occupational disease, socso, malaysia, covid-19

If a person insured under SOCSO wants to claim benefits for COVID-19, the claim is still eligible for consideration, but limited to jobs that are exposed to biological agents and are in the presence of infection among healthcare workers.

With Malaysia in transition to an endemic phase, the Social Security Organization (Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial, SOCSO) will now process all benefit claims related to COVID-19 as claims for a 'service disease', effective 1 April 2022.

"This implementation is seen as timely as economic activities across the country are beginning to show positive developments and more and more people are returning to work. It is also in line with the ‘exit strategy’ devised by the Government so that the country returns to an almost normal life after more than two years of war with COVID-19," SOCSO said in a statement on Friday (1 April 2022). Prior to 1 April, seeing how the pandemic affected the country, SOCSO had processed claims involving COVID-19 as an 'occupational disaster', instead of an occupational disease per what the standard operating procedures should state, it added.

With COVID-19 classified as an occupational disease, if a person insured under SOCSO wants to claim benefits for COVID-19, the claim is still eligible for consideration, but limited to jobs that are exposed to biological agents and are in the presence of infection among healthcare workers. The application will be processed as an occupational illness and an eligible insured person will receive benefits under the Occupational Disaster Scheme or Disability Scheme, including temporary disability benefit, permanent disability benefit, retirement pension, disability pension, and mortuary management benefit, according to their respective qualifications.

However, for benefit claim applications for insured persons who are confirmed COVID-positive before 1 April 2022, SOCSO will still process the claim under the 'occupational disaster' category.

Back in early 2020, SOCSO had clarified that COVID-19 is considered an occupational disease under Malaysian law. Employees who are infected due to their exposure arising out of and in the course of their employment will also be covered under the Employment Injury Scheme. This applies to both the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 and the Self Employment Social Security Act 2017 (Act 789).

As of 26 March 2022, SOCSO has received a total of 132,988 COVID-19 benefit claim cases involving local and foreign workers. Of that amount, more than RM133mn has been paid to the insured persons since this benefit was first implemented on 24 February 2021.


Image / SOCSO

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