Injured employees throughout the nation have experienced denials of their workers' compensation claims, denial of essential medical treatments, and lost wages due to denied compensation claims. In many instances, these injured workers were told by their medical providers that the doctor's office would "take care of everything" for them, only to find themselves with large unpaid medical bills and no assistance following the denial of their claim. There are numerous wellness centers and treatment facilities that cater specifically and only to injured federal employees, marketing themselves as a "one-stop-shop" for dealing with OWCP.
However, federal workers' compensation fraud is unfortunately a regular occurrence across the country. Examples can be readily found online. Some providers have taken advantage of injured employees by:
Following a traumatic injury, one of the first concerns for an injured employee and their family is compensation. The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) has a provision known as Continuation of Pay (COP) which requires that the employing agency must continue the injured employee's regular pay during any period of work-related disability, up to a maximum of 45 calendar days. The agency, not OWCP, pays COP. Unlike wage loss benefits, COP is subject to taxes and all other payroll deductions that are made from regular income.
The agency must continue the pay of an injured employee, who is eligible for COP, and may not require the employee to use his or her own sick or annual leave, unless special provisions apply. However, while continuing the employee's pay, the employer may controvert the employee's COP entitlement pending a final determination by OWCP. OWCP has the exclusive authority to determine questions of entitlement and all other issues relating to COP.
When an injured federal employee files a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss, it is common to find challenges when submitting information to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Injured employees experiencing hearing loss often prematurely file the claim before establishing the extent and nature of their hearing loss. OWCP requires extensive testing results to rule out any other causes and ensure accurate testing. This article will discuss key questions and information to review with your treating physician when gathering medical evidence in support of your claim.