OWCP Schedule Award Lawyer
After a workplace accident, injury or illness, the goal is always to get better. Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits are there to assist you with medical care and wage loss payments during your period of disability and improvement. There will come a time, however, when your doctor declares that you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This term means that your physician does not anticipate that continued medical treatment will improve your condition any further. At that point, any impairment that you have is considered permanent. Contact our experienced OWCP schedule award lawyer for more information or immediate assistance.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act allows the injured worker to receive payment of a schedule award, based upon the permanent impairment sustained to a body part found on the rating schedule. Each body part found on the schedule is called a schedule member. The amount of the schedule award is based upon the rating that is approved by the OWCP. Every rating will entitle the claimant to a specific number of weeks of payment.
The decision on when to apply for a schedule award is based on many factors and can be very complicated. The concept is always to maximize the amount of benefits to which you are entitled. It is first important to understand that wage loss benefits and schedule award benefits are paid at the same rate of pay every four weeks. It is also important to understand that you cannot receive a schedule award payment and wage loss payments from the Department of Labor at the same time.
WARNING – It is vital to understand that you should not pursue your schedule award while you are receiving wage loss benefits because the OWCP will simply reclassify your wage loss benefits to a schedule award and you will simply receive the same ongoing payment and never realize any additional money payment for your schedule award.
We usually recommend to our clients that we secure the schedule award after they have returned back to work and are no longer on wage loss payments. For clients who are unable to return to work, we secure OPM disability. The law does allow the injured worker to receive OPM disability retirement payments from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) AND schedule award payments from the OWCP concurrently.
How is the Payment of a Schedule Award Determined?
The payment of the schedule award is based upon a percentage of impairment that the injured worker has sustained to a schedule member. For instance, a 10% impairment to your arm would qualify for 31.2 weeks of payments (10% of a total of 312 weeks). The list below provides the most often rated body parts:
|Total Weeks available
|Loss of Hearing
|Loss of vision
Important Note – Since the amount of your schedule award is dependent upon the permanent impairment rating that you receive, it is important to be evaluated by a physician that will get you the highest rating allowed by law. We team up with physicians throughout the country, in order to obtain the ratings and schedule award payments that our clients deserve.
What is a Supplemental Schedule Award?
Some conditions get progressively worse. Consequently, the impairment to that schedule member will increase over time. An individual may be entitled to a higher impairment rating and the additional payment above that received in the past, based upon the previous rating.
Can a Schedule Award Affect my opm Disability and/ Social Security Disability Payments?
It is very important to understand that the government is allowed offsets or reductions for certain payments when the injured worker is receiving two or more different payments from different entities at any one time. For instance, Social Security get a dollar for dollar offset against the wage loss benefits or schedule award payments received by the claimant. OPM disability gets to reduce their payment, based upon the claimant’s eligibility to receive Social Security disability benefits.
It is important to contact an OWCP schedule award lawyer if you are receiving payment from more than one source at any one time. You don’t want to risk getting into an overpayment issue that could put you into financial ruin.