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An Outline of Federal Workers Compensation Reforms

By July 15, 2011 April 15th, 2018 General Updates

In the words of the 1970’s rock band, Canned Heat, “Together we stand, divided we fall. Come on now people, let’s get on the ball and work together.” The House of Representatives has been setting a great example of people working together as Democrats and Republicans put aside differences to successfully reform government programs. On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 1309, or the five year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. Now, with unanimous support, H.R. 2465, The Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act, has also been passed. This act will aim to improve the Federal Worker’s Compensation Program for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Chairman John Kline, R-Minn, made a comment about the necessity of program reform saying, “We can no longer afford to leave government programs on autopilot. I appreciate the bipartisan work of my colleagues, and look forward to building upon today’s effort to further strengthen this program.” Currently, the Federal Workers Compensation program covers around 3 million federal employees. In the last fiscal year, beneficiaries received nearly $3 billion in compensation. It is imperative that this program is significantly updated and reformed to be more relevant in society today.

Below is list of the reforms that are to be addressed in H.R. 2465:

The Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization
and Improvement Act Reforms:
(Insurance Journal)

  • Improve access to medical care for rural workers
  • Allow more medical professionals to certify a workers disability
  • Update the information that compensation is based on
  • Streamline claims process for workers who sustain a traumatic injury in a designated zone of armed conflict
  • Authorize labor department to collect administration costs and expenses from the federal agency that employs the injured or ill worker
  • Ensures injury sustained as the result of terrorism are covered as a war-risk hazard
  • Provides additional support for funeral expenses (up to $6,000) and for workers who sustain an injury that leads to a facial disfigurement (up to $50,000)
  • Encourage best practices in medical treatment and developments
  • Give greater authority to the Department of Labor to verify the earnings of workers using Social Security records
  • Modernize the benefits that federal workers receive

The House has also asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for guidance on other reforms that would help sustain the longevity of the program. The reforms below refer to investigation of fraud and abuse of the workers compensation program, such as:

  • Looking for cases where federal employees are abusing the priviledges of the program
  • Working a 2nd job while collecting benefits on a workers compensation claim
  • Overstating claims
  • Collecting benefits of a deceased individual
The GAO is asking anyone with information regarding fraud or abuse of federal workers compensation to contact the GAO at its confidential reporting line at workerscompfraud@gao.gov.
Thank you for your reading our blog at Mackoul & Associates, we hope it was useful. If you have questions about Workers Compensation, please contact us and we would be glad to help. We wish you a great weekend.