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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Submitting information to OWCP

I frequently hear the complaint that "OWCP lost something that I sent in to my file." In a federal workers compensation claim, OWCP scans everything that you send them. If its got your file number on it, it is usually in your file. The folks who do the scanning are contractors, not your claims examiner. Anything you send to OWCP should have your file number clearly marked at the top right so that it is easy for someone to associate it with your file.

When items are scanned to your file, they are "coded" as correspondence, medical report, CA-1032 form, etc. A very common reason for a document to supposedly not be in your file is that it was incorrectly coded. For instance, it appears to me that about 75% of the time when one of my clients gets a nasty letter saying that the annual CA-1032 form was not received that is not actually true. OWCP did receive the CA-1032, but when it was coded, it was listed as correspondence or something other than being the CA-1032. Then, when your claims examiner reviewed incoming mail to see if it was listed as being received, since its coded wrong, it does not show up in the index to your file as being received.

Monday, June 23, 2014

OWCP and new injuries - send your medical records directly to OWCP

When you suffer a work injury, it is your burden to provide sufficient information to document how your job caused your injury. You need to collect all of your medical records, mark your file number on them, and send them all directly to OWCP.  If someone at your employing agency instructs you to send your records through them, you may do so, but do not rely on that person to submit your records to OWCP for you. The same goes for your physicians. Even if those offices tell you that they know what to do, it is crucial that you still collect all of your records, mark your file number on the top right of each page, and send them directly to OWCP yourself.

The most common reason for an initial claim to be denied is that the medical information that would have been enough to get your file approved did not get into the OWCP file because the injured worker thought someone else was supposed to do that for them.