A workplace injury can mark the beginning of a long journey that takes an injured worker through Pennsylvania’s complicated workers’ compensation system before a worker receives compensation for a work-related injury. This process is often time-consuming and may require the help of legal professionals along the way. Thankfully, federal government employees can obtain workers’ compensation benefits via a process made easier by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation program.
The DFEC reviews and manages claims filed by injured workers and helps them return to work after recovery. According to its website, the DFEC reviewed nearly 116,000 cases during 2011. The program offered benefits worth more than $3 billion to approximately 242,000 workers and their surviving families for workplace injuries or illnesses. Reportedly, almost $2 billion dollars were paid for compensating lost wages, almost $1 billion for medical expenses and rehabilitation services and approximately $140 million for death benefits.
Some of the major benefits an injured worker can avail from DFEC are:
- Prompt review. All decisions are made in 45 days for critical injuries and 10 months for complex injuries and illnesses that need investigation before a decision is made.
- All medical bills from a medical service provider or from a worker claiming reimbursement, are cleared within 28 days of receipt. If the DFEC finds irregularities in a bill, it informs the party by means of an Explanation of Benefits.
- An injured worker with an approved claim can expect compensation for lost wages within 14 days of claim submission.
- The DFEC would help workers recoup and return to work within the shortest possible time. A provision of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act entitles an injured worker to regain his or her federal job within a year of the first wage loss.
The DFEC has its headquarters in Washington D.C. and 12 district offices throughout the country. The state of Pennsylvania is under the purview of the DFEC’s 3rd District Office located in Philadelphia. In addition to Pennsylvania, this office also addresses claims from Delaware, West Virginia and Maryland, except for claims from Maryland’s Prince George’s County.
Source: DOL.gov, “Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC),” Accessed on Sept. 23, 2014