A Brief History of the OWCP Program for Federal Workers

The OWCP program, formally known as the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), has a long and evolving history of protecting federal workers injured or ill on the job.

Here’s a glimpse:

1908: Early Seeds: Recognizing the dangers of certain government jobs, President Theodore Roosevelt signs the first federal workers’ compensation law, covering a limited range of hazardous occupations.

1916: Birth of FECA: The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act is established, providing broader coverage and benefits for all civilian federal employees injured or killed on the job. This marks the origin of the OWCP program.

Early 20th Century: Expansion and Refinement: Over the years, FECA undergoes multiple amendments, expanding coverage to Peace Corps volunteers, Americorps Vista volunteers, and more. Benefits are also adjusted to reflect changing needs and costs.

1970s-1980s: Modernization and Addressing New Challenges: This period sees OWCP modernize its claims processing systems, establish the Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs, and tackle emerging issues like occupational diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder.

21st Century: Ongoing Evolution: OWCP continues to adapt to changing workplaces and priorities. Recent developments include initiatives like:

Protecting firefighters: Improved claims processing for specific occupational diseases impacting firefighters.
PEER Initiative: Encouraging federal agencies to prioritize safety and reemployment practices.

Responding to COVID-19: Providing guidance and compensation for certain federal workers infected on the job.
Key Points to Remember:

OWCP has been providing vital support to injured federal workers for over a century.
The program has continually evolved to address new challenges and protect worker well-being.
Today, OWCP remains committed to minimizing the human, social, and financial impact of work-related injuries and illnesses for federal employees.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources: