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Thursday, September 1, 2011

ECAB finally provides notice of the right to seek reconsideration following an ECAB decision

An interesting development I have noticed is that 33 of the approximately 295 ECAB decisions issued by ECAB since May 25, 2011 have some version of the following language at the end of the decision or in a late footnote:

"Appellant may submit new evidence or argument with a written request for reconsideration to OWCP within one year of this merit decision, pursuant to 5 USC § 8128(a) and 20 CFR §§ 10.605 through 10.607."

It has always irked me that there was no notice by OWCP or ECAB that the right to request a Reconsideration from the district office follows from an ECAB merit review decision. I have had many FECA claimants tell me that their case was over because ECAB ruled against them. Its easy to see how this incorrect assumption arises since there is no notice that a new reconsideration of the merits of the case can be requested within one year of an ECAB decision.

Based upon the Board having decided to start including this language in decisions, perhaps the Board would be receptive to finding that a claimant who failed to seek reconsideration within one year of a prior ECAB decision that did not include this notice must be given a merit review of his reconsideration request.

I am still trying to understand why only 15% of decisions are including suddenly this notice rather than all decisions.