By Reg Jones
Q. I have been drawing workers’ compensation for seven years. Several years back, my wife sold some pups and I failed to turn it in as income. I entered a plea to three felonies. I was told by my court-appointed attorney that my supervisor position for the Postal Service should be made available for my return to work where the previous injury occurred. Is this the case? How should I approach my former employer about my job?
Q. I have been receiving workers’ compensation since 1977 as a partially permanently disabled person. Four years ago, I started getting Social Security disability, so the two combined is still not much. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs sent me a letter that my workers’ comp check may be reduced because I am turning 62. I only get $400 from them and my SSD amount is not changing, as it is just going to be called Social Security now instead of SSD. Same amount of stipend, so why are they taking away what little bit I get? Nothing has changed except my age.
Q. I have an occupational illness. It was not originally accepted, and my employer had me on leave without pay due to an inability for find work within my restrictions. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has since accepted my claim, and my employer has found work for me. Now that my claim has been accepted and back compensation has been approved for that time, was I supposed to earn leave during the 10 months I was off and on OWCP due to employer inability to find work within my restrictions?
Q. My husband is a government worker under FERS. He filed for Social Security disability and received his first check on Sept. 28 for August 2013. He was told that his FERS disability retirement of $3,114 would be reduced by 100 percent because he is receiving SSD. What does that mean? Would his SSD of $2,092 also be reduced? If he is awarded workers’ compensation, can he elect to receive that and stop the FERS disability and the Social Security disability?
Q. Can you draw both workers’ comp and Social Security disability? I am a FERS employee who was put on Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs rolls because no work is available to me due to my work restrictions. Is there a penalty during both? Is either one taxable? Or am I forced to drop workers’ comp? And how does this affect me with my Veterans Affairs Department disabilities?
Q. My husband has been receiving workers’ compensation benefits since 1993. Every year, we fill out the questionnaire sent to him regarding if he has worked in the past 15 months, etc. These forms also require a yearly medical exam and a narrative written by the physician. No problem there. We fill out the forms and my husband goes to the doctor. This year, when we got the forms in the mail, they were the same forms we’ve been getting every year except that at the top of the form, under his case file number, it has an OMB number and an expiration date in 2014. What does that mean?
Q. I have been on workers’ compensation since 1991. How long can I remain on it? I am 64 years old.
Q. I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits through the Postal Service. I am considering the switch from OWCP to OPM (FERS). My concern is that I have been on OWCP since 1997 and am worried that all my cost-of-living adjustments would somehow not roll over and be figured into the Office of Personnel Management payments. Is there a way to get an accurate calculation of what my current benefits with OPM would be so that I can make an informed decision rather than trying to guess-timate? I called OPM and they told me they thought that the payments would be based on my high-3 at the time of separation. I am 56 years old.
Q. I work for the Postal Service as a mail carrier under FERS. Due to an on-the-job injury, I am receiving workers’ compensation. Can I also get Social Security disability (it is already approved), while receiving workers’ comp?
Q. I retired with a disability CSRS retirement at age 52 with 33.3 years of service. I was on workers’ compensation for a bit, switched to a disability retirement and went back to school and started a new career. At age 56, I became earnings restored and was sent paperwork to apply for an immediate retirement. I did and my gross monthly annuity was reduced by $150 per month. The only answer I can get from the Office of Personnel Management is that they are calculated differently. Am I being penalized for retiring early on disability? Should it be calculated with 33.3 years at age 55?
Q. I was injured on the job May 15. Due to injuries I sustained from a car accident in December, my doctors on June 7 deemed me indefinitely unable to return to work in the title that I’m employed in. My workers’ compensation case was accepted June 23. Can I apply for disability retirement for the car accident injury while out on workers’ compensation?
Q. Postal worker. CSRS retirement plan. Currently work full time limited duty with 20 percent permanent disability accepted by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Have new personal disability, cancer. Will be unable to work now. 33 years service. Age 53 in September. Do I seek CSRS disability retirement for my illness, or OWCP disability from my job injury? Are there other financial considerations I’m missing?
Q. I have an Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs claim on an injury sustained at work. My physician put me on restrictions for three months. My agency has not contacted me in over a week and I’m using sick leave while I wait on their job offer. If they are not able to offer me a job any time soon, could I submit for regular disability under FERS, and also Social Security. If I am not approved for disability, and a job offer is not given, then can I take a regular retirement with unreduced annuity and also get the special retirement supplement? My agency is going through a transfer of function to another site. I am 59 with 28 years of service.
Q. In 1998, I was injured and received benefits from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. I left the agency and went to work for a different agency under FERS. As a result, I received a “loss of wage earning capacity” every month from the 1998 injury.
In 2005, I received a disability retirement as a result of a different injury. Should my high-3 average have included the loss of wage-earning capacity I was receiving at the time of the disability application and approval?
Q. My father is on workers’ compensation. When he passes away, would my mother be able to receive survivor benefits or pull off of his retirement for any compensation? He was in air traffic controller for 17 years and left all of his money in the system. He is 82 years old.
Q. I was injured on the job in 1998. I applied for OPM disability retirement and Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. OPM was approved first. I took that. Later, OWCP was approved and I spent nine years on OWCP. After that ended, I went back to retirement. Later, I was rehired by the government as a disabled annuitant. Am I entitled to a restoration of rights (5 USC 8151) for that time spent on OWCP (this would add nine years to my federal record)? I now work for the VA but was injured at INS. Can I apply to have the tenure of nine years restored by either VA or INS, or have I lost that nine years on OWCP? I note 5 CFR 353 seems to suggest I should get those nine years back not on retirement.
I applied for re-employment at INS when I recovered, and officials there never responded.
Q. We have an employee who has been unable to report for duty since pay period 10 (May 15, 2012) due to an auto accident, which occurred May 15, 2012. On March 6, the employee advised that her claim had been accepted by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program. Effective May 15, it will be one year since her injury. Can you advise the next steps once the employee has reached a full year? Is the employee still covered? If the employee is still unable to return to work after May 15, are there preclusions under OWCP from proceeding with removal based on medical inability?
Q. My husband has been on workers’ compensation (previous air traffic controller) since 1980. If he should die before me, will I receive any monthly benefits?
Q. After 25 years of service, I was approved for OWCP disability. Now, 15 years later and at age 68, I am still receiving the annuity. If I die still receiving OWCP benefits, will my wife receive survivor benefits from my CSRS service? Should I leave the money in the CSRS or draw it out?
Q. I have been an 1811 status (federal agent) federal employee for 16 years. I have been on leave without pay and receiving workers’ compensation for the past year due to an on-the-job injury.
I have received little if any guidance from my agency’s HR, as the representatives admit they have little or no experience with workers’ comp.
What should I do to maintain the best possible benefits for me and my family if this becomes a long-term/permanent situation and I am not able to return to work? And if I can return to work, how would the time on workers’ comp affect my retirement benefits etc.?
What survivor benefits will my spouse have if I die while on workers’ comp?