Guidance on Covid-19 claims
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (section 4016) makes it easier for federal employees diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. A federal employee diagnosed with COVID-19 who carried out duties that required contact with patients, members of the public or coworkers within a covered period of exposure prior to that diagnosis, is deemed to have an injury proximately caused by their federal employment. Benefits paid for these claims will not be included in the agency's chargeback bill.
On or about March 26, the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) will be enhancing ECOMP to facilitate COVID-19 claims. While the CA-1 claims filing process will not change, ECOMP has been enhanced with helpful tool tips for both the injured worker and the employing agency if a CA-1 is filed for a COVID-19 claim. Additionally, certain information will be pre-populated once the filer indicates that the CA-1 is for a COVID-19 injury.
ECOMP PROMPTS/GUIDANCE FOR CLAIMANTS
Claimant portion of the CA-1: Claimants will be advised they must use FORM CA-1 for COVID-19 claims. Helpful tool tips and certain injury data will be visible or pre-populated to assist the filer navigate through the workflow of filing a CA-1 for COVID-19.
- Question 10 - Date and Time Injury Occurred. The claimant should enter the last date he/she was exposed to other people (such as patients, members of the public, or coworkers) in the work setting, prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms or a COVID-19 positive test result. The claimant should not use a date where they were teleworking.
- Question 13 - Cause of Injury. The claimant will be asked to explain who he/she was exposed to in the work setting (including members of the public, coworkers, patients, etc.), and the frequency and nature of those interactions. Interactions while teleworking should not be included.
- Question 14 - Nature of Injury. The claimant should explain why he/she is filing the claim. For example, has he/she experienced symptoms he/she believes are attributable to COVID-19? If so, the claimant should describe and provide the date the symptoms began. Has the claimant received a positive COVID-19 test result? If so, what is the date of that test? If the claimant has communicated with or seen a medical professional, describe that contact.
- Upload Attachments Option. The claimant should upload a copy of a positive COVID-19 test result and any documentation of contact with a medical professional. If not available at time of filing, the claimant should upload within 10 days of filing. Failure to do so could affect the claimant’s entitlement to benefits, including Continuation of Pay (COP).
I have attached an ECOMP brochure that will assist you with registering an account and how to file the forms. Every incident should be documented by submitting an OSHA 301 in ECOMP. If the incident requires additional medical treatment or if you would like to make a claim to be reimbursed for lost wages due to the injury/illness, you will also need to complete a CA-1 form.
Once Department of Labor accepts your claim, I can assist you with filing a CA-7 to claim reimbursement for lost wages. OWCP pays compensation at 66 2/3% of your pay rate (if you have no eligible dependents) or at 75% (if you have at least one eligible dependent).
Additional information regarding the Federal Employees’ Compensation as well as a list of frequently asked questions can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/FECA/claimantandrep.
The latest guidance regarding claims due to COVID-19 can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/FECA/InfoFECACoverageCoronavirus.
Jeremy D. Ruth
HR Specialist, VISN 15
(816) 861-4700 ext 56906 or 51153
(816) 922-4873 or 54873 FAX (Workers’ Compensation)