Police officers are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage for injuries and illnesses that are related to the performance of their jobs. In general, police officers and firefighters are entitled to the same coverage as other workers under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. However, some police officers and firefighters are excluded from covereage under the act. Chicago police have a parallel disability benefits system for workplace injuries instead. 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that pays for medical costs and wage replacement for workers who are injured. If the worker is permanently incapable of returning to work due to the illness or injury, workers’ compensation may provide benefits to replace or supplement wages and medical costs for the remainder of the injured workers’ life.

Workers’ compensation provides benefits once the worker establishes that he was injured on the job. In exchange, the employee surrenders the right to sue his employer for his injuries; essentially, the employee is not permitted to sue for pain and suffering.


Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits:

  1. Temporary disability;
  2. Permanent disability;
  3. Death benefits;
  4. Mileage reimbursement; and
  5. Vocational rehabilitation.

Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement for both permanent and temporary disability; it also provides payments for medical costs. Furthermore, workers’ compensation also provides coverage for costs associated with vocational rehabilitation (including rehabilitation to return to work or to undertake a new position). Death benefits are provided if the worker dies due to an injury or illness incurred from their job. The death benefits are paid to the employee’s next of kin, usually a spouse, child, or parent.

Police Officer Benefits

Police officers are entitled to the same benefits as other workers under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, with some exceptions. For example, the law excludes police officers and firefighters who work in any city with a population of more than 500,000 people. In effect, this excludes Chicago police officers and firefighters. Chicago police officers usually obtain protections through their union contract, and therefore the terms are different from those provided by the Act. As for police officers who do not work in Chicago, they are entitled to the same protections as other workers. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system which ensures that police officers are entitled to assistance if the injury arose out of their job.