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§ 939. Administration by Secretary

(a) Prescribing rules and regulations; appointing and fixing compensation of employees; making expenditures. Except as otherwise specifically provided, the Secretary shall administer the provisions of this Act, and for such purpose the Secretary is authorized (1) to make such rules and regulations; (2) to appoint and fix the compensation of such temporary technical assistants and medical advisers, and, subject to the provisions of the civil service laws, to appoint, and, in accordance with the Classification Act of 1923, to fix the compensation of such deputy commissioners (except deputy commissioners appointed under subdivision (a) of section 40 [33 USC § 940(a)]) and other officers and employees; and (3) to make such expenditures (including expenditures for personal services and rent at the seat of government and elsewhere, for law books, books of reference, periodicals, and for printing and binding) as may be necessary in the administration of this Act. All expenditures of the Secretary in the administration of this Act shall be allowed and paid as provided in section 45 [33 USC § 945] upon the presentation of itemized vouchers therefor approved by the Secretary.

(b) Establishing compensation districts. The Secretary shall establish compensation districts, to include the high seas and the areas within the United States to which this Act applies, and shall assign to each such district one or more deputy commissioners, as the Secretary deems advisable. Judicial proceedings under sections 18 and 21 of this Act [33 USC §§ 918, 921] in respect of any injury or death occurring on the high seas shall be instituted in the district court within whose territorial jurisdiction is located the office of the deputy commissioner having jurisdiction in respect of such injury or death (or in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia [United States District Court for the District of Columbia] if such office is located in such District).

(c) Furnishing information and assistance; directing vocational rehabilitation.

(1) The Secretary shall, upon request, provide persons covered by this Act with information and assistance relating to the Act's coverage and compensation and the procedures for obtaining such compensation and including assistance in processing a claim. The Secretary may, upon request, provide persons covered by this Act with legal assistance in processing a claim. The Secretary shall also provide employees receiving compensation information on medical, manpower, and vocational rehabilitation services and assist such employees in obtaining the best such services available.

(2) The Secretary shall direct the vocational rehabilitation of permanently disabled employees and shall arrange with the appropriate public or private agencies in State or Territories, possessions, or the District of Columbia for such rehabilitation. The Federal Board for Vocational Education shall cooperate with the Secretary in such educational work. The Secretary may in its discretion furnish such prosthetic appliances or other apparatus made necessary by an injury upon which an award has been made under this Act to render a disabled employee fit to engage in a remunerative occupation. Where necessary rehabilitation services are not available otherwise, the Secretary of Labor may, in his discretion, use the fund provided for in section 44 [44 USC § 944] in such amounts as may be necessary to procure such services, including necessary prosthetic appliances or other apparatus. This fund shall also be available in such amounts as may be authorized in annual appropriations for the Department of Labor for the costs of administering this subsection.

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