Friday, November 13, 2015

October ECAB Decisions

The ECAB decisions for the month of October have been posted and I noticed something of concern.

Not all that long ago, some of the judges at the ECAB changed.

When the ECAB issues a decision they either affirm OWCP's decision which means they agree with OWCP and agree that the decision OWCP issued was correct. In other words, the claimant has lost their ECAB appeal.

They can remand OWCP's decision which means that something was wrong with OWCP's decision and the Board is sending it back to OWCP to correct whatever it is that the Board determined was wrong. Once OWCP has done that, OWCP issues a new decision.

A case can be remanded back to OWCP for a lot of different reasons such as OWCP didn't consider all the evidence, there's an outstanding medical conflict, a claimant has multiple claims that weren't combined, the case requires further development, etc... With a remand, the claimant hasn't lost, but hasn't won yet either because OWCP will be issuing a new decision.

Or the ECAB can reverse OWCP's decision. This means OWCP's decision was not correct or was inaccurate and the Board reverses it. This is a full-blown win for the claimant.

138 decisions are posted for October 2015. Of those, 27 were remanded back to OWCP. 111 were affirmed and ZERO were reversed.

Only 27 of the 138 were remanded and none were reversed. 111 were affirmed which is a pretty high percentage. Not a single claimant won their appeal in front of the ECAB in October. Not one.

I've been doing this a long time and I have never seen a month of ECAB decisions where there wasn't at least one reversal. I find this extremely concerning since this means the ECAB didn't find a single case where OWCP issued an inaccurate decision and I find that very hard to believe.