It’s been nearly 40 years since the federal workers compensation program has received any updates, but now, thanks to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Federal Workers Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (H.R. 2465) has passed.
The unanimously passed bill, known as FECA, according to committee reports, “updates the federal workers compensation program to better protect taxpayer resources and modernizes benefits to reflect the realities of today’s economy.”(WCxKit)
Since 1916, a federal program has provided compensation benefits to federal employees who become injured or ill through a work-related activity.
“I am pleased we’ve been able to work together and move forward with commonsense reforms that will improve the efficiency of the federal workers compensation program and promote better use of taxpayer dollars,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). "Leaving government programs on auto-pilot for decades is simply unacceptable.”
George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat of the committee said, "The legislation will make important program integrity improvements and will update benefit levels not adjusted for inflation since 1949. I agree with the majority that other programmatic changes recommended by the administration require further examination.”
According to the Committee, H.R. 2465 will reform the federal workers compensation program by:
1. Enhancing efficiency to ensure the program reflects best practices in medical treatment and developments in the workforce.
2. Improving integrity by granting greater authority to the Department of Labor to verify workers’ earnings.
3. Modernizing the benefits federal workers receive to ensure the assistance they need reflects the realities of today's economy.
The report notes that committee leaders also requested a comprehensive review from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of additional reforms that may be needed to strengthen the program and the impact of the potential reforms on beneficiaries. (WCxKit)
“FECA is the safety net for over 2 million federal workers who are injured or killed on the job, and the bill we are introducing today strengthens the law," said Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), senior Democrat of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. "As we heard from many witnesses at a May 12 Committee hearing, more analysis is needed before we consider the proposed cuts to benefits for permanently injured workers and their survivors. So I am pleased there is a bipartisan effort to secure GAO’s input before we embark on further legislative efforts.”
To learn more about the federal workers compensation program, click here.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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