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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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UFA88  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 20, 2019 8:27:26 AM(UTC)
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Has anyone here ever had any experience in regards to a Workman’s Comp Case/Scheduled Award? I was injured in Feb. and have been out for 6 weeks or so. My case has already been accepted. I just had an MRI a week ago and it was determined that I have 2 torn ligaments and a torn tendon. I am seeing a Orthopedic Dr tomorrow that my case manager located. He is close by and accepts Dept of Labor cases and got good reviews as a Dr. as well. I won’t know if surgery on the horizon until tomorrow. Should I get a second opinion? Lastly, has anyone received a scheduled award for this type of injury and at what % impairment were you considered. Just curious as to what I am looking at. I have spoken to an attorney that will take 20% if I hire him. I just want to be able to do my normal activities I used to, and I’m afraid that’s not in my future. I have a 13 yr old son whom is an athlete that I spend a lot of time with preparing him for his games. All input is appreciated. Thank you!
VW1  
#2 Posted : Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:04:22 AM(UTC)
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First thing is if the lawyer told you they would take 20%, this tells me the attorney is not familiar with OWCP law, or doesn't care what the law states, as representatives are NOT allowed to charge you under a contingency fee. Representatives must have you sign a fee agreement and the fee being charged by the rep has to be approved by OWCP prior to you paying the fee. The law is written this way so representatives or attorney's do not take advantage of injured workers. The schedule award system was out into place to pay you for any permanent impairment you suffer to a covered body part. Why would you want to give this attorney 20% of an award that was put into place to pay you for you for, well basically, your suffering?

It will be impossible for anyone to tell you what your percentage of impairment is going to be because the doctor has to use a special book, The AMA Guides to Permanent Partial Impairment, 6th Edition, to calculate the percentage of impairment. Depending on what part of the body is suffering permanent impairment will depend on what type of method the doctor will use to calculate your percentage. There is the DBI or Diagnosed Based Impairment, or ROM for Range of Motion Impairment. Regardless of the body part injured, the doctor should always use the DBI method and if they do the ROM method also, the method that gives you the higher percentage of impairment is the percentage you will use.

Since you were just recently injured, it is most likely going to be a little while before you reach MMI so I wouldn't worry too much now about an impairment rating. When the time comes for you to file for the SA, all you have to do is send a copy of the impairment rating to OWCP and also fill out a CA-7 for the SA and send that in to your employer. Let us know if you have anymore questions.

Edited by user Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:05:52 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

S D Analyst  
#3 Posted : Friday, March 22, 2019 1:14:49 PM(UTC)
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I don't have any info re the lawyer/comp situation. Just wanted to say, I had the same type of injury, off the job (fell off the fireplace hearth while hanging a picture). It was the worst pain ever, just excruciating. It took a year, but I recovered fully. I was on crutches for 2 weeks. Out of work during that time (not allowed in the area I needed to work in with crutches). I had that walking cast for another month or so, then ankle wrapped until I felt like it was strong enough to go without. It was a very long recovery, but ankle is fine now. Best of luck to you.

Edited by user Friday, March 22, 2019 1:15:55 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

UFA88  
#4 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2019 7:25:53 AM(UTC)
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Question for anyone that has been approved for Workman’s Comp. Do we get to retain our annual leave for the year of we’re out under OWCP.? Do we have to be back to work in a certain time frame in order to be able to retain the hours given at the beginning of the year. I currently have close to 4 weeks when I was injured, and am just curious. TIA
edalder  
#5 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2019 1:01:51 PM(UTC)

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To the original poster.

1. Has anyone ever received a scheduled award for an ankle injury? Yes.The ankle is part of the leg and the leg is a scheduled award member/body part under the law.

2. Will you receive a scheduled award for yours? Possibly, but you have to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI) for an award to even be under consideration and it looks like you are a long way from MMI.

3, My advice for now is to not put the cart before the horse. Concentrate on what you need to do now to get the best possible recovery and do accept that it may be a long hard process. Once you learn that there is not much else that can be done and you still have residuals, then file fr that scheduled award at that point.

4. Finally, scheduled awards are based upon the "impairment" that remains. You are not going to get any money because you may not be able to participate in your son's athletic activities. It does not work that way. OWCP using the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairments to evaluate the percentage of impairment that exists. It will be based upon stuff such as range of motion. muscle atrophy, if any and stuff like that.

To the poster who asked about annual leave. In the Post Office, the USPS often advances leave at the beginning of the leave year based upon the assumption that you will be working the entire year. Elsewhere in the Federal government, leave is genarally not credited to your account until you have earned it thru your service. In other words, depending upon your leave category, you accrue a certain number of leave hours every pay period.

Being on LWOP affects annual leave both ways. If you are Postal, you probably will see your advanced annual leave balance diluted for every biweekly pay period you are in a full LWOP status because the leave advance was based upon the assumption that you would be working and you are not. . If you are working part-time and LWOP part-time, your balance probably will not dilute as much, but there will be some effect on that advanced leave balance number. The thing to remember is the leave was "advanced" to you, even though you had not really earned it at the time of the advance. However, any annual leave that you carried over from the previous leave year would still be there.

If you are non-Postal, you will not accrue any annual leave for any pay period in which your total LWOP equals 80 hours. If you are working part-time, then you leave accrual is going to be prorated accordingly. However, whatever annual leave was there at the time you stopped working will still be there when you return to work or will be paid to you, if you have to leave Federal service (for any reason, including the work injury.

I hope this info helps.

Edited by user Monday, May 20, 2019 1:05:35 PM(UTC)  | Reason: clarity

Kivi
UFA88  
#6 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2019 2:22:21 PM(UTC)
UFA88

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Thanks for the info. Yes, I’m not trying to get ahead of myself but moreover want to be prepared. My injury was in Feb., and I am currently still having issues. I go back to the Dr. on Wednesday, which at that point he had said that I would be looking at 8 weeks of PT. I still have a lot of pain some days, limited motion, adema, and a lot of bone bruising. One problem is that the first physician I saw didn’t immobilize me and they had started PT before we even had the MRI done. I have been in and out of a boot now for couple months trying to give it time. The Dr said don’t worry about the ligaments healing, but at this point there still has been no change. I will complete the 8 weeks of PT, and see what happens. I’m worried that I cannot walk without pain and it’s been 4 months. My anuual leave and sick leave possibly are frozen. I know how that works being employed for now 18 years. BUT, was just curious if I retain those even being on workman’s comp. I will update Wed. after my appointment. My case manager was even surprised the Dr said no surgery is needed even though she isn’t a Dr. just the visible part of looking at the ankle doesn’t look right.
LeroyToliver  
#7 Posted : Saturday, June 15, 2019 9:47:29 AM(UTC)
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The standard for an MMI rating that leads to that scheduled award is one year of exhausting therapy and other treatments to get you back 100%. Broken bones heal and sometimes come back stronger as they weld themselves up. During that year you would have to show that it has limited your work and personal lifestyle by limiting everything you do, good bye OT, many sports activities, etc.. as you are open to being surveiled 24/7, 365 both at work and at home while on OWCP. Make sure your doctor makes clear that you have one set of restrictions for 8 hours work and another set for personal life that will help you avoid atrophy. That being said, you DONT want to be filmed doing things that you will later state you are unable to do for a scheduled award. Many here have learned that one the hard way.
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