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Division of Federal Employees' and Energy Workers' Compensation (FEEWC)

MISSION AND FUNCTION: The Division of Federal Employees’ and Energy Workers’ Compensation provides legal services to the Department and to the Employment Standards Administration in connection with workers' compensation claims under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). The Division provides legal advice concerning FECA, reviews and drafts regulations and legislation, represents the Director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWCP) before the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board and the Office of Administrative Law Judges, and provides assistance to the Department of Justice in representing the Department before the courts in connection with FECA. The Division also provides legal services in connection with claims under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA). This includes providing the Department and OWCP legal advice concerning EEOICPA, reviewing and drafting regulations and legislation and providing assistance to the Department of Justice in representing the Department before the courts in connection with EEOICPA. The Division also administers the subrogation provisions of the FECA to facilitate reimbursement of the United States by federal workers of a portion of any recovery from a third party of amounts received by them for any injury covered by FECA. The Division also adjudicates claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claims Act, and assists the Department of Justice in defending the Department in related litigation.

STATUTES: The Division is responsible for legal work primarily arising out of the Department's administration of two major Federal workers' compensation programs:

In addition, the Division processes and adjudicates administrative claims and assists the Department of Justice in defending cases under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and processes and adjudicates administrative claims under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claims Act (MPCECA). The Division also provides legal advice to Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) on the War Hazards Compensation Act (WHCA).

DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: The Claims and Compensation Unit is responsible for legal advice to the OWCP with respect to issues under FECA, which provides compensation to Federal workers injured in the performance of duty out of a fund administered by OWCP. Attorneys in the Unit prepare and provide formal and informal legal advice and draft and review legislative and regulatory proposals. They also provide assistance to the Department of Justice in defending suits raising issues under FECA brought against the Department or its officials alleging unlawful or unconstitutional action or otherwise raising issues under FECA. Attorneys in the Claims and Compensation Unit also represent the Director, OWCP, by filing pleadings and participating in oral arguments in cases in which FECA claimants appeal to the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board from adverse decisions by OWCP.

The Claims and Compensation Unit provides legal advice to OWCP concerning the WHCA, which provides reimbursement to insurers of contractors covered by the Defense Base Act (DBA) for both benefit and administrative costs resulting from an injury or death cause by a "war risk hazard." The WHCA also provides for direct payments to DBA and certain other employees as a result of their detention by a "hostile force or person" and direct payments to certain employees not covered by the DBA.

The Claims and Compensation Unit also adjudicates claims under the FTCA and the MPCECA regarding death, personal injury or property damage allegedly caused by activities or employees of the Department of Labor. The Claims and Compensation Unit also provide assistance to the Department of Justice with respect to litigation under the FTCA relating to the Department of Labor. Please visit the Information on filing an FTCA or MPCECA claim with the Department of Labor page for information on filing a claim under these statutes with SOL.

The FECA Subrogation Unit is responsible for protecting the subrogation interest of the United States in judgments and settlements obtained by FECA beneficiaries as a result of FECA covered injuries. Paralegal Specialists in the Unit are responsible for monitoring litigation and providing information and assistance with respect to cases in which FECA benefits recipients have a potential recovery from third parties that caused their work-related injury or illness and in ensuring that an appropriate part of any judgment or settlement obtained by a FECA beneficiary in such circumstances is refunded to the United States and/or credited against future benefits.

The Energy Unit is responsible for legal advice to OWCP with respect to the new Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, which was created under an Act signed into law on October 30, 2000. Part B of EEOICPA provides $150,000 and medical benefits to eligible workers (or their eligible survivors) who contracted cancer as a result of exposure to radiation, or beryllium disease or chronic silicosis as a result of exposure to those substances while working for the Department of Energy or its contractors in the nuclear weapons industry. Part E of EEOICPA provides up to $250,000 and medical benefits to eligible workers (or their eligible survivors) who contracted an illness as a result of exposure to a toxic substance while working for a Department of Energy contractor in the nuclear weapons industry, or while working at a uranium mine or mill covered under Section 5 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Attorneys in the Unit prepare and provide formal and informal legal advice and draft and review legislative and regulatory proposals. The Unit is also responsible for assisting the Department of Justice in defending any suits arising under EEOICPA.

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