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What benefits are available under the LHWCA?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) entitles certain maritime workers to benefits when they are hurt as a result of their work. There are many different types of effects that workplace injuries can have on a maritime worker. Thankfully, there are also many types of benefits available under the LHWCA.

Here are some of the main types of benefits available to injured maritime workers who qualify for LHWCA coverage:

  • Medical costs: There are many medical treatment needs a maritime worker may have as a result of workplace injuries they suffered. When a worker is under LHWCA coverage, they are generally entitled to have the costs of all necessary medical care and treatments for workplace injuries covered. 
  • Transportation costs related to medical treatment: Sometimes, getting the right medical treatment following a maritime work injury can involve a lot of travel. Under the LHWCA, a qualified injured worker can receive compensation for travel costs related to getting necessary medical treatment. 
  • Vocational rehabilitation: Sometimes, a workplace injury will make returning to their old job an impossibility for a maritime worker. Workers in such a situation who qualify for LHWCA coverage may be eligible to receive compensation for costs related to vocational rehabilitation services. Also, in such a situation, such a worker may be eligible to receive a maintenance allowance as they are retraining. 
  • Disability compensation: When a maritime worker is hurt on the job, the injury sometimes impairs, temporarily or permanently, their ability to make as much as they did pre-injury. When this happens and a worker is covered by the LHWCA, they are typically eligible for disability compensation. Compensation is available for temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability and occupational-illness-related disabilities that didn't come into effect until after a person retired. 
  • Death benefits: Sadly, accidents in the maritime industry sometimes result in worker deaths. When an LHWCA-covered worker is killed in a work accident, their family is generally entitled to monetary relief. 

What specific benefits a workplace injury entitles an LHWCA-covered worker to depends on their individual situation. Sadly, injured workers sometimes encounter difficulties (such as insurance company or employer resistance) in getting the benefits the LHWCA entitles them to. Thus, having skilled legal support when pursuing such benefits can be important. 

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) - Pamphlet LS-560," Accessed Dec. 17, 2015

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