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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Schedule Awards


Schedule Awards
By: Snowed

Often I encounter co-workers and union officials who know very little about schedule awards.  Many times people think that a schedule award is a “settlement,” and very often they are surprised by this benefit they knew very little about.

A schedule award for Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) claimants is quite different from a “settlement” that happens often when nonfederal employees are injured on the job.  When a federal employee is injured and his injury reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) he is entitled to a monetary award for permanent impairment of certain members, internal organs or functions of the body.  Since a claimant cannot receive both, compensation for Total Temporary Disability (TTD) or Lost Wage Earning Capacity (LWEC) and a schedule award at the same time, most claimants are either back at work or retired before they file for a schedule award.  However, a claimant can receive both wage loss compensation for one injury and at the same time receive a schedule award for another injury as long as the two injuries do not involve the same part of the body and/or extremity (See FECA pt-2-0808-5).

There never is a “settlement” because if a claimant’s condition worsens over time, then a new schedule award can be paid based on the increased impairment.  Also when a settlement is made to a nonfederal employee, they can no longer receive wage loss. The FECA claimant has the advantage of returning to the periodic roll once the schedule award is paid out if they are still medically qualified.

Permanent impairment or loss of use (either partial or total) of certain internal organs and members or functions are evaluated by OWCP and rated according to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition. No schedule award will be considered by OWCP if not in accordance with the 6th Edition of the Guides.

The FECA gives each extremity or function a specific number of weeks of compensation which can be paid out either as a lump sum (if qualified) or in periodic payments. A serious disfigurement of the head, face, or neck of a character likely to handicap an individual in securing or maintaining employment an award may also be made for such disfigurement, not to exceed $3,500.00  See 5 U.S.C. §8107(c). 

A schedule award is not paid for the heart, brain or spinal column, but if those injuries affect limbs, body organs or functions of the body such as hearing, then a schedule award can be paid.  For example, 5 U.S.C. §8107(c), lists the following body parts on the schedule:

Body part/function
Weeks compensation
Body part/function
Weeks compensation
Arm (upper extremity)
312
Great toe
38
Leg (lower extremity)
288
2nd finger
30
Hand
244
3rd finger
25
Foot
205
Any other toe
16
Eye
160
4th finger
15
Thumb
75
Loss of hearing (one ear)
52
First finger
46
Loss of hearing (both ears)
200

As of September 7, 1974, 20 C.F.R. §10.404 added these body parts:

Breast (one)
52
Kidney (one)
156
Larynx
160
Lung (one)
156
Penis
205
Testicle (one)
52
Tongue
160
Ovary (one)
52
Uterus/cervix
205
Vulva/vagina
205

For instance, a permanent impairment to the lower extremity is valued at 288 weeks of compensation. This simply means that if you earn $50,000.00 a year, and you have dependents (entitling you to the 75% compensation rate) your weekly compensation rate would be $721.15.

$721.15 X 288 weeks = $207,691.20.

If OWCP awards a 20% permanent impairment to the lower extremity, the claimant would be entitled to receive 20% of $207,691.20, or $41,538.24. Similarly, a 10% award would be $20,769.12; a 40% award would be for $83,076.48, and so on.

Compensation for schedule awards is payable at 66 2/3 percent of the employee's pay, or 75 percent of the pay when the employee has at least one qualified dependent.  If paid in a lump sum, the total amount will be reduced by 4% and paid at one time.  A lump sum payment must be requested and if the claimant has other sustainable income, it will likely be approved.

When seeking out a schedule award, a claimant should find a qualified medical doctor who is familiar with the AMA 6th Edition and also familiar with the ratings as evaluated by OWCP.  This is not an easy task as many states do not require the use of this medical guide and many physicians refuse to take FECA claimants.

In almost all cases, the impairment rating a claimant receives from their chosen physician will be reviewed by OWCP’s District Medical Advisor (DMA) and adjustments may or may not be made.  I have found that many claims examiners and even DMA’s do not know how to properly rate these losses.  For example, The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition, express the impairment of internal organs in terms of the whole person, schedule awards under the FECA are based on the percentage of impairment of the particular organ.  The whole person organ rating may max out at 20% whole body rating but if the organ is totally lost then the 20% should be converted to 100% organ impairment (See FECA pt-3-0700-4-c).

According to FECA manual part 3-0700-3-a-3, “The percentage should include those conditions accepted by OWCP as job-related and any pre-existing permanent impairment of the same member or function. If the work-related injury has affected any residual usefulness in whole or in part, a schedule award may be appropriate.  There are no provisions for apportionment under the Act.  Rated impairment should reflect the total loss as evaluated for the schedule member at the time of the rating exam.  See Raymond E. Gwynn, 35 ECAB 247, 253 (1983) [In determining the amount of a schedule award for a member of the body, preexisting impairments are to be included, citing Larson for the proposition that “the employer takes the employee as he finds him.”]”

 In other words let’s say you already have a severe leg impairment and then had an on the job injury to the same leg.  In this case your pre-existing impairment must be included in the rating.  Many impairment ratings will only focus on the on the job injury but this is incorrect.  The entire effected body part should be rated.

When claiming a schedule award, a claimant needs to submit a CA-7 and the appropriate medical report to OWCP.  Schedule awards are often put on the “back burner” for claimants that are not without other income, therefore a claimant needs to be proactive in pushing their claim along.  Although I have not found a guideline in OWCP literature, OWCP internal guides are 90 days for processing a schedule award.  This is a rarity however, and suggests that if OWCP does not respond within the 90 days, then further action be taken such as writing to the District Director for the status of the claim and reason for the delay.

The schedule award is a benefit provided to injured federal employees and often overlooked and misunderstood.  Employees injured on duty often have lifetime pain and suffering because of their injuries and occupational diseases.  FECA provides the schedule award as a supplement to these unfortunate workers to make life a little more bearable.

See also: http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2015/02/calculating-schedule-award.html

113 comments:

  1. Jesse do you have to have surgery if the DR recommends it in order to receive a SA? I have a severe neck and arm injury and i am not to sure about the surgery.

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    1. No you don't need to have surgery in order to receive a SA.

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    2. Jesse,
      I tore my shoulder on duty and was on light duty for 8 months as a fed civilian employee in 2007. Later I deployed with the military. In 2013 the military discovered multiple problems with that injury to include nerve damage. I have a permanent disability profile for my shoulder from the military to include nerve damage. My fed civilian job put it in writing that I am not physically able to do my job. Between the mil and the civ fed, do you believe I have a case for a scheduled award? I have a lawyer helping me with the OPM disability retirement as well, but no scheduled award asked for yet. Thank you.

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    3. Jesse,
      I tore my shoulder on duty and was on light duty for 8 months as a fed civilian employee in 2007. Later I deployed with the military. In 2013 the military discovered multiple problems with that injury to include nerve damage. I have a permanent disability profile for my shoulder from the military to include nerve damage. My fed civilian job put it in writing that I am not physically able to do my job. Between the mil and the civ fed, do you believe I have a case for a scheduled award? I have a lawyer helping me with the OPM disability retirement as well, but no scheduled award asked for yet. Thank you.

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    4. This isn't a question that can be easily answered here. Contact me directly at owcpslayer@gmail.com to discuss your options.

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  2. Jesse do I have to have surgery to collect a SA ?
    I have a neck and arm injury and not to sure about surgery on my neck.

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  3. No you do not have to have surgery to collect a SA. You need to have a permanent impairment to a part of the body that's covered for a SA. Without any more information, your SA would be for nerve damage and any permanant impairment to your arms. Spinal conditions are not covered for a SA, but any permanent damage (like nerve damage) that is CAUSED by the spinal conditions is covered.

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  4. In 2003 my right great toe joint was broken in 2 places and over time the injury did get worse diagnosed as traumatic arthritis then last October had to have surgery to replace the joint with a titanium joint. So am at MMI and had a assessment done on the great right toe 2 weeks ago and do not know what % disability I will have for it. I also found out that OWCP will not look at the other medical issues caused by the injury. AM a forest ranger so the toe is important to being able to do my job (steep slopes, off trail hiking, etc.) and am not able to do search and rescues nor fire anymore. Looking at examples of schedule awards and looking at OWCP's charts on % of disability, the schedule award is not much compared to examples I've seen (but the examples do not tell what the injury is) even at 100% disability it is only a little $23,000. It looks like I'll have a 50 to 70% disability, it seems that the award does not considered the type of work one does and the lose of income. So is my assumption correct? How do others get the high amounts of schedule awards?

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    1. An OWCP schedule award only pays for the percentage of loss. What you did for a living is not a factor. Unfortunately, OWCP does not pay any sort of 'settlement' for lost wages in the future. The amount paid out in a schedule award depends on the body part and the percentage of loss. Any medical conditions that have occurred due to the original injury are known as consequential injuries (see http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2011/04/consequential-injuries.html?showComment=1422984638648#c5103202602732191003). In order to get consequential injuries accepted, you'll need a medical report that specifically explains how the injuries are related to the original injuries and then you will need to make the argument to OWCP to get the conditions accepted. OWCP will not automatically accept new injuries, you'll have to fight for them.

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  5. I have approved o wcp claim. But my doctor knows nothing about scheduled awards and won't help. How do I find a Doctor who will.

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  6. Try Feddoctor.com, they are trained in doing schedule awards. Check my blog page: Doctors that accept OWCP claimants and see if that list has anyone in your area.

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  7. What if there is no doctor in your area under Feddoctor.com?

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  8. You have to keep looking around. Unfortunately, there's no list of physicians that do impairment ratings for OWCP. You'll have to research. Try looking for physician's that do impairment ratings in a Google search.

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  9. Can a person receive a medical disability and also be entitled to a CA?

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  10. I believe you meant an SA or schedule award in your question. The answer is yes, you may receive concurrent payment of FERS annuity and OWCP schedule award at the same time.

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  11. Jesse, Dr's are proposing a disability retirement for me. Am i still entitled to a SA? And thank you for your help!

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  12. See the 07/21/2014 comment I posted above yours, I believe this will answer your question.

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  13. You can receive an OWCP Scheduled Award and the Office of Personnel Management benefits at the same time.

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  14. Jesse, My husband works for the post office, after a knee injury in 2012 he applied for federal workers comp, his case was accepted and workers comp paid for a total knee repair. We have been seeking an impairment rating form his Dr for 1 1/2 years (ever since the one year mark). Dr finally wrote an impairment rating based on his Physician Assistant's (PA) notes, he has not examined my husband since right after surgery about 2 years ago, US dept of labor is asking for Dr notes to back up rating. Dr office sent in the PA's notes. Will this be enough? What to do now?

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    Replies
    1. No. A PA is not considered a physician under the Act and any opinion by a PA will be discounted. I would try a different doctor that knows about impairment ratings. You can go to a physician as a one time event for the impairment rating. Check on the Doctors that Accept OWCP Claimants page, there might be a known doctor in your area, but you may have to travel to get a proper impairment rating.

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  15. My doctor declared me permanent & stationary, but he does not do impairment ratings. OWCP has scheduled me to see a dr for a 2nd opinion to determine if I have sustained a permanent impairment due to my work injury. If the dr is on the list of not for the worker but for OWCP and has been involved in lawsuits, what should I do? Can I go see a doctor of my choice or do I have to go to the one OWCP has assigned me to go to? Can I reschedule my appt if the appt date OWCP assigned me is when I'm on vacation?

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  16. You can choose your doctor for your impairment rating but once OWCP has scheduled an appointment for you, you must attend or there will be consequences to your benefits. You would need to wait for the report and then fight the report if it was not in your favor or did not abide by the regulations.

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  17. Why would you go for a scheduled award if you are already getting FECA disability since they will just replace your FECA payments with the scheduled award for the award period? Can you switch to OPM Disability in order to get a lump sum scheduled award and then switch back to FECA disability when the award period expires?

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    Replies
    1. If you are receiving OWCP compensation your compensation will be stopped until the schedule award is paid out. If you are working you can collect your schedule award and your income from working at the same time. If you are approved for OPM benefits you can switch from OWCP compensation to your OPM benefits until the schedule award is paid and then switch back to OWCP compensation.

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  18. Jesse, is it possible to get compensated for ptsd, I was put through a pretty vicious dog bite back in April while at work with the military dogs?

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  19. Yes PTSD is a condition that can be accepted. You need good medical evidence and a clear diagnosis. See my post of Narrative Reports Your Physician: http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2011/03/narrative-reports-your-physician.html

    OWCP doesn't like to accept PTSD so clear cut medical evidence is key.

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  20. I am currently working part-time for USPS. I received a schedule award, could I still be treated mediaclly for the same injuries?

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  21. As long as the accepted medical evidence indicates you have residuals of your accepted injuries, you're entitled to medical treatment even if you're able to work.

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  22. Any suggestions on what to do if the Reginal District Medical Advisor report disagrees with the OWCP Secop Dr. I was sent to for a schedule award. SECOP Dr. used 6th edition and rated me at 13% lower extremity and DMA says 0.

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  23. It's impossible for me to say without knowing more details about the events. If you haven't done so, request a copy of the DMA's report to see what the problem is. A copy of the DMA's report and any OWCP decision should be sent to the rating doctor so that s/he can provide a rebuttal to the DMA's report.

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  24. I am currently on the periodic rolls and receiving ssd. I had a left knee total replacement. I developed excessive scar tissue and another surgery but to no avail. My right knee is also an accepted condition which I had surgery and have bone on bone with the need of a tkr in the future. I am thinking of getting off the periodic rolls (they are starting to intimate and harrass me about crazy job offers) and just stay on full ssd. I would like to file for a SA but dont know if it would be worth it. I would like to have some idea as to what my rating would be. Is it possible for me to see a doctor who is familiar with the 6th edition and use my health insurance or I could pay out of pocket just to see what my possible rating could be? I would hate to get of the periodic rolls and end up with a lot less money.

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  25. Yes, you can get a rating on your own. I would suggest paying out of pocket for it. This is a work-related injury and your insurance company will more than likely want their money back since you have an accepted OWCP claim. Worst case scenario, the insurance company could call this fraud, so best to pay for it yourself. If you like the rating, you can always submit the bill to OWCP later.

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  26. I am working partial days and being paid the remainder by OWCP . Will that be effected if a SA were to be awarded and paid out while I am still working?
    Thanks!

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  27. Yes. You cannot collect compensation and a schedule award at the same time. OWCP will stop the compensation until the schedule award is paid out. The wages you make from your employer can be collected with your schedule award.

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  28. Is there a list of what the decision codes mean? First it had 04-undecided now it's 14-developed. Does this mean I'm getting closer to a payment date ?

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  29. Developed means that all the evidence has been processed. The next step is to either approve it or deny it.

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  30. My status for S.A. request has been posted "Developed" for 9 months. I have been unsuccessful in getting an answer by both phone or letter, from OWCP...Help!

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    Replies
    1. OWCP sees schedule awards as low priority. They'll process new claims and claims for compensation first. If you're still waiting after 9 months and there's been no further progress, you could try going to your Congressperson. Your Congressperson won't 'help' you, but by law OWCP must respond to Congress within 30 days. Often this is the easiest way to get OWCP to respond when they're ignoring you.

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  31. Jesse,
    I was injured September 2007 and I subsequently had surgery for that injury December 2010. I started back limited duty at work May 2011. The weeks OWCP is paying me for does not coincide with the weeks that I was injured nor does it coincide with when I reach maximum medical improvement. They are paying me for October 2014 to January 2015. I am requesting a hearing should I send the check back with my request? Or if I cash the check will that nullify my right to a hearing?

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  32. A schedule award does not have anything to do with working. A schedule award is paid for the percentage of loss you've experienced. A schedule award is paid beginning on the date of Maximum Medical Improvement, (MMI) and ending after the specific number of weeks you're entitled to. Check your impairment rating report and see what the date of MMI is. The post Calculating A Schedule Award might also help you: http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2015/02/calculating-schedule-award.htmlYou can contact me at jesseslade@frontier.com if you have further questions.

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  33. I received schedule award in 2012 for carpal tunnel. My condition has worsened. How long do I have to wait before I can apply for another schedule award? Do I submit a CA-7 before I see doctor?

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  34. You can go for the increase after one year. You should submit the CA-7 with a copy of your impairment rating.

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    1. So I should see the dr first for another impairment rating, then submt the CA-7? Also, I'm retired now receiving a CSRS annuity. Does this in any way affect the schedule award?

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    2. Yes, you'll need an impairment rating and you'll need to file a CA-7. You can submit them at the same time. Your CSRS should not affect your schedule award.

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  35. I've been on OWCP for bilateral mastectomy since 2012. Since 2014 I've also received ssd to total 80% of my previous salary. I am now 62 years old. I was recently rated MMI by all my doctors with restrictions. I am now being recommended for vocational rehab. Can I refuse the voc rehab and just received my full 80% compensation from SSD, or I'm I required to participate in voc rehab.

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  36. The vocational rehab program is mandatory so there are sanctions should you refuse. These sanctions include losing your right to compensation. If you're eligible for OPM benefits, then you can elect your OPM benefits. Vocational rehab would be stopped if you collect OPM benefits. However, sanctions may occur until the OPM election is processed.

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  37. How does "Gwynn" affect an impairment rating for a condition that occurs in a scheduled member after the injury? I know that pre-existing conditions have to be accounted for, but what about subsequent conditions? Example: Accepted condition is for elbow injury. After injury, claimant develops C5 nerve damage unrelated to employment. Can the subsequent condition be included in the rating per "Gwynn"?

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  38. Once an employment-related impairment is found, all impairment of the schedule member is included, including preexisting and non-employment related impairments. The ECAB stated in Raymond Gwynn, 35 ECAB 247 (1983) (citing Larson) that “the employer takes the employee as he finds him.”

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  39. I have 7 OWCP Accepted Conditions ICD-9 Codes

    1. 231.22 = CARCINOMA IN SITU OF BRONCHUS AND LUNG
    2. 466.19 = ACUTE BRONCIOLITIS DUE TO OTHER INFECTIOUS ORGANISMS
    3. 782.1 = RASH AND OTHER NONSPECIFIC SKIN ERUPTION
    4. 427.0 = PAROXYSMAL SUPRAVENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA / (PSVT)
    5. 785.0 = TACHYCARDIA UNSPECIFIED /Atrial Fibrillation
    6. 493.22 = CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE ASTHMA WITH (ACUTE) EXACERBATION
    7. 300.02 = GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
    Do I have to see separate doctors and get a narrative report for each condition for a permanent impairment percentage in order to receive a SA?


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  40. No, a physician well schooled in schedule awards should be able to complete the impairment rating.

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  41. I was schedule and tested for hearing loss by an owcp doctor and he stated the test results indicated that I could hear the words correctly and the tones better. that he would recommend another hearing test a month from now to owcp. I think he didn't even consider my hearing loss exam that I presented from my doctor. if owcp should denied the exam what recourse do I have?

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  42. I am on periodic payroll for injury since april 2014,,,I was sent for a second opinion and the owcp doctor disabled me at 100%. I wrecked my foot and ankle and have had 2 surgeries, He said I am at my maximum medical improvement,,,whats next? Do I submit for schedule award,,,do I just keep getting paid

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  43. OWCP is sending me to one of their doctors for a medical evaluation for a percent of loss, is their doctors word final? Also I don't understand. In cases of anatomical loss by traumatic injury or surgery, evaluation will also be based on loss of lung tissue (by weight or volume)? in my case Right upper Lobe
    If the percentage of loss using this method is higher than the percentage based on loss of respiratory function, the award shall be made on the basis of loss of lung tissue. Anatomical evaluations will be made only with regard to the injured lung and will be based on a 156-week maximum award for each lung. Anatomical loss awards can be made for both lungs if the injury caused loss in both, but each lung must be evaluated separately. Can you please explain this to me. Thank you

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  44. I have a forum for questions: http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.net/

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  45. I have a forum for questions. More than happy to help you: http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.net/

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    Replies
    1. please advise, your link http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.net doe not work, I'm getting yahoo with a choose of
      http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.org

      Delete
  46. That's weird. I tested it and it worked for me. I have two question forums:

    http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.net/
    http://theowcpclassroom.freeforums.org/

    I tested both and both links are working. I don't know what the issue could be since the links are working for me. If easier for you, contact me directly at: owcpslayer@gmail.com

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  47. I have several accepted injuries with OWCP, as I was ejected from an LLV while delivering mail. I am currently working part time with the Postal Service, due to continued neck and back problems. I had a shoulder surgery after the accident happened and reached MMI for that injury and was released by that treating physician. I applied for my schedule award for that area only and was told by my claims examiner that as long as I was on the workers comp rolls that I could not receive a schedule award. Is that correct? If so, the way I see it I will never be able to get a schedule award because I don't foresee ever being released to full duty ever again.

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. This seems to be their latest lie. This is NOT correct. You can receive a schedule award while you are on the rolls, while you are not working or while you are working.

    If you're receiving compensation under one claim number, then OWCP will suspend your compensation, pay out the schedule award and then resume the compensation when the schedule award is paid out.

    If you're receiving compensation under one claim, but the shoulder is on another claim, then you'd receive the schedule award under the shoulder claim and the compensation under the other claim.

    I'm hearing this story more and more. I'm curious is you're percentage was high or if it's a separate claim number than the one you receive compensation for. It seems that the schedule awards that have the potential for a large payout are the ones being told this lie.

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  50. While at work in Sep 2014 I twisted my ankle and fell injuring my wrist, elbow, and shoulder, along with my ankle. Previous to that OJI, I had applied for FERS Disability for an unrelated medical condition. While off of work due to my Sep OJI I received notification that my FERS Disability was approved. I stayed out of work for 45 days from the date of my fall and then I retired on FERS Disability without ever going back to work following my OJI. I am now beginning my 2nd year of my FERS Disability annuity and I have just been approved for SSDI due to my FERS Disability related medical condition and due to the permanent injuries I sustained when I fell in Sep 2014. Additionally, I have hired an attorney to work on a schedule award for my Sep 2014 work related injuries. Quite honestly, I am somewhat confused about understanding the applicable offsets as well as what my financial responsibilities will be to the OPM, and/or the Social Security Admin, and or OWCP if I am awarded a schedule award.

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  51. You've retained an attorney and are paying them a lot of money for their expertise, so you should discuss your concerns with your attorney.

    It isn't ethical for me to respond or advise someone who has already retained representation.

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  52. I have a claim with OWCP through an injury to my neck while on a DoD contract (DBA) that occurred in 2012...I have reached MMI, but can no longer deploy in that capacity...I am receiving TTD benefits (max), but don't know if I'm eligible for a SA? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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  53. If you are receiving compensation from OWCP then OWCP would suspend those benefits while the schedule award paid out. If you are approved for disability retirement (or regular retirement) through OPM, you could switch to your OPM benefits and collect your OPM benefits and your schedule award at the same time.

    The spine is not a covered body part for a schedule award, but damage caused because of the spine is. For instance if you have nerve damage in your arms and/or legs, that is covered for a schedule award because the arms and legs are covered body parts.

    A lot of people with spinal conditions develop nerve damage. This usually is numbness, tingling and/or weakness in either the arms or legs depending on what part of the spine is injured.

    If your neck was injured, you may have nerve damage in your arms/hands. If this is the case, then a nerve conduction study should show any nerve damage and could help you with a schedule award.

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  54. I had my 2nd opinion exam for my SA in December 1 2015. How long does it take to get feed back or decision on my award?

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  55. SA's are considered low priority so it isn't unusual for it to take 4-6 months.

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  56. I had a spinal fusion last year. The doc said MRI didn't show much. After he placed me at MMI he rated me 6%, but I haven't applied for scheduled award yet. I recently had an EMG by pain management MD and discovered I have LLE radiculopathy and bilateral neuropathy. Should this info increase my schedule award?

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  57. There is no schedule award for the spine as the spine is not a covered body part under OWCP. So if the impairment rating was for the spine, OWCP will not accept it.

    While the spine is not covered, damage caused by the spinal conditions is covered. So if you have nerve damage in your legs, that would be covered for a schedule award as the legs are a covered body part.

    So if you have nerve damage in your lower extremities, then yes, that is covered for a schedule award.

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  58. Can you have a sa for both your right and left legs. I had surgery on my l5-s1 and only got an impairment rating for my right leg. Can I get an impairment rating on my left leg.

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  59. Yes you can receive a schedule award for both lower extremities.

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  60. Can the impairment rating from a SA be used against me by my employer? For example, depending on that rating can they tell me I can no longer work in my current job because of it? I am currently working a full duty law enforcement job.

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    Replies
    1. It's impossible for me to say whether or not an agency will use a schedule award rating against you.

      If you can perform your job, then it shouldn't be an issue. Usually an agency uses OWCP against you when you cannot perform your job. If you're working your normal job, applying for a schedule award shouldn't be an issue.

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  61. Do you know if there would be a SA for burns to both legs?

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  62. Yes, you can receive a schedule award due to burns on both legs.

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  63. I was sent for a second opinion by the OWCP in J'ville. When I got to the doctor's office they wanted me to fill out a ten-page form and when I asked them why they told me that they couldn't create a treatment plan without the info. I told them that I wasn't interested in them treating me since there were a thousand doctors within driving distance of my home. The doc got upset, grabbed my leg and twisted it so much that there was a loud "snap" and the knee locked up. The doctor's eyes got huge and he threw his hands up in the air and started reading the notes the owcp had sent him (I assume the SOAF)_and he repeated several times "it happened before, yea that's it, it happened before" apparently because the owcp was trying to claim that the injury that had been accepted twenty years before had actually occurred before the agency hired me. When the owcp doctor shops an injured worker to an incompetent doctor who causes a new injury or aggravates the existing injury is the owcp liable for the injury or is the doctor.

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  64. When you are sent to any OWCP-directed examination and you are injured in the course of that examination, any resulting injury is compensable.

    In a case such as you're describing, you should go directly to the emergency room and get the condition documented. If necessary, an ambulance should be called. Then you should see your own physician to connect the new injury to the examination.

    Once the condition is documented medically, you can go to OWCP and begin the process of having the condition accepted to your claim.

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  65. Ok , so owcp is giving me 21% for a right knee injury. My base pay at time of injury was 87,300.00 annually( 1650 weekly) . I have 2 dependents. My date of disability was 01/18/2016 which was my mmi date. Can someone please breakdown what I should expect?

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  66. 21% x 288 weeks (leg) = 60.48 weeks
    60.48 weeks x 1,650 (pay rate) x 75% =$84,744.00 total award

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  67. Have just been given a 28% rating for a (r) leg nerve damage resulting from a second surgery on my lumbar 6/4/12. Moving to submit for a SA. I heard that you can't receive a SA and compensation payments at the same time. Will OWCP notify me before they stop payments or just cut them off?

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  68. You cannot received OWCP compensation and a schedule award at the same time.

    OWCP should send you a letter that lists out all the details of your schedule award. Part of this letter should indicate that you need to choose either the compensation or the schedule award.

    If you receive both, immediately notify OWCP in writing and do not spend the money as OWCP will want it back.

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  69. My schedule award is at the dma right now and has been for 5 weeks, since huge 6th. Is there a time restriction and is it positive that it has been there for this long.
    Thanks
    K

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  70. Unfortunately there is no time-frame for schedule awards. OWCP considers schedule awards 'low priority'

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  71. So how does a schedule award work with carpal tunnel? I'm a DOD employee and just spoke with Air Force Personnel center. They told me that once I reached my MMI I could file the CA-7 for an award. But they said I would have to also receive a medical evaluation to determine my level of disability. So if I have the surgery and it fully corrects my carpal tunnel how can I apply for an award? My mother worked for the DOD and she had the same surgery. She filed the CA-7 and that was the end of it. It was reviewed and awarded to her at 66.5% of her base pay. She never had to have a post surgery or post MMI evelauation.

    Thanks!

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  72. If your mother's claim was some time ago, it's possible the rules and regulations were different.

    If you have surgery and the carpal tunnel is fully corrected, in other words, you're cured, then you're not entitled to a schedule award.

    A schedule award pays for the percentage of permanent loss of use. If you have no loss of use because surgery corrected the condition, then you would not be entitled to a schedule award because you have full use of your wrists/hands.

    A schedule award only pays when the accepted condition causes a permanent loss of use to the covered body part.

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  73. I hurt my thumb/ wrist june24,2011. I since have had 4 surgeries on my right hand/arm, I have finally been cleared to go back to my job (usps) with no restrictions, will I receive a scheduled award, I had a joint replaced in my thumb, trigger thumb release, carpal tunnel, and a radial release on my arm.i have been out of work for 5 years, will I be eligible for a scheduled award?

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  74. The arm/hand is a covered body part for a schedule award but you won't automatically receive it. You have to have an impairment rating and file a CA-7 in order to file for the schedule award.

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  75. Jesse Slade--wow! I applaud you for keeping up with this post after 4 years!

    Question: My husband is federal LEO and their salary is the standard schedule with locality pay, plus 25% "law enforcement availability pay" (LEAP). He went for his disability rating today (shoulder injury). Would the schedule award be based on his GS salary only or the GS salary plus LEAP? Also, is a wife considered a dependent?

    Also, just for confirming my math: Let's assume salary was $100,000 (not taking into account my question above) and he receives a 40% disability rating. By my calculations his payout would be done as follows:
    $100,000 x 6 (since 312 weeks = 6 years) = $600,000
    $600,000 * 0.4 (disability rating) = $240,000
    $240,000 * 0.75 (assuming wives are a dependent)= $180,000

    Total lump sum payout on 96% is $172,800, correct?

    You rock and this blog is much appreciated!

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  76. I'm glad you like the blog!

    The 312 weeks is for 100% loss.

    Your math is close but the calculations are unique.

    312 x 40% (impairment rating) = 124.8 weeks payable
    $100,000 per year = $1,923.08 weekly pay rate
    124.8 weeks payable x $1,923.08 = $240,000
    $240,000 x 75% (because wives are dependents) =$180,000 total award

    Schedule awards pay out differently than compensation. There is a maximum pay rate and your husband may exceed that, in which case he'd be paid the maximum pay rate. That pay rate changes so I can't tell you what it is, but it would be in the acceptance paperwork from OWCP.

    For your other question, LEOS should receive their LEAP from OWCP.

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  77. I just found out i have a 5% nerve left lei. I looked it up and it says that it could be a different impairment %. Is this true

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  78. I'm not sure what exactly you're asking, but once OWCP receives an impairment rating, it's sent to the District Medical Adviser, (DMA). The DMA looks over the rating and can determine the rating is correct and not change it or increase or lower it if the DMA believes the rating wasn't done properly.

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  79. Hi, all I've had 3 tarsal tunnel and planter release surgeries, my condition is bilateral. Two were on my right, the other on my left. I also have what their calling is derangement of my right knee. My question is does each foot get its own rating, and also I saw in earlier post that my knee doesn't need surgery to get an award, but does injections count as surgeries? I've had at least 20 injections. And my orthopedic surgeon has said that if I continue to carry mail tarsal tunnel will return. If I go back to work Andy condition worsens can I file for another award?

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  80. Each foot gets it's own rating but can be combined in the same schedule award.

    Injections are not surgery.

    Once you've been rated you can be re-rated after a year if the conditions worsen. You would then be entitled to the difference between what was paid and the new rating.

    For instance if OWCP accepted 5% and you were paid the 5% and the next rating was 10% you'd receive the 5% difference. 10% (new rating)-5% (previously paid)=5% (owed).

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  81. I am sorry,
    What i am asking is. If the 5% nerve lower extremity impairment is different than my impairment rating.

    My initial impairment rating by my doctor was 25% left leg and 10% right leg

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  82. I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding what you're trying to ask me.

    The nerve damage would be part of the impairment rating. The 5% allotted to the nerve damage would be included in the total rating.

    Or I'm just not understanding what you're trying to ask.

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  83. Thats what i was asking. I still havent got my report. But the kady i talked to on the phone said i had 5% lei and other stuff. She couldnt read it so she would have my c.e. call me to tell me my rating. I was just wondering if it would be the same as my initial impairment from my doctor

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    Replies
    1. Are my comments not being approved for a reason

      Delete
  84. Once an impairment rating is received by OWCP it will be sent to the District Medical Adviser, (DMA).

    The DMA will look over the rating and see if everything was done properly. The DMA then has three choices:

    1) Agree with the rating
    2) Lower the rating
    3) Increase the rating

    So whether or not your rating will be the same as what your rating physician gave you is unknown until you see the letter OWCP sends you telling you what rating they're accepting.

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  85. Hi, Thank you for all your help here! I reached MMI and received a scheduled award (nerve damage from neck injury). My questions; 1.) do I continue to receive all medical care for the injury i.e. chiropractic. 2.) My doc advised me to stop working. Should I apply for Fed. Disability Retirement or persue OWCP-Workers Comp ?

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  86. A schedule award does not affect your medical treatment.

    If you stop working, you'll need to apply for disability retirement within one year or you'll lose your right to it.

    Approval of disability retirement does not affect your OWCP claim.

    You can pursue OWCP compensation if you quit working, but you'll need a medical narrative that fully explains why you cannot work, what job functions you cannot perform and why you cannot perform them.

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  87. I have 2 accepted conditions with Owcp.they were both accepted in 2012. I had a total knee replacement on my right knee in Feb if 2015 and a total lnee replacement on my left knee this last February 2016. Can i file scheduled award on both knees ??? Should the SA time frame start from 2012 ?? Also how do i calculate the the number of weeks wweeks.per leg. Also what if my Dr. Gives ne a low impairment rating. And the dr from Owcp gives me the same rating what should i do ???


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  88. Yes you can file a schedule award for both knees if both are accepted by OWCP.

    The schedule award would start on the date of MMI. This is usually the date of the impairment rating.

    You don't calculate the number of weeks, that is based on the percentage of loss OWCP accepts. So you won't know this until the rating is done and OWCP accepts it.

    You should have your impairment rating done by someone who has done ratings for OWCP before. You can have this done by a physician who is not your doctor.

    If both your doctor and OWCP's doctor agree on the rating, that is the rating you'll receive. After a year, if the conditions worsen you can be re-rated and you would be paid the difference. For instance if you're rated at 10% and the next rating is 15% you would receive the 5% difference. 15%-10%=5%.

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  89. I have 3 different leg impairments. My doctor gave 25%. The dma gave 8%. And the second opinion doctor gave 2%. Now my case is under review with the dma again. What should i expect as an outcome.

    Thanks

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  90. Kyle: Your comments are being published, but sometimes it takes more than a couple of hours to get to them. Questions are usually sent to me via email or on my question forum.

    Since I can only guess at what will happen, I would guess that the rating will end up in the 2% range. This is because in this situation, the DMA is acting as the second opinion and the doctor you saw is acting as the referee and normally the referee is the doctor with the final say.

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  91. It just seems as if i am getting the short end of the stick. I already have my case file and will appeal if necessary. I just dont understand why it went back to a dma and it is taking 30 days to get a response. Thanks for your input it is very helpful

    Thanks

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  92. This is the process. The rating first goes to the DMA then if necessary, OWCP sends you to one of their physicians. Then it goes back to the DMA.

    Each physician has 30 days to provide their response. Sometimes the DMA takes much longer.

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  93. If you are approaching 108 weeks on periodic payroll, have not reached MMI, and do not have an official impairment rating, what happens? How can you apply for SA?

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  94. As long as the medical evidence warrants it, your claim will remain open.

    In order to file for a schedule award, you need to get an impairment rating and submit it to OWCP with a completed CA-7.

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  95. I had right ankle reconstruction surgery last year in august and have arthritis in my ankle as well as constant pain, swelling, stiffness and burning from the scar to my 4th and 5th toes. wondering what the average IR is for this

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  96. There's really no such thing as average. Each claim is different. You won't know until you're rated.

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  97. Jesse, I have an OWCP accepted rt knee injury. Eventually, had rt knee replaced. I have 2 OWCP accepted consequential injuries...lower back and left knee. Having left knee replaced in July. Can I file a SA for my rt knee while still collecting compensation for my lower back and left knee, even though all injuries are under the same claim number? Also, I've been advised to wait until I have my left knee replaced and file a SA for both knees at the same time. Any advice as to why I should or shouldn't take this advice? Thank you! Your blog has been helpful to me many times with my comp case!!

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  98. Because the accepted conditions are all under one claim, you cannot collect the compensation and a schedule award at the same time.

    Since you cannot collect OWCP compensation and a schedule award at the same time, it can sometimes be more financially advantageous to wait and have multiple areas rated at the same time.

    In addition, it also saves you from having to have separate ratings which you may have to travel for.

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  99. I applied for my schedule award when my Dr. said I reached my MMI (August 2016), OWCP sent me to their Dr. and he placed a MMI the day he evaluated me (April 2017). The OWCP Dr. came up with the same rating as my Dr. However my approved scheduled award MMI Start date was the later date (April 2017). This is a 8 month difference and a lot of money not received. Advised not to appeal because OWCP could try to send me to another Dr and lower my entire rating. Thoughts? Which MMI date should be used?

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  100. Normally the MMI date used is the date of the rating. This does not affect the amount of money you would receive.

    The number of weeks payable is calculated based on the percentage of loss not on the date of MMI.

    You're not losing anything and there's no reason to appeal.

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