Special work injury benefits programs may be available for federal employees, those employed in state and local government positions, railroad workers, seamen, longshoremen, and people engaged in maritime activities. When injured, the employee must determine what regulations apply to his injury and then file a claim with the appropriate program.
Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA)
Regardless of the duration of employment or type of job held, the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA) covers federal employees who suffer injuries on the job. These benefits, which are made available through the Employees’ Compensation Fund, are managed by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Employees covered by this program include:
- Civil officers or employees in any branch of the United States government
- Individuals rendering personal service to the United States that commensurate with the service provided by a civil officer or employee of the United States
- Individuals employed on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin involved in tribal timber and logging operations
- Individuals employed by the District of Columbia government
- Individuals serving as a petit or grand juror
- Individuals appointed to positions on a former President’s office staff
FECA compensation benefits provide employees with money for medical expenses incurred from work-related injuries or occupational disease and reimbursement for lost wages. When an employee is disabled from an injury or disease, FECA covers vocational rehabilitation programs for that employee.
Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)
Railroad workers are at high risk for serious bodily injuries or death from the work they perform. The Federal Employers’ Liability Act covers injuries or occupational diseases, like asbestosis. With FELA, injured workers can be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and future earnings, and future pain and suffering associated with their injuries or diseases. While FELA is a fault-based system, workers can recover compensation as long as the railroad is at least partially at fault for their injuries.
Additional Programs Available for other Federal Workers
There are additional federal programs available for certain special occupations. Injured seamen are eligible for compensation under the Jones Act. Longshoremen and workers engaged in maritime occupations are eligible for compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Employees who are posted on defense bases or work on certain public work projects outside of the United States may be eligible for compensation from the Defense Base Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.