- The US government has agreed to pay compensation benefits to nearly 3,500 federal employees who caught COVID-19 at work, the Department of Labor revealed Friday, per the Washington Post.
- The agency said the government had granted death benefits to the families of 14 deceased employees on the same grounds.
- Since the pandemic struck, more than 6,600 federal workers have sought compensation for catching COVID-19 at work.
- The Labor Department said that more than 2,600 further claims for benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) were pending, including 68 for deaths.
- “This data confirms our oft expressed concerns that the Trump administration was rushing to reopen federal agencies without a plan,” Gerald E. Connolly, chair of the House Government Operations subcommittee, told the Washington Post.
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Nearly 3,500 federal workers will receive injury compensation benefits from the US government after they contracted COVID-19 at work, the Department of Labor announced Friday.
In an email to the Washington Post, the agency said the government had also granted death benefits to the family of 14 deceased employees on the same grounds.
The Labor Department also said that more than 2,600 further claims for benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) were pending, including 68 for deaths.
Since March, more than 6,600 federal workers have sought compensation for catching the coronavirus whilst at work. So far, 339 have been denied and 191 were withdrawn, the Washington Post reported.
That’s an increase from July, when around 4,000 federal employees had sought compensation for COVID-19 at work, while the survivors of 60 deceased employees requested death benefits, per the Washington Post.
These claims come at a time when the US has surpassed 11.8 million coronavirus cases and deaths have passed 252,000, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, chair of the House Government Operations subcommittee, said in an emailed statement to the Washington Post: “This data confirms our oft expressed concerns that the Trump administration was rushing to reopen federal agencies without a plan.
“At least 3,500 federal employees were needlessly exposed to coronavirus for Trump’s purely political purposes,” Connoly said, adding that the US “cannot have a federal workforce debilitated by the coronavirus.”
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FECA states that if a federal worker has a disabling injury or illness from work, they are entitled to payment of medical costs related to the disability or illness, payment of the first 45 days they can’t work, and compensation for up to three-quarters of their salary for the duration of the disability or illness.
For work-related deaths, the government shall pay 50% of the federal employee’s salary to the widow or widower, if they don’t have a child. If they do, those children get 45% of the monthly salary and an additional 15% for each child, so long as this doesn’t exceed 75% of the salary in total.
Administered by the Department of Labor (DOL), the FECA program, which covers about 2.7 million federal workers in more than 70 different agencies, paid around $3 billion in benefits to more than 200,000 people in 2019, per the Washington Post.