Did you hear it’s Easier to File a FECA Claim for COVID-19 now?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that 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.
What Does the Change in the Law Mean?
1. You are only required to establish that your duties included a risk of exposure to COVID-19. You do not have to prove you were engaged in high-risk employment; that you were actually exposed to the virus; or that you were exposed to someone who had the virus while performing your duties.
2. If you establish that you are a “covered employee,” any diagnosed COVID-19 will be deemed to have been proximately caused by your Federal employment. You no longer have to establish a causal link between your employment and your COVID-19 diagnosis
What to Do
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.
You can quickly and easily file a CA-1 Claim for COVID-19 through the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP). You can access ECOMP at ecomp.dol.gov. If you have never used ECOMP, you can view this instructional video to learn how to register for an ECOMP account, and this video to learn how to file a COVID-19 claim. If you don’t have access to a computer, contact your supervisor.
CA-1 (Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation)
If you are disabled for work as a result of this injury and filed CA-1 within thirty days of the injury, you may be entitled to receive continuation of pay (COP) from your employing agency. COP is paid for up to 45 calendar days of disability, and is not charged against sick or annual leave.
Why File Now? What if I Think I Am OK?
If you were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or even if you believe you just have a mild case of COVID-19, you should consider filing a COVID-19 FECA claim now even if you have fully recovered and/or had an asymptomatic infection.
• In the event you develop a consequential injury, impairment or illness later as a result of your COVID-19 diagnosis, timely filing your claim now will facilitate the processing of any future claim for any such consequential condition or impairment.
• If you wait until you experience a consequential injury or illness to file your COVID-19 claim, your claim may be subject to time limitation and you will have to establish both the initial COVID-19 claim and the consequential condition claim before benefits can begin.