Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC)

TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development

BWC programs are designed to provide timely and effective services that help injured employees return to their health and jobs as quickly as possible.

About the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC)

The Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) administers the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law, assisting both employees and employers in minimizing the impact of work-related injuries. The Bureau’s programs are designed to provide timely and effective services that help injured employees return to their health and jobs as quickly as possible. Informing all parties of their rights and responsibilities, these programs promote a better understanding of the benefits and requirements provided by the Workers’ Compensation Law.

Workers’ compensation is designed to protect employees and employers from the negative consequences associated with a work-related accident. The law provides a financial safety net to employees by guaranteeing medical benefits and partial wage replacement to those injured on the job. The law benefits employers by limiting the amount of benefits that employers must provide to only those set forth in the law.


  • The Mediation and Ombudsman Services of Tennessee (MOST) Program assists employees, employers, or any other party in a workers’ compensation claim that is not represented by an attorney. The MOST program also administers a three-stage process to help resolve disputes between injured employees and an insurance adjuster or employer in a workers’ compensation claim.
  • The Next Step Program provides injured workers a means to return to meaningful and productive employment once they have exhausted their disability benefits. It assists injured workers in finding a new career path by awarding scholarship funds to acquire new job skills and by providing job search training. Qualified injured workers can receive up to $5,000 for tuition and expenses (per fiscal year) to attend a College of Applied Technology, community college, or state university in Tennessee.
  • The Tennessee Drug Free Workplace Program benefits employees and employers by promoting drug- and alcohol-free workplaces. Employees not impaired by drugs and alcohol have fewer workplace injuries or accidents. Participating employers receive a discount on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums and are entitled to a shift in the burden of proof in workers’ compensation claims involving a positive alcohol or drug test.
  • The Bureau’s Medical Services Unit helps ensure that the medical services related to workers’ compensation are appropriate and consistent with best practices.
    1. The Medical Advisory Committee advises the Administrator on medical treatment guidelines and issues related to medical care in workers’ compensation such as access to care and telemedicine.
    2. The Medical Payment Committee reviews the Medical Fee Schedule yearly and recommends revisions. It hears reimbursement disputes between payers and providers.
    3. The Utilization Review Appeals Program evaluates the appropriateness and medical necessity of care of treatment denied by the carriers’ Utilization Review Organizations.
    4. The Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry comprises specially trained physicians to assist in resolving impairment rating disputes. The rating produced is utilized to help determine any Permanent Disability Benefits due in a matter.
  • The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims within the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation adjudicates disputed claims. Twelve judges appointed by the Administrator of the Bureau preside over courtrooms in each of the Bureau's area offices, conducting evidentiary and settlement approval hearings. The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims adjudicates disputed claims if the date of injury was on or after July 1, 2014.
  • The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board focuses on providing fair, accurate, and meaningful review of decisions issued by the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. The Appeals Board is comprised of three judges appointed by the Governor and is separate from the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. The Appeals Board reviews cases with dates of injury on or after July 1, 2014.
  • The Bureau's Legislative and Legal Services/Penalty Program provides legal counsel to the Bureau’s Administrator and Medical Director, monitors compliance with court orders, and assesses penalties to properly enforce the workers’ compensation law and rules.
  • The Compliance Program includes the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) and the Employee Misclassification Education and Enforcement Fund (EMEEF). The UEF program ensures that covered employers secure the required workers’ compensation coverage. The EMEEF program ensures that construction service employers accurately classify their workforce as employees or independent contractors.
  • The Subsequent Injury and Vocational Recovery Fund encourages employers to employ or retain workers who have previously suffered permanent physical disabilities by limiting the employer’s potential future workers’ compensation exposure or liability.
  • Education and Outreach includes an Educational Conference, a voluntary Adjuster Certification Program, speaking events, production of multiple brochures, and producing the Bureau Bulletin newsletter.

This Page Last Updated: June 20, 2022 at 3:16 PM