Whether or not you can get workers’ compensation if you’re injured or become ill while working at home depends on your employment status. If you’re an actual employee of the company for which you work, you likely can. If, on the other hand, you’re an independent contractor doing one or more projects for a company, you likely can’t.
In general, you’re an employee if:
- The company sets your work hours.
- It sets your days off, vacation time, etc.
- It provides the equipment and supplies you need to do your work.
- It provides you with employee benefits, such as health insurance.
- It withholds taxes and other things from your paychecks.
- It sends you a W-2 each year summarizing the gross income you earned, the various deductions withheld and the net income you earned.
Independent Contractor Status
In general, you’re an independent contractor if:
- You own your own business, contracting your services out to various companies.
- You negotiate with each of your clients regarding the work you will do for it and the amount of remuneration you will receive.
- You set your own work hours.
- You set your own vacation time.
- You use your own equipment and supplies.
- You receive no employee benefits.
- Each company pays you the gross amount for which you contracted at the times called for in the contract, withholding nothing.
- Each company sends you a 1099-MISC each year if it paid you $600 or more during that calendar year.
- You pay the full amount of FICA taxes, both the employer’s share and the employee’s share.
Workers’ compensation is a federal program, albeit run by the respective states. In general, workers’ compensation laws and regulations require companies with 15 or more employees to carry insurance that will pay for their employees’ medical and other expenses associated with on-the-job injuries or illnesses.
Consequently, even if there’s no question but that you’re a work-from-home employee, you still may not be able to get workers’ compensation if your employer is exempt from providing this benefit under state law.
Your wisest course of action when you have questions about workers’ compensation, and whether you’re eligible to receive it, is to seek the advice and counsel from workers compensation lawyers in NY from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. A professional will undoubtedly know the laws of your state, the employers to which they apply, and how to go about filing your claim if indeed you can file one.