Religious Exception Information
The Religious Exception Program receives, reviews and responds to all questions related to granting a waiver or exception to an employer and employees of an employer who are members of a recognized religious sect or division by reason of which they are conscientiously opposed to acceptance of benefits of any public or private insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical bills, including the benefits of any insurance system established under the Federal Social Security Act.
Exceptions from the provisions of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law for certain employees who are members of a religious sect or division.
A: In accordance with Missouri law, an employee may request an exception from the provisions of the workers’ compensation law in respect to certain employees who are members of a recognized religious sect or division, as defined in 26 U.S.C. 1402 (g), by reason of which they are conscientiously opposed to accepting public or private insurance benefits, including benefits of any insurance system established under the Federal Social Security Act.
Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §1402 (g), the Commissioner of Social Security must find that:
- the religious sect or division has the established benefits or teachings mentioned above
- it is the practice for the members of such sect or division thereof to provide for their dependent members, which is reasonable in view of their general level of living, and
- such sect or division thereof has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1950
B: The following forms must be simultaneously submitted to the Division in order to be considered for the religious exception:
- “Section 287.804 Employee’s Application for Religious Exception from the provisions of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation law,” (WC-138)
- Employee’s Affidavit and Waiver of Workers’ Compensation Benefits (WC-138-3): and
- Employer’s Affidavit of Exception from Workers’ Compensation Benefits (WC-138-5)
C: If the Division grants the religious exception, the employee waives his/her rights to any benefits under the workers’ compensation law.
D: An Exception granted to the employee pursuant to §287.804 RSMo. shall be valid until he/she rescinds the election to reject benefits under the law or the religious sect or division that the employee is a member of ceases to meet the requirements of §287.804 (1) RSMo.
- The employee must notify the Division in writing of any rescission to the rejection of workers’ compensation coverage granted by the Division within 30 days, after one of the following occurs:
- The employee is no longer a member of a recognized religious sect or division;
- The employer is no longer a member of a recognized religious sect or division; or
- The employee is no longer in employ of the employer