Is your rate of pay correct?
The calculation of your rate of pay will determine the amount of every payment that you will ever receive from the OWCP. All wage loss payments and any schedule award payment you get will be based upon the calculation that they make regarding your rate of pay. Any miscalculation on the low side could ultimately cost you thousands of dollars if you are paid over a long period of time.
The calculation itself is easy. The monthly pay of the individual is utilized in making the calculation. If the injured employee is a postal worker, the employee’s hourly rate is multiplied by 2,080 hours and then divided by the 52 weeks in the year.
The more difficult consideration can be in determining the point at which to make the calculation. The law provides that your compensation is based on the higher of your monthly pay at: (1)the time of injury; (2) the time disability begins; (3) or the time a compensable disability recurs.
In most instances, the calculation considers the date you fell, lifted something or suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident while on the job. Those are all traumatic events with a clear start date as in example (1) above. If, however, you suffer from repetitive trauma from performing the same activity over time, your calculation may consider the time that you became unable to work as in example number (2) above.
The more confusing consideration, but the one that could cost you the most money if not calculated correctly is when you return back to work for more than six months and then suffer a recurrance. If that occurs and you were working at a higher rate of pay, it is that rate that should be utilized by the OWCP.
In one case, an injured worker was hurt in 2002 and removed by the employing agency until he returned back to work in 2003. He was injured in 2004 and argued that the his rate from that time should be utilized. He won the issue on appeal.
For more information on the topic, please visit www.barzLaw.com or email Steve@theOWCPattorney.com with your question.
© Stephen V. Barszcz, P.A. 2012