Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Federal Employees Through FECA In California

Workers' Compensation Benefits for Federal Employees Through FECA in California

Introduction To Workers’ Compensation Under FECA

This is episode 37 of the Inland Empire workers compensation lawyer livestream podcast. On this episode, we’re discussing federal workers compensation claims. So if you’re a worker in California, but you work for the federal government, then the normal workers compensation insurance system isn’t available for you. It’s a separate system. And that’s what we’re discussing today. But remember, it’s not legal advice. It’s educational. If you need legal advice, dialer injury helpline, 844-984-8414 and request a free consultation. With that said, Jorge, what can you tell us about the federal workers compensation benefits (through FECA) available to workers here in California?

FECA Claims Take Place In A Different Court

So that’s governed by FECA, Federal Employment Compensation Act. Alex, as you know, if someone gets hurt in California, we file a claim DWC-1 with the WCAB Workers Compensation Appeals Board. That’s the court for filing workers compensation claims where if you have a dispute with your employer, you go to this particular court, it’s set up by the state of California. Right, right. Federal employees can’t be filed at the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, because they are governed by FECA. And FECA is administered by the US Department of Labor. So you have to file it with them. You go through them, and all federal employees have to do this. It overrides the state laws, the state labor laws, the federal government says “No, we’re actually going to override that we have our own system that we control.” Whether or not it’s better for you? Well, that’s what we’re talking about. So if you have been injured at work, and you’re a federal employee, how can you use FECA? What’s going on with this situation? What can employees expect?

Who Is Covered Under FECA?

Yeah, and, you know, this comes down to jurisdiction, as you know, federal laws supersede state laws. Federal Government is the big brother, and states have their own laws, but federal laws, you know, supersede state laws. So these federal employees are taken care of by the Department of Labor. And it covers civilian government employees. Some of these positions include, but are not limited to. So once again, if you have any questions reach out to us, we can answer those questions. TSA. So all the TSA agents at airports? Those are covered by FECA. Border Patrol agents, obviously, because Border Patrol agents, you don’t have, like Texas border patrol agents, you don’t have, you know, Arizona border patrol agents, okay, have Border Patrol agents that are out there protecting the border, the US border, and they are federal employees, not state employees. So they’re not military, there’s something else, right, they get workers comp under the FECA. Correct. So they would be under FECA. Then other entities, like postal workers are also covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. So if you’re a postal worker, you just can’t go right to the state Workers Compensation Appeals Board, you have to apply for benefits under FECA. So how are these benefits different than normal workers compensation benefits for these employees that we’ve discussed? Who work here in California, Jorge?

How Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Differ Under FECA?

Yeah, so as a whole, they’re generally the same, right? As a whole. What I’m saying is, if you’re gonna get medical treatment, okay, you’re gonna get your medical treatment paid for, you’re gonna get benefits while you’re off of work as well. But if you get down to the nitty gritty, and you take down these benefits, and compare them to regular workers compensation benefits, they are very, very different. And this is the reason why you need someone that’s experienced to help you guide you through these nuanced differences between workers compensation and FECA handled workers compensation claims. So one of the differences is, it’s handled by the Department of Labor. There is no third party administrator, that sentence might not mean a lot to our viewers and the people out there that aren’t in workers compensation every day. But a third party administrator is the one that administers the claim, the workers compensation claim. Here, there’s no one that’s going to be administering the claim. It’s all handled by the Department of Labor.

FECA Claims Are Handled Differently

Okay, so your claims adjuster is going to be another federal employee that works for the US Department of Labor, right? Whereas if you have a state claim, it’s likely a private insurance company or state compensation insurance fund, which is a quasi-government entity. It’s like kind of civil servants, but they’re actually technically a private company in ways. Yeah, another thing that you got to know is that if you are a federal employee and you fall into one of these categories under FECA, most of our videos you can probably disregard a lot of the stuff that you see online, correct, because most of the stuff that’s online, including everything that’s on our channel is regarding California, workers compensation that falls under the state jurisdiction, not federal employees. That’s an exclusion. So that’s why we wanted to put out this video to to point that out. And also let you know that we do have experience helping federal employees with catastrophic injury claims. So if you’re a federal employee and you’ve been severely injured, then you are going to want to look for an attorney.

There Is No Utilization Review For FECA Claims

Definitely. Yeah. Another difference is, is that there’s no UR, in FECA. So if our viewers, federal employees have seen our videos, and maybe they just found this one and go, Oh, utilization review, I don’t have to deal with UR, I just got to deal with a federal employee. Yeah. So it’s a good way, it’s a good thing and a bad thing. Because all you know, UR can be very helpful. If there’s no utilization review, if you can’t appeal something, and it can’t be reviewed by UR right, then what you need is a second opinion from the doctor. That’s what they’re going to request from you, to get a second opinion from the doctor to certify that. They even request a second opinion for things that are very valid, and very documented, Alex, so even though if the doctor is requesting something, maybe medical treatment, and he puts in the request through FECA, they’re gonna need a second opinion sometimes to get that certified. Yeah. So the Department of Labor will ask that your primary treating doctor be reviewed by a second opinion? That’s what you’re saying? Correct. They’re gonna do that, like every single time on every single injury. But what happens if you disagree with it? Is there any way to? Unfortunately, there’s no judicial review. So that I mean, there’s no review, you can’t appeal that. It’s what your doctor says. And, you know, if you get a second opinion, it is what it is.

When To Seek An Attorney For FECA Claims

Okay, so you can’t do anything about that, like you maybe could in state courts. That’s extremely different. But I do think that federal employees are probably treated pretty good. I think that the need for lawyers is probably much less, right. But if you are in a situation where you’re being denied this type of claim, and you think that you were doing something that should qualify you, if you’re a family member, and you’ve lost a spouse, or a loved one, someone who you depend on financially for help, and you are going without payments, because your spouse died or whatever. And you think that they should be entitled to these benefits, you might seek an attorney to help apply for those benefits and make sure that the processes are done, right. If you cut your finger, and you work for the post office, and you want a workers compensation lawyer, it’s probably not going to produce much money for you. Right. And that’s what I get. I do get calls from federal employees, sometimes postal workers who have smaller types of situations. And unfortunately, I say I can’t help them. But if you do have a catastrophic case, something that, you know, requires an attorney. Yeah, call one.

The Medical Provider Network In Regard to FECA Claims

One last thing is the primary treating physician, right, usually, and through our videos, we tell our clients, it’s very important that you seek the right one. And sometimes you have to go through the MPN. If it’s an accepted claim, you have to use their medical provider network. Well, one good thing with the Department of Labor is that you can choose any qualified physician to be your physician. So you have a broad spectrum of physicians, as long as they’re qualified physicians that you can choose from, you can pick your physician, and yeah, that’s really good.

Fairness Of The FECA Process And When To Seek Legal Help

You don’t really need a lawyer. If you got a federal claim, then, I mean, you get to pick your physician, you don’t have to deal with a third party administrator, you deal with another federal employee. Yeah, you know, you know, there’s no utilization review, because everything gets approved. And man, I think it’s probably a pretty good system. I think it’s a great system, I think that you are correct. If it’s going to be a run of the mill injury, and by that I mean, you know, maybe a broken foot or things like that. You don’t need an attorney, I don’t think you do. You should still consult an attorney, because we might once again, we might be wrong. This is not legal advice, please consult an attorney, especially if you feel like you need to don’t just say oh, well, they told me, I might not need one. No, your case might be different. So definitely consult an attorney. But you might not need one, Alex. But if you do have a catastrophic injury, it’s always always a good idea to consult an attorney, and you possibly could need someone to guide you through this difficult system. Could be a third party claim. Yeah, you know, you could have you could have been working and you could have been severely injured. And although you don’t really need a lawyer for your FECA claim for your federal employee compensation claim, you might need a lawyer for that third party case against someone who hit you if you’re a border patrol agent and you were rear ended or you were in a catastrophic accident or something happened, you have another person to sue. You also might choose an attorney who knows about your Federal Employee Compensation benefits. In fact, it’s probably really important that you do because you’re gonna have a lien from the federal government. You’re gonna have to deal with all that stuff, you need a lawyer.

Every FECA Case Is Different, Contact A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Yeah, and what if you’re on the job? You’re delivering mail? And I know this never happens. But what if a dog bites you, right? Third party, it’s a third party liability in California dog bites you are you get hit by a car? Well, anything could happen. So, once again, please give us a call. We’re here to answer any questions. And this was a this was a topic that might not be a broad topic. It might not apply to a lot of the viewers. But hey, if you have a friend, family member or loved one that is a federal employee, then they might find this information useful. So we decided to make this video that’s very narrow for those type of people, and for their families. Yes, if you’re out there and you work for the federal government and you have an injury on the job, give us a call 844-984-8414. We’d be happy to give you a free consultation. And for more information, you can visit our website