It happens more than you would think. You suffer an injury on the job as a federal employee, under circumstances where responsibility seems clear, but your application for federal workers’ compensation benefits is denied. Where do you go from there? Is there a process for appealing the decision of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), and if so, what is it?
Whether your claim is completely denied, or you are approved for benefits, but in a dollar amount inconsistent with your injury, you can take action to have the findings overturned or amended. The first step is to request a review of your record by the Branch of Hearings and Review. This can be done with or without a hearing, but at a hearing, you can verbally communicate information to the referee.
If, upon reconsideration, your claim is still denied, you can ask the workers’ compensation system to appoint a different claims examiner, and ask that your case be reviewed by that examiner.
Filing a Claim with the Employees Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB)
If, however, your claim is rejected by a different claims examiner, your next (and final) course of action is to appeal to the ECAB. Such an appeal must be filed no more than 90 days after the prior ruling. You cannot introduce any new evidence in an appeal to the ECAB. More often than not, ECAB proceedings are resolved without oral arguments, but you can ask for the opportunity to present your evidence in person.
While you cannot appeal the finding of the ECAB to any other agency or entity, you can ask the ECAB for reconsideration, provided you do so within 30 days of an unfavorable decision.
Contact Uliase & Uliase
For an appointment with an experienced New Jersey federal workers’ compensation lawyer, contact us online or call our office at 856-310-9002. We meet with clients weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Even if we don’t take your case, we will only charge a $35 consultation fee. We waive the fee for certain union members.