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Monday, May 14, 2018

Postal Worker Loses $37K in SSDI Benefits for Failure to Advise of OWCP workers comp payments

There are offsets between your federal workers comp benefits paid by OWCP and benefits you receive from SSA. When you are receiving monetary benefits from OWCP and you receive disability benefits from SSA, you must notify SSA, as there may be a reduction of your SSD benefit and if you don't stay on top of this you will ultimately have a significant overpayment that you are required to repay. Similarly, an OWCP recipient who is in the FERS retirement system and begins receiving SSA retirement benefits must notify OWCP immediately of this as there is an offset that runs the other way; OWCP gets a credit for the portion of your SSA retirement annuity that arises from your federal employment. Just because you tell OWCP that you have started receiving the SSA retirement does not mean you are ok, you need to follow up and make sure your claims examiner has requested the necessary information from SSA. If OWCP fails to follow up, you will still have an overpayment and likely be required to repay it.

Here is a link to a story about a USPS employee who received an overpayment from SSA due to failing to notify SSA of receipt of OWCP benefits:

https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/recent-cases-news-trends-developments/archive/2018/05/11/united-states-postal-worker-loses-37k-in-ssdi-benefits-for-failure-to-advise-of-workers-comp-awards.aspx



Monday, April 30, 2018

OWCP Launches Initiative To Assist With Claims Arising From The September 11th Terrorist Attacks

In a recent "news" item, OWCP announced a new initiative to assist federal employees with FECA claims arising from the September 11th Terrorist Attacks. Information about this can be found on the OWCP website at:

https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/FECAClaimsSeptember11.htm

However, the biggest issue with these cases, which is NOT addressed in the announcement and guidance offered by OWCP, is the severe and unreasonable approach taken by OWCP in approaching timeliness. The biggest obstacle to 9/11 claims at this point in time is making sure that a claim is explained in a manner that does not allow OWCP to deny the claim on the basis that allows OWCP to unreasonably determine that the claimant should have known they had an injury and missed their time limitation for filing the claim within three years of when they knew or should have known of their injury.

If you are contemplating filing a claim for a medical condition arising from 9/11, or your presence at Ground Zero, or work related to that event, please realize that you must either explain that you have still been exposed to work factors contributing to your condition within three years of the date of filing your claim, or you must have a medical condition that was "latent" meaning it did not arise until more recently (such as cancer) and you must file your claim within three years of when you knew or should have known that your condition arose from that exposure. You can also show that you gave your supervisor written notice of your injury at the time the injury occurred.

This can be particularly complex in a claim for PTSD or other mental health condition arising from exposure. There are many cases in which OWCP essentially says, you should have known you have PTSD if you were there and if you file your claim more than three years after that exposure they will deny your claim on timeliness. There are sometimes ways to work around this issue, but it is critical that if you are filing a claim now, for a condition that you relate to exposure that occurred more than three years ago, you stand a very good chance of getting a denial unless your claim can be explained in a way that allows you to meet the three year time limitation.


Friday, January 5, 2018

OWCP Periodic Roll payment schedule 2018

OWCP's 2018 payment schedule is now accessible on the web. It can become confusing to understand what date the next payment is due from OWCP as they issue payments on a 28 day cycle, 13 times a year. Here is a link to the 2018 payment schedule:

https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/Periodic-Roll-Payment-Schedule.htm