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What benefits might I be entitled to during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This question is from a series of questions and answers on Worker Rights and Strategies for Staying Safe During COVID-19 created by National COSH to support workers during the pandemic.


If you contract COVID from your work environment or you are unable to work due to COVID, you may be eligible for benefits related to these situations:

  • Work-related cases of COVID can be covered under workers’ compensation benefits in most states. Some states have passed legislation, regulations, and/or executive orders to provide “presumptive” coverage under workers’ compensation. Front line health care workers are often (but not always) being included along with public safety workers.  
  • A “presumption” shifts the burden of proof from the worker having to prove the virus came from workplace exposure to the employer having to prove that it did not. Presumptions can be indisputable or rebuttable.
  • If you lose work related to COVID situations in your workplace, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits from both state and federal programs.
  • There may be other local, state of federal programs that offer assistance to workers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many groups of the most vulnerable workers — including immigrants, undocumented workers, contingent and gig workers and others — have been excluded from benefits. This is a dangerous situation for these workers, their families and the community.