- Updated on May 6, 2021 -
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The new law makes it easier for federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). Section 4016 of the law provides that a federal employee who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and carried out duties that required contact with patients, members of the public, or co-workers, or included a risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus during a covered period of exposure prior to the diagnosis, is deemed to have an injury that is proximately caused by employment. FECA Bulletin 21-09 (Processing FECA Claims for COVID-19 under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021), issued on April 28, 2021, provides more detail on claims processing and requirements.
The impacts of this provision are as follows:
- Any COVID-19 claim filed under the FECA that was accepted for COVID-19 prior to March 12, 2021, is not impacted because coverage for benefits has already been extended.
- Any COVID-19 claim filed under the FECA that was denied or withdrawn prior to March 12, 2021, is eligible for review under the new eligibility requirements.
- Any COVID-19 claim filed under the FECA on or after March 12, 2021, will be reviewed solely under the new eligibility requirements.
What this Means to You
- If you previously filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA that was accepted by OWCP, you can expect no change.
- If you previously filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA that was denied by OWCP based on a lack of federal exposure or a lack of medical evidence establishing causal relationship, we have now either accepted your case or requested additional information from you in order to consider your case further.
- If you have never filed a COVID-19 claim under the FECA and you believe you have contracted COVID-19 as a result of your federal employment, you will need to file a CA-1 (Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation) through the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP). You can access ECOMP at: https://www.ecomp.dol.gov. If you are unable to access ECOMP please contact your employing agency for assistance with filing your claim.
In preparation for filing your Notice of Traumatic Injury, you should view this instructional video to learn how to register and verify your identity, and this video to learn how to file a claim. Doing so now will speed the process when you are ready to file your claim.