Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) Update
The National Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) Committee is made up of reps from every region. The committee maintains a network of specialized representatives to advise and assist members with claims for workers compensation.
As we reported to NATCA members in messages on May 17 and June 9, bargaining unit employees (BUEs) may be eligible for continuation of pay for a COVID-19 related illness. BUEs will need to (a) show a positive test for COVID-19 after working with other employees during the time of infection, i.e., usually 10-14 days before symptoms manifest, and (b) file within 30 calendar days of the last duty day before testing. BUEs are still eligible for subsidized leave buy back outside that window.
Although it’s possible to get a COVID-19 claim accepted from a home test kit result, a third-party medical provider’s test will give the Department of Labor (DOL) a specific date and time for fixing the date of injury from a source with no interest in the claim. If you test positive with a home test kit for COVID-19, please follow up with a third-party medical provider to give yourself the best chance of claim acceptance.
For BUEs suffering with symptoms from COVID-19 after being medically cleared to work, there may be a claim for ailments relating to a prior infection, or “long COVID.” This will require a physician’s written opinion that symptoms relate to an original infection, and the claim will have to be filed on a DOL Form CA-2a outside of ecomp.dol.gov. Please contact your Regional OWCP rep for help if you fit within this category or if you have any additional questions.