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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
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Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)

Fact Sheet ESA 91-22

Workers' Compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

Coverage and Benefits

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act provides compensation benefits to approximately 500,000 workers for disability due to an injury or an employment-related occupational disease occurring on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining shoreside areas, and for certain other classes of workers covered by extensions of this act.

Benefits Provided

The act provides medical, surgical and hospital services and supplies. The employee is allowed a choice treating physician, as authorized by the Secretary of Labor.

For Disability

An injured employee is eligible to receive compensation for disability at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of the employee's weekly salary, subject to the specified maximum in effect at the time of injury, for as long as the effects of the injury continue. Compensation is also available for permanent impairment of specified limbs, for hearing loss, and to replace loss of earning capacity.

Minimum and Maximum Compensation

The minimum rate of compensation is 50 percent of the national average weekly wage or the employee's full wage if less. The maximum compensation rate is 200 percent of the current national average weekly wage as determined by the Secretary of Labor.

For Death

Benefits are paid to a widow or widower or other eligible survivors, if an injury causes death. Funeral expenses are paid up to $3000. The surviving spouse of a covered employee receives 50 percent of the average weekly wages of the deceased employee for life or until remarriage. Awards to dependent siblings, children, and grandchildren end when they reach age 18, but may be extended if the child is a student or is incapable of self-support.

Hearing, Review, and Appeal Rights

If an employee or his or her survivors, or an employer or insurance carrier disagree with a recommendation of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, a formal hearing may be requested before an administrative law judge. Appeal from an administrative law judge's decision may be taken to the Benefits Review Board. Subsequent appeal from the Benefits Review Board may be taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals and finally to the United States Supreme Court.

Source of Benefit Payments

Employers are responsible for insuring the payment of compensation and medical benefits to injured employees. This is provided through private insurance carriers, or by employers who are authorized to become self-insured. Benefits under this program are not funded by the government.