For any worker, the prospect of being injured on the job is unpleasant. Aside from the obvious issues of pain and long-term discomfort from the injury, there is the unhappy prospect of being out of work for however long it takes to recover. And that means lowered income because of lost time, in addition to increased expenses related to your medical care and recovery.
In most states, there are state-run workers’ compensation insurance programs that provide help to injured workers. Texas does not require private employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance, but injured federal employees in Texas are covered by the federal program.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) is the law that provides this coverage and it is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Like most other workers’ compensation programs, it offers medical coverage, and compensation for your lost wages and disabilities caused by the accident.
Workers’ compensation programs are a compromise between employers and employees, protecting negligent employers from lawsuits by injured workers and providing some financial assistance to injured workers without their needing to sue their employer.
While lawsuits by employees could potentially provide greater compensation for workers, with private employers there is always the danger the business will simply close down with no assets and leave the injured worker with nothing. Also, litigation is often slow and it could be years before a worker would see any money from a case.
FECA provides a stable source of compensation for injured federal employees. It ensures prompt payment of claims and provides assistance for employees who are able to return to work.
Like any insurance program, filing some claims can be complex and demanding, and occasionally, you may need the assistance of an attorney to obtain your benefits.
Source: dol.gov, “Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC),” website accessed June 23, 2015