When a Work-Related Injury Prevents You from Doing Your Former Job
Under FECA (the Federal Employees Compensation Act), federal workers have a right to seek benefits for work-related injuries. If, as a part of the process, the doctor concludes that you cannot return to the job you held before your injury, you have a right to be retrained, and to participate in vocational rehabilitation. You can decline your employer’s request for that you go through retraining, but only if you can provide medical evidence that you are unfit for vocational rehabilitation.
The Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers all vocational rehab programs, but usually operates them in conjunction with state and private vocational rehab facilities. You won’t have to pay for vocational rehabilitation—all costs are paid from the Employees’ Compensation Fund. While you are participating in vocational training, you may also be eligible for a monthly stipend to cover certain personal expenses. You may even be eligible for total disability benefits while in vocational rehabilitation.
Vocational rehab can take a number of different forms:
- You may undergo specific training for a new vocation
- You may work closely with job counselors and compensation specialists
- You may be reassigned to a position that you can handle, with on-the-job training.
FECA does not establish a specific time frame during which you must complete your vocational training. However, once the training is considered to be done, you will be expected to actively pursue employment.
Contact Uliase & Uliase
At Uliase & Uliase, our attorneys have considerable knowledge of laws governing federal workers. To schedule an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-310-9002. We will meet with you weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Even if we don’t take your case, we will only charge a $35 consultation fee. We waive the fee for certain union members.