How Long Can You Be on Federal Workers’ Compensation?
As a federal employee with a workplace injury or illness, you may be eager to know how long you can be on federal workers’ compensation. After all, the last thing you need is to have the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) pull the rug out from under you when you haven’t fully healed from your injuries. Here’s what you need to know about qualifying for federal workers’ comp and receiving benefits for as long as possible.
Who Can Receive Federal Workers’ Compensation?
Most federal employees receive workers’ comp through OWCP, which is provided by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). FECA covers the following incidents:
- Injuries sustained at work
- Occupational illnesses that arise over time due to hazardous work conditions
- Off-site injuries that occur within the course and scope of employment, such as traveling for work
- Work-related deaths, with benefits going to surviving family members
FECA does not cover injuries sustained under the following conditions:
- While commuting to or from work
- During recreational work outings
- During personal activities
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to federal employees in different departments, including:
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- Veterans Administration (VA)
- Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
How Long Can Federal Employees Be On Workers’ Comp?
In most cases, federal workers receive 100 percent of their regular wages for 45 days after the claim is approved. Note that compensation for lost wages caused by a workplace illness may be subject to a three-day waiting period.
After the initial 45 days, payments decrease to two-thirds of the regular wage amount (three-quarters if the employee has dependents). Compensation continues at this rate for an indefinite length of time based on the extent of the injury and what continued supporting documents the worker can provide.
Injuries resulting in a permanent disability that makes it impossible to rejoin the workforce may qualify for lifelong benefits. Workers who are partially disabled may receive reduced benefits for the rest of their lives.
Apart from these situations, benefits cease when the worker fully recovers. Because of this, the OWCP will continue requesting second opinions, proof of examinations, and treatment protocols to verify whether the injury still exists. Failure to submit documentation on time could result in having workers’ compensation benefits withdrawn.
Injured federal workers may also be asked to perform light-duty responsibilities to determine their fitness to return to work. Non-compliance with vocational rehabilitation orders is another reason OWCP could withdraw benefits.
Seek Legal Guidance From Aumiller Lomax
Federal workers’ compensation is not subject to state law and is universal across the US. This allows the legal team at Aumiller Lomax to represent federal workers wherever they are located, even overseas. Let us help you exercise your right to receive workers’ compensation for as long as you need. Call us at 856-751-0440 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.