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    Updated August 2, 2011    
    
  Topics
  Compensation Department
  What's New
  Info for injured workers and representative
  OWCP-related info  for contract enforcers
   
  Related Links
  OWCP home
  OWCP forms
  OWCP contacts
  ECAB
  ECAB AB-1 Form
  Bill-pay portal & CQS
   
   
 
NALC Injury Compensation CD
 
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
 

What's New


New FECA regulations (effective August 29, 2011)

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) has published new regulations for the administration of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) that become effective August 29, 2011. For a summary of the more significant changes please see the OWCP column in The Postal Record for August 2011. To review all of the changes please see Federal Register (Vol. 76, No. 124), June 28, 2011.

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Increasing federal employment of individuals with disabilities

On July 26, 2010, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to increase federal employment of individual with disabilities. The executive order recognizes that there are approximately 54 million Americans living with a disability and that the government has an important interest in reducing discrimination against that group. President Obama’s order calls for the federal government to become a model employer of individuals with disabilities. The order specifically states, “Executive departments and agencies must improve their efforts to employ workers with disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of these individuals.” 

The order also specifically addresses the retention of those injured on the job when it states: “Agencies shall make special efforts, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure the retention of those who are injured on the job.  Agencies shall work to improve, expand, and increase successful return to work outcomes for those of their employees who sustain work-related injuries and illnesses, as defined under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), by increasing the availability of job accommodations and light or limited duty jobs, removing disincentives for FECA claimants to return to work, and taking other appropriate measures." 

Link to the executive order

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Claimant Query System (CQS) now available

ACS Web Bill Processing Portal website has been expanded in a major way with a new feature called "Claimant Query System" (CQS) for FECA claimants. The new CQS provides much more information for injured workers with 24-hour access to their case file status, accepted conditions, address of record, and compensation payments and tracking. CQS offers essentially the same information that was previously only available on a very limited basis to injury compensation specialists.

The ACS Medical Bill Processing Web Portal also provides claimants and their representatives with access to other claim-related information, which includes medical bill status and medical authorizations.

The ACS web address is http://owcp.dol.acs-inc.com/portal/main.do or you can use the "Bill-pay portal & CQS" link on this page. To access claimant information you must have a claim number, date of injury, and claimant’s date of birth. Once logged in, the CQS link is on the left side of the page.

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Change in ECAB appeal time limits

ECAB has changed the time limit for making appeals to the Board. For all appeals of OWCP decisions issued on or after 11-19-2008, the time limit will be 180 days. Previously the time limit was 90 days, but the Board routinely accepted appeals up to one year. The change was made to the Board’s regulations found at 20 CFR 501, and published in the Federal Register on 10-20-08.

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New "Guide to NRP"
Guide on the withdrawal or failure to provide limited duty

  NRP

The Postal Service is getting ready to implement a program called the National Reassessment Process (NRP), which involves withdrawing or failing to provide limited duty to injured workers. The Service is doing so despite the fact that, in many cases, injured workers have been performing this limited duty for years. The Guide to NRP explains the Postal Service's contractual and legal obligations to make every effort to provide limited duty. The Guide also provides NALC representatives with practical advice on filing grievances on the withdrawal of or failure to provide limited duty—including the arguments to make and the evidence to include.

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"Injury Compensation" CD

  Injury Compensation CD

The NALC issued a revised Injury Compensation Manual and a related CD in December 2002. Both can be accessed and downloaded by clicking here, or by clicking the Compensation CD icon at right..

The Injury Compensation Manual is a comprehensive guide to basic OWCP procedures. The Injury Compensation CD contains both the Injury Compensation Manual and a wealth of support documents. It includes the following:

  • The Injury Compensation Manual
  • The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA)
  • Implementing regulations of the FECA found at 20 CFR 10
  • 12 national level arbitration decisions relating to OWCP matters
  • 42 national level decisions, settlements and memoranda relating to OWCP matters
  • OWCP forms
  • OWCP publication CA-550
  • OWCP publication CA-810
  • USPS manual EL-505
  • USPS ELM chapter 540
  • Installation instructions for loading the CD onto a personal computer

All of the documents on the CD are in PDF format, and are indexed. They are thus easily and quickly searched. This search capability makes the CD a powerful tool for NALC stewards and representatives who assist letter carriers with on-the-job injuries. All such representatives should use it.

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Bill-pay portal

OWCP has a very useful, internet-based system that allows injured workers and their representatives access to real-time bill pay information. In order to gain entry for a particular claim, three items of information are needed: claim number, date of injury, and date of birth.

Here is how to access a claim through the portal:

  1. Go here.
  2. Click on the FECA Claimant icon.
  3. Click Accept.
  4. Enter claimant’s OWCP case number, date of injury and date of birth.
  5. Click Submit.
    You will now be in the Bill Status Inquiry screen. You will see at the upper left-hand side of the screen that there are three available inquiries: Eligibility, Bill Status and Medical
    Authorization
    . Remain in the Bill Status Inquiry screen.
  6. Click View Option: Resolved Bills and enter date range of desired view of bills. To view all bills, leave the date range fields blank.
    Each bill is then listed (25 to a page) with multiple data elements, including date of service being billed; whether the bill was paid or denied; billed amount; paid amount; billed diagnosis; provider type and TCN. Click on the TCN to provide additional information about a specific bill, including, in the case of denied bills, the reason for denial.
    Generally, click on any underlined data entry to view additional detailed information.
    If you follow the above procedure and do not find a bill that is causing a problem, the provider should be advised to submit the bill to OWCP, ensuring that the correct claim number is on it. If you find the problematic bill, and it has been denied, determine the reason for denial. In many cases, the reason is easily corrected and you can so advise the provider.
    If there is an issue regarding a medical procedure authorization request (e.g., surgery or therapy), follow this additional procedure:
  7. Click the Return to Bill Inquiry button at the bottom of the list of bills, thereby returning to the Bill Status Inquiry screen.
  8. Click Medical Authorization at the top left under Inquiries.
  9. Enter Dates of Service range (or leave blank for all authorizations).
  10. Click Submit.
    Each authorization request is then listed with multiple data elements, including the procedure being requested; whether the procedure has been approved; the date range of the procedure; and so on. Generally, click on any underlined data entry to view additional detailed information.
    The bill processing portal is well-designed, easily learned, and provides a wealth of useful information about claims. The entry screen (at the web address listed in point 1 above) includes a Help icon at the upper right. Click the Help icon to access a user manual designed to provide a concise and helpful guide to locating information about the portal’s functions and features.

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