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“Well, Now Aren’t We Special!…”

That’s right! As Postal Employees, we are special, in a bad way. The Postal Reform Bill was passed on Dec. 9, 2006 by Congress. It was signed into law by Pres. Bush on Dec. 20, 2006.

As Postal Employees we are singled out from every other federal agency concerning the rules on Continuation of Pay from the DOL/OWCP. Prior to the Postal Reform Bill being passed, if you received a traumatic injury on the job, you filled out a CA-1 and COP was paid from the date of injury. The carrier would normally check off the Continuation of Pay box on the back of the form, and pay would continue and not be interrupted. Under OWCP rules, you then could be paid up to 45 days by OWCP, and not use any of your own leave.

The part where we are “special” is that there is now a 3-day waiting period before you can receive Continuation of Pay. If you are out for more than 14 days, due to the on-the-job injury, at the carrier’s request, the leave used for the first 3 days can be converted to COP.

Anyone who is out for less than 14 days is out the 3 days of leave!
veryone must remember that any injury must be reported immediately to your supervisor. No matter how slight, or insignificant. You have up to 30 days to file a CA-1, and once you file a CA-1, you have only 10 days to produce medical documentation that supports your claim of injury on the CA-1.

Be sure if you are filling out a CA-1 you described what happened in detail what happened. Do not just state, “I hurt my foot.” You will want to state, “ I twisted my left ankle.” Be as specific as possible.

You should get witness statements as soon as possible, if there are any. Have them describe what they saw, heard, or know about the injury you sustained.

Remember that filling out the OWCP form CA-1, you are filing a claim of injury on-the-job. If you must be out of work for any period of time, management should, and is required, to inform you that you have a physician of YOUR choice. You do not have to go see their Doctor at Centra Care! Have a doctor see you that has YOUR HEALTH at interest, instead of getting you back to work as soon as possible!

They must also inform you that you can take Continuation of Pay. Again, for the first 3 days, you must use your own sick, annual, or LWOP, and then COP kicks in. COP will continue for another 42 days, if needed. Be sure that you fill out a PS form 3971 for the 3-day waiting period.

If you select to use your own leave, you are selecting to use it for the whole period of time you are out. Why use your leave when you don’t have to? Select COP anytime you are to be out any length of time. Save your own leave to use when you need it.


 

So, you see as Postal Employees we are now separated from all other federal agencies concerning OWCP rules and regulations. Be sure if you are injured, you speak to your Steward immediately. This will insure that you will be able to get all the information you will need to process your claim properly, and especially see that management follows all the rules and regulations to assist you in filing your claim.

Be sure that you ask for the a copy of the ENTIRE CA-1 claim form once management completes it and get the CA-1 receipt. This is important to see if they are trying to controvert your claim. This is provided for by the CA-810 and Code of Federal Regulations 10.110.

An employee has up to 3 yrs to file a CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury, to receive compensation for the claim. The first 30 days is to submit a claim to receive COP, after 30 days, a CA-7, Claim for Compensation, will need to be filed for time off from work due to the injury.

Remember, all accidents are to be reported to management immediately, and as Postal Employees we are treated differently from all other agencies for OWCP purposes. Now, “ain’t we special!”

Denny Belden
Aka-VetCarrier Orlando, FL - NALC Branch 1091

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