For decades, workers’ compensation has provided a crucial safety net for employed individuals across Pennsylvania. Taking a job means assuming a moderate degree of risk. Workers can get hurt on the job and suffer diminished earning capacity. They can also wind up with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Workers’ compensation helps protect those who have personal risk from the work that they do by reimbursing them for lost wages and covering their medical expenses. Those who work on an hourly basis or receive a salary are not the only ones protected by workers’ compensation. This crucial social safety net also applies to numerous hard-working volunteers in Pennsylvania as well.
What kinds of volunteers can receive workers’ compensation benefits?
There are many people who risk their own health and well-being to provide crucial services to their local communities. These individuals could suffer life-altering injuries through their volunteer work. They could also develop work-acquired medical conditions that require extensive medical care or that will forever limit their future earning potential.
If they do, they may be able to claim workers’ compensation despite their volunteer status. Under Pennsylvania law, volunteer firefighters can claim workers’ compensation for work-acquired medical conditions related to their service. The same is true for volunteer paramedics, emergency medical responders or ambulance corps.
Volunteers who help the State Parks and Forest Program, as well as Deputy Game Protectors qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. So do any volunteers who patrol the waterways, forest firefighters and members of local hazardous materials response teams. These individuals, if hurt while volunteering their time, can receive the same workers’ compensation benefits that employees receive.
They can qualify for disability benefits if they can’t work because of their injuries, as well as full coverage for all necessary medical care.
Workers’ compensation is important for community volunteers
Those who support their community deserve support for the risks they take. Most people are quick to recognize firefighters, paramedics and other emergency responders as true heroes. It is crucial that those who volunteer their services understand the practical support available to them when they risk their own lives to help others. Without this coverage, many people who would make excellent volunteers might choose not to out of concern for the risk involved.
Learning about Pennsylvania workers’ compensation can make getting benefits easier for those who qualify.