Do I Have Workers’ Comp If I Am a Government Employee?

By Peter DePaolis

Information from Our Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Injury Attorneys

Workers’ compensation is one of the most important benefits available to many American employees. Every person needs help when they sustain injuries on the job, and workers’ comp allows a hurt individual to stay financially afloat while he or she recovers.

Although you may typically hear about workers’ compensation as it pertains to private-sector jobs, it is important to know that government employees have many of the same rights and benefits as those working for organizations that are not a part of the government.

Workers’ Comp for Federal Employees

The Chief Human Capital Officers Council estimates that approximately 302,000 federal employees regularly work within the District of Columbia, Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in addition to Virginia’s Arlington and Fairfax counties. Hundreds of thousands more federal employees work across the nation and the world.

With the exception of uniformed military personnel, all federal and postal workers can receive compensation for on-the-job injuries under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The FECA specifically provides compensation for the following:

  • Lost wages—Currently paying up to 75 percent to injured workers with dependents or 66 and ⅔ percent to workers without dependents
  • Schedule awards—A onetime payment for “permanent impairments,” except in cases involving spinal cord injuries or brain injuries
  • Survivor benefits—paid to the surviving spouse or dependents

However, for an individual to receive survivor benefits for the death of a loved one, the cause of death must not be from an on-the-job injury. In these cases, claimants have to prove that the injury quickened the death of their family member. These situations can be complex, so you should always consult with an attorney if your loved on passes away and you believe you may have a claim.

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers the FECA, and you may find that many individuals use the terms FECA and OWCP interchangeably. Although they typically refer to the same entity, it is important to note that the FECA are the benefits, and the OWCP administers or provides the benefits.

How Do I File a FECA Claim?

There are four different claims an individual can make under the FECA, and each claim has a different classification under the law. These claims are:

  • Traumatic injury (or a CA-1 claim)
  • Occupational disease (CA-2)
  • Recurrence of an illness or injury (CA-2a)
  • Death benefits (CA-5)

Although there are different requirements and guidelines for each kind of claim, you must provide certain pieces of evidence for the claim to receive approval. Proof of employment and a medical examination are among the documents required with each claim. It is possible to file a claim on your own, but it is beneficial to seek legal counsel if you are considering claiming your FECA benefits to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation.

If You Have Been Hurt, We Provide Experienced Legal Support

If you sustained injuries while working for the federal government, contact Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. immediately. We assist those suffering with injuries obtain the compensation they deserve. Our Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia injury attorneys are prepared to help you file your federal workers’ compensation claim.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.