The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Biden signed on March 11, 2021, makes it much easier for federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. To establish a COVID-19 claim, you simply need to establish that you are a “covered employee,” meaning that:
1. You were diagnosed with COVID-19. Specifically, you were diagnosed with COVID-19 while employed in the Federal service at any time during the period of January 27, 2020, to January 27, 2023, and,
2. Your duties include any risk of exposure. Specifically, within 21 days of your diagnosis of COVID-19, you carried out duties that—
a. required contact with patients, members of the public, or co-workers; or
b. included a risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Continuation of Pay (COP) is payable under the FECA but only if:
1) You can demonstrate you have COVID-19 via a positive test result (excluding home tests) or a medical professional. A notice to quarantine for exposure without a COVID-19 diagnosis as described above is not sufficient.
2) You file your CA-1 form within 30 days of the date of the injury (the last date you were exposed at work, prior to the positive test result). See 20 CFR 10.205.
If you file a CA-1 and elect to use COP, you must ensure that medical evidence substantiating you have COVID-19 via a positive test result is provided to your employer within 10 calendar days after filing the CA-1. If a qualifying positive test result is on file, you are eligible for COP during that period.
If you are disabled and must be out of work beyond that initial 10-day period, you must submit medical evidence to your employer supporting disability resulting from COVID-19. If evidence supporting disability due to COVID-19 is not submitted, your employer can stop COP after that initial 10-day period. You should also submit/upload proof of your COVID-19 diagnosis and inability to work into your OWCP case file.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., Federal Employees May File a Claim for Work-Related COVID-19 Workers' Compensation Blog (November 30, 2022), l