Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The CA-20 Trap

When you first file an OWCP claim a lot of times your employer will give you a CA-20 (Attending Physician’s Report) form and tell you to have your doctor complete the form.

Sometimes it’s not just the employer but OWCP might also tell you to have a CA-20 completed and even the FECA Manual says a CA-20 can be used as a medical report. Everyone makes it seem as if this is what you need from your doctor to get your claim accepted…but it’s not.

The CA-20 is an official OWCP form, but it’s a trap and not actually considered a medical report that can or will get your claim accepted. While everyone might tell you that it’s all you need from your physician, it isn’t.

This is because the CA-20 does not constitute a rationalized medical opinion on causal relationship; simply checking the box that indicates the injuries are work-related and writing a brief description isn’t enough and can actually cause the claim to be denied. If you submit a CA-20 you can expect OWCP to either ask for more information or use the CA-20 to deny your claim.

Once your claim is accepted you can use a CA-20 in between yearly medical narratives but a CA-20 will not be considered rationalized medical evidence and will never be considered a medical report that will get your claim accepted.

In order to get your claim accepted, your doctor must write a complete medical narrative. This is the only medical evidence that will get the claim accepted. Until your claim is accepted, avoid the frustration and skip the CA-20 and have your doctor write a complete medical narrative as required by OWCP.

For more information on medical narratives see these articles:



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  2. A chiropractor is not considered a physician under the Act. I would not use a chiropractor as your rating physician.

  3. I wish I read this 4 months ago...
    This is exactly what happened to me. My agency gave me a CA-20 and no guidance. Claim was denied. This caused me 3 months of my own sick leave and my own personal insurance before it was approved on appeal. ALWAYS get a medical narrative written by your doctor.