Socso: Covid-19 claims now under "occupational disease"

MALAYSIA: Employees with Covid-19 benefit claims will no longer receive benefits under the Employment Injury Scheme after the Social Security Organisation (Socso) announced that all claims related to Covid-19 will be processed as “occupational disease.”

As a consequence, an eligible insured worker will now receive benefits stipulated in the Occupational Disaster Scheme or Disability Scheme. Some of these benefits are permanent and temporary disability benefits, retirement and disability pensions, and funeral management benefits.

During the height of the pandemic, Socso processed claims for Covid-19 infections that originated at one’s workplace as employment injury.

“However, the nation has moved to the transition to an endemic phase, and the health ministry had previously stated that this means the virus is constantly present all around us. In this phase, Covid-19 infections may happen anywhere,” Socso stated.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has been critical of the change. MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor called on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to probe Socso’s fund management to maintain workers’ confidence.

Citing the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 Section 5, Socso has remained firm with its decision to categorize Covid-19-related claims as an occupational disease instead of an employment injury. The agency added that even members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) share the same assessment.

Socso has received over 180,000 Covid-19 claims worth more than MYR 161 million (USD37 million) since February 2021.

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