Alan J. Shapiro

PHONE: 216-927-2030
FAX: 216-763-2620

Glossary of Federal Workers Compensation Terminology

The following terms include the names of important laws pertaining to federal workers compensation as well as the government organizations who administer and rule on injury claims. If you have any questions or need assistance with your legal matter contact our office.

Defense Base Act – The Defense Base Act is an a federal workers’ compensation program designed to cover injured longshoremen and harbor workers. In addition, the act covers non government employees employed at U.S. Department of Defense Bases overseas.

Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) – ECAB was created in 1946 and delegated exclusive jurisdiction by Congress to consider appeals of federal employees from final decisions of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) in claims arising under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 8101 et seq.).

Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) claims – FECA is administered by OWCP and provides federal employees with workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits may include wage-loss for total or partial disability, monetary benefits for permanent loss of use of a schedule member, medical benefits, vocational rehabilitation and survivor benefits for eligible dependents if injury leads to the employee’s death.

Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) regulates the compensation of most injured longshoremen and harbor workers. The act also covers non-appropriated fund employees and government contactors working overseas. Administration of the LHWCA is managed by Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation. DLHWC is a division of OWCP. Generally the act provides temporary compensation to injured longshoreman and harbor workers at 2/3 of average weekly wage during medical treatment. The act also provides coverage for medical bills, disability and rehab.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) – MMI is the point when an employee’s medical condition is stable but not likely to show additional improvement.  Once MMI is reached the injury and compensation will fall under FECA’s schedule award.

Non-Appropriated Funds Claims – Employees who are paid from non-appropriated funds of the United States Armed Forces. Positions are generally in fields of comfort, pleasure, contentment or physical and mental improvement on behalf of the armed forces. The Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act is administered by OWCP to provide injured non-appropriated funds employees with compensation.

Occupational Disease – A disease contracted as a result of employment activity. Work related diseases are frequently caused by repetitive action or stress on a particular part of the body. They may also be a result of exposure to chemicals or other potentially dangerous materials.

Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) – OWCP administers disability compensation programs for injured federal employees or their dependents. Compensation programs include wage replacement, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation as well as other benefits.

Overpayment - If OWCP pays an injured employee more than they are permitted under FECA.

Periodic Roll Claims – If the physician’s diagnosis states that an employee’s disability will last for 60 days or more after the continuation of payment, the employee will receive automatic payments from OWCP every four weeks. The employee must provide medical documentation to OWCP supporting their claim for payments to continue.

Schedule Awards - The schedule award is similar to money damages for impairment of an extremity or a body part recognized by 5 U.S.C. § 8107 of the FECA act (Federal Workers’ Compensation Act). Payments are based on impairment to certain body parts. Claimants are entitled to an award based on a set number of weeks to their impairment or loss. OWCP (Office of Workers Compensation Program) has very specific criteria for establishing the right to a damage award. You may view the current schedule here.

Short Term Claims – The injury claim period beginning when the employee is initially injured, ending when the employee is placed on the periodic roll.
Wage-earning Capacity – The wages an employee would be capable of earning despite their injury or disability. Wage-earning capacity factors in the current job markets relating to the availability of employment and the employees skills and qualifications.
Vocational Rehabilitation – The process of training an injured worker, who due to their illness or injury is unable to resume previous employment, to develop skills necessary to gain other useful employment.

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