The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) provides benefits to injured workers to cover medical expenses and lost wages. It is overseen by the Federal Employees Compensation Act Claims Administration. The organization processes new claims, handles ongoing cases, and helps workers return to work.
Federal Employees Compensation Act History
The Federal Employees Compensation Act went into effect on Sept. 7, 1916. It was sponsored by Sen. John W. Kern (D-IN) and Rep. Daniel J. McGillicuddy (D-ME). It was signed into legislation by President Woodrow Wilson. It became the precedent for America’s disability insurance and opened doors for broad coverage health insurance.
Since its beginning, the Act has provided benefits for millions of workers. 182,000 new cases were created in 2022 alone. More than 179,000 of those employees received a total of $2.923 billion in benefits for work-related illnesses and injuries. $2.049 billion was paid for lost wages, $716 million for medical treatment, and $156 million went to survivors of deceased workers.
What Services Does the Federal Employees Compensation Act Claims Administration Provide?
Injured workers can expect claims to be processed promptly as follows:
- Workers who incur traumatic injuries can expect a decision within 75 days of filing their claim, although complex cases can take longer.
- Employees with simple work-related illnesses will receive a decision within 90 days of filing
- Workers with occupational illnesses that require more research will receive a decision within six months
- Individuals with very complex work-related illnesses will receive a decision within ten months.
Prompt Medical Bill Payment
Workers will be compensated within 28 after medical bills are submitted. If the bill is not payable, the person who submitted the bill (the worker or employer) will receive an Explanation of Benefits describing the reason for non-payment.
Prompt Wage Compensation Payment
Wage compensation is provided to workers who can prove their injury or illness is work-related. Compensation will be provided within 14 days after the request is received.
Assistance Returning to Work
The Federal Employees Compensation Act helps workers return to work by providing the following services:
- Registered Nurse: If workers cannot return to work soon after their injury, they will be assigned a registered nurse to provide medical care and assist with the healing process
- Medical Specialist: If required, the worker may be referred to a medical specialist for a second opinion examination
- Vocational Services: If the employee’s injury means they are unable to return to their previous position, vocational services will be provided so they can return to work in another position
Workers have the right to reclaim their position within one year after wage loss begins.
Federal Employees Compensation Act Funding Information
The Federal Employees Compensation Act is funded by employers. The employing agencies reimburse the Claims Administration for workers’ comp expenses. They are charged annually as a chargeback expense.
FECA has low administrative costs that make the program affordable. Overhead is 4% of the benefits. Worker’s compensation costs are just 1.8% of the total Federal and Postal payroll as compared to the 2.3% private insurance and state funds require.
The Federal Employees Compensation Act handles disputes administratively which saves the Federal government costly and time-consuming litigation. In some Federal worker’s compensation systems, the money and time saved can make up 46% of the payout.
The Federal Employees Compensation Act will compensate workers for work-related injuries, disability, and death unless the following applies:
- The injury was caused by the employee’s willful misconduct
- The worker willingly injured themselves or another person
- The worker’s injury was due to intoxication
- The worker was injured in the line of military duty and is employed in an area outside of the continental United States
- The employee works from home, is not living there solely for job requirements, and was injured by non-work-related causes
- The individual is a prisoner of war or is protected under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and is detained or utilized by the United States
How to Ensure You Are Covered
Workers must follow the proper procedure to ensure they receive compensation. Here are the steps that are required.
- Report your injury to your supervisor. If you require immediate medical attention, you may obtain care first and notify your supervisor after receiving treatment.
- Receive medical attention if you have not already.
- Complete form CA-1 or CA-2. CA-1 is the Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation. It is for injuries that stem from one event or a series of events that occurred during one shift. CA-2 is the Federal Employee’s Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation. It is for conditions that develop over time.
- Your supervisor will provide you with the appropriate forms or refer you to a point of contact where you obtain those forms. Complete the front section as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the injury occurred. Fill the forms out accurately to avoid delays.
- If you sustained a traumatic injury, you may receive Form CA-16, which is an Authorization for Examination and /or Treatment, from your supervisor or agency representative.
- If you must take a leave of absence to recover, keep your supervisor updated on your medical condition. Return to work as soon as your physician gives you the okay. You may also be able to do light-duty assignments while you heal if your doctor allows you to do so.
- Apply for Continuation of Pay: Continuation of Pay cannot exceed 45 calendar days after the disability occurred. It is for traumatic cases only. If you do not qualify for COP, you may be covered by sick leave or annual leave.
Employees may visit the following sites for more information on the Federal Employees Compensation Act: