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What workers' compensation benefits do federal employees have?

Workers' compensation programs are governed by a number of entities at both the federal and state level. Although the overall concept of workers' compensation benefits is the same in every industry, specific details about benefits can vary from plan to plan and state to state.

For federal employees, benefits and plans are governed by the Department of Labor's Office of Worker's Compensation Programs. The programs cover all individuals employed by the federal government who are not covered by specific plans. Those plans include the Black Lung Benefits Program, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Program and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. The specialty entities serve specific niche workers or workers who are at risk or have suffered from specific workplace-related illnesses.

Individuals covered by the OWCP have a right to seek four benefit types if illness or injury befall them due to their work. The first benefit is wage replacement. For a certain amount of time, employees who are unable to work because of job-related illness or injury may be eligible to receive pay through workers' compensation benefits.

Workers' compensation will also pay for medical expenses that result from an injury or illness related to the job. Compensation may include hospital and doctor bills as well as payment for physical therapy, rehabilitation, medical equipment and medication.

If an illness or injury means a worker cannot return to the same field or employment, federal workers' compensation benefits may cover payments for vocational rehabilitation, which involves training the worker for another job. Finally, the benefits can cover other items that are special to each case.

In any workers' compensation case, whether individuals in New Hampshire are federal workers or are dealing with state-run programs, injured parties have some legal rights. If employers or workers' compensation payers are failing to uphold benefits, individuals can seek legal remedies.

Source: Department of Labor, "Workers' Compensation" Nov. 28, 2014

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