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Workers' compensation for federal employees

Federal employees, as you are probably well aware, exist in a parallel universe of corresponding benefits. Among those parallel benefits is an alternative workers' compensation system. The Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (or "DFEC") administers the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (or "FECA"), which outlines the federal workers' compensation system. DFEC handles the entire process from intake of new claims, approval, and disbursement of monies and adjudication of disputes. DFEC is represented in 13 offices, including the national headquarters in Washington D.C. This article will go over the process of how to file a claim with DFEC.

DFEC disburses payments for the following on the job injuries:

  • For a complex workplace illness, you can expect the decision to be resolved in 10 months or less.
  • Conversely, for simple illnesses, a decision should not take longer than six months. Most will take less because they won't require extensive evidence to corroborate your claim.
  • For traumatic or complex injuries, you can expect a resolution of your case within 45 days, conversely. A simple injury will take 90 days.

The turnaround times are relatively quick for a government agency. But, as you can see, it can take several months, so you may need to consider alternative payment sources until your workers' compensation claim is approved. Once you are approved, you can expect reimbursements for medical expenses and wage loss, typically in less than a month.

The DFEC also offers assistance in returning to work. FECA gives federal employees the right to reclaim their job if they return within one year after leaving it due to an injury.

  • DFEC will assign a registered nurse to assist workers who are having difficulty returning to work.
  • It will refer them to vocational rehabilitation services.
  • And, it will refer workers to medical specialists for second opinions.

If you are a federal employee and your claim was denied, then you may want to consult with a lawyer. You are entitled to legal representation before the appeals board if your claim is denied. A legal professional can help prepare your arguments so that you can maximize your chance to get compensation.

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