When you have filed for workers’ injury compensation in Oregon, you might find yourself wondering how long it will take before you are likely to receive a payment. Dealing with a painful work-related injury comes with enough stress as it is, but the added uncertainty of the claims process can make things even more frustrating. That is why we have created a typical timeline so you can better understand the process and what affects it.
The first thing to remember is that every claim is different, and the timeline for your specific claim will depend on several factors. You are generally expected to notify your employer immediately when you have been injured. The employer must then inform their insurance carrier within five days of receiving your notice.
Once your workers’ compensation claim has been submitted, the insurance carrier will have 60 days from the date of your employer’s notification to accept or deny the claim in writing. If you do not receive a written notice of acceptance or denial within those 60 days, you can request a hearing from the Oregon Workers’ Comp Board.
That means the general wait time before you can expect your first payment is about two months. This may not be the fastest turnaround time, but knowing how long the process takes can make the wait a bit easier when dealing with your work injuries.
In addition to the federal benefits available to eligible U.S. military veterans, the state of Oregon also offers additional benefits to the more than 320,000 veterans that make their homes there. Some of these include vocational rehabilitation services.
Vocational rehabilitation is a training process designed to help disabled individuals gain, maintain, or return to employment. It can be a part of workers’ compensation benefits in Oregon for work-related injuries or a freestanding program tailored to specific populations—like veterans.
Veteran Readiness, Priority of Service, and Outreach Programs
Oregon is proud to participate in the Veteran Readiness and Employment Service program through the VA. This program provides vocational rehabilitation services and other benefits to help transitioning service members and veterans with service-connected disabilities.
Furthermore, thanks to an Oregon law passed in 1977, public employers must grant preference to disabled veterans who apply to vacant civil service positions. To be eligible for this preference, applicants must successfully clear an initial screening, pass any applicable tests, and meet the qualifications for the job. Veterans may also qualify for Priority of Service in employment and training services through WorkSource Oregon.
In addition to injury compensation, service-disabled veterans may also take advantage of Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Programs (DVOPs) for assistance with applying to jobs in the public and private sector. DVOPs operate in over 20 Oregon cities.
When a claim is filed, the compensation decision is initially made by the insurer. Their duty is to determine whether the injury or illness qualifies within their systems. It is important to note that workers’ compensation benefits in Oregon operate on a no-fault system. That means that compensation does not depend on determining that the employer was negligent, which facilitates prompt payout.
However, sometimes a claim may be complicated and thus contested. When that occurs, the person may retain a workers’ compensation attorney to argue their case. Ultimately, decisions are reported to Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).
Claims Processing and Reporting to DCBS
Within 60 days of learning about the claim, the insurer must accept or deny the claim and classify it as permanent disability, temporary, or non-disabling. If the claim is accepted, temporary disability payments (if any) will be paid out at 14-day intervals for as long as the attending physician verifies the worker’s inability to work or until claim closure for disabling cases. Within 30 days of the notice of closure, the insurer must begin paying injury compensation for either permanent partial, permanent total disability, or death benefits.
All accepted disabling claims and all denied work-related injury claims must be reported to the DCBS’ Workers’ Compensation Division within 14 days of the decision. Insurers are not required to report non-disabling claims.