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How do I know if I’m covered by workers’ compensation?

If you are working in the Buffalo area and are injured on the job, it’s likely you are eligible for workers' compensation. Under New York law, nearly every employer is required to carry coverage. This ensures that individuals hurt or made ill at work receive the care they need. If disability results, the worker is entitled to cash benefits.

The breadth of workers' compensation eligibility is made clear in New York state law, which says workers in the following occupations must be covered.

  • Any worker at a for-profit company: It does not matter if the worker is full or part-time, temporary, contracted or leased.
  • Most paid workers for nonprofits: Note the specification of “paid” work.
  • County or city workers doing work that’s defined as hazardous.
  • Public school teachers and aides: The only exception is for New York City school teachers.
  • New York State workers: Some volunteers in this category are eligible, as well.
  • Many domestic workers: If you work 40 or more hours per week for the same employer, you are eligible for benefits. If you sleep or eat on the employer's premises, that may count as work time.
  • Many farm laborers: The benchmark for determining eligibility in this category is whether you received $1,200 or more in pay for the previous year.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it addresses most workers. The law gives the state Workers' Compensation Board the discretion to grant eligibility to workers who are not specifically excluded.

Keep in mind that eligibility does not guarantee that an employer or insurer will accept an application for benefits. To protect your rights, speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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