Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Filing A Schedule Award

I get contacted a lot by claimants who want information about how to file for a schedule award.

Most of these claimants have already hired someone who is going to take a percentage of the schedule award to “help” them but even after hiring them, they’re having trouble getting the answers they need.

Anyone who has read me, emailed me or talked to me knows how much I hate this practice. So once again let me stress the fact that an attorney or representative is not allowed under the Act to take a percentage of a schedule award or a percentage of anything related to your OWCP claim.

A contingency fee or a percentage is not allowed under OWCP for any reason.

Should you be looking for an attorney or representative to hire for any reason and they offer to relieve you of a percentage of your compensation or schedule award-that’s a clue that the attorney or representative isn’t on the up and up and doesn’t play by the rules. That might be a clue that maybe they’re not the right attorney or representative for you.

Even if you’ve signed a contract agreeing to a percentage, you do not have to abide by that contract since a percentage is not allowed under the Act.

Another thing that really bothers me about this is that the attorney or representative who is taking a percentage of a schedule award isn’t doing any work to receive that percentage.

It is actually simple to file for a schedule award by yourself. You only need two things:

One is an impairment rating under the 6th Edition of the Guides to Permanent Impairment.

A physician does this, so the attorney or representative has nothing to do with the impairment rating. They don’t do ANY work on the impairment rating…the physician does.

The second thing you need is a CA-7 with the portions relating to a schedule award completed.

Again, an attorney or representative doesn’t do ANY work for this. You can easily complete your name, address, claim number, date of injury, etc…You don’t need to pay someone thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to complete a few sections of a CA-7.

If you are still employed by your agency, you submit the CA-7 to your agency and the employer’s section is completed by the agency (remember to get a signed copy).

If you are not employed by your agency, you send the completed CA-7 to OWCP along with your impairment rating.

That’s it! That’s all there is to filing for a schedule award.

I get contacted all the time if a claimant has a question about completing the CA-7. I’m sure some of those people are reading this now. I’ve never charged anyone to help them complete a CA-7 for a schedule award. That’s because it only takes about five minutes of my time.

Obviously, I’m not against being paid for the work we do, but I am against those who illegally take a percentage of a claimant’s schedule award and/or compensation and make a really good living at it while claimants struggle with financial hardship.

If OWCP denies the schedule award or reduces the percentage, there are options and even if you need or want to hire help, you still should not pay a percentage of your schedule award.

I would love to see a trend where claimants file their own schedule award paperwork and keep the payout for themselves. After all, the claimant is the one with the permanent impairment they’ll have to live with, why should attorneys or representatives get a percentage of what is rightfully the claimant’s especially when they do nothing to ‘earn’ that illegal percentage?

Jesse Slade: owcpslayer@gmail.com


  1. Thanks for that information. It's very helpful.

  2. I am working a modified temporary light duty assignment, not working a full day and receiving OWCP compensation for the hours not worked. Does OWCP compensation increase with wage and grade step increases? When it comes time to file for a schedule award, is the award based on the step at the time of the injury or will it be based on the current step?

  3. No, OWCP does not apply wage and step increases. The schedule award will more than likely be based on the current rate of compensation and not on your current rate of pay. In other words, the date of injury pay.

  4. How long after your eval does it take to hear about your schedule award? Had mine 4 months ago and haven't heard anything.

  5. It can take about 6 months for the processing of a schedule award.

  6. I hired an attorney to help me with getting my scheduled award and his contract states he gets 25%. I've had him for 2 years and I'm no closer to obtaining my money than 2 years ago. I'm having a hard time making ends meet and have run out of options. I do not have confidence in this attorney but I was getting the run around with OWCP/DOL and my CE. THIS IS REALLY UNFAIR TO INJURED WORKERS!

  7. An attorney cannot charge a percentage in an OWCP case. See this article: http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2011/08/attorneys-and-representatives.html

  8. Good afternoon Jesse,
    I have submitted my request for a schedule award and the attorney sent me a letter requesting his 20% fee be paid but also for me to sign the fee approval statement form that is to be sent to Owcp for approval. Is this true? Also my schedule award was lessened from the percentage rating from my doctor the final conclusion was granted by the opinion of the DDAMstating that rpm took the dam opinion because my doctor was a pain management doctor and the DDAMwas orthopedic surgeon. Not sure if I should appeal this decision like paperwork states I have to request appeal. The rating are off from 11% to the amount of 5% which the SA i received was for. Also another question I have I looked at the chart for injury and I thought for lower leg extremities was 144. My SAAwes for 14.4 weeks. Can you help me I'm confused

  9. A lower extremity schedule award pays out for 288 weeks. You do not get the 288 weeks unless you have 100% loss. You have a 5% loss. 288 x 5%= 14.4 weeks.

    Contingency fees are not allowed with anything OWCP. So before you sign the fee agreement, you should ask the attorney for an itemized bill. This article may also help: http://theowcpclassroom.blogspot.com/2011/08/attorneys-and-representatives.html

    The DMA's report should indicate where and how your doctor was wrong. If the DMA report is not accurate, then you may consider appealing the decision.