State vs. Federal Workers' Compensation Laws

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 10-Aug-2017

If you were injured in a workplace accident, you are probably wondering, “Is my injury covered by workers’ compensation and if so, what are the benefits of filing a claim” In New York, most employees are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws; however, federal employees pursue a different avenue of compensation. Here’s what you need to know about state vs. federal workers’ compensation laws:

NY State Workers’ Compensation Laws

According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, “Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.” The Board goes on to explain that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Meaning, “no one party is determined to be at fault,” according to the Board. However, a worker loses their right to receive benefits if his or her injury resulted from drug or alcohol use, or if the worker intentionally tried to injure themselves or someone else during the accident.

Almost all employees in New York are covered by workers’ compensation. Generally, federal employees, maritime workers, New York City police officers and firefighters and others who are covered under other federal workers’ compensation laws are not covered.

Federal Workers’ Compensation Laws

The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) is the federal law that addresses workers’ compensation for federal employees. The FECA covers federal employees and as a result, federal employees cannot obtain workers’ compensation through their state government, New York included. Like state-regulated workers’ compensation, the FECA covers injuries sustained on the job as well as occupational diseases. It also covers medical bills and lost wages.

If one of your close family members worked for the federal government and he or she died while on the job, you may be entitled to survivor’s benefits under the FECA.

Note: The FECA does not cover all federal employees. Certain types of federal workers, such as harbor workers, railroad workers, and coal miners may be covered under other federal workers’ compensation laws. Likewise, military members are not covered by the FECA.

To learn more about your rights under state or federal workers’ compensation laws, contact our firm today for a free consultation!