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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OWCP is hiring!

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Noise Exposure and Federal Workers' Compensation

Federal employees who are exposed to noise in the course of their job are entitled to workers compensation benefits for the damage this causes to their hearing. If you have worked around loud machinery in the USPS or for other federal agencies, or have been otherwise exposed to noise on the job, you must file for your workers compensation benefits within three years of when you learned that noise has damaged your hearing. If your work environment then continues to expose you to noise, your workers' compensation claim needs to be filed within three years of when you were last exposed to noise on the job. There are many errors that can arise in OWCP's handling of this sort of case that can cause your benefits to be denied or be far lower than they should be. If you think your federal job has damaged your hearing, you should be sure to protect your rights by acting within the relevant time limitations. If you are not sure of your time limitation, you should investigate this immediately in order to avoid losing your entitlement to benefits on a technicality.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

USPS fails to submit CA-7 forms

I presently have several clients with accepted permanent restrictions from their workers compensation claims who have lost all or most of their working hours as a result of the USPS NRP. These folks are entitled to receive workers compensation pay for the hours that the USPS does not have work. And they would, if the USPS would complete and submit CA-7 forms. Unfortunately, families are going without income for weeks, and in some cases months, because the USPS will not process CA-7 forms, and OWCP will do nothing about it.

The claims examiners tell us that there is nothing they can do until the USPS provides the missing information. But I challenge that notion. Why can’t OWCP start paying the workers based on an educated guess as to their pay rate? OWCP could easily obtain a paycheck stub or an SF-50 from the injured worker. If the USPS later documents that the injured worker was overpaid, there would be a without fault overpayment because the overpayment was created by the USPS’ failure to respond.

OWCP’s refusal to take simple steps like this continues to document its complete alignment with employing agencies and the lack of concern for protecting injured workers.