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Workers Compensation in Massachusetts

Jason Metz

Massachusetts requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers compensation insurance typically pays a portion of a worker's salary and the medical bills if they are injured while doing a job-related task. The types of injuries covered by workers comp might range from carpal tunnel to broken bones to stress and anxiety.

Massachusetts workers compensation law specifies many details of the limits of workers comp payments, who must be covered and who can be exempt from coverage. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Employees covered by Massachusetts workers compensation

Can any employees opt out of Massachusetts workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers who own at least 25% of the corporation. Workers comp is also optional for sole proprietors.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Massachusetts?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Massachusetts are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? No.

Agricultural employers? No.

Domestic employers? Yes, if a domestic employee works less than 16 hours per week.

Independent contractors? No.

Casual employees? No.

Volunteers? Yes.

Professional athletes? Yes.

Massachusetts workers comp medical benefits

Is there a Massachusetts workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?

Yes, fee schedule for treatment set by the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy; only a statute of limitations of four years from the date the injured worker becomes aware that the injury is work related.

Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Massachusetts

Workers comp typically pays a portion of the employee's income if they cannot work because of a work-related injury. State laws define certain limits on the disability payments length and amount, based on both permanent and temporary disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

60% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $251.29

Weekly maximum: $1,256.47

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 156 weeks.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $251.29

Weekly maximum: $1,256.47

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? Yes, increases annually based on the consumer price index (CPI) for the Northeast urban region.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: No maximum.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

Massachusetts doesn't require PDD paymenyts.

Fatality benefits under Massachusetts workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $10,051.76

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum / maximum: $110/1,000

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; benefits can continue if child is disabled.

Other injuries covered by Massachusetts workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? Yes.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report