So you’ve been hurt working for a federal agency or employer and need to file a workers’ compensation claim…you may have no idea what the process looks like and when you might expect to see benefits. Here’s a snapshot of the process, so that you can plan accordingly.

Initiating the Process

To get benefits under the federal workers’ compensation system, you must first file an application with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Typically, that claim is filed directly through your agency or employer and submitted to the OWCP district officer. The district officer will make the initial determination of eligibility, based on the documents you present. The following criteria are required to qualify for federal workers’ compensation benefits:

  • You must have been on active employment with the U.S. government at the time of your injury
  • Your injury must have been suffered on the job and in the performance of the duties of your job
  • If you are filing a claim for an occupational disease, rather than a traumatic injury, you must show that the disease is causally related to your employment with the federal government
  • You must file your claim in a timely manner—typically within three years of the injury or manifestation of the illness/injury

You may have seen a doctor and have documents from that doctor attesting to your medical condition. Nonetheless, the OWCP district officer may require you to visit a doctor of the government’s choosing. If the two opinions conflict, the district officer may unilaterally determine which opinion gets more weight, or may even order a third opinion.

Denial and Appeal

It’s not uncommon to have your claim initially denied, even if it seems pretty clear cut. You will have the right to appeal. From the initial denial, you can ask for a review of the record of even an oral hearing by the Branch of Hearings and review. You can ask for reconsideration by a new claims examiner or can take your appeal to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board.

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. We offer a free consultation for injured workers.