Federal workers’ compensation benefits and processes can be quite complex and confusing, even for people who study the system and work in it professionally. It’s hard for workers to find answers to their questions that are written in plain, easily understood English. If you suffered an injury while working for the federal employment in some capacity, or if someone you loved got hurt, review these 7 FAQs for clarity about your rights and options:
- What injuries/illnesses does the federal government cover? FECA, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act of 1971, defined what injuries are covered by federal benefits. These include disease diagnoses, accident injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, and hazardous material exposure. A serious job-related injury should qualify you for benefits.
- I failed to immediately notify my agency about my injury/illness. Can I still file a claim? Yes. Ideally, you want to contact your employer as soon as possible, but you may still obtain benefits if you wait. The statute of limitations for filing a federal claim is three years, starting from the time of injury.
- Which forms do I need to file a claim? The CA-1 and CA-2 forms allow employees to file a notice of the claim. You may also need to review a CA-35 checklist regarding the collection of evidence. The CA-7 form allows employees to claim wage compensation benefits. Find these and other forms through the Department of Labor site. Consider discussing your forms with an attorney before filing.
- I’m never going to fully recover. Can I keep my job? Some injured employees may qualify for permanent disability after a work-related injury. Others may undergo vocational rehabilitation and go back to their old jobs or to a different position. The federal government may cover rehabilitation and disability benefits at the same rate.
- I suffered an injury while working on someone’s property. Do I need to file a lawsuit against the individual responsible for my accident? If your injury occurred on a third party site during work, the OWCP may require you file a lawsuit against that party or sign over your rights to do so. Unfortunately, you will not be able to collect benefits unless you comply with the OWCP on this matter.
- Will workers’ compensation affect my eligibility for other benefits? If you enter retirement while receiving FECA benefits, you can choose to continue disability benefits or accept retirement benefits instead. You can change your coverage at any time. Permanently disabled individuals may collect disability retirement benefits prior to reaching retirement age. Employees receiving Social Security benefits can continue to accept FECA benefits at a reduced rate.
- If I die while receiving benefits, can my spouse collect benefits? Your spouse can only collect benefits if the workplace illness or injury caused your death.
If you have further questions regarding OWCP claims and benefits, reach out to our experienced The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC attorneys today for a free consultation to protect your rights and option.