What does an injured Federal worker need for a Schedule Award?
The schedule award is similar to money damages for impairment of an extremity or a body part recognized by 5 U.S.C. § 8107 of the FECA act (Federal Workers’ Compensation Act). OWCP (Office of Workers Compensation Program) has very specific criteria for establishing the right to a damage award. You can not sue the Government for a Federal Workers Compensation damage award. You must work through the Department of Labor (OWCP). OWCP requires a sophisticated medical report. The medical report must comply with the A.M.A. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition and the July/August 2009 edition of the guide’s newsletter published by the A.M.A. Also note that certain OWCP regional offices have hired an outside contractor in an attempt to diminish any recovery for this damage award (schedule award)
Federal Workers Compensation lawyer Alan Shapiro recently prevailed in the case of R.L. vs US Post Office 61 ECAB 09-1948 June 29 2010. This decision expands the right to a schedule award.
OWCP does not automatically grant a schedule award. OWCP is now attempting to contest the right to a schedule award. OWCP has hired outside medical contractors to render alleged IME reports. IME should stand for Independent Medical Exam. These reports are neither independent or actual exams.
Federal Workers’ Compensation lawyer Alan J Shapiro is available for representation at all stages of the schedule award procedure.
Please note the following information which is exceptionally important:
If the examining physician will not bill OWCP for the report Attorney Alan Shapiro will advance the cost of the report for the schedule award.
If there is no recovery, Attorney Shapiro will waive his right to reimbursement of this advancement.
Many injured Federal workers want to know if there is a set amount for an injury. The answer sadly is NO. Injured workers want to know if the number of operations they have had makes a difference. The answer is sadly NO. Injured workers want to know if the length of time they are off work makes a difference. The answer is NO. Injured workers want to know if destruction of their life because of their injury makes a difference in their schedule award recovery. Again, answer is NO. Federal injured workers want to know if attorney representation makes a difference. The answer is YES.
Resources for Injured Federal Employees:
What is covered by a Schedule Award?
The 6th Edition of the AMA guide eliminated recovery for the effects of a neck or low back injury. OWCP agreed that this was legally improper. However they adopted a rating system devised by a person outside the Agency to “remedy” this problem. This remedy has made recovery even more complex, time consuming, expensive and difficult for the Federal injured employee. This addition to the Guides is the July/August bulletin.
Attorney Shapiro is working with a team of doctors to comply with and understand the complexities of the July/August bulletin. Please note that the 5th edition of the AMA guide was quite workable. The 6th edition of the AMA guide was basically written by persons associated with the insurance industry. In the development of the 6th edition guide there was no input by attorneys who represent injured workers. It is interesting to note that Attorney Geoffrey Shapiro (son of Alan Shapiro) was co-author with Attorney Steven Babitsky of the first edition of, The Use and Abuse of the American Medical Association Guides To The Evaluation of Permanent Impairment In Workers’ Compensation Cases.
AMA Guide 5th edition was workable, understandable, and somewhat fair. Obviously some people were not satisfied with Federal injured employees receiving adequate compensation for their injuries. The 6th edition of the AMA Guide is now the law. The 6th edition produces ridiculous results.
Federal workers’ compensation lawyer Alan Shapiro offers the following example:
If you loose all of the sight in your eye, you do not get an award of total loss of vision. ECAB has ruled that the fact you loose the total loss of vision in one eye does not entitle you to this total loss because the AMA Guide 6the edition rates the loss of vision with the eye that you do have sight. However, if the eye is actually removed, then OWCP will award the claimant total loss of vision because the eye has actually been removed. Even the Solicitor General of the United States agreed that this makes no sense. ECAB stated that it is bound by the 6th edition; and therefore must follow it. Perhaps Shakespeare was right in his comment about the Law.
Federal Workers’ Compensation Attorney Shapiro’s good friend Max Guest, an attorney in Los Angeles, recently warned that since the 6th edition will give lower schedule awards than the 5th edition, OWCP may try to reclaim overpayment if the claimant claims an increase in an award and the 6th edition produces a lesser award than previously granted to the claimant under the 5th edition. The claimant must be aware of this potential. The claimant should never seek an increase in an award without attorney representation.
Injured Federal workers ask:
Do I need a Federal Workers’ Compensation attorney? or What can an attorney do for me?
My answer always is, and I quote Warren Buffet. “Never ask your barber if you need a haircut.” Another way of answering is that the system is not user friendly. So the injured federal employee has to decide his/her capacity for proceeding alone.
§8107. Compensation schedule
Below is the current compensation schedule for injured federal workers. If you have been injured while working as a federal employee contact federal workers’ compensation attorney Alan J. Shapiro. He has over 50 years of experience helping injured federal employees receive the compensation they deserve.
(a) If there is permanent disability involving the loss, or loss of use, of a member or function of the body or involving disfigurement, the employee is entitled to basic compensation for the disability, as provided by the schedule in subsection (c) of this section, at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of his monthly pay. The basic compensation is--
(1) payable regardless of whether the cause of the disability originates in a part of the body other than that member;
(2) payable regardless of whether the disability also involves another impairment of the body; and
(3) in addition to compensation for temporary total or temporary partial disability.
(b) With respect to any period after payments under subsection (a) of this section have ended, an employee is entitled to compensation as provided by--
(1) section 8105 of this title if the disability is total; or
(2) section 8106 of this title if the disability is partial.
(c) The compensation schedule is as follows:
(1) Arm lost, 312 weeks' compensation.
(2) Leg lost, 288 weeks' compensation.
(3) Hand lost, 244 weeks' compensation.
(4) Foot lost, 205 weeks' compensation.
(5) Eye lost, 160 weeks' compensation.
(6) Thumb lost, 75 weeks' compensation.
(7) First finger lost, 46 weeks' compensation.
(8) Great toe lost, 38 weeks' compensation.
(9) Second finger lost, 30 weeks' compensation.
(10) Third finger lost, 25 weeks' compensation.
(11) Toe other than great toe lost, 16 weeks' compensation.
(12) Fourth finger lost, 15 weeks' compensation.
(13) Loss of hearing--
(A) complete loss of hearing of one ear, 52 weeks' compensation; or
(B) complete loss of hearing of both ears, 200 weeks' compensation.
(14) Compensation for loss of binocular vision or for loss of 80 percent or more of the vision of an eye is the same as for loss of the eye.
(15) Compensation for loss of more than one phalanx of a digit is the same as for loss of the entire digit. Compensation for loss of the first phalanx is one-half of the compensation for loss of the entire digit.
(16) If, in the case of an arm or a leg, the member is amputated above the wrist or ankle, compensation is the same as for loss of the arm or leg, respectively.
(17) Compensation for loss of use of two or more digits, or one or more phalanges of each of two or more digits, of a hand or foot, is proportioned to the loss of use of the hand or foot occasioned thereby.
(18) Compensation for permanent total loss of use of a member is the same as for loss of the member.
(19) Compensation for permanent partial loss of use of a member may be for proportionate loss of use of the member. The degree of loss of vision or hearing under this schedule is determined without regard to correction.
(20) In case of loss of use of more than one member or parts of more than one member as enumerated by this schedule, the compensation is for loss of use of each member or part thereof, and the awards run consecutively. However, when the injury affects only two or more digits of the same hand or foot, paragraph (17) of this subsection applies, and when partial bilateral loss of hearing is involved, compensation is computed on the loss as affecting both ears.
(21) For serious disfigurement of the face, head, or neck of a character likely to handicap an individual in securing or maintaining employment, proper and equitable compensation not to exceed $3,500 shall be awarded in addition to any other compensation payable under this schedule.
(22) For permanent loss or loss of use of any other important external or internal organ of the body as determined by the Secretary, proper and equitable compensation not to exceed 312 weeks' compensation for each organ so determined shall be paid in addition to any other compensation payable under this schedule.