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Time Limits in Federal Workers’ Compensation Claims and Appeals

There are many time limits in federal workers’ compensation claims and appeals. Often the first step after an injured worker submits a claim is OWCP sending him a development letter asking for more information, often from a doctor. There’s 30-day time limit to submit the information. If you can’t get the information together within 30 days, call your claims examiner and follow up with a written note. Most likely, the claims examiner will give you extra time. If you don’t call, she may go ahead and deny your claim for lack of information. These time limits in federal workers’ compensation cases are essential to follow.

The claims examiner will never give an extension of time when he has issued a notice of proposed termination or reduction. The claimant must respond within 30 days and try to have the response reach the claims examiner by the 30th day. If it’s close, consider calling the claims examine to say the response is on its way. Do not ignore the time limits in federal workers’ compensation claims.

Count the date of any decision or notice from OWCP as day one. For example, a claimant would need to respond by October 1, 2011 to a September 2, 2011 notice with a 30-day time limit.

For an adverse decision dated October 4, 2011, a claimant would need to postmark a request for hearing by November 2, 2011. OWCP must receive a request for reconsideration by October 3, 2012. An appeal to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) must reach the Board within 180 days of October 4.

My experience is that the Branch of Hearings and Review (BHR) schedules a telephone hearing for a date within three to five months of the hearing request. The hearing representative issues a decision about 90 days after the hearing. During that time, both the claimant and the employer have the opportunity to review and comment on the hearing transcript.

An OWCP District Office takes about 90 days to issue a decision on a request for reconsideration. During that time, OWCP will send the employer a copy of the request, and, unless the issue is solely medical, it will give the employer an opportunity to comment. ECAB can take up to a year or more to issue a decision. It is essential to adhere to all time limits in federal workers’ compensation appeals as well. Failure to do so may result in losing your rights.

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