Visit my website:

Monday, April 30, 2018

OWCP Launches Initiative To Assist With Claims Arising From The September 11th Terrorist Attacks

In a recent "news" item, OWCP announced a new initiative to assist federal employees with FECA claims arising from the September 11th Terrorist Attacks. Information about this can be found on the OWCP website at:

However, the biggest issue with these cases, which is NOT addressed in the announcement and guidance offered by OWCP, is the severe and unreasonable approach taken by OWCP in approaching timeliness. The biggest obstacle to 9/11 claims at this point in time is making sure that a claim is explained in a manner that does not allow OWCP to deny the claim on the basis that allows OWCP to unreasonably determine that the claimant should have known they had an injury and missed their time limitation for filing the claim within three years of when they knew or should have known of their injury.

If you are contemplating filing a claim for a medical condition arising from 9/11, or your presence at Ground Zero, or work related to that event, please realize that you must either explain that you have still been exposed to work factors contributing to your condition within three years of the date of filing your claim, or you must have a medical condition that was "latent" meaning it did not arise until more recently (such as cancer) and you must file your claim within three years of when you knew or should have known that your condition arose from that exposure. You can also show that you gave your supervisor written notice of your injury at the time the injury occurred.

This can be particularly complex in a claim for PTSD or other mental health condition arising from exposure. There are many cases in which OWCP essentially says, you should have known you have PTSD if you were there and if you file your claim more than three years after that exposure they will deny your claim on timeliness. There are sometimes ways to work around this issue, but it is critical that if you are filing a claim now, for a condition that you relate to exposure that occurred more than three years ago, you stand a very good chance of getting a denial unless your claim can be explained in a way that allows you to meet the three year time limitation.