Visit my website:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Be Careful With Your Schedule Award

There seems to be an increasing number of lawyers and nonlawyer representatives wanting to only represent OWCP claimant's with their schedule awards. There are some traps for the unwary, and it is important to understand whether someone is looking out for your interests or just their own. Firstly, you cannot collect a schedule award and wage loss benefits. I get calls from folks regularly who want to switch to their pension so they can collect their schedule award. Keep in mind that most schedule awards are not that substantial. A schedule award is most valuable to someone who is back to work, or someone drawing a CSRS pension, or someone already collecting a wage loss check from OWCP for a different injury. For OWCP claimants in the FERS system who are disabled and collecting SSD, if you switch to your pension to collect the schedule award, you are really not gaining that much: only the value of your pension check that is already being offset because of your SSD benefit. That is because whether you collect a schedule award check or wage loss check, the workers compensation offset by SSA from disability benefit recipients often significantly reduces injured workers' SSD payment and when you get SSD, OPM reduces your pension check.