In New York, most workplace injuries are covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Federal employees, however, are covered by a different law when they are injured on the job.
If you slip and fall, are struck by a falling object, or suffer any kind of injury while carrying out duties related to your government job, the Federal Employees Compensation Act, or FECA, covers your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses related to your injury or occupational illness.
Enacted on September 7, 1916, FECA was originally designed to compensate federal employees for salaries lost due to job-related injuries. It has since been acknowledged as a valuable precedent for disability coverage in the US. FECA has evolved with changing social needs and, in addition to full and part-time federal civil servants, covers the following in the event of illness or injury:
- Members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps
- Peace Corps volunteers
- Civil Air Patrol members
- Coast Guard Auxiliary members
- Local or state law enforcement personnel acting in a federal capacity
- Anyone serving on a federal jury
FECA benefits include:
- Compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and any extended care requirements such as nursing.
- Disability coverage equal to two-thirds of your salary at the time of injury or illness. If you have dependents, then the coverage rises to three-quarters.
- With traumatic injuries, you can receive 100% of your salary for the first 45 days.
- If you participate in vocational rehabilitation to facilitate your return to work, then you may receive an additional benefit of $200 per month.
- If your disability is permanent, then your FECA benefits will continue for life.
- If your injury or illness results in death, then your spouse will receive up to 50% of your monthly pay if you have no children. If you have minor children, then your spouse will receive 45% of your salary plus 15% per child, up to a monthly maximum of 75%.
Unlike some benefits, you may continue receiving FECA payments after the typical retirement age of 65.
Although FECA doesn’t explicitly state what injuries or illness it does and doesn’t cover, it is similar to state workers’ compensation benefits in that you won’t be covered if you are hurt due to your willful misconduct, such as being intoxicated on the job or trying to harm another person.
While FECA’s protections are broad, they are also legally complicated. Anyone injured on the job in New York can benefit from discussing their case with a New York personal injury attorney, especially if third parties contributed to your injuries. When your health and financial well-being are involved, knowledgeable advice from a legal professional can help you make the right decisions.
Jayson Lutzky is an accident and personal injury lawyer with an office located in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx, NY. If you were injured, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person appointment or to learn more about Mr. Lutzky’s services.