July 19, 2021
AFGE members are continuing to put pressure on their lawmakers to support legislation that would end the local pay disparities between hourly and salaried workers.
In the last month alone, AFGE helped win workers’ compensations for five families of federal workers who died of COVID-19.
These include three employees from the Department of Veterans Affairs, one employee from the Bureau of Prisons, and one employee from the Department of Agriculture. Their families will receive benefits under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA).
AFGE is currently working on about 70 COVID-19 death cases and hundreds of COVID-related cases.
We are able to help more federal workers thanks to an AFGE-supported COVID-19 relief bill that became law in March, which included an automatic presumption of workplace illness for front-line federal employees who contract COVID-19 on the job. This change allows employees or their survivors to receive workers’ compensation benefits under FECA without facing denials or lengthy appeals.
That means thousands of cases that were previously denied will be reviewed again by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. As a result, more families are more likely to receive the benefits they deserve. Our union stands ready to help.
Navigating the process
During these difficult times, our union’s locals, councils, districts, and national office are working together to make sure the families of federal workers who died of COVID-19 receive the workers’ compensation they are entitled to.
Because families who lost their loved ones usually have no idea how the FECA process works, they seek help from our union, and AFGE experts help them navigate the process at the time they need help the most.
“Since we had so many deaths, I established procedures for our locals to follow,” said AFGE Workers’ Compensation Specialist Joe Mansour. “As soon as there was a death at their locals, local officials called me, and we arranged for a conference call with the family. The calls were attended by the national president, district national vice presidents, and at times the council and local president.”
“The union officers on the call provided the condolences from AFGE. Then I provided the family member of the deceased with the process that they must go through,” he added. “The process can sometimes be long and difficult, but we walk them through it every step of the way. Some cases even took a year.”
Here’s what you can expect from the benefit process:
Have multiple notarized copies of required certifications ready as multiple agencies will require them.
2. While not directly related to Workers’ Compensation, we recommend you ask the agency if your loved one had FEGLI Federal Employee Group Insurance (https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/fe6.pdf) or a Thrift Saving plan (TSP) (https://www.tsp.gov/forms/deathBenefits.html).
3. Please contact your local president if you have any questions or need additional information. If you need to reach our Workers’ Compensation Specialist Joe Mansour at the national office, he can be reached by phone at (202) 322-8235 or via email at [email protected].
We’ve got your back
Being a part of AFGE means being a part of a labor family that takes care of its family members when things get tough. By joining AFGE, you benefit from your union power and support the work we do on behalf of federal workers!
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July is Disability Pride Month, and AFGE is proud to show solidarity with the disability community during this month of reflection, visibility, and concrete action.