The State Compensation Insurance Fund is not waiting for a compensability finding to aid policyholders and essential workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier has created two funds, one to help policyholders buy necessary safety-related equipment and another to help their workers with medical bills or lost wages if they become ill with COVID-19 or are ordered to self-isolate.
“The essential workers who are doing their jobs every day in the midst of this crisis are heroes. It’s our job to support them in every way we can, and the creation of these special funds is the first step in that direction.”
State Fund says one $25 million fund is targeting insureds’ workers deemed essential under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order and will provide up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits. It is called the Essential Worker Support Fund Affected workers’ who lack health insurance will be able to tap the fund to pay medical bills, while those with health coverage can use it for copays and deductibles.
SCIF says any COVID-19 cases that are clearly work-related will be handled under the workers’ comp program and will not draw from the special fund.
The second fund is for safety-related expenses. The Essential Business Support Fund can be accessed by policyholders who may apply for grants of up to $10,000 to pay for future purchases or to recoup the cost of equipment and supplies that have already been bought. Grant requests will are on a first-come, first-served basis, and payments will cease once the fund is depleted. Additional monies, however, may become available at a later date, but that will be at the discretion of State Fund’s board of directors.
It is important to note the two funds provide assistance that is outside the scope of the workers’ comp system and will not impact an employee’s right to pursue a workers’ comp claim. State Fund says the payments will not be included in the calculation of an insured’s X-Mod.
Specific application information will be posted to State Fund’s website.