APWU: Updated procedures for OWCP claims related to COVID-19

From: Vance Zimmerman <vzimmerman@apwu.org>
Sent: Monday, May 3, 2021
Subject: New OWCP bulletin

FECA released a new bulletin on the updated procedures for OWCP claims related to COVID-19. The bulletin is FECA Bulletin No. 21-09 Subject: Processing FECA Claims for COVID-19 under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bulletin describes new procedures claims examiners will follow for COVID-19 claims. Including to re-examine any claims for COVID-19 that were denied. The Bulletin can be found here: FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)

The bulletin states in part:

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law. This new legislation streamlines the process for federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the FECA. Specifically, Section 4016 of the ARPA provides that a “covered employee” as defined below shall, with respect to any claim made by or on behalf of the covered employee for benefits under the FECA, be deemed to have an injury proximately caused by exposure to COVID-19 arising out of the nature of the covered employee’s employment.

Under Section 4016 of the ARPA, the term “covered employee” means an individual:

  • Who is an employee under Section 8101(1) of title 5, United States Code, employed in the Federal service at any time during the period beginning on January 27, 2020, and ending on January 27, 2023;
  • Who is diagnosed with COVID–19 during such period; and
  • Who, during a covered exposure period prior to such diagnosis, carries out duties that—
    • require contact with patients, members of the public, or co-workers; or
    • include a risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The bulletin informs claims examiners what to look for when adjudicating these claims.

You may disseminate.

Vance Zimmerman
Industrial Relations Director
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4128
Tel: 202.842.4273 | Fax: 202.371.0992

FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-09 April 28, 2021

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