How to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation

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Federal employees have a different process to apply for federal workers’ compensation than claims handled at the state level. All other employees go through the state, whereas federal workers apply straight to the Department of Labor. That means they have a unique set of forms, deadlines, and even medical documentation required for their claims.

How to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Four Steps

Here’s an overview of what you need to know about the United States Department of Labor procedure. No matter who you are or for which branch of the federal you may work, these steps are universal:

Step 1 to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation: Seek Medical Treatment

The most important part of your injury is getting better. Don’t wait—seek immediate medical treatment at the onset of your injury or illness. If your injury is serious you may asks you employer to authorize treatment using Form CA-16. You should bring this and Form OWCP – 1500 with you to the doctor’s office or hospital, if possible. This specific form will allow the doctor to forward medical bills to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP).

Step 2 to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation: Fill Out Your Claim Paperwork

Your injury type will determine what paperwork you will need. If you have had a traumatic injury, use Form CA-1. “Traumatic injuries” usually constitute something broken or bleeding and may include contusions or hematoma. If it’s bad enough that you need to see a doctor, then it’s worth submitting the paperwork. For a more complete description of injuries and symptoms that may qualify for a claim, visit the Department of Labor’s website. Make sure to include any and all paperwork related to your injury so that you can get an accurate decision on your claim.

Occupational illnesses require Form CA-2, and you need to report your medical issue to your supervisor.Think of occupational illnesses as something related to your rather related to your coworkers. For example, anyone can contract a cold or the flu simply by being in a workplace—that is not cause for a workers’ compensation claim. If, however, you are an employee for the CDC and someone mishandles a bacteria culture and you become ill, then you may qualify to submit a claim. Other claims involve radiation illness, insufficient safety procedures, or any other circumstances that are directly related to your work. You have 30 days from the onset of the injury to fill out the form. After you submit Form CA-2, you supervisor will finish filling out the form and will submit your claim to the district office.

Step 3 to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation: Insurer’s Claim Review

A representative from the workers’ compensation district office will then review your claim and determine if you may be eligible for compensation. If you’re approved, you may receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.

Step 4 to Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation: If Your Claim’s Denied, File an Appeal

If the district office does not approve your claim, then you have the right to appeal the decision. At this point, you have likely already done everything in your power, so you may consider getting help from a workers’ compensation attorney. These attorneys are paid from a percentage of your backpay, so it is in their best interest to get you as much compensation as possible from the time of your injury or illness to present. The vast majority of employees who engage a workers’ compensation attorney find that they end up with more money than they would have received without their help, especially when they have to appeal. We recommend getting a free consultation with an experienced attorney before you apply for federal workers’ compensation benefits.

If you’re interested in a more detailed report on each step of the application process, visit the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC) website.

Get Personalized Help When You Apply for Federal Workers’ Compensation

You’re already busy fighting an illness or injury—it’s tough to also fight bureaucracy and frustrating paperwork. Federal employees benefit from an attorney or advocate by not having to worry about medical records and filling out forms or fighting for the right amount of compensation—your legal counsel can make the process smoother and more efficient, and may even be able to get you more compensation, faster. Federal employees are especially happy to have legal counsel if they have a complicated case or  need to appeal a decision. Attorneys know what will be needed to give your claim a fighting chance at approval, and they are limited in how much they can charge. That means you may be able to get more money with less headache.

Ready to see if you may qualify before you apply for federal workers’ compensation benefits? Click the button below now to start your free workers’ comp benefits evaluation.

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