In the event of a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation payments will usually become your primary financial resource to cover essential expenses and medical bills. Receiving late checks can become an issue, especially if you’re unable to work for a long period.
There are options available if you’re still waiting for your first workers’ compensation check or keep receiving delayed weekly checks.
When Is Your Workers’ Compensation Check Late?
You should receive workers’ compensation benefits on a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis, depending on how often your employer pays you. However, delays can happen since reviewing a workers’ compensation claim is a process that can take time. Here’s the process:
- You should report your injury or work-related to your employer as early as possible. There is a limit of 180 days in Minnesota to file a workers’ compensation claim, but it’s best to file a claim as early as possible to ensure prompt payment.
- After you fill out the required paperwork, your employer has to review your claim and sign it. Your claim will then go to a claims administrator. The claims administrator usually works for your employer’s insurance carrier, but some insurance providers might use a third party.
- The claims administrator will review your paperwork and make a decision. Minnesota law states that insurance carriers have up to 60 days to make a decision regarding a claim, but you can expect a faster decision for workers’ compensation cases.
- Once the insurer makes a decision, Minnesota law says that they should start issuing payments within five days.
Note that you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages after a minimum of three days of lost work. Even if you report your injury or illness as soon as it happens, the process will take an additional three days before you can qualify for this type of benefit.
Insurers resolve most workers’ compensation cases quickly and start issuing payments within ten days of receiving evidence, including your paychecks. For medical expenses, you can expect to receive reimbursement within 30 days.
If your case involves total disability benefits, you should receive payments much faster since insurance carrier companies have to start making payments within 14 days of the first day of disability.
The duration of the workers’ compensation claim process can vary. Generally, you would consider your first check to be late if you filed 30 days ago and still haven’t received anything. For subsequent checks, you can consider a payment to be late if you’ve been waiting for 14 days.
Why Is Your Workers’ Compensation Check Late?
Several factors can delay a workers’ compensation claim. A common cause for delays is the insurer asking for additional evidence.
The role of the claims adjuster is to determine whether your claim is legitimate, and they will often seek additional evidence to ensure that you sustained an injury or illness while working. They might also want more evidence to verify that the claim doesn’t involve a self-inflicted injury or intoxicated employee.
The insurer can request additional proof or schedule an independent medical examination to have a third party assess the extent of the injury or illness sustained.
Claims volumes are another factor that can result in delayed checks. Since 2020, Minnesotans have filed over 40,000 COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims. Insurers are still dealing with above-average volumes of claims and can take more time than usual to review cases.
You should also account for potential delays with the mail. You can set up direct deposit for workers’ compensation benefits, but paper checks remain a popular method to receive your payments. Mail can run late, which could explain why you keep getting your payments a few days later than usual.
Late Payments and Penalties
If you receive late workers’ compensation payments, your employer or their insurer might have to pay penalties. You’ll have to prove that at least three payments were late by three business days or more.
If your employer failed to submit your claim to the claims adjuster promptly or didn’t provide additional proof the insurer required, they might have to pay penalties. If the insurer didn’t process the claim or issue payments on time, they will pay penalties.
You will also receive a larger compensation since interest will add up during the delay. Depending on how many payments were late and how long you had to wait to receive them, the amount of your compensation could increase.
What to Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Check Is Late?
Don’t wait to take action if your check is late. It’s best to signal the issue early. Here are the steps you can take.
Contact Your HR Representative
Your first step should be to communicate with your employer and make them aware of the issue. You can reach out to your HR representative and let them know you’re still waiting on your first workers’ compensation check.
Your HR representative can contact the insurance carrier and ask for an update. They can also get in touch with the Minnesota Department of Commerce to report an issue with the insurer.
When Should You Get a Lawyer?
You should seek legal help if your employer is not responsive or if you’re still waiting for your check a week after your HR representative reached out to the insurer.
A lawyer can reach out with a petition to the insurer and ask for an update. Having a lawyer contact the claims adjuster on your behalf is often enough to speed up the case. A lawyer can also help you gather more evidence if the insurer asks for additional proof.
If the insurer denies your claim, you have 60 days to file an appeal with the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. A lawyer can help you with this process to avoid further delays.
Going to Court
If the insurer fails to issue payment on time, your workers’ compensation lawyer can file a petition with a court. A judge will review the case and can order the insurer to issue payments.
Documenting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Document the process of filing your workers’ compensation claim. Keeping track of the different steps you take, and the letters you receive will help you prove that a payment is late:
- Make a copy of the initial claim. If possible, get something in writing from HR with the date you submitted the claim to your employer.
- You should document as many details as possible regarding the injury or accident, including the date on which it happened and the date on which you stopped working.
- Document the medical care received, including the dates of your appointments and when you submitted medical evidence to your employer.
- Document every day of missed work and lost wages.
- Consider setting up direct deposit for your workers’ compensation benefits to keep track of the payments you receive.
- If you opt for paper checks, sign up for the Informed Delivery tool from USPS. You can use this tool to create a record of when you receive specific pieces of mail, including your workers’ compensation checks.
Get Help With Late Workers’ Compensation Payments
Are you still waiting for your first workers’ compensation check or keep receiving your weekly checks late? Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law can help. We specialize in workers’ compensation cases and have experience in helping workers navigate the claim process, including dealing with issues like late checks. We have locations in Coon Rapids, Duluth, and Shakopee, MN. Contact us today to discuss your workers’ compensation payments.