Posts Tagged ‘Federal Workers Compensation’

Calculating a OWCP Schedule Award

Friday, January 25th, 2013 by

Schedule awards are given only to employees with accepted federal workers compensation claims. They are dispersed for regional permanent partial impairment to a body part that is listed on the schedule. If the injured part of your body is not a scheduled member, than you are not entitled to an award.

If your body part is on the schedule, look at the corresponding number of weeks of compensation that the body part is eligible in its entirety. At this point, a special medical report is required called and Permanent Partial Impairment Rating (PPI). All federal impairment ratings should be done using the AMA Guides 6th Edition. Any rating using a different edition of the AMA Guides will not be considered.

Once a rating is given by the physician, the report is reviewed by the OWCP’s District Medical Advisor. The DMA will judge whether or not the PPI report is accurate. Once the impairment percentage is reviewed and determined, the Schedule Award is paid using the formula:

(OWCP Compensation Rate) x (Number of weeks allowed on the Schedule for the injured body part) x (% of Impairment) = $Schedule Award

Example:

Employee Salary = $52,000 Injured Body Part = Leg # of Weeks Allowed by Schedule = 288

Employee Comp Rate = 75% DMA Approved PPI Rating = 42% Weekly Comp Rate = $750.00

($750) x (288) = $216,000 x (42%) = $90,720 Schedule Award

-Harris Federal Law Firm

Harris Federal’s New Video Blog

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 by

Harris Federal is pleased to bring you a new way to stay informed on trending information regarding federal employee injury rights. Watch this first installment of the new Video Series and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get all of the new video blog updates directly to your inbox.

We are always trying to keep federal employees up to speed on the most recent developments that concern the federal disability retirement and federal workers compensation benefits.

We want to answer your questions! Please send your questions to us by email to mail@harrisfederal.com or post them on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. We will be selecting a few questions to discuss in every episode. (Don’t worry, we will keep your identity safe!)

- Harris Federal Law Firm

 

Video Transcription

Hey everyone, this is Bo Harris and you are watching the Harris Federal Video Blog, where we try to help federal employees understand their benefits.

For over ten our office has spoken to federal employees every day about their benefits. The one thing that is extremely obvious to us is that the federal government has not done a good job at explaining their employees’ benefits to them. You can read all day on the internet, and skim the surface and never really find the answers to your questions.

That’s what this video blog is here for. We want to go in depth about your questions to help you truly understand the ins and outs of your benefits.

We’re going to be talking about many different benefits for federal employees, but I want you to know that our primary focus is going to be on Federal Disability Retirement. We believe that this benefit is the most misunderstood benefit and could have the biggest impact on the most federal employees.

It’s our goal to be as helpful as possible. Send your us your questions to mail@harrisfederal.com and be sure to put video blog in the subject line. Also check out our Facebook and Twitter pages. You can follow us there and you can submit your questions there too.

Thanks for watching, see you next time.

What are the OWCP forms I need to know?

Friday, August 10th, 2012 by

If you are injured on the job while working for a federal agency you may be entitled to compensation. In order to be eligible for any federal workers compensation, you must file appropriate paperwork with your agency. Many federal employees get confused by the vast amount of forms that the OWCP may require from them.

If the injury is a traumatic injury, the correct form to file is a CA-1. A CA-1 is a form entitled, Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation.

If the injury or illness occurs from repetitive motion, exposure, or does not have a sudden onset, it may be more appropriate to file a CA-2 which is entitled, Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation.

The CA-7 form is the form used to claim for compensation. This form is used once a claim has been accepted by the OWCP to claim specific benefits and be can be used to be paid for several different types of compensation.

A CA-17 form is known as the duty status report and is one of many forms that doctors use to describe what sort of limitations federal workers need to be under as a result of your federal injury claim. The CA-20 is an attending physician’s report, which asks your doctor to give an overview of your care as it relates to your work-related injury. The final form discussed, the OWCP 5c is a work capacity evaluation form and this form is used to ask your doctor about specific limitations with regard to your ability to return to work.

-Harris Federal Law Firm

Schedule Award Success Story

Friday, July 27th, 2012 by

D. began suffering from hip pain and weakness while working as a letter carrier and distribution clerk for the United States Postal Service.  He visited his physician and was told that his job duties, which required prolonged walking, pushing, pulling, and standing, had aggravated his pre-existing arthritis in his hip.  D. completed an OWCP CA-2 form and submitted it along with the opinion from his doctor.  OWCP reviewed the medical documentation he submitted with his CA-2 and accepted his claim for a permanent aggravation of arthritis in his hip.

D. suffered from increased pain in his hip, which limited his ability to walk and participate in other normal activities involving his legs.  He eventually underwent a total hip replacement.  This procedure replaced his arthritic hip joint with prosthetic hardware, significantly reducing his pain and difficulty walking.  D. continued to work for the postal service in a limited duty capacity, within the limits of the medical restrictions placed on him by his physician.

Upon his retirement, he contacted our firm and Harris Federal Law Firm was able to secure him a schedule award for his work related hip condition.  The schedule award compensated him for the percentage of permanent impairment he suffered in his hip as a result of his work related injury.

-Harris Federal Law Firm

Federal Workers Compensation: Choosing Your Doctors

Friday, July 13th, 2012 by

Federal employees who have been injured at work know federal workers compensation can be a complicated process with many do’s and don’ts. After an on the job injury occurs, the injured federal employee does have the right to choose the physician of his or her choice to perform their physical evaluation. As imagined, choosing the right doctor is very important for the acceptance of your federal workers compensation claim.

Once a physician has been selected and an evaluation completed, forms must be filed with the injured worker’s employing agency to determine eligibility to receive benefits. If the medical evidence is supportive of a work-related injury causing a disability then that federal worker is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay when absent due to the disability. Form CA-20, the Attending Physician’s Report, is used to document the employee’s condition.

In general, the federal agency must continue to pay COP once it has begun, however, there are exceptions. If the employee does not provide their employing agency with medical evidence of a disabling traumatic injury within 10 days of claiming COP, or if the federal employee’s doctor finds the individual to be partially disabled and they refuse or fail to respond to a suitable job offer, then COP will not continue. In addition, should the injured worker’s scheduled period of employment end, provided that the employment period or termination date occurs before the injury date, then the employing agency has the right to terminate COP.

The employing agency is not permitted to disrupt COP even if disciplinary action has been taken against the employee. This is the case unless termination, in writing, or another action was issued prior to the occurrence of injury and the termination became final during COP.

Keep this information in mind when filing your claim and be sure to gather your medical evidence promptly. We suggest you find assistance early in the process to avoid future problems and hiccups.

-Harris Federal Law Firm

OWCP Schedule Award: 102 (Continued)

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by

The most important document required to be to eligible to receive a schedule award is the impairment rating performed by your physician. This must be included in your OWCP schedule award request file. The amount an injured federal worker is eligible to receive in a schedule award varies and depends upon which extremity is permanently impaired and by how much impairment. Each limb is categorized and assigned a number of weeks of compensation for loss of use. Should your doctor determine that you have a 10% impairment of your limb, then your award would be 10% of what your federal worker’s compensation wage loss benefit would be for those weeks. Recipients can choose a present day value lump sum or for the award to be paid over a period of time.

Your rating must be conducted in accordance with strict guidelines mandated by the federal government. Many doctors believe that they are capable of determining the impairment rating for an injured federal worker because they have examined non-federal workers compensation patients in the past; however, the impairment procedure for a federal employee is far different than that of a non-federal employee and it is important that your doctor is aware of this.

A potential issue related to the impairment rating is created by surgeons becoming hesitant to substantiate the impairment for fear that it is admitting an unsuccessful procedure and possibly malpractice. Fortunately for injured federal workers, the impairment rating does not have to come from your treating surgeon.

Always check with your doctor and his staff to verify the ratings were calculated correctly. You cannot afford to lose this important benefit due to the concern that you may agitate your doctor. Good luck!

-Harris Federal Law Firm

OWCP Schedule Award: 102

Friday, June 15th, 2012 by

We previously discussed how your doctor’s reports can have the greatest affect on your federal workers compensation claim and potential schedule award. If the report is not detailed well enough this could cause your claim to be denied, not because you do not have a valid claim, but because you have not proven your claim to the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, or OWCP. To save time, money and frustration it is wise to go to your appointments well equipped with organized medical records and the knowledge of what type of information your doctor must provide.

It is essential that your doctor acknowledge that you were not experiencing any of the symptoms caused by your work injury, or any symptoms in that area of your body, prior to the incident. In addition, it is necessary that your physician explain that it is possible for an individual to have a degenerative condition without symptoms and then following an accident, become symptomatic. It is possible that a pre-existing, weakened condition can make an individual more prone to injury that one without.

Should your federal workers compensation injury exacerbate a pre-existing condition, this does not mean you are not entitled to benefits. However, stating your condition in this manner will allow your doctor to attribute your impairments and restrictions to the work incident. If your records clearly reflect no prior medical treatment for the injured portions of your body within 12 months preceding the incident, your case will be much stronger.

Check back next Friday when we discuss impairment ratings!

-Harris Federal Law Firm

OWCP Schedule Award: 101 (Continued)

Friday, June 8th, 2012 by

As we discussed last week, your doctor plays a major part in your case in obtaining a schedule award due to a federal workers compensation injury.

It is imperative that you have your doctor on your side in this and make sure his or her medical opinion is detailed in nature. For the doctors who do try to assist patients in these types of situations, often times, they are unaware how specific his or her written opinion must be.

To improve your odds of a less complicated claim, there are a few things you should know to dispute a consulting doctor’s opinion. First, make sure your doctor provides you with a detailed report to be filed in your record with the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, or OWCP. This report will be used as a rebuttal against the consulting doctor’s written opinion.

While your doctor may not be used to having his or her professional opinion questioned, it is not uncommon with this process and this is why the detailed and specific report is necessary. If your doctor is vague or ambiguous this can have a major impact on your case.

Hiring a nurse to assist with the collection and organization of medical records is another way to improve your chances of a more detailed report. Another idea is to gather all of your records, securing them in a three ring binder with tabs, and add a table of contents and summaries. This makes it easier for your physician to review the opinions of other doctors and provide an overall thorough report. For more on navigating the schedule award process, check back next week for the continuation of OWCP: Schedule Award101.

-Harris Federal Law Firm

OWCP Schedule Award: 101

Friday, June 1st, 2012 by

When dealing with a federal workers compensation injury, workers are entitled to compensation benefits if and when they prove their injury occurred while on the job. There are several benefits available to the injured worker, including: wage loss, medical bill coverage and a schedule award. A schedule award is payment for the permanent impairment to an extremity as result of an on the job injury.

The award is not available for an injury to the spine, heart or brain unless this injury causes impairments to develop at a body part linked with the nerve. For example, some lumbar injuries can lead to leg problems and some neck injuries can cause hand and arm impairments. The schedule award payment can either be paid in a present value lump sum or choose to have the payment paid out over a period of time.

As mentioned previously, to be eligible for a schedule award the claimant most prove that the injury occurred at work and has caused a permanent impairment to an extremity. Therefore, it is extremely important that your filed federal workers compensation claim be accepted by the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, or OWCP, and that your doctor provides a responsive report that is detailed and precise.

When your doctor is not precise in his diagnosis of your injury, this creates a whole new obstacle. It is not unusual for the employing agency to hire a doctor for an agency medical exam. If this doctor describes your injury or condition as pre-existing or degenerative, then he is providing the basis for the workers compensation claim’s denial.

- Harris Federal Law Firm

FederalDisability.com

Monday, May 7th, 2012 by

Harris Federal Law Firm created the website FederalDisability.com to help inform more federal employees on the subject of Federal Disability Retirement. The best part is it’s free to use! Go explore the site and you’ll find that it is packed full of helpful information for both FERS and CSRS federal employees.

FederalDisability.com

We speak to thousands of federal employees from all across the country every year and we’re always surprised at how many don’t know about Federal Disability Retirement. Unfortunately there is just not a lot of good information or help out there on this benefit. Federal employee benefits are complex and can be very overwhelming for anyone. FederalDisability.com can help you understand the benefit and your rights.

Harris Federal Law Firm is honored to fight for federal employees every day. If you or someone you know has questions or needs help, contact our offices anytime. Our team of Attorneys, Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultants and Support Staff understand the ins and outs of federal benefits and we can help you prevail.