Generally, there is no set time limit for how long you can be on federal workers’ compensation. It depends on the severity of your injury or illness and how this affects your ability to work. For example, there may be restrictions on the benefits you can receive, and you will likely be required to attend periodic medical examinations to continue receiving benefits.
Applying for federal workers’ compensation or dealing with the appeals process can be daunting, especially if you are new to the system. This guide is designed to help you understand your rights and options if you are injured as a federal worker, what is covered under this system, and the different types of benefits available.
Who Can Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation?
Federal workers’ compensation benefits are available to civilian employees of the U.S. Government who are injured or become ill due to their work. Family members and dependents of eligible federal employees who lost a loved one due to a workplace injury or illness may also be able to receive benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) runs this system.
What Illnesses or Injuries Are Covered Under OWCP Benefits?
The following are some of the illnesses or injuries that the OWCP covers. However, it is worth noting that the lists are not exhaustive and can vary depending on your industry or occupation:
These injuries commonly occur due to slip or fall accidents, equipment malfunctions, auto accidents, or exposure to hazardous materials in the workplace.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
- Amputation injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding
- Burns and electrical injuries
- Eye or ear injuries
These illnesses develop over time and can be caused by exposure to hazardous materials, chemicals, gases, or other dangerous conditions in the workplace.
- Occupational hearing loss
- Skin conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis, or skin cancer
- Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, asbestosis, tuberculosis, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Musculoskeletal disorders, including herniated discs, arthritis, rotator cuff tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back pain disorders
- Fertility issues or congenital disabilities, including infant mortality, or matters resulting in children’s physical or mental health conditions.
- Lead or mercury poisoning
- Occupational cancers
- Bloodborne infectious diseases
Stress-Related Workplace Conditions
Occupational stress results from prolonged exposure to job-related stress that causes negative psychological and emotional responses. It can stem from various sources, including excessive workloads, unrealistic expectations, lack of support, poor working conditions, conflicts with colleagues or supervisors, and job insecurity. Common examples of occupational stress include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorders
- Phobia-related disorders
- Burnout syndrome
- Problems with chronic fatigue and disturbed sleep
How Do I Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
First and foremost, it’s important to report your injury or illness to your supervisor or HR department as soon as possible. Then, you’ll need to complete the appropriate forms your employer provides. Be sure to include detailed information about your injury or illness on the forms and the circumstances that caused it.
If you make errors or omit information at this stage, your application can be delayed or denied until the OWCP has all the relevant information, so it’s vital to get this right to help speed up the process.
Is There a Time Limit to Apply?
Yes. There are strict time limits when applying for federal workers’ compensation benefits, which can vary depending on the type of claim.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DIL), you generally have 30 days from the date of your injury or illness to report the incident to your supervisor or HR department and three years from the date of the incident to file a claim.
However, if your illness develops over time, you have up to three years from the date you became aware of the condition to apply for OWCP federal workers’ compensation benefits.
What Benefits Could I Receive From Federal Workers’ Compensation?
OWCP programs are designed to provide financial support to cover the cost of medical treatment, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, and any other necessary support services you need. Additionally, the system compensates for permanent disabilities or the death of a federal employee while on duty.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me With My Federal Workers’ Compensation Claim?
While you can file a claim on your own, our federal workers’ compensation lawyers can help protect your rights, navigate the complex legal system, complete your application, and ensure you receive fair benefits. If your claim was denied, we can help you with the appeal process or any other issues that may arise while your claim is being processed.
Here’s what we can do to support you:
- Helping file the initial report of the injury
- Completing the application forms for the OWCP
- Gathering evidence to support your case
- Managing any legal disputes, such as issues related to pre-existing medical conditions
- Negotiating for fair disability ratings, which can affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive
- Appealing denied federal workers’ compensation claims
If a third party, such as a contractor, caused your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation. However, you must prove negligence or fault (which you do not have to do when claiming OWCP). We can assist you in this area, as well.
Discuss Your Federal Workers’ Comp Claim With Our Legal Team Today – It’s Free!
If you need help or guidance with your federal workers’ compensation claim, reach out to our team today. We offer a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and determine the best course of action. With years of experience filing OWCP claims and handling appeals, our workers’ compensation attorney can work to achieve a successful outcome for you and your family. Call KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525 and get started today. We’re here to help.