Workers’ compensation programs in Kansas and Missouri are designed to provide financial support to employees injured on the job. The workers’ comp system is valuable to many people, as it pays medical bills and replaces lost wages when a work accident results in injury, or when an employee becomes ill due to exposure to a toxic substance.
Employers in both Kansas and Missouri are required to purchase workers’ comp insurance to cover their employees.
However, if you're one of the over 75,000 federal employees working in Kansas or Missouri, you aren't covered by the state program. Instead, you're covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) or another federal program.
Who Is Covered by Federal Workers’ Comp?
Any civilian employee of the federal government is covered under the FECA. This includes postal workers, employees of federal agencies and courts, and non-military employees of military branches. The FECA also covers the following special workers and volunteers:
- Peace Corps and Vista volunteers
- Federal petit or grand jurors
- Volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol
- Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets
- Job Corps, Neighborhood Youth Corps, and Youth Conservation Corps enrollees
- Non-Federal law enforcement officers under certain circumstances involving crimes against the United States
Depending on the specific line or work, or on the type of illness or injury, workers’ compensation benefits are provided to federal workers under four major disability programs:
- Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)
- Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)
- Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)
- Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)
Your employer should inform you of your basic rights to coverage and the process for applying.
How Does a Worker Qualify for Benefits?
Similar to state workers’ comp programs, any injury or illness connected to a person’s employment is covered under the FECA or the appropriate federal program. In order to qualify for coverage, the employee must report and provide medical evidence of the injury or illness.
The employer will verify the following:
- The claim was filed within the statutory time requirements of the FECA
- The injured or deceased person was an employee within the meaning of the FECA
- The employee sustained an injury or disease
- The employee was in the performance of duty when the injury occurred and the condition found resulted from the injury
Benefits cannot be paid if injury or death is caused by willful misconduct of the injured employee; by intent to bring about the injury or death of oneself or another; or by intoxication of the injured employee. It's important that an injured worker reports any work-related injury, even a seemingly minor one, to his employer. Injury severity can increase over time and require medical treatment. If the initial injury wasn't reported, the worker may be denied coverage.
What Medical Expenses Are Covered Under the FECA?
Similar to state programs, all medical expenses should be covered under the federal worker’s comp program. When a federal employee is injured at work, he should seek medical treatment after reporting the injury to his employer. The employee is entitled to choose his own physician and will be reimbursed for expenses once the claim is accepted by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).
Federal workers’ comp covers treatment dispensed by doctors, including surgeons, podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, osteopathic practitioners, and chiropractors (under specific circumstances). Treatment costs are covered according to a schedule of maximum allowable medical charges, but the employee isn't responsible for amounts charged in excess of the maximum allowable medical charges. Some transportation costs may also be covered.
Unsure of Your Coverage?
If you're not sure if you're covered under a state or federal workers’ compensation program, talk to your employer or human resources manager. Your right to coverage should be shared with you through information posted in an employee break room or by request. The most important thing to do—no matter who your employer happens to be—is to report the injury and seek medical care. If you encounter problems when filing a federal workers’ compensation claim, contact the OWCP regional office in Kansas City.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at work on the job in Kansas City you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.