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What to know about workers' compensation in Kansas

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January 27, 2022
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This story originally appeared on Simply Business and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

What to know about workers' compensation in Kansas

Workers’ compensation, which can provide cash and medical care to employees injured on the job, and benefits to survivors in cases of a work-related death, began with a federal program in 1908. It gave benefits to civilian workers whose jobs were hazardous and became the first kind of social insurance established across the United States.

By 1916, the rest of the federal workforce was covered. States meanwhile were enacting their workers’ compensation laws. All but six states and the District of Columbia had them by 1921.

Today, programs exist in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The details of each program vary by state. Four states—Ohio, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming—require insurance be obtained through a state-administered fund rather than through a private insurer. Another option is to self-insure for approved businesses. Most states require some businesses to provide coverage and can levy substantial fines for failing to comply. South Dakota and Texas leave the choice to businesses, although Texas makes an exception for construction companies with a government contract.

Simply Business reviewed rules, statistics, and other information about workers’ compensation insurance—including the comprehensive breakdown by the National Federation of Independent Business—to offer a breakdown of what workers’ comp requirements in each state. Rules are subject to updates periodically, so it’s important to stay up-to-date based on your trade and location.

Workers' Compensation in Kansas

Employers whose gross payroll exceeds $20,000 must have workers’ compensation coverage in Kansas. There are some exceptions. Not included are wages paid to sole proprietors and partners and owners’ relatives. However, relatives who do not own 10% of a business must be covered. Independent contractors who have no employees can choose not to be included. Failure to provide insurance can result in a penalty of twice an annual premium or $25,000, whichever is greater. The fine for fraud or abuse is $2,000 for each incident.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage, an October 2021 report from the National Academy of Social Insurance, found that total benefits paid to employees rose by 0.4% nationwide from 2015 to 2019. Cash benefits rose by 2%, but medical benefits fell by 1.1%. Standardized benefits fell— cash by 14% and medical benefits by 16.7%—over the same period.

Keep reading to see what workers' compensation looks like for other states in your area.

Workers' Compensation in Colorado

Employers with at least one full-time or part-time worker must have coverage. But there are a number of exemptions, among them those who do maintenance or repair work for less than $2,000 a year, real estate agents and brokers who are paid by commission, independent contractors who have no employees, and some drivers. Sole proprietors and corporate officers can opt out. A business without coverage can be closed and fined up to $500 for every day without insurance. If a worker is hurt, the employer must pay the claim plus an additional penalty of 25% of the worker’s benefits.

Workers' Compensation in Missouri

Like Mississippi, Missouri requires that a business have five employees before workers’ compensation coverage is mandated. Those in the construction industry, however, must have insurance even with only one employee. Exemptions include sole proprietors, though as elsewhere they can decide to be covered; farmworkers; real estate salespeople; servants; and the owner-operators of motor carriers. Close relatives who are employees and members of limited liability companies are covered, but can decide to forgo coverage. Employers can be fined up to three times an annual premium or $50,000, whichever is greater, if they do not have the required coverage.

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