Advocates for federal workers urged Congress this week to not strip compensation benefits from federal workers who were disabled by work-related injuries or illnesses once they reach retirement age.
Joseph A. Beaudoin, President of the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia to oppose policies that would cause further harm to the workers who were disabled while serving their country.
“When a federal worker is injured, reimbursed medical expenses and monetary compensation will never be able to reverse the permanent damage of a debilitating injury or illness,” said Beaudoin. “But we must fulfill our obligation to compensate employees who were injured on the job through no fault of their own. Although some proposals to modernize the system are welcome such as the Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (H.R. 2456), others would disadvantage these federal workers.”
Currently, under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA), federal employees disabled by work-related injuries or illnesses receive basic compensation, along with medical benefits. Basic compensation for employees who are single or have no dependents is usually two-thirds of their monthly pay (or of the difference between their monthly pay and their monthly wage-earning capacity); employees who are married or have dependents get three-quarters of their pay. Employees receive the benefits in lieu of a right to sue the federal government.
“A federal worker who was injured in his or her 40s would have had decades to earn higher wages and contribute toward his or her retirement,” Beaudoin said. “They have already made sacrifices for their country and it is unfair to add this burden to them in their retirement age.”
NARFE, one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/ retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses, and survivors.