Kentucky Workers Comp 101: Understanding How It Works

Kentucky Workers Comp

Employers in Kentucky are required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits if their employees suffer a job-related injury or death. These benefits include medical care, a portion of lost wages, and death benefits. Employees may be entitled to additional benefits if they have dependents or suffer a catastrophic injury that prevents them from working. Here is everything you need to know about Kentucky workers comp.

Understanding Kentucky Workers Comp: The Basics

In Kentucky, businesses with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage. You will also need proof of coverage, a document that shows essential information about your policy, and must be displayed at your office.

Kentucky Workers Comp Exemptions

Under Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws, certain employees are exempt from coverage. These include

  • All people employed in agriculture
  • Members of a religious organization against owning insurance policies
  • Domestic workers are employed in a private residence where only two full-time workers are employed.
  • A handyman or maintenance worker paid to work in a home for less than 20 days 
  • Anyone working on behalf of a religious or charitable organization, 
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What Should an Employee Do When Injured at Work?

If you are injured at work, report it as soon as possible. You’ll need to tell your supervisor or personnel officer what happened and fill out a form describing the incident.

Suppose you have to leave and receive immediate medical care, file a written report as soon as possible. For minor scrapes or bruises, you will likely receive first aid and be able to return to work.

If the injury requires outside medical attention, you may choose a doctor or clinic—but only from your employer’s list. When you miss work for more than a day because of injury, your employer has three days to notify its workers’ compensation carrier.

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After the claim is notarized, it will be filed with the Department of Workers’ Claims. Within two months of filing a claim, the worker will know whether they have been approved or denied benefits. If the claim is denied, workers can appeal if they feel their employer did not serve justice.

The Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) runs the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Program), which is part of The Kentucky Labor Cabinet and is responsible for administering benefits and has jurisdiction over all compensation claims.

Who Is Responsible For Paying Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Your employer may purchase workers’ compensation coverage on a group or individual basis. Employers who do not purchase workers’ compensation insurance, or pay their assessment fees, can be subject to an audit and fined for noncompliance.

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What Does Workers Compensation Cover in Kentucky?

Workers’ compensation covers most injuries suffered on the job. These include repetitive motion injuries, which occur after some time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and degenerative disc disease.

In addition, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may cover injuries that accelerate the natural aging process. Injuries caused by chemicals, as well as psychiatric disorders related to physical trauma, are also covered.


Understanding workers’ comp is essential if you’re an employer operating in Kentucky and a worker looking to file a claim. The Kentucky workers’ compensation system is a no-fault insurance program providing medical and wage replacement benefits to injured workers. It was created to ensure that injured workers continue to receive income while unable to work due to their injury.