If you work in one of the traditional maritime occupations such as longshoreman, ship repairer, shipbuilder, ship-breaker or harbor construction worker, and sustain an on-the-job injury or contract a job-related illness, you likely have coverage under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
As explained by the US Department of Labor, the LHWCA is a federal law that provides for benefits to injured or ill maritime workers who become disabled while working on navigable US waters or the adjoining areas, including the following, where vessel loading, unloading, building or repair take place.
Types of benefits
You can receive the following types of benefits under the LHWCA:
In addition, your family can receive LHWCA survivors’ benefits if your injury or illness results in your death.
Available LHWCA medical benefits include reimbursement payments for the following types of expenses:
- Diagnostic tests
- Hospital treatment, including surgery
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Hearing aids
- Medical equipment, such as prostheses, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.
- Travel costs
Unlike workers’ compensation, the LHWCA allows you to choose your own doctors and medical specialists.
The LHWCA breaks disability into the following four categories:
- Temporary partial
- Temporary total
- Permanent partial
- Permanent total
To receive any type of disability benefit, your disability must last for at least three days. You can expect to receive your first payment within 14 days thereafter.
In most situations, your disability benefits continue for as long as you remain disabled. You will also likely qualify for vocational rehabilitation services if your injury or illness results in your permanent partial disability.