The Penalty Program

The Penalty Program investigates and assesses penalties for violations of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act other than those covered by the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) and the Employee Misclassification Education and Enforcement Fund (EMEEF). The Program enforces several penalties, including:

  • A 25% penalty for failure to pay or to timely pay temporary disability benefits; (If assessed, this penalty goes to the injured employee not to the Bureau.)    
  • A potential penalty of up to $10,000 or more for failure to timely comply with a Specialist’s or Administrator’s Designee’s order (for injuries prior to July 1, 2014; capped at $5,000 for injuries on or after July 1, 2014); and
  • A penalty for an insurance company’s or self-insured employer’s failure to timely file claims forms; (Timely claims forms are important to the Bureau as the forms supply important claims information to the legislature for its consideration regarding changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act.)
  • Other various penalties.

A 25% penalty for failure to pay or to failure to timely pay temporary disability benefits assessed by the department is payable to the injured employee. All other penalties collected go to the Second Injury Fund (injuries prior to July 1, 2014) or to the Bureau's general fund (injuries on or after July 1, 2014).
To be considered timely and to avoid the noncompliance penalty, employers or their insurance carriers are required to comply with an Order for Benefits within fifteen (15) calendar days of its receipt, unless a request for an Appeal (for injuries prior to July 1, 2014) or Administrative Review (for injuries on or after July 1, 2014) is filed.

If an Appeal or Administrative Review is requested, the obligation to comply with the Order is suspended until the Appeal or Administrative Review is resolved.

To be considered timely and to avoid the noncompliance penalty, Employers or their insurance carriers are required to comply with the Board of Appeals or Administrative Review Order within ten (10) calendar days of receipt.
Continued failure to comply with an Order 21 days after its receipt may result in an additional penalty of $1,000.00 per day (injuries prior to July 1, 2014).

When determining whether or not a noncompliance penalty is appropriate, there is a “strict liability” standard applied.  Either the employer or their insurance carrier timely complied with the Order, or it didn’t.


Summary of Workers’ Compensation Penalties

Workers' Compensation Penalty Overview
Violation Type Responsible Party Length of Time Allotted Penalty Amount

Failure to acquire ins 
50-6-412

Employer Must immediately procure upon becoming subject to WC law Based on employer’s yearly premium
Failure to file proof of WC (I-1 form)
0800-2-1-.05 
Carrier 30 days of procurement or renewal $100 for each 15 days past required date
Failure to timely file C-20
0800-2-1-.06
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured  14 calendar days  $25 for each 15 days 
Failure to file C-22 
0800-2-1-.07 
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured Immediately upon first payment  $10 for each 15 days past required date, up to $200
Failure to timely pay 
50-6-205 
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured 20 days from date of knowledge of compensable 25% of unpaid or untimely paid benefit
Failure to file C-23
0800-2-1-.07 
0800-2-14-.04
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured immediately upon denial  $10 for each 15 days past required date
Failure to file C-26
0800-2-1-.08
50-6-205
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured immediately upon change or stop in benefits  $10 for each 15 days past required date
Failure to File C-28
0800-2-1-.10 
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured  10 days from filing suit $50 
Failure to File C-29
0800-2-1-.12
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured 30 days following final payment of compensation $50 for each 15 days past required date
Failure to attend BRC & with settlement authority
50-6-237
all parties on date of BRC  $50-$5,000 
Excessive charges
50-6-125 
Provider --- $100 
Intentionally put WC on private insurance
50-6-128
Employer --- $500 

Non-compliance with Order
50-6-238
(as to injuries prior to 7/1/14);
50-6-239 (as to injuries on or after 7/1/14)

Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured  15 calendar days 

Up to $10,000, + $1,000 per day

$50-$5000
Failure to file SD-1
50-6-244
Carrier, Pool, or Self-Insured date settlement or final order filed  $100

 Penalty Program Rules


Need More Help?

If you have additional questions, please call 615-532-4812 or 800-332-2667 or contact us by email at wc.info@tn.gov. Find out about other available assistance programs by contacting an ombudsman