If you’re an injured federal employee and that injury occurred on the job, you may be eligible for compensation. The same applies if you have a medical condition that was caused or exacerbated by your work.
Federal employees claim with the Department of Labor: Office of Work and Compensation Programs (OWCP) which means that with the right OWCP forms filled in and the correct process followed, injured federal employees can get compensation. But before diving into the claim process, it’s useful to know more about the process so that you have the best chance of a successful claim.
Federal employees include anyone who works for the government or an agency that is deemed to be a branch of the government. This includes:
· Postal workers
· Border staff
· Administration officer in any federal department
· Air traffic controller
· VA police
And thousands of other job titles.
There are two main types of injury for which federal workers can claim compensation. These are traumatic injuries and occupational disease or illness.
Just as it sounds, a traumatic injury is one which happened suddenly and would normally require immediate medical attention. This includes but is not limited to:
· Machinery related injuries
· Vehicle related injuries
· Injury due to toxic substances e.g. chemical burns
An occupational disease is a health condition which has developed or been worsened due to the conditions you are working in. This could be due to a toxic environment, high levels of stress, or undue physical strain. Examples include:
· Mental health conditions such as depressions and anxiety
· Carpal tunnel syndrome
In all of these cases, it is vital to ensure you have the right medical evidence and that the injury or illness is clearly linked to your place of work or an event that happened there. OWCP doctors like the team at Fed Help can help you ensure you have all the right medical documentation.
Being a federal employee has many benefits. If you’ve been injured, these should include:
· Payment of medical bills
· Payment of expenses for medical necessities such as medicine, bandages and so forth
· Vocational Rehabilitation
· The choice of an initial medical provider
· Paid sick leave
· Compensation for permanent disability
· Death benefits
You will only be paid for appointments and therapy sessions within working hours. Outside of this it’s assumed you chose to do them in your own time, and these will not be paid for.
While you are too sick or injured to work, as a federal employee you will be paid full pay for a maximum of 45 days. Should your injury or illness prevent you from working for longer than this, your wages will be reduced. The amount it goes down by depends on if you have dependents or not.
In the unfortunate instance that a workplace injury leads to permanent disability, federal employees are paid at least a portion of their wages as compensation for not being able to work. The percentage of wages paid is usually determined by the severity of the disability.
It’s in the employing agency’s interest to pay for vocation rehabilitation, as this will get the employee back to work faster. This may include different kinds of therapy and counseling or physical therapy, depending on the type of injury or illness.
If the absolute worst happens, do your surviving loved ones get any benefits? In most cases, yes. This may be an annuity or a lump sum, and is normally paid to a spouse.
An injured federal worker must make a compensation claim within three years of the date the injury occurred. When considering illness rather than injury, claims should be made within three years of the date that the claimant became aware of the connection between their occupation and the condition.
You will need to fill in a CA-1 form, “Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation,” for traumatic injuries. The CA-2, “Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation,” form is for occupational illness. Both forms require medical evidence. You file your form with the federal agency where you were working when the injury or illness occurred; it doesn’t matter if you no longer work there.
Fed Help’s experienced and compassionate OWCP doctors and medical team will provide the right documents for OWCP forms and ensure you have the relevant evidence for the best chance at a successful compensation claim.