Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
OWCP & Federal Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) oversees four types of compensation programs. At Aumiller Lomax, our attorneys typically deal with two subdivisions of the OWCP: the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DEFC) and the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC). DFEC deals primarily with persons covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). DLHWC deals with persons covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and its various extensions, such as the Defense Base Act (DBA) or the Non-appropriated Funds Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA).
Understanding OWCP & Federal Wage Compensation
There is technically no limit to how long you can receive OWCP benefits. Our federal compensation lawyers are here to help make sure you obtain these benefits for as long as you require them. We’re available nationwide, including in New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Depending on the program that applies to you, benefits could be applied differently. However, most of the programs provide:
- Some level of wage compensation for time lost due to workplace injuries
- Continuing medical treatment for work-related injuries
- A permanent injury award, sometimes referred to as a schedule award
Who is Eligible for Federal Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
About three million federal and postal workers are covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. Coverage includes both employment-related injuries, as well as occupational diseases. Under FECA, all civilians employed by the federal government are covered, including those in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government. Those acting in a federal capacity may be covered, including Peace Corps and Vista volunteers, volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol, federal jurors, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets, state and local law enforcement officers, and Job Corps and Youth Conservation Corps enrollees. FECA does not cover non-appropriated fund employees. Contract employees, loaned employees, and volunteers are covered under some circumstances, while temporary employees are covered on the same basis as permanent employees. While there is no list of covered or non-covered medical conditions, benefits will be denied if your injury or illness was caused by your intoxication, willful misconduct, or intention to injure or kill yourself or another person.
What Types of Benefits Are Available to Me?
Federal employees who are injured or become ill during the course of their employment and the survivors of employees killed on the job can receive FECA benefits. The federal workers’ compensation program benefits include the following:
- Medical Benefits – You may be eligible for benefits that cover medical treatment, therapy, medications, and the cost of devices and transportation. As a worker, you may choose the initial care provider, but OWCP must approve any changes in providers. Medical expenses can also include the cost of vocational rehabilitation services deemed necessary to help the employee return to work.
- Temporary Total Disability – In the case of a traumatic injury, beneficiaries may receive a continuation of their full pay for the first 45 days they are disabled. If you’ve suffered a disabling job-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive 2/3 of your pre-disability wages. That number can go up to 3/4 of your pre-disability wages if you have one or more dependents.
- Permanent Effects – For workers suffering from specific job-related permanent partial disabilities, permanent effects include accidents such as the loss of a limb. Wage-loss benefits are paid out for a specific number of weeks based on schedules set by statutes and regulations. You may hear this benefit referred to as a schedule award.
- Death Benefits – If you’re a survivor who is a dependent of an employee killed on the job, you may be eligible for death benefits. Eligible individuals may include the spouse, children and dependent parents, grandparents and grandchildren, and siblings. The amount of the benefits depends on the survivor’s relationship with the deceased employee and whether they had children. A deceased workers’ family can also receive up to $800 in burial expenses.
OWCP Attorneys Representing You
The OWCP laws can be challenging to understand, which is why you need an experienced federal workers’ compensation attorney. You’ll be required to gather records and complete many forms to receive benefits. Even the smallest discrepancy or omission can result in your claim being delayed or rejected. Furthermore, you may need to request a hearing if you disagree with your claims decision. Our legal team is here to help you avoid costly mistakes. We will work with you to make sure that your compensation claim is accurate, complete, and filed on time. We can also work with you if your claim was denied and help you file an appeal. We’re also able to assist and advise you regarding what is financially appropriate for you regarding your benefits. We know the ins and outs of the legal system and will fight for your federal rights. We provide national and international services, specializing in cases administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.