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Paraprofessionals, nurses, and occupational and physical therapists injured or made sick on the job should file for Workers’ Compensation. In certain circumstances such as chronic illness, lab specialists and vocational teachers may also file for Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance, paid for in advance by your employer, which entitles you to full medical coverage and part of your salary for job-related injuries and illnesses. You are entitled to Workers’ Compensation no matter whose fault your injury or illness may be — so long as it was not caused by willful maliciousness and occurred on school property or in the normal course of performance of your work duties.
- Medical: Workers’ Compensation will pay all medical expenses — tests, hospitals, medicines, physical therapy, equipment, a home care attendant if essential, and transportation to and from doctors upon authorization from the New York City Law Department (Insurance Carrier) — even if you do not lose any time from work.
- Financial: If you are out of work for more than seven days as a result of your job-related injury or illness, Workers’ Compensation will pay approximately 2/3 of your gross wages lost for total disability — capped at $844.29 a week for accidents after 7/1/15. Note that these seven days need not be consecutive days of absence; they can accumulate over time. Your eligibility for lost wages begins on the eighth day you are absent from work; if your doctor keeps you out of work for 15 days or more your wage payments will be retroactive to the first day of your absence. You will receive additional money if your injuries include permanent damage to a limb, facial scars, or loss of hearing or eyesight. See rates, caps and weeks of benefits (update).
How to access Workers’ Compensation benefits
In order to access your rights and benefits under Workers’ Compensation, you must follow certain procedures. Here is a list and timetable of DOE forms you must file.
- Unless your injury or illness prevents you, immediately notify your chapter leader and principal of any accident or other incident. All accidents should be reported — even if the injury is not obvious or is seemingly inconsequential.
- Complete a Comprehensive Injury Report and return it to your principal within 24 hours if it is at all possible.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure to tell the person attending to you that your injury or illness is work-related. Your doctor must complete an OP 198 Absence form, which you should file with your payroll secretary as soon as possible, and also a C-4 Physician’s Report, which he or she must file with the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Complete a C-3 Employee Claim form, with the assistance of an attorney if necessary, and a C3.3 Limited Release of Health Information (HIPAA) form if there was a previous injury to the same body part(s)and file both with the Workers’ Compensation Board as soon as possible.
- If you have been the victim of an assault, complete a UFT Incident Report and return it to your Chapter Leader as soon as possible. You should also file a criminal complaint as soon as possible and contact the UFT Victim Support Program (VSP) at 212-598-6853.
- Complete a WCD-23 Employee’s Notice of Injury and file it with your school payroll secretary within 10 days.
In some cases, the Workers’ Compensation Board will deny your request for compensation. In such cases, it is necessary to contact the Safety & Health Department at 212-510-6460 for further assistance. You may also need to obtain the services of an attorney.
In the meanwhile, you should apply for disability benefits if you are or will be out of work due to your injuries or illness. You will need to complete a DB 450 Disability Claim form to obtain these benefits.
Answers to some common questions about workers' compensation are available here. Please note that some information may have changed since the last publication.
Comprehensive Injury Report: This form details the nature of your injuries. It should be turned in to your principal within 24 hours of your accident or illness.
Department of Education Occurrence Report: Your principal must file this report within 24 hours of receiving it. You must sign to acknowledge seeing it and can add a statement.
UFT Incident Report: Use this form to notify the UFT School Safety Department if you have been the victim of an assault. Return the form to your chapter leader as soon as possible.
Application for Excuse of Absence (OP 198): You should complete this application with your physician.
WCD23 Employee’s Notice of Injury: You should fill out this form as your statement of accident/ injury.
Educational Paraprofessional Leave Application: Educational paraprofessionals should use this form for initial requests for leaves of absence as well as requests for extensions. Requests for extensions must be submitted prior to the date of expiration of the current leave.
EB1054 Health Benefits Report/Inquiry: You should submit this report with your Educational Paraprofessional Leave Application to prevent the disruption of your major medical insurance.
C-3 Employee’s Claim: You must Fill out this form to initiate your Workers’ Compensation claim. You should retain one copy, file a second with the Board, and provide a third to your legal representative.
C-3.3 Limited Release of Health Information (HIPAA): This form allows health care providers who have treated your previous injuries to release information to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.
C-4 Physician’s Report: Your doctor must fill out this form at regular intervals — usually every 4-6 weeks — during your convalescence. It is used to determine your level of benefits — so it is very important that your doctor fills it out carefully.
C-25 Application for Reopening of Claim, More than Seven Years After Accident: In order to reopen a claim more than seven years after an accident, this form must be filed immediately with the chair of the Workers' Compensation Board, together with the attending doctor's report (form C-27) if required, at the district office at which the case was closed.
C-257 Expense Reimbursement Form: Use this form to claim out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury or illness.
DB-450 Disability Claim: Complete this form to claim disability benefits only after your Workers’ Compensation claim has been rejected.
Central Medical Services
Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, Attorneys at Law
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