Suffering an injury on the job is stressful. You have to deal with the pain of the injury plus its financial fallout.
To be compensated for the medical care you need and the time you’re unable to work, it’s critical to know what steps to take. And if you’re a federal employee, the workers’ compensation claim process can be complicated.
In this blog, we’ll focus on how to file a claim for wage loss reimbursement and common questions we get about these claims.
How to file a wage loss claim
If you’re injured and have to miss work, you’re entitled to be compensated for the money you would have earned if you had been able to work.
As soon as possible after your work injury, file a claim with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. You can do this at the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP).
You’ll need to include medical evidence showing that you are unable to perform your job as a result of the injury you suffered on the job.
The right type of workers’ comp filing depends on your injury
The way you file a federal workers’ compensation claim depends on whether you have a traumatic injury or an occupational disease or illness.
A traumatic injury is one that occurred during one shift. A typical traumatic injury is a fall from a ladder. An occupational disease, on the other hand, is one that develops over more than one shift. A typical occupational disease is a repetitive motion injury.
What matters here is the time span in which the injury occurred, not the type of injury. If you were injured by a chemical spill in one day, that is a traumatic injury. If you were damaged through exposure to chemicals over several shifts, that is an occupational disease.
What wage loss benefits are federal employees entitled to?
The type of injury or illness you have suffered will also affect your compensation.
If you have a traumatic injury, you may be entitled to receive 100% of your lost wages from your employer for the first 45 days after the injury. This is called continuation of pay. Be sure to request this pay within 30 days of your injury.
After that first 45 days, you’re entitled to two-thirds of your salary. If you have dependents, you’re entitled to three-quarters of your salary. For these purposes, a dependent includes a spouse, an unmarried child under 18, or a wholly dependent parent. Your salary for this calculation may include overtime pay.
Employees who’ve suffered an occupational disease are not entitled to continuation of pay but are entitled to two-thirds or three-quarters salary reimbursement.
How to support your federal workers’ compensation claim
Make sure you keep all medical bills and document any costs of transportation to receive medical care. Also, keep any accident reports, witness statements, or photographs that document your injury. The multitude of forms, need for medical proof, and documentation of the injury can be confusing, and failing to file your claim correctly or offering the right kind of support for your claims can lead to a denial.
The attorneys at Hunter & Everage are here to help. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are available to answer any questions you have about your federal workers’ compensation claim, no matter where you are in the process.