For anyone seeking workers’ compensation coverage under Minnesota’s COVID presumption laws, there are numerous questions about the process and about eligibility. One of the most important questions for those covered by the law generally is: What impact does vaccination have on eligibility?
First, it is important to understand the new legal presumption in Minnesota workers’ compensation law. In summary, for anyone working in a protected category (mostly medical, first responders and those who assist them) who contracts the virus, it is presumed that the virus was contracted as part of their employment. Most workers’ compensation claims require the petitioner to prove that their illnesses or injuries were a direct result of their employment rather than from some other cause. But workers covered by the new law do not have to prove this causation; it is presumed.
What if I have not been vaccinated?
Although vaccination is no guarantee against the contraction or spread of COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its guidelines to allow employers to require vaccinations from employees and to obtain medical records of the vaccination, according to JD Supra.
So, while the workers’ compensation presumption law does not speak directly to whether or not someone is eligible without being vaccinated, it stands to reason that they would not be eligible. If an employer requires a vaccine, the employee would not be working there in the first place without being vaccinated. IF he or she was working there, it would be against the company’s policy and would probably disqualify someone from receiving benefits since the work being performed was technically unauthorized.
Can I claim workers’ compensation for adverse effects of vaccination?
Yes, you can. According to Kare11 online, you can file for benefits for adverse effects of vaccination. However, you can only do so if the vaccination was mandated by your employer. Sine this is a directive from your employer, the vaccine would be considered part of employment and thus eligible for coverage.
If you obtain your vaccine on your own without employer dictate, you would probably not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits since it did not occur as part of your employment. However, if you are an employee covered under the presumption laws, and your employer does not mandate vaccination as requisite for employment, you would be eligible, though this is an unlikely scenario.
What should you do?
Regardless of whether you are an employee covered by workers’ compensation presumption laws, or whether you are vaccinated, if you have contracted COVID-19 you should talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether you are eligible for benefits.