A poor relief recipient is covered for only medical treatment and burial expenses benefits under the Workers Compensation Act.
Until 1992, workers compensation coverage for a poor relief (welfare) recipient (also referred to as workfare participant) performing work “considered as satisfaction of a condition for poor relief” was dealt with in IC-12-2-1-10. However, the statute was repealed in 1992 and replaced with IC-12-20-11-5, under Public Law 2-1992. The new statute maintained a poor relief recipient’s right to workers compensation coverage. However, Public Law 51-1996 amends subsection (a) effective July 1, 1996 to provide coverage for only medical treatment and burial expenses.
Sec. 5. (a) Work performed under this chapter is considered as satisfaction of a condition for poor relief and is not considered as services performed for remuneration or as repayment for poor relief assistance. However, a poor relief recipient performing work under this chapter and the governmental unit or nonprofit agency for which the recipient works are covered by the medical treatment and burial expense provisions of IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 with regard to the work performed.
The Indiana Code is available on the State of Indiana website.
IMPACT is the acronym for the Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training Program. The program is administered by the state through the County Office of Family and Children (OFC), acting on behalf of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Family and Children, in conjunction with the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The goal of this welfare-to-work program is to move public assistance and food stamp recipients toward self-sufficiency. The public assistance provided by the government is known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The recipients become “participants” or “clients” of the IMPACT program.
An agreement is entered into between the OFC and an employer (referred to as “company”). The agreement is known as the Community Work Experience Program (CWEP). Section 3.G of the agreement provides that the employer furnish the client’s medical care in case of injury and furnish accident (tort claim) protection for on-site injury. However, section 5 states: “The participant is not an employee of the OFC or the Company.”
An addendum to the agreement apparently requires the “Service Provider” to be responsible for the costs incurred by the Company for the client’s medical care and accident protection. It requests insurance policy information.
Presumably, the service provider is an entity such as Occupational & Educational Consultants, Inc. (OEC) that submitted a successful bid proposal to IMPACT to supply job services to clients at no cost to employers. The services include applicant assessment, job training, job search training, life skills training, and job placement for the clients.
With this background information, the question arises on how to provide the insurance coverage to the clients in case of injury or accident. This question becomes difficult to answer since the agreement attempts to establish that not one of the parties to the agreement is the employer. The WC Board of Indiana would consider, among other factors as well, who exercised the more direct control of the worker at that time of injury. This fact would be important in determining who was the employer at that time.
If there existed a non-contested employer-employee relationship, then a standard workers compensation policy for the employer would provide coverage and pay benefits to injured employees, whether in the regular market or assigned risk market.
If there are no employees, then workers compensation coverage could still be provided by an insurance company, at its option, on a voluntary basis in the regular market (not assigned risk). The clients could be considered as volunteer workers. Please see the Volunteers document for more information on how such coverage could be set up.
In summary, there are potentially three ways to obtain coverage for IMPACT clients from a workers compensation perspective.
- If the clients are employees, they are automatically covered by the employer’s standard worker compensation insurance policy, whether in the regular market or assigned risk market.
- A government unit (the employer) would elect to consider the clients as rostered volunteers. They would then be covered under the standard policy, whether in the regular market or assigned risk market.
- A carrier would offer, and an employer would purchase, voluntary coverage for the clients in the regular market.
Note: The second and third ways depend upon if you can find an insurance company willing to write the coverage, and an “employer” willing to pay the premium.
For poor relief recipients, use the amount of assistance paid to the person as remuneration. For rostered volunteers and other volunteers Basic Manual, BM‐TYPV‐R7F9A. says that premium must be determined on the basis of the payroll normally received by and the classification assigned to nonvolunteer employees doing the same or similar work. (old Rule IX.D.2.). This amount would most likely be more than the clients or poor relief recipients receive in assistance payments or food stamps.
Indiana has 1,008 townships. The trustees have three primary functions:
- poor relief
- fire protection
- property tax assessment