Just as private and state workers do, injured federal workers have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. For federal employees, those benefits are usually available under the provisions of the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). As a part of the process, you must be examined by a physician chosen by the U.S. Department of Labor. The doctor may verify your claim, allowing you to be relieved of duty while you recover from your injury. But the doctor can also find that you have the ability to return to work on a limited or modified duty assignment.
How It Works
If the examining doctor concludes that you are physically capable of returning to work with limited or modified duty, your employer will typically identify an appropriate position and contact the workers‘ compensation claims examiner to determine whether that job is appropriate. If the examiner concludes that it is, your employer can extend an offer to you. If that happens, you have 30 days to respond.
If you’ve been offered limited or modified duty, the first thing you want to do is discuss it with your personal doctor. You can turn down the job offer, but you must have a valid reason, and you’ll need medical evidence to support your decision. Your doctor may determine that you have either physical or mental limitations that make a proposed position unacceptable. However, you want to be as specific as possible about what those limitations are and how they will prevent you from effectively doing the job.
If you decline the job offer, the workers’ compensation claims examiner may seek a second medical opinion by another DOL approved doctor.
If your doctor clears you to return to limited or modified duty, the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) may request that you participate in vocational rehabilitation. As with the job offer, you have 30 days to respond, and you may reject the request with appropriate medical support.
Contact Uliase & Uliase
At Uliase & Uliase, we have decades of experience representing federal workers in work-related injury claims. 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.