Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)
Information on Claims Related to Hurricanes
A number of issues related to workers compensation coverage are presented in the wake of hurricanes and disaster relief work. The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) provides workers' compensation coverage for a broadly defined class of employees that can include volunteers serving under the direction of Federal employees in some circumstances and can also include certain "federalized" state and local employees responding to a disaster at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
To assist our agency stakeholders with potential questions related to these events, the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) provides the following:
- Special Indicators: DFEC has established special indicators to identify claims related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Any claims for injury or illness from employees responding to or providing relief from those events will be identified with the following indicators (these indicators are also directly available to agencies filing claims in ECOMP):
- Hurricane Harvey: HHA
- Hurricane Irma: HIR
- Cost of Claims: An issue that has arisen involves the cost of injuries incurred by "donated volunteer employees." Employing agencies retroactively reimburse the Employees' Compensation Fund for the cost of FECA benefits paid to their employees. The Department of Labor's position has been that agencies donating volunteer employees will bear the cost of any FECA covered injuries incurred while responding to these disasters.
- Coverage: Federal employees who are authorized by their agency to assist in disaster relief efforts are covered by FECA while in performance of duty. That includes acts during work hours and those reasonably incidental to travel. Many of the workers' compensation disputes that will arise will involve private employees covered by state workers' compensation systems. DOL has no oversight or other role to play in regard to state workers' compensation disputes.
- Claim Filing: The employing agency should work out a process for the handling of FECA claims in the event of injury. As long as there is Internet access of some sort, electronic filing of claims should not present a problem.
- Additional Notice: Upon learning that a CA-1/2 related to either hurricane event has been filed within your agency, please notify the DFEC Branch of Technical Assistance at 202-693-0400.
September 27, 2017