Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs Response to the Coronavirus
Division of Federal Workers' Compensation
We are committed to supporting federal employees during this difficult time. Federal employees who develop COVID-19 while in the performance of their federal duties are entitled to workers' compensation coverage pursuant to the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). Learn about filing COVID-19 claims under FECA.
Expecting an increase of claims, DFEC planned ahead, issued new procedures for handling COVID-19 claims, and created a COVID-19 Task Force to oversee claims development and adjudication.
Based on anticipated future COVID-19 claims and potential workload impacts, DFEC dedicated two Medical Benefit Examiner units to developing and adjudicating COVID-19 claims to ensure greater consistency and oversight for COVID-19 claims. Additional options have been identified to expand the number of units if needed.
On March 31, 2020, DFEC issued FECA Bulletin No. 20-05 to provide targeted procedures for claims staff on the handling of COVID-19 claims from federal employees. Because it is difficult to determine the precise moment and method of virus transmission, federal workers who are required to have in-person and close proximity interactions with the public on a frequent basis – such as members of law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel – will be considered to be in high-risk employment (as determined by OWCP). If a COVID-19 claim is filed by an individual in high-risk employment, DFEC will accept that the exposure to COVID-19 was proximately caused by the nature of the employment.
COVID-19 Task Force
In conjunction with FECA Bulletin No. 20-05, DFEC established a COVID-19 Task Force to support claims examiners and help ensure COVID-19 claims are handled expeditiously in a fair and consistent manner. The Task Force includes high-level officials, such as DFEC's Director, DFEC's Policy Chief, and OWCP's Chief Medical Officer. The Task Force aids claims staff, employing agencies, and the general public by providing advice on evidence needed, and answering questions about the process and legal requirements.
Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation
DEEOIC is sensitive to the fact that our claimant population is particularly vulnerable to the risks of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and recognizes the need to continue to provide compensation and medical benefits. We have taken several actions to help ensure that beneficiaries continue to receive their benefits during the COVID-19 public health emergency. On April 7, 2020, we issued EEOICPA Bulletin 20-03, which provides instructions for Medical Benefits Examiners to accept telemedicine in lieu of face-to-face examinations for home and residential health care renewals and new requests for durable medical equipment. On April 30, 2020, we issued EEOICP Bulletin 20-04, which implements temporary procedures to allow for the use of telemedicine in place of nonemergency, routine medical appointments between physicians and our claimants.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the energy program's efforts during this time.
We have also posted a notice about the operating status of our Resource Centers.
Division of Coal Mine Workers Compensation
DCMWC continues to process claims and issue benefit payments while working to ensure that our claimants are safe during this crisis. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions to learn about our response to COVID-19.
Many of our approved providers have temporarily suspended black lung evaluation appointments for the safety of patients and medical staff, consistent with social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our Special Notice: Impact of COVID-19 on Selection of Provider, Authorization of Medical Evaluations and Scheduling of Appointments.
DCMWC issued a bulletin implementing temporary procedures that allow for expanded use of telemedicine services for miners entitled to benefits.