Visit my website:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Be careful when posting anything online

When you have a work related injury, OWCP and employing agency investigators will conduct surveillance to see if your activities are consistent with your medical restrictions. Such investigations will include viewing your web page, blog, Facebook account, My Space account, and any other content you place on the internet.

They are  looking for anything they can use against you. For example, dancing, participating in sports, horsing around, or other hazardous, physical and/or embarrassing activities.       

Unlike other types of injury systems, there is never a settlement of an OWCP case. For so long as you wish to receive these benefits, be very aware of what you put on the internet and how it may look to others. If you feel that you must engage in online media, I strongly recommend that blogs, web pages and internet accounts (i.e., Face Book, My Space, networking pages and any other personal internet pages) be set to “private” or “by invitation only” so that the general public cannot readily access these accounts, web pages or blogs.

However, just because a page is “private” does not stop federal law enforcement personnel from gaining access to your content. Please be careful what you post or say online!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

FECA Benefits Under Attack - Call Your Senators!

Below is a bulletin sent out by FLEOA regarding Sen Bill 1789 and an amendment proposed by Senator Akaka that would strip the huge benefit cuts to FECA recipients out of the Postal Reform Act.

Please contact both Senators from your state to tell them that they should support the Akaka amendment to Sen Bill 1789. This bill could be taken up as soon as tomorrow, so time is nearly out to convince Senators to vote against 1789 or at least support Sen. Akaka’s amendment.

FLEOA continues its fight to maintain the FECA benefits federal law enforcement officers have earned. Senator Akaka's Amendment S.2034 to the "21st Century Postal Reform Act" is a common sense reform that sustains the benefit levels all injured federal officers deserves and lays the groundwork for correcting the system so it better supports injured law enforcement officers.

FLEOA can't do this alone, it needs the help of EVERY member to call both of their respective Senator's DC offices and express to them the urgency of supporting Senator Akaka's amendment.

You can contact your Senators by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Stay strong

Dear Senator:
I am writing on behalf of the more than 26,000 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association to advise you of our strong support for S. Amdt. 2034 to S. 1789, the “21st Century Postal Service Act,” offered by Senator Akaka.

As you know, included in Title III of the legislation are provisions to enact governmentwide reforms of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). While FLEOA does not disagree with the need to reform both the U.S. Postal Service or FECA, we hardly believe it is appropriate to attempt both in the same legislative vehicle. More importantly, we have serious concerns about the impact that the reforms in Title III will have on injured law enforcement officers currently in the FECA system. In particular, the retroactive application of benefit cuts for law enforcement officers upon reaching retirement age and the elimination of the FECA supplement for dependents.

Amendment #2034 is a sensible compromise that will make commonsense changes to the FECA program without reducing benefits for those who have sacrificed their health in service of this nation. It would replace the current language of Title III with the text of H.R. 2465, the “Federal Workers' Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act,” which passed the House of Representatives last November by a unanimous voice vote. Specifically, Amendment #2034 will ensure injuries or illnesses sustained as the result of terrorism are covered as a war-risk hazard, streamline the claims process for workers who sustain a traumatic injury in a designated zone of armed conflict, expand the Labor Department’s (DOL) ability to collect from third parties and combat fraud, and promote greater accountability in the program. And that is why FLEOA respectfully requests your support for this important amendment.

On behalf of the membership of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, thank you for your attention to our concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or our Washington Representative Chris Granberg at 202-457-7755, if we can provide you with any additional information or assistance.

Jon Adler
National President

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interesting new ECAB precedent

It is not unusual to receive a letter from OWCP "denying" entitlement to some aspect of your benefits that does not include appeal rights. Without a final decision and appeal rights, if you asked for review, the Employees Compensation Appeals Board and the Branch of Hearings and Review would simply dismiss your request for review as there was no final appealable decision. In a very recent decision, the Board has explained that even if appeal rights are not attached to correspondence denying you benefits, that the Board still has jurisdiction to review the denial. This is a concept long recognized by the MSPB and in many other jurisdictions. It is a small step in the long process to rein in the Kafkaesque manner in which OWCP conducts itself.

If you receive a letter denying benefits that is not framed as a formal decision with appeal rights, you can still appeal that denial to the Board. In B.C., docket 11-1903, issued March 26, 2012, the Board writes:

On July 14, 2011 an OWCP claims examiner advised appellant that her case (xxxxxx595) had been formally denied by decision dated March 12, 1993. OWCP further explained that it could not consider a recurrence on a denied claim and, therefore, no further action would be taken concerning the June 14, 2011 recurrence claim. It effectively denied appellant's recurrence claim. However, the July 14, 2011 correspondence did not provide any appeal rights. The Board considers the claims examiner's July 14, 2011 action a final, adverse decision subject to review under 20 CFR §§ 501.2(c) and 501.3(a).

This represents a long overdue recognition that the Board has jurisdiction to review a denial even where the formatting of the denial document is flawed.