Protecting Your Rights

According to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA ), “The United States shall pay compensation as specified by this subchapter for the disability or death of an employee resulting from personal injury sustained while in the performance of his duty.” Learn your rights when it comes to filing claims against the federal government, following up on scheduled awards, federal disability retirement and medical referrals.

Here are 10 things you should know to avoid losing substantial rights under FECA:

  1. Form CA-1 – obtain and file within 30 days of a traumatic injury or lose Continuation of Pay rights
  2. Scheduled Awards (for permanent injury to certain parts of the body) – OWCP often forgets to pay, plus these are payable even while working or on retirement.
  3. Federal disability retirement + workers’ compensation – apply for both rather than choosing one before leaving
  4. Chiropractors – the law limits reimbursable medical treatment to manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation shown by x-ray, and limits the usefulness of their reports
  5. First choice of doctors – can be critical to success of your claim
  6. Referrals by authorized treating physician – important for receiving best medical care
  7. Relatively minor role of employing agency – deal direct with OWCP on all important questions
  8. Medical and medical-related expenses – make sure to claim as soon as possible or OWCP may not pay (travel vouchers, auto or home modifications, medical bills incurred by employee, etc.)
  9. Light duty offers – always attempt to perform this duty unless completely impossible, to preserve workers’ compensation rights, and always ask your doctor to review the job offer for suitability
  10. Help is available – call an attorney specializing in this type of workers’ comp if you meet an impasse.