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First responder frequently-asked questions

The Division of Workers Compensation (DWC) regulates workers’ compensation benefits in Texas. DWC does not pay benefits on workers’ compensation claims. Insurance carriers pay workers' compensation benefits.

Here are answers to some common questions you might have about your workers' compensation claim.


Who is a first responder?

A first responder is an employee who works for a political subdivision, like a city, county, or school district. These employees may be peace officers, paramedics, firefighters, or emergency medical attendants and technicians. For more details see Texas Labor Code Section 504.055 and Government Code Chapter 607.  Volunteer emergency medical services and firefighters may also be considered first responders. For more details see Texas Labor Code Section 504.012(a)

If you are a volunteer first responder you should ask your employer if you are covered by workers’ compensation.

How do I report a work-related injury or illness?

You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you were hurt or from the date you knew your injury or illness was related to your job. If you do not let your employer know about your injury within 30 days, you may not be able to get benefits. 

Once you report your injury or illness to your employer, DWC will send you a Notice of Injury packet. In that packet you will find DWC Form-041, Employee's Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease. You must send the form to DWC within one year from the date you were hurt, or within one year from the date you knew or should have known your injury or illness may be work related. If you do not send the form to DWC, you may not be able to get your benefits.

If you don't get this packet or if you need help with your claim, call DWC at 1-800-252-7031, option 1.

You also may send the completed DWC Form-041 to the following address:

Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation
7551 Metro Center Drive, Suite 100 MS-93
Austin, TX 78744-1645

Forms can also be completed at local field offices. You can find a field office in your area.

What will workers’ compensation cover?

There are four types of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Medical benefits pay for reasonable and necessary medical care to treat your work-related injury or illness.
  • Income benefits replace some of the money you lost because of your work-related injury or illness.
  • Burial benefits pay for some of an employee's funeral expenses to the person who paid those expenses.
  • Death benefits help families replace some of the money lost when an employee dies because of a work-related injury or illness. Spouses of first responders can get death benefits for life even if they remarry (for marriages on or after September 1, 2017).

Visit our benefits webpage for more information.

I have questions about my claim and benefits, who should I call?

Call your workers’ compensation insurer and ask to speak to your adjuster. If you talk to your adjuster and still have concerns, contact DWC for help at 1-800-252-7031, option 1. Tell DWC staff that you’re a first responder and they will assign you a single point of contact. This person will help you with your claim each time you call.

What is on the list of conditions for first responders that are presumed to be work-related?

The following diseases are presumed to be work-related under state law if certain conditions are met: smallpox, tuberculosis or other respiratory illnesses, certain cancers associated with firefighting, as well as heart attack or stroke. For more information see Texas Government Code, Chapter 607.

I don’t agree with the insurance carrier’s denial of my claim, who should I contact?

The Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC) has a designated employee who can help first responders. This person is trained in the rights of first responders in the workers' compensation system. You can contact them at or (512) 804-4173. You can also contact DWC at 1-800-252-7031, option 1, for help with your claim.

For more information about disputing your claim, watch our video on how to resolve disputes or go to the dispute resolution webpage.

What are my rights under workers’ compensation?

Read the Notice of Injured Employee Rights and Responsibilities in the Texas Workers’ Compensation System to learn about your rights and responsibilities.

If you have more questions about workers' compensation, visit the injured employee homepage or call DWC at 1-800-252-7031, option 1.

Last updated: 7/19/2018