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What Do You Gain?

Work-Related Injury (OWCP) (DOL)

OWCP claims are either open or closed. They can remain open for decades. Where facts are not in dispute, every award of benefits depends upon medical reports contained in the claim record. You are responsible for submitting these reports.

If a claim is open the following benefits may be received:

  1. medical care, equipment, and modifications
  2. medical reimbursement (partial)
  3. travel reimbursement (partial)
  4. wages lost when inability to work is caused by work-related injury and claim for lost wages is made
  5. payment for work-related permanent loss of use or measurable loss of function of a covered body part (spine is not covered)
  6. vocational rehabilitation
  7. assisted re-employment.

Settlement is not an option accepted by OWCP in federal claims of work-related injury. Attorneys’ fees are not recoverable.

If you are awarded wage loss (disability) benefits by OWCP and you have at least one dependent, you can expect to receive 75% of your pay. Checks are issued as compensation is claimed, or can be issued automatically each month if you are placed on the OWCP periodic roll. If you have no dependents, your disability benefit from OWCP will be 66.3%.

You do not pay taxes on OWCP disability benefits.

Disability Discrimination or Adverse Action Appeal (EEOC) (MSPB)

Compensatory damages are recoverable in cases to the EEOC and the MSPB. Some remedies may include restoration to duty, reimbursement of costs and fees (including attorney’s fees), back pay, retirement benefits, and damages for pain and suffering. Settlement is available in EEOC and MSPB and can often result in the best outcome. However, settlement cannot happen until adverse parties listen to one another. Each case and each person is different. I advise you to keep an open mind about settlement. Remember, it is always up to you.

Application for Disability Retirement (OPM)

Where facts are not in dispute an award of retirement benefits will depend upon medical reports contained in the record. When your application for disability retirement is approved by OPM, you will begin to receive interim monthly payments based on an estimate of your retirement benefit. When all details are worked out and the actual amount of your annuity is known, interim payments will cease and regular monthly annuity benefit payments will begin. The difference between your interim benefit and the actual benefit, if any, will be resolved when regular monthly payments begin.

In the first year, your retirement benefit will roughly equal 60% of your high three year earnings, and 40% of that figure each year thereafter. These benefits are taxed and may be reduced if you are eligible or in receipt of other federal benefits. If your application is not approved, you may appeal to MSPB.

OWCP (Work-Related Disability) and OPM (Retirement)

Retirement from federal service will not affect an open or pending claim for workers compensation benefits. You may apply both for OPM retirement benefits and for OWCP workers compensation benefits and may qualify for both – but you may not (with one exception) receive both. You may earn up to 80% of your date of retirement pay and it will have no affect on your retirement benefit from OPM.

By comparison, while in receipt of OWCP disability benefits (monthly compensation for wages lost due to the accepted work injury), all wages earned will be deducted from your benefit and should be reported to OWCP. While social security benefits will not affect your OWCP disability benefit, the Social Security Administration will off-set your social security benefit if the combined amounts (SSA & OWCP) exceed SSA limits.

When entitlement to both OPM retirement benefits and OWCP disability (wage loss) benefits is established, you will be allowed to elect the benefit which best meets your needs. You may switch back and forth between OPM and OWCP benefits, should your circumstances change and a new selection be desired.