Persons employed in certain types of occupations are exempt from workers’ compensation coverage under Missouri Revised Statutes. Further, in certain circumstances, employees may qualify and apply for a religious exception to such coverage. If you have questions, contact the Division.
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)
- 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
For more information, see RSMO 287.804.
- Employment of farm labor, domestic servants in a private home, including family chauffeurs, or occasional labor performed for and related to a private household;
- Qualified real estate agents and direct sellers as those terms are defined in Section 3508 of Title 26 United States Code;
- Employment where the person employed is an inmate confined in a state prison, penitentiary or county or municipal jail, or a patient or resident in a state mental health facility, and the labor or services of such inmate, patient, or resident are exclusively on behalf of the state, county or municipality having custody of said inmate, patient, or resident. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to exempt employment where the inmate, patient or resident was hired by a state, county or municipal government agency after direct competition with persons who are not inmates, patients or residents and the compensation for the position of employment is not contingent upon or affected by the worker's status as an inmate, patient or resident;
- Except as provided in Section 287.243, volunteers of a tax-exempt organization which operates under the standards of Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, where such volunteers are not paid wages, but provide services purely on a charitable and voluntary basis;
- Persons providing services as adjudicators, sports officials, or contest workers for interscholastic activities programs or similar amateur youth programs who are not otherwise employed by the sponsoring school, association of schools or nonprofit tax-exempt organization sponsoring the amateur youth programs.
For more information, see RSMo 287.090.