Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Paper Trail

I hear it all the time, a claimant has called OWCP and nothing happens. They leave messages for their CE and get no response, so they call again, leave another message...nothing happens except they get frustrated. Or maybe the CE does call back, promises action but then doesn't follow up. Maybe you're even lucky enough to play phone tag for a week. It's common. Happens everyday.

Personally, I don't do phone calls with OWCP. When you talk to your CE a CA-110 is supposed to be completed. This form basically says there was a call and OWCP's version of who said what. Problem is, when you get a copy of your file, your telephone calls are often misrepresented on a CA-110 and a lot of times, your issue didn't get fixed or answered.

If OWCP happens to call me, I tell whoever is on the other end that I would prefer to have the information in writing. I follow that up with a letter regarding the call, who said what and how I'm expecting confirmation in writing.

Call your CE and you've got no proof what was or wasn't said. No proof of what is or isn't going to get done. All you've got is OWCP's version of a phone call in your file.

Me, I like the paper trail. I can state all the facts in a letter, I can be clear and concise. I can cite the FECA Manuals and ECAB decisions to prove my point. If my letter doesn't get answered, I can send a second request or a third if I have to. If I need to go higher up the 'food chain' to a District director or member of Congress, I have clear proof of what I said, when I said it, how many times I said it and who I said it to. Not OWCP's version of events, but actual proof they can hold in their hands. No one can say it didn't happen.

I can send my letter delivery confirmation and print out proof OWCP received it, right down to the time of day. I pick up a stack of delivery confirmation receipts at my Post Office and I put the confirmation number on every piece of paper I'm sending under that number. I can't even count the number of times I've received a letter from OWCP saying they didn't get a letter and I've been able to prove it was in fact received.

When OWCP answers my letter, I've got written proof on OWCP letterhead of what was or wasn't said. As a bonus, it's even signed, so I've got someone to name later if I need to. If later OWCP tries to deny what they said, I can quote their letters and prove it. Besides, I've never been disappointed by what they will actually put in writing. Their lack of knowledge shines through and just makes my job that much easier.

If you've found this site, you've probably read other claimant's stories. One common theme seems to be that OWCP doesn't always do or say the right thing. If it happens to you, how can you expect to overturn a decision, or change a conclusion, right a wrong if you have no paper trail? Think about this, all of OWCP's letters are form letters. That letter you got from them isn't special. It's a form letter and they plug in your specifics. It's not the form part of the letter they get wrong...it's your specifics. The more you let them write to you, the more weapons you have to use against them. The more you have to use against them, the easier it is to overturn a decision or change a conclusion or right a wrong.

Hey, I'm not going to sit here and tell you anything with OWCP is easy. I don't know of anyone who didn't have to fight a denial, bad decision or questionable medical opinion (or some other thing) at some point in their claim. Some people get nothing but denials and fighting even when they've proven their case six ways from Sunday. You can't fight if you don't have any weapons, you can't fight with only OWCP's version of events. If you want weapons, they're in your paper trail.


  1. You are so...right. Paper trail is the best weapon you can have in your arsenal when it comes to proof. Awsome job, Jessee!!! Much kudos to you. One Question, where do I find information on my doctor if there are no ecab decisions for him, especially since he has been shown to be bias?


  2. Wow, incredible article.... all of them! I've been devouring this stuff for several days now....I don't think OWCP ever says or does the right thing!