California State Fund Pledging $50M for Essential Workers During COVID-19 Crisis

April 13, 2020

California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund announced on Monday that it will establish two new funds to support the health and recovery of essential workers and workplace safety during the COVID-19 crisis.

The first fund, the Essential Worker Support Fund, is a $25-million relief fund to support State Fund policyholders’ essential workers, as defined by an executive order from Gov. Newsom, who contract COVID-19 or are ordered to self-isolate due to a potential exposure.

The fund will provide assistance with wage replacement up to six weeks and assist workers without health coverage with uncovered medical costs.

For workers who have health coverage, the fund will assist with copayments and deductibles, as well as up to six weeks of wage replacement.

State Fund said it will offer assistance regardless of any potential legal uncertainty about whether the COVID-19 diagnosis arose from the essential worker’s employment and will not impact the worker’s ability to pursue full workers’ comp benefits.

Any COVID-19 claim that is clearly work related will receive full workers’ comp benefits and not draw down on this fund, according to State Fund. If the fund is depleted, State Fund’s board will consider authorizing additional funds. Any payments State Fund makes that are outside of a workers’ comp claim will not impact the policyholder’s experience modification.

The second fund, the Essential Business Support Fund, is a $25-million fund designed to assist State Fund policyholders that are essential businesses as defined by another executive order. The fund will provide grants to qualified policyholders to help defray the costs of safety-related expenses, planned or already incurred, related to protecting their workforces from COVID-19.

Individual grants can total up $10,000 or two times the policyholder’s premium, whichever is less. State Fund will review grant applications on a first-come, first-served basis, and will discontinue payments when the $25 million fund is depleted. However, State Fund will keep all applications in the order they were received in the case that additional funds become available.

“Our mission is to help California businesses and workers in any way we can,” State Fund President and CEO Vern Steiner said in a statement. “We have worked hard to put ourselves in a position to be able to help Californians when we are needed and we are extremely grateful to the essential workers and businesses that are supporting all of us through this crisis.”

State Fund’s board will meet on April 17 to review the impacts of COVID-19 on State Fund policyholders and injured workers and to consider additional ways to provide support.

Application information for the Essential Business Support Fund will be posted soon on State Fund’s website, StateFundCA.com.

State Fund is California’s not-for-profit provider of workers’ compensation and is funded solely by premiums and investment income.

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