Member Advisory: Covid-19 Testing

With the availability of numerous types of COVID-19 tests, it is important to know that the Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP), only accepts laboratory tests, such as but not limited to, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), and antigen tests.

If an employee submits antigen test results, DOL requires a copy of the laboratory test results, not just the letter from the provider stating the results were positive. Antibody tests may also be submitted, but this route requires additional medical evidence to address work-relatedness, diagnosis, and treatment due to the intricacies involved in this process.

Regardless of testing choice, make sure to specifically request the laboratory results, as required by DOL. If an employee only submits test results without the lab results, the DOL will likely notify the employee to submit the lab results or risk having the claim not approved.

DOL acknowledges that it is difficult to determine the precise moment and method of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) transmission. Therefore, federal employees deemed to be engaged in “high-risk employment” are not burdened with identifying the exact day or time they contracted COVID-19.

As noted in the prior advisory, uniformed employees within our bargaining unit have been designated “high-risk employment” by the Agency for OWCP purposes, which means OWCP will accept that the exposure was proximately caused by the nature of employment. If the employee files the CA-1 within 30 days, and the Agency supports the claim/that the exposure occurred, the employee is eligible to receive continuation of pay for up to 45 days. High-risk employees are eligible to have COVID-19 testing paid by OWCP or have it reimbursed.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a Union representative.

For further information, refer to the following resources.

OWCP FECA COVID-19 resource page

FECA Bulletin No. 21-01, Issue Date: October 21, 2020:

FECA Bulletin No. 20-05, Issue Date: March 31, 2020