If you incur a workplace injury or illness, you might wonder if you qualify for workers’ compensation. You also might be confused as to whether you can receive federal benefits or state compensation, or both.

A number of resources exist to find answers, such as legal counsel or your personnel office, which should help you with forms and procedures.

The federal system

The ask.FEDweek forum states that the Federal Employees Compensation Act provides federal employees benefits in the case of an on-the-job injury or illness. The law guarantees employees the right to return to the job after treatment and recovery without the loss of rights or benefits. Both the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and the Office of Personnel Management administers the provisions of the law. The FECA covers civilian employees of the federal government such as postal employees. The injured employee has the right to seek medical help through the doctor of his or her choosing. The employee has the right to receive compensation for medical treatment associated with the injury or illness.

The state system

Workers not employed by a federal entity will apply under the state system for workers’ compensation. Each state administers its own program and sets its benefits and rules. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations provides services to injured workers through the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The 2018 Annual Report from the DWC compiles a statistical breakdown of illnesses and injuries across several categories. For example, the most frequently injured age group for both men and women covered the ages of 20-29. Injuries occurred most often to fingers and thumbs, closely followed by wrists and hands and then backs.