Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)
A Peace Corps Volunteer who sustains an injury or contracts an illness overseas while in Peace Corps service may be entitled to benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). The FECA, administered by the Department's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), provides medical, wage loss and other compensation benefits for Federal employees (which for this purpose includes Peace Corps Volunteers) who sustain injury or illness while in the performance of duty. Peace Corps Volunteers are considered to be in the performance of duty while abroad during the period of Peace Corps service for purposes of FECA coverage. An injury sustained outside the United States is deemed proximately caused by such service, unless the injury or illness was proximately caused by willful misconduct, intention to bring about injury or death, or intoxication. FECA benefits may also be provided for an injury or illness present prior to entering Peace Corps service, if evidence supports that Peace Corps service contributed to a worsening of the condition.
To file a claim for a condition attributed to a specific incident during the period of service, a volunteer should file form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury. A claim for any condition attributed to prolonged exposure or activities performed repeatedly during the period of service should be filed on form CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease. Claims should be submitted to the Peace Corps official supervising the volunteer's service. If the volunteer has returned to the United States, the claim should be submitted to the Peace Corps Post Service Unit 1111 20th St, NW Washington, DC 20526 Phone: 800.424.8580, ext. 1540. The Peace Corps will assist with questions; complete its part of the form; and forward the claim to OWCP if there is an indication that the volunteer will require post service medical care for treatment of the injury or illness, or that it is causing disability for which compensation may be payable. Under 5 U.S.C. 8142, entitlement to compensation for any disability resulting from a condition accepted as being related to Peace Corps service will begin following the date of separation. Compensation is based on the rate of pay for the lowest rate provided for Grade 7 of the general schedule (for volunteer leaders, the pay rate is based on the lowest rate for Grade 11).
Claims from Peace Corps volunteers are processed and adjudicated in the Special Claims Unit of OWCP's Cleveland district office. Upon receipt of a claim from the Peace Corps, a case will be created and an OWCP claims examiner will review the initial evidence received. If additional information is needed to make a determination on entitlement to FECA benefits, it will be requested from the Volunteer and/or the Peace Corps. Once the claim has been adjudicated, it will be transferred to the servicing district office based on the volunteer's home address; that servicing office will handle any follow up questions concerning the claim. Listed below are references and resources which provide additional information on entitlement to FECA benefits for Peace Corps volunteers:
- Federal Employees' Compensation Act
- Code of Federal Regulations
- FECA Procedure Manual
- Contact Information for the Cleveland District Office