If you were disabled or injured on the job when carrying out your duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, a program administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) in the Department of Labor.

If you have partial, total or permanent disabilities, the Federal Employees Compensation Act provides for the payment of both scheduled and non-scheduled lump-sum benefits and payments. This time I want to focus on the non-scheduled awards, which are compensation for loss of wage earning capacity. As such, they are paid when you can’t carry out your job because of an injury or disease-related disability. How much you are paid is determined by the difference between your capacity to earn wages and the wages of the job you held when you were injured.

If your disability is expected to last for at least a year, you have the option of applying for a disability retirement, a program that is administered by the Office of Personnel Management. It’s designed to provide an annuity that partially replaces the salary you lost because of your inability to perform on the job.

There’s one big difference between worker’s compensation and disability retirement. While disability retirements are payable whether or not the disease or injury was incurred on the job, workers’ comp isn’t. You can only receive workers’ comp if your disease or injury was sustained in the performance of your duty.