On June 30th, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs released a revised and modernized rule regarding workers’ compensation claims under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. It is the first substantial change since 1999.

What the Rule Changes for Federal Workers’ Comp Claims

Under this new rule, fairness and efficiency of workers’ compensation claims are improved, using advances in technology to help preserve administrative resources involved in cases. Claims will now be submitted electronically (by the end of 2012) and teleconferences and video may begin to be used during hearings.

The rule should improve the process for claimants by lessening the burden on them when applying for benefits. The changes also clarify a few practices that had previously been a bit unclear, like acknowledging reorganization with the U.S Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, and incorporating statutory changes like the FECA death gratuity benefit. The rule change adds “skin” as a covered organ and retroactively adds coverage back to September 11, 2001 with up to 205 weeks of compensation provided for cancer, burns, and medical conditions to the skin.

To read the final rule and all of it’s changes in it’s entirety, visit the Department of Labor website.