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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
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Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)

Fact Sheet ESA 91-18

Workers' Compensation for Federal Employees

The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) provides compensation benefits to civilian employees of the United States for disability due to personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty. The Act also provides for compensation for employment-related disease.

Benefits available to injured employees include rehabilitation, medical, surgical and necessary expenses. FECA provides compensation to dependents if the injury or disease causes the employee's death.

FECA is administered by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), U.S. Department of Labor, located in 12 district offices throughout the United States.

Temporary Disability

FECA provides compensation benefits to federal employees for temporary disability due to employment-related injury or disease.

The injured employee is entitled to continuation of pay (COP) from the employing agency for up to 45 days of disability. If the disability continues for more that 45 days, compensation for lost wages is payable after a three-day waiting period in a non-paid status. No waiting period is required, however, if the disability causing the wage loss lasts longer than 14 days from the time compensation begins. The injured employee also has the option of using sick leave if it is to his or her benefit.

COP does not apply to occupational disease or illness cases; compensation for lost wages is payable after an initial three-day waiting period in non-paid status. If the disability exceeds 14 days from the time compensation begins, no waiting period is required.

Permanent Disability

FECA provides compensation benefits based on loss of earnings capacity and schedule awards for the loss or loss of use of specified members, organs, and functions of the body when there are permanent effects of a job-related injury.

Disability Compensation Payout

If the employee has no dependents, compensation is generally payable at the rate of two-thirds of pre-disability gross wages tax-free; if the employee has one or more dependants, compensation is payable at the rate of three-fourths of pre-disability gross wages, tax-free.