Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance

Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Insurance

Workers’ Compensation insurance, often called workers’ comp, is insurance that will cover your medical expenses if you are injured or develop an occupational disease while you are working at your job.  Workers’ Comp is not the same as health insurance; it does not cover your medical expenses if you get sick or are injured when you are not working at your job.  Most employers are required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance, but there are a few exceptions, mostly jobs that are part-time or transient.  Also, a person who hires an independent contractor does not have to carry workers’ comp on that person.

Your employer cannot prohibit you from filing a workers’ comp claim, or fire you for filing one.  If you are supposed to be covered by workers’ comp and are injured on the job, but your employer does not carry a policy, the State of Alaska has a special fund, called the Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund, to help cover your injuries. Learn more about this fund, and whom to contact.

Unemployment insurance pays you for a time if you are laid off from a job through no fault of your own.  But you may be penalized if you quit without good reason or are fired for misconduct.  You are not entitled to unemployment insurance if you cannot work due to illness or are out of state and are not job hunting.  If you are laid off, you may apply for unemployment benefits by calling an Unemployment Insurance Claims Center or login to and click on “Unemployment Insurance Benefits.”