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USPS Injury Comp. Office Friend or Foe?

Hello brothers and sisters! Have you ever been injured on the job and thought that the Inj. compensation office was there to help you in your claim? If you thought this way I have some great swamp land I want to sell you real cheap…hurricane proof too!

Many carriers think that the Inj. Comp. office is there to assist them and to help them get their benefits. Wrong! They are there for just the opposite. Now read these next few sentences over and over so it will become your Mantra:

“The Injury Comp. office is not my friend. They are not there to help me. Their sole mission is to try and controvert every and any claim I make. They make lying supervisors look like angels!”

Get the point! As an OWCP rep. I see what they do and how they do not follow the DOL rules on notifying the carrier. When you file a claim on a CA-1, not only are you entitled to the CA-1 receipt, but a copy of the entire form once they have filled it out. This will show if they plan to “controvert” the claim. Controversion, in a nutshell, is when the supervisor has been trained or told to find out some way that the accident couldn’t have happened as you say it did and simply put, call you a liar.

Under OWCP regulations you must receive written notification that they plan to controvert your claim. Your friend the Inj. Comp. office usually does this only after they have sent the claim off to the DOL. By the time you get the notification the DOL is already judging your claim. Without being able to refute what they contend, Inj. Comp. may get your claim denied before you ever had a chance to contest their claims. And then the process of reconsideration begins and more paper work starts. Many carriers then usually give up because of the long drawn out process. Guess what? This is exactly what your friend, Inj. Comp. wants! You drop the process, they don’t have to pay out, you pay your deductibles, use your insurance, and your own earned leave. The Inj. Comp. office wins and they high five each other while the carrier suffers!

The injury compensation office I found out is not even trained by the Dept. of Labor. They do training “in house”. That way they can teach the “tactics” developed here to the new scum…er…specialists. Heavens by being trained by the DOL, they might actually see they are supposed to help the injured!

Fortunately, even if your claim is “controverted” it is NOT denied by the DOL. This letter you receive from Inj. Comp. is them telling you that they think you are a liar and have notified the DOL as such. One bright side is that only the DOL can deny a claim! They are the ONLY authority on accepting a claim or not. The USPS cannot even deny you a claim form. It is not the USPS’s form to deny, it is an OWCP form and a supervisor must give you the form you ask for…not the one he thinks you need. Do not get fooled with this! This happened to me years ago when a 204B gave me CA-2 for a traumatic injury. At the time I didn’t know any different and filled it out. It is used only for occupational illnesses or injury that occur over time. It took me 3 years to settle the case in my favor because of a little slight of hand by mgmt. If an injury occurs that you can pinpoint a place and time the injury occurred on your work shift, it is a traumatic injury. If it occurs over a period of time then it is an occupational illness or injury.

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Remember, when you file, ask for the CA-1 receipt, a completed copy of the CA-1, and any notes or statements of controversion by your buddy the floor supervisor! You are entitled to this by the Code of Fed. Regulations 10.110(a) and the CA-810 under Traumatic Injury.

Also, under a Traumatic Injury you are entitled to take COP (continuation of pay) for up to 45 days after the accident. DO NOT let mgmt. convince you that you cannot take the COP until the claim is accepted! They MUST notify you that you can elect this COP and that you have a right to your own physician. If they do not do this, contact your steward or call the Dept. of Labor immediately. This is OWCP regulations and is also instructed for mgmt. to do in the postal manual dealing with OWCP, the EL-505. Do not call Inj. Comp.!

If have an injury contact your Branch immediately for OWCP advice. You can contact me at my website or talk to your steward. A great participant to this site’s Carrier discussion board, Dave B. is very versed in OWCP regs and usually any questions on this site’s discussion board will bring a response from him. He is a great source of information. Any claims should be brought to the steward’s attention immediately. You have deadlines and time limits you must meet to receive your benefits and COP.

The question was…are they friend or foe? Let’s put it this way, they will take care of carrier’s claims just as well as management treats their carriers! That should make it very clear!

Last Mantra: Fee- Fi –FOE- Fum,If I trust Injury, Comp., I’m really dumb!

Remember….BE INFORMED! BE PROFESSIONAL! BE UNION!

Denny “OWCP” Belden
AKA-VetCarrier

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