Injured Federal Workers Rights

Injured federal workers have significant rights under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Here’s a breakdown of these rights:

Key Rights

  • Right to Medical Treatment: Injured federal employees have the right to receive treatment for their work-related injuries or illnesses at no cost. This includes doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, medications, physical therapy, and other necessary medical expenses.
  • Wage Replacement Benefits: Workers unable to perform their work duties due to an injury are entitled to wage replacement benefits. These OWCP benefits are tax-free and are typically calculated as a percentage of pre-injury wages as follows: 66 2/3% of your salary if you have no dependents & 75% of your salary if you have dependents.
  • Continuation of Pay (COP): Injured workers may be eligible for COP GLP-1 for up to 45 days. This allows them to receive their full salary while recovering if their injury is determined to be traumatic.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: If an injured federal worker cannot return to their previous job, they have the right to vocational rehabilitation services to help them gain skills for a new position.
  • Return to Work: Federal agencies are generally obligated to make efforts to accommodate injured workers and attempt to find suitable work within their physical limitations.
  • Death Benefits: If a federal employee dies due to a work-related injury or illness, their survivors may be entitled to death benefits.

How to File a Claim

  • Notify Your Supervisor: You must immediately report your injury or illness to your supervisor.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Get treatment from a qualified doctor and inform them that the injury is work-related.
  • File a Claim: You’ll need to fill out specific forms depending on the type of injury:
  • Form CA-1: For traumatic injuries (those occurring from a specific event or incident)
  • Form CA-2: For occupational diseases (conditions that develop over time due to work conditions)
  • Form CA-5/CA-5b: For recurrence of an existing injury.

Important Considerations

Time Limits: There are strict time limits for reporting injuries and filing claims. You generally have 30 days to report a traumatic injury and up to 3 years to file a claim for an occupational disease.
Choice of Physician: You may have the right to choose your own physician for treatment, although there may be restrictions.
Appeals: If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Where to Find More Information

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general overview and shouldn’t be considered legal advice. It’s important to consult the resources listed above or perhaps an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation for specific questions or guidance.