The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) has provisions for compensation benefits which are offered to federal employees in the event of job-related injury sustenance or illness. Upon recovery, the federal workers’ compensation act guarantees employees certain job rights. Furthermore, the employees will be treated as though they never left work for purposes of benefits upon their return.
It is important to note that FECA provides benefits payments to dependents if the illness or injury causes death to the employee. However, if the illness, injury, or death is caused by the employee’s willful misconduct, the benefits cannot be paid. An employee that has sustained job-related injury or illness has the right to seek treatment from the federal medical center or from a physician of their choice with interference by the agency.
As part of the compensation claim, employees injured on the job are entitled to four different kinds of compensation benefits. These include;
1. Weekly compensation
An employee will receive weekly benefits if he/she disabled. Depending on the type of the benefit and the state from which the employee comes from the length of the benefit may vary. Disability is divided into two categories which are 1) temporary or permanent, 2) total or partial. As such an injured employee is entitled to any of the four types of disability benefits.
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Permanent partial disability
2. Permanent impairment benefits
The American Medical Association has established a number of guidelines (AMA) that evaluate permanent impairment mainly used by the worker’s compensation system. According to the federal worker’s compensation act, a permanent impairment is a limitation of the use of motion in a specific body part. FECA provides a schedule of benefits to injured employees for functions and organs of the body like arm, kidney, head, face or neck. There is also a provision for earnings to employees who are unable to return to work following an injury-related disability.
3. Medical benefits
An employee is entitled to medical benefits in terms of surgical and other hospital services and supplies which are required for the effective treatment of an injury. Furthermore, the employee is entitled to go to a federal medical center of their own choice. All the necessary medical treatment are also covered by the compensation program. There are states which allow the reimbursement of transportation costs incurred by the employee including mileage and parking.
The injured employee has the right to choose any qualified physician or hospital that will provide the required treatment. On the contrary, if an injured employee is referred by an attending physician to a specific medical facility, there should be authorization by OWCP in case the employee wants to change the facility.
4. Vocational rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation is simply job retraining. If the injured employee is not able to return to his/her normal duty or previous line of work, the federal worker’s compensation act provides for retraining in a new line of work. The retraining will be paid for by the worker’s compensation program. According to OWCP, the maintenance allowance should not exceed $200 per month. A disabled employee under the OWCP-approved training or under the vocational rehabilitation program is paid the total disability compensation rate.
If the event the employee dies as a result of the work-related injury the dependents will receive the compensation. However, if no child is eligible for the compensation benefits, the widow or widower will receive 50% of the employee’s pay at the time of death. If both the children and widow/ widower are present, each child will receive 15% while the widow/widower will receive 45% of the pay.
Burial benefits are also applicable but should not exceed $800. If the death occurs away from the employee’s workstation, there is provision for transportation of the body back to the employee’s former residence.
Job restoration rights
Upon the full recovery from a job-related injury, all federal employees are entitled to restoration rights. However, the employees must have been eligible for OWCP benefits in order to qualify for restoration. An employee should be approved by the federal medical center or physician that they have reached maximum medical improvement. Restoration rights for full recovery take effect only when compensation is terminated based on medical evidence that the employee can return back to work without any limitations.