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Report: Rising fed COVID toll now tops 4,000 disabled, 60 dead

To date, more than 4,000 federal employees or their families have claimed disability compensation for COVID-19 contracted at work -- with around 60 more claiming death benefits, according to a new report in the Washington Post.

Over 1,600 of the disability claims have been approved and just seven have been rejected, with the rest still in process or other status, said the piece, which is based on a Labor Department Inspector General document and additional reporting. The number of disability claims is expected to rise by yet another 50% -- to a total of more than 6,000 -- in the coming weeks.

The IG report represents one the earliest attempts to quantify the impact of COVID across the federal workforce. It is aimed at clarifying trends in coronavirus claims under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) and other workers’ compensation mechanisms in the government that cover 2.1 million civilian agency employees along with an additional 630,000 Postal Service workers.

The Post report notes that as soon as the pandemic was declared in March, FECA stipulated that “law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel” were among those facing the highest risk of contracting the virus. Such high-risk employees from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs, as expected, make up most of the claims to date.

The piece also notes that the federal government has not published a “central count” of the number of infections and deaths among feds. However, by adding up numbers released so far by individual agencies, at least 19,000 feds reportedly have contracted the virus -- whether at work or elsewhere -- with nearly 100 dying from it.

Reader comments

Fri, Jul 31, 2020 Jim

Ridiculous choices. No clear commitment to protecting employees equals a lot of dead employees already.

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

If you're so afraid or vulnerable, then YOU stay home. Somebody's gotta do the work to keep the country running. And as far as deaths, are they 'directly' related to COVID? And how does it compare to the yearly regular deaths all this time before COVID?

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

How does one identify exactly where someone contracts the virus? Is the disability permanent?

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

The Post report notes that as soon as the pandemic was declared in March, FECA stipulated that “law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel” were among those facing the highest risk of contracting the virus. This said, why are these front line workers not being paid "combat pay"?

Tue, Jul 28, 2020

We should not be having to go back to workplaces, until the situation is made very safe. Look at all that misery, most of it for no reason. Ok, so first responders have to take some risks but I am sure a lot of this is stupid. Not by the first responders, but way up the chain.

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2020 Digital Almanac

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