through your treating physician and he or she must be willing to document and testify that your work injury caused you to lose time from work and is disabling. 

It is best to consult with and retain a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer to help you pursue your case, giving you the best chance of winning through to get the wage loss and medical benefits you deserve.