We want to help you learn and have a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities when you have an injury at work. We know that when you are hurt and injured, filling out papers is the usually the last thing on your mind. However; it is important that you know what your rights are when filing a claim.
These are only a few of the many questions employees have when they have suffered an injury that may be job related. When you have an injury that happened in the performance of your job duties, you should immediately report that injury to your Supervisor. The best advice anyone can give you is to follow the instructions on the Department of Labor, Office of Injury Compensation forms provided. This is exactly the information the Department of Labor, Office of Worker's Compensation needs to process your claim.
Who can file a claim?
Under the provisions of the Postal Reorganization Act 39 U.S.C. 1005(c) all employees of the USPS are covered by the FECA (Federal Employees Compensation Act). This coverage extends to all full-time, part-time and temporary (including casual and transitional) employees, regardless of length of time on the job or the type of position held.
Who decides to approve or reject my claim?
The Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP) is the deciding authority on approval or rejection of a claim – not the United States Postal Service or their Injury Compensation Departments.
"A traumatic injury is defined as a wound or other condition of the body that is caused by external force, including stress or strain; identifiable in time and place, and that is the result of an incident, or a series of incidents, that occur during a single work day."
If you sustain a traumatic injury, immediately report this to your supervisor and request a CA-1 ‘Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for COP’. This should be completely filled out and submitted, if possible, within 2 business days. You have a right to select a physician of your choice for treatment of your injury and you should be provided with prompt medical care.
COP – Continuation of Pay is payable for traumatic injuries for up to 45 calendar days of medically supported disability. It is paid by the USPS and is the same as your regular check.
To be eligible for COP the Form CA-1 must be submitted within 30 days of your traumatic injury. If COP is denied because you did not file within 30 days, you may still claim compensation for wage loss from OWCP on Form CA-7, ‘Claim for Compensation’.
You are responsible for providing to the USPS within 10 working days after claiming COP prima facie medical evidence that states you have been totally disabled as a direct result of your workplace injury. If this is not done the USPS may stop your COP until they receive the medical evidence (ELM 543.33).
Wage Loss Compensation (not COP) is paid by the Department of Labor-OWCP after a 3 day waiting period. However, the waiting period doesn't apply if the disability is permanent, or if the period of wage loss exceeds 14 days. The check comes from OWCP, not the USPS.
Who is my doctor?
Any employee injured in the performance of their duties should be provided with a CA-16, ‘Authorization for Examination and Treatment’. You should also receive a CA-17, ‘Duty Status Report’ if appropriate.
An employee is entitled to the initial selection of a physician for treatment of an injury. The USPS does not have the right to interfere with your right to choose a treating physician.
If your injury is traumatic and you need emergency medical care – you will be taken to the closest medical facility for care and treatment. Even most ambulance drivers are required to take you to the closest medical facility for care rather than a facility of your choosing. Emergency care and treatment does not deny you your right to select a physician of choice for further care as needed. If you need emergency treatment the USPS has the right to send a supervisor with you to assure you receive prompt medical care.
If your injury is traumatic, but is not an emergency, than the USPS may require that you be examined (not treated) by a USPS medical provider prior to your obtaining medical treatment from your physician of choice. Such an examination must be performed promptly and must in no way interfere with your right to receive prompt attention from your physician of choice.
(If your injury is not an emergency – a supervisor or manager may not go with you to a medical facility.)
"An occupational illness or injury is defined as a medical condition produced by continued and repeated exposure to conditions at work, including stress or strain that occurs over a longer period of time than a single work shift."
If you sustain an occupational injury, your should report this to your Supervisor and complete a CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease, within 30 days from the date on which you first became aware of a possible connection between the illness or injury and your job at the USPS.
If you sustain an injury or illness over a period of more than a single work shift, you are entitled to file a CA-2 ‘Notice of Occupational Disease’. Both forms are going to need supporting medical documentation and a narrative statement from you about what occurred. These forms are self-explanatory and you need to follow the instructions outlined on the forms.
One of the best tips we can provide to you is to keep a copy of all of your paperwork once you have started the claim process. Keep it in order, and when you are sending correspondence to the Department of Labor – OWCP, be sure to write your name, address, and case number at the top of each piece of paperwork that is submitted.
All mail and bills for Federal workers should be mailed to:
U.S. Department of Labor
DFEC Central Mailroom
PO Box 8300
London, KY 40742-8300
The Federal Employees Compensation (FEC) division of OWCP consolidated its medical authorization and bill payment processes on September 2, 2003. All Medical Authorization and Bill Processing are now handled by their private contractor, ACS. Injured Workers, Medical Providers, and Employing Agencies now have the ability to use the Department of Labor – OWCP on-line tool to check eligibility and learn if authorization is required for a particular procedure, check authorization and learn if authorization has been approved without calling or waiting for an authorization letter, to check bill payment status, and learn the status of submitted bills and reimbursement requests. You can go to:http://owcp.dol.acs-inc.com.
Be sure to go to www.apwu.org and click on the Human Relations Department link, then go to the drop down box for Injury Compensation. There is a lot of great information and resources there for your use.
If you sustain an injury and have questions; please see your Steward to be sure you are provided with the necessary information to submit a properly documented claim to the Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Program.
Every injury and illness suffered by an employee is individual and different and your particular circumstances are yours alone.
If assistance of a more detailed nature is needed, please contact the Local office and we will schedule an appointment to meet with you personally, or work with your stewards to assist you.
If you have ideas or suggestions for information you would like to have on this page, or linked for your use, please let us know.
(copied from the 480-481 Area Local website)