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Federal Workers' Compensation

The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who experience work-related injury or occupational disease.

Here is a forum for members to share and exchange experiences regarding to workers' compensation related issues.

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#1 Posted : Friday, February 28, 2020 10:00:43 AM(UTC)

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My wife was approved a few days ago for disability retirement. She has been out of work or working limited hours for more than 3 years now and receives wage loss compensation.

Now that she has been approved for DR, she must choose between continuing to receive the OWCP wage loss payments or switch to her DR annuity.

On the face of it, continuing the OWCP payments seems like a no brainer. The payments are non-taxable and assuming they would pay her for 80 hours each pay period, the net is roughly double the DR annuity.

The only negative I see continuing the OWCP payments is she will not accrue additional service time to add on when the recalculate her annuity at age 62.

Am I missing something?

She's a month away from 52, so will OWCP keep paying her full-time until age 62?
#2 Posted : Saturday, February 29, 2020 4:12:55 PM(UTC)

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You may want to check with Jesse Slade at: theowcpclassroom.freeforums.net
#3 Posted : Monday, March 2, 2020 2:12:51 PM(UTC)

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Actually, if she just suspends DR while receiving OWCP, the service time will still accumulate should she later decide to switch back to OPM. That's a nonissue as long as there is no break in payments between either OPM or OWCP. (In other words, there should not a period of time in which she did not receive either benefit.) There may be some retroactive payments during the switching period, but usually, the retroactive payment goes back to the time that the other benefit stopped.

If she withdraws her retirement contributions from OPM, then there will no longer be any possible entitlement to OPM retirement benefits in the future. Usually, it is a good idea to keep OPM in your back pocket, in case OWCP goes south on you and also to ensure entitlement to a surviving spousal annuity/health insurance (FEHB) down the line.

Theoretically, OWCP will pay past age 62, if she is deemed disabled for work at age 62. Without knowing more about the case and her medical condition, I cannot tell you whether that will happen in your wife's case. She may get referred to Voc Rehab, etc, with the idea of returning to work in a different line of work in the private se tor that is less strenuous, etc. That would not happen with OPM. That possibility is the main reason, she needs to keep OPM in her back pocket. She may decide at some point that the OWCP dance is just not something she wants to continue doing, even if it means less money.
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