Harris Federal Reacts to Proposed Federal Workers' Compensation Reforms

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As a firm that works with injured and disabled federal employees across the country and abroad, Harris Federal says in a new blog article that workers should pay attention to proposed reforms that would lower federal workers’ compensation benefits.

Bo Harris

As a firm that works with injured and disabled federal workers every day, we understand the important role these benefits play in their lives. So, we think it is important for federal employees to stay on top of what is being proposed.

Federal employees should learn more about proposed changes to the federal workers’ compensation benefits system and how those changes could impact disabled workers and their families, the Harris Law Firm states in a new blog article.

“These reforms could lower the benefits received by many federal workers,” said the firm’s Bo Harris, a Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC).

“As a firm that works with injured and disabled federal workers every day, we understand the important role these benefits play in their lives,” added Harris, whose firm has prepared a blog article on the potential reforms at its website, FederalDisability.com. “So, we think it is important for federal employees to stay on top of what is being proposed.”

Harris was referring to proposed statutory amendments that the U.S. Department of Labor recently presented to a House subcommittee, according to a May 20, 2015 report by Government Executive. The amendments would change the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) in an effort to save money, the media outlet reports.

As Government Executive explains, under current law, workers with dependents may receive wage-loss benefits that total 75 percent of their pre-injury earnings if they are deemed to be “fully disabled,” while workers without dependents may receive 66 2/3 percent of what they were earning prior to a debilitating injury. The Labor Department is proposing a flat 70 percent rate.

Additionally, the Labor Department has proposed cutting workers’ compensation benefits for federal workers who have reached retirement age to 50 percent of their pre-injury earnings. The goal is to remove any incentive a worker may have to collect tax-free workers’ compensation benefits instead of taxed retirement benefits, Government Executive reports.

“We disagree with the suggestion that there are ‘incentives’ to collect workers’ compensation benefits instead of working,” Harris said. “In fact, in our experience, workers want to get back to the job as soon as possible after an injury, so they can earn their full wages, overtime and bonuses. It is only when their condition prevents them from working that they must turn to benefits.

“Those are the workers who truly need and deserve FECA benefits,” he added. “While it is important to spend our tax dollars wisely, our firm stresses that no reform should result in undue hardship among those who need workers’ compensation benefits the most.”

About Harris Federal Law Firm

Harris Federal Law Firm serves federal employees in all 50 states in the U.S. and abroad. The firm is dedicated to assisting workers and others with obtaining federal disability retirement benefits, federal workers’ compensation benefits and Veterans’ Affairs disability benefits. The firm also represents clients in third-party liability and employment discrimination cases. The firm features offices in Washington, D.C., Lexington, KY, and Austin, TX. To learn more, call (877) 226-2723 or connect with the firm online.

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