COVID-19 Updates on Federal Employees’ Compensation Act

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Department of Labor OWCP Information

Since early 2020, COVID-19 has created a new way of life and impacted many American workers. Aumiller Lomax wants to provide you with the valuable information you need, including COVID-19 updates on the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. We realize the information provided by the Department of Labor OWCP can be complicated and difficult to understand. You may not have time to wade through the information provided by the Office of Workers Compensation. Feel free to contact us with any questions and to find out how we can represent you.

Updates from the American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed by President Biden in March 2021. The act made it easier for federal workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The new law states that federal employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and carried out duties requiring contact with patients, co-workers, members of the public, or included a risk of exposure to the coronavirus during a covered period of exposure prior to diagnosis are deemed to have an injury proximately caused by employment. If you filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA before March 12, 2021, you are not impacted by the American Rescue Plan Act because coverage for benefits has already been extended. If your COVID-19 claim filed under the FECA was denied or withdrawn before March 12, 2021, the new eligibility requirements mean your claim is eligible for review. If you filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA on or after March 12, 2021, your claim will be reviewed under the new eligibility requirements. This may be confusing, but if you already filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA and it was accepted by OWCP, there’s no change. If your claim was denied because of a lack of federal exposure or a lack of medical evidence establishing a causal relationship, you should hear from the Department of Labor within 30 to 45 days. Aumiller Lomax is here to help if you have not heard from them or want to be sure your bases are covered. If you never filed your COVID-19 claim under the FECA and you believe that you contracted the virus as a result of your federal employment, you should file a CA-1. Filing a Federal Employees’ Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation through the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP) can be done on your own or with assistance from our attorneys.

FECA Bulletin No. 21-04

In February 2021, FECA released a bulletin regarding compensation pay and compensation rate changes for 2021. An Executive Order was signed by the President on the last day of 2020. The order increased General Schedule basic pay rates for the year 2021. The changes became effective on January 3, 2021. The purpose of the bulletin was to inform appropriate personnel about the minimum and maximum rates of compensation under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act regarding affected cases on the periodic disability and death payrolls. Maximum compensation rates are based on the scheduled salary of a GS-15, or Step 10 of $143,598 per annum. By comparison, the minimum compensation rates are based on the salary of a GS-2, Step 1 at $22,194. The weekly minimum is $320.11, and the weekly maximum is $2,071.13. The daily (5-day-week) minimum is $64.02, and the daily maximum is $414.23. The 28-Day Cycle minimum is $1,280.43, and the maximum 28-Day Cycle is $8,284.52. The monthly minimum is $1,849.50, and the monthly maximum is $8,974.88.

Helping Federal Employees File Claims for COVID-19

Aumiller Lomax is here to help you through the complicated process of filing a federal workers’ comp claim for COVID-19. Be sure to check out our COVID-19 FAQ to find more answers, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any additional questions. We can assist you with the Dept of Labor OWCP, Office of Workers’ Compensation programs, and more. Our attorneys can contact the OWCP for you or provide you with the Department of Labor OWCP phone number. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.