The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) offers workers comp for federal employees. It helps injured workers get coverage for lost wages and medical expenses. It provides care so they can return to work.
FECA handled over 182,000 new cases in 2022. The program paid out $2.923 billion in benefits to cover injuries and illnesses. $2.049 billion provided coverage for lost wages, $716 billion was paid out for medical and rehab services, and $156 went towards death benefits to survivors.
Where are Benefits Paid?
Federal Employees Compensation Act benefits are paid at FECA offices throughout the United States.
What Services does FECA Provide?
FECA provides timely payouts for illnesses and injuries. Here’s what workers can expect:
- Workers will receive a decision concerning traumatic injuries within 75 days of receipt of the claim.
- Workers will receive a decision concerning occupational illnesses within 90 days of receipt of the claim.
- If occupational illnesses require evidentiary development, a decision will be received within 6 months of receipt of the claim.
- If occupational illnesses are very complex, it may take the program administrators 10 months to decide.
Payment of Medical Bills: Medical bills are typically processed within 28 days of receipt. If the bill is not payable, the party who submitted the bill will receive an Explanation of Benefits.
Payment of Compensation: The Federal Employees Compensation Act also covers loss of wages in accepted cases where evidence is provided for the disability. Workers will be paid within 14 days of submittal.
Assistance in Returning to Work
The Federal Employees Compensation Act allows workers to reclaim their jobs within one year of wage loss. The program staff does all they can to help workers return to work within that time. They may also allow additional time for workers who need it.
Their assistance includes:
- Assigning a registered nurse that assists with the healing process, if necessary.
- A referral to a medical specialist for a second opinion if the program requires additional medical information.
- A referral to vocational rehabilitation services if the employee is unable to return to work in their previous position.
How is the Federal Employees Compensation Act Program Funded?
Employers must compensate the Federal Employees Compensation Act program for their worker’s comp expenses. Payments are made annually through a chargeback process.
The program’s administrative costs are very low. Overhead is just 4% of benefits. Workers comp costs are only 1.8% for federal payrolls as compared to 2.3% for private insurance and state funds.
Federal Employees Compensation Act claims are resolved administratively. The process reduces time and cost-consuming litigation that can account for up to 46% of the payout.
What Requirements Must You Meet to File a FECA Claim?
Workers and employees must meet the following requirements when filing a FECA claim:
- The claim must be filed within FECA time limits.
- The injured or deceased person must be covered by FECA benefits.
- The incident is verified as work-related and was the cause of the injury or illness.
- The employee was acting in the line of duty when the injury or illness occurred.
- Medical evidence establishes that the injury or illness was work-related.
Who is Eligible for FECA Benefits?
You may collect FECA benefits if you are:
- A federal civilian employee who sustains a work-related injury or illness
- An eligible survivor of a federal employee who died due to a work-related injury or disease
How Do I File a FECA Claim?
- Create an Employees Compensation Operations and Management (ECOMP) portal account at ecomp.dol.gov.
- Log in and follow the step-by-step guidance for a workers’ compensation claim link. Doing so ensures the claim will come to the CNIC FECA office for review.
- File a CA-1 or CA-2 claim. CA-1 claims are for traumatic injuries. CA-2 claims are for occupational diseases.
- Complete the claim and submit it to your supervisor for review.
If you are unable to complete an ECOMP claim, you may download the CA-1 or CA-2 forms, complete them, and hand them to your employer.
What Do I Do If I Was Injured at Work?
- Report any injuries to your supervisor as soon as possible.
- Receive medical care through a dispensary or private doctor. If you sustain a traumatic injury, you may need form CA-16, Authorization for Examination and/or Treatment, filled out by your supervisor.
- If you are temporarily unable to work due to your injury or illness, keep your supervisor updated on your medical condition. Return to work as soon as your physician gives you the green light. You may be able to perform light-duty assignments until you are fully healed.
- Request a continuation of pay (COP), sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay.
History of the Federal Employees Compensation Act
The Federal Employees Compensation Act was enacted on Sept. 7, 1916. It was sponsored by Sen. John W. Kern (D-IN), and Rep. Daniel J. McGillicuddy (D-MN). It was signed into law by Pres. Woodrow Wilson.
FECA established compensation to federal workers for work-related injuries and illnesses. It set the precedent for disability insurance throughout the country. It was also a precursor to broad-coverage health insurance.
The Federal Employees Compensation Commission is the administrator of FECA, but it did not exist at the time FECA was enacted. Claims accumulated while members of the committee were sworn into office. The Commission officially began working on March 14, 1917.
However, President Harry S. Truman abolished the committee as part of the Reorganization Act of 1939. Its duties were transferred to the Federal Security Agency on July 16, 1946. It is now handled by the Dept. of Labor.
The Federal Employees Compensation Act allows employees to collect benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses. It helps workers get back to work sooner. Now that you know what’s involved, you can move forward with the FECA process. We wish you luck getting the best possible outcome.