President Trump’s FY 2019 Budget would eliminate workers’ compensation reverse offsets and reform the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA)
Eliminate Workers’ Compensation Reverse Offset
The budget proposes the elimination of the Workers’ Compensation Reverse Offset against Social Security, estimating a savings over the ten years ending FY 2028 of $207 million. This proposal has been an ongoing feature of prior budgets during the prior administration and has been continued in President Trump’s FY 2019 budget as a savings to assist in reducing the overall deficit in the federal unified budget. See page 138 in the link at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/budget-fy2019.pdf
UWC has expressed concerns with this provision in prior budgets and will once again contact congressional staff with concerns. The amount of projected savings is modest and does not capture the cost of the administrative burden of modifying existing offset provisions. It also does not capture the unfunded federal mandate that would be imposed on states, self-insured employers and workers’ compensation laws and plans.
Reform of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA)
The budget proposes to modernize program administration, simplify benefit rates, and introduce controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. FECA was the subject of reform initiatives in the previous administration but reform legislation stalled due to opposition from employee advocates seeking to preserve the very favorable disability benefits provided under FECA.
UWC participated in support of prior reforms while also seeking reform in the Longshore Act. We are renewing suggestions for Longshore reform along with consideration of FECA reforms.