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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.


To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.
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Carson19  
#1 Posted : Friday, February 18, 2022 1:14:11 AM(UTC)
Carson19

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I am an 80% disabled veteran. I was thrown through a machine gun. After years of pain management and PT, I was able to get well enough to become a federal leo.

On 1/2022, I slip and fall on ice letting my explosive K9 out of the gov. I break my leg in 4 spots (tib, fib, and both sides of my ankle). I’ve had surgery and am looking at 6+ months of PT. I won’t be allowed to go back on duty till I reach MMI in about a year from now.

Questions:

1. Can I file for schedule award without it affecting my VA disability? Does OWCP advise you which is the better deal to take? My left leg has some nerve issues, it’s rated at 10%.

2. Does the Ellisclinic still take patients and can you go out of state to see a doctor for a rating? I’m in a very rural area with no doctors familiar with owcp.

3. Any advice? I’m fearful I may lose my job over this injury. My wife and I just found out we’re having a child.
frankgonzalez  
#2 Posted : Friday, February 18, 2022 4:06:19 AM(UTC)
frankgonzalez

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Originally Posted by: Carson19 Go to Quoted Post
I am an 80% disabled veteran. I was thrown through a machine gun. After years of pain management and PT, I was able to get well enough to become a federal leo.

On 1/2022, I slip and fall on ice letting my explosive K9 out of the gov. I break my leg in 4 spots (tib, fib, and both sides of my ankle). I’ve had surgery and am looking at 6+ months of PT. I won’t be allowed to go back on duty till I reach MMI in about a year from now.

Questions:

1. Can I file for schedule award without it affecting my VA disability? Does OWCP advise you which is the better deal to take? My left leg has some nerve issues, it’s rated at 10%.

2. Does the Ellisclinic still take patients and can you go out of state to see a doctor for a rating? I’m in a very rural area with no doctors familiar with owcp.

3. Any advice? I’m fearful I may lose my job over this injury. My wife and I just found out we’re having a child.
Depending on the injury, even when you hit MMI, you may no longer be qualified for the LEO job. That said, if the job is the issue, a reasonable accommodation may be available to you (even if you are unable to be LEO any more), especially the Accommodation of Last Resort...reassignment to a new position. Obviously, if you can't be LEO, the earlier retirement won't be available to you, but you could land in a new job series and climb the promotion ladder and do well.

The other alternative would be Disability Retirement at that point (not the best option if it can be avoided, but still not bad if you can no longer work).

as for your first question, scheduled awards and VA disability are two separate things, but if you already had an issue with the leg, the award is likely to take that into consideration.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
edalder  
#3 Posted : Thursday, May 26, 2022 4:15:46 PM(UTC)

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If the VA increases the percentage of impairment because of the OWCP injury, then you would have to make an election between the increased VA benefit and the OWCP scheduled award. You keep the 10% previously awarded. For example, the VA decides your service connected injury should be raised to 30% because of what happened. You would have to elect between any scheduled award and the 20% increase.

If the VA keeps the percentage at 10%, there is no issue. Quite honestly, I cannot see the VA increasing the previously awarded service connected percentage because of a rather significant injury that happened many years after your military service ended. Am I missing something here?

Having said that, you must be at maximum medical improvement to receive a scheduled award. If you are looking at a year long recovery period, you are a long way from being eligible for an OWCP scheduled award at this time. The best scenario for receiving a scheduled award is to be back at work and receive the additional scheduled award money at that point. Right now, concentrate on your medical rehab. If you are not able to return to work as a LEO and your agency cannot accommodate you with some other kind of work, OWCP likely will consider you for vocational rehab services which can have many different outcomes. During this period you would receive temporary total disability benefits, which are paid at the same rate as a scheduled award during the period of an approved vocational rehabilitation program. You would be screwing yourself in a major way to undergo voc rehab while receiving a scheduled award.

Don't put the horse before the cart. See how your case "plays out", both medically and in terms of whether you are able to go back to work in some capacity. Then go after that scheduled award.
Kivi
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