Postal Service Employee Workers' Compensation Claims Not Always Processed Timely, but Problems Hamper Complete Measurement

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Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2000, U. S. Postal Service employees accounted for about one-third of both the federal civilian workforce and the $2.1 billion cost of the Federal Workers' Compensation Program (WCP). During that same year, Postal Service employees submitted 85,000 claims, or one-half of all claims for new work-related injuries, to the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP), which is charged with administering the program. Because of complaints the subcommittee received from injured federal employees about the untimely receipt of WCP benefits and because ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. December 20, 2002.

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Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2000, U. S. Postal Service employees accounted for about one-third of both the federal civilian workforce and the $2.1 billion cost of the Federal Workers' Compensation Program (WCP). During that same year, Postal Service employees submitted 85,000 claims, or one-half of all claims for new work-related injuries, to the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP), which is charged with administering the program. Because of complaints the subcommittee received from injured federal employees about the untimely receipt of WCP benefits and because Postal Service employees account for such a large portion of the WCP, the Chairman, House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations, Committee on Government Reform, asked us to determine specifically whether Postal Service employees were receiving WCP benefits in a timely manner. For our current review, we agreed to (1) determine the extent to which Postal Service employees provided all of the evidence required by OWCP regulations for determining the claimants' eligibility for WCP benefits and (2) determine whether claims for WCP eligibility and WCP compensation payments for lost wages or schedule awards were submitted and processed within the time frames set forth in OWCP regulations or performance standards. On the basis of our analysis, we estimate that in about 99 percent of the cases involving Postal Service employees who (1) had work-related injuries during the 12-month period beginning July 1, 1997, and (2) filed claims for WCP benefits for lost wages or schedule awards due to these injuries, the employees eventually provided OWCP the evidence it required to make a determination on their eligibility for benefits. However, in about 69 percent of the cases, OWCP claims examiners had to request additional information because all of the required evidence needed to make a determination of WCP eligibility was not provided initially. As a result, claims for WCP eligibility were not always processed within the time frames set forth by OWCP. For those Postal Service employees in our sample cases who were determined to be eligible for WCP benefits and later filed claims for compensation for lost wages or schedule awards, we could not reliably estimate the percentage of claims for compensation that were processed within the time frames set forth by OWCP. This was because the dates we needed to "mark" the beginning and ending actions taken by the injured Postal Service employee and Postal Service supervisor to complete, submit, and forward claims to DWCP were missing from the claim forms."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 20, 2002

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Postal Service Employee Workers' Compensation Claims Not Always Processed Timely, but Problems Hamper Complete Measurement, text, December 20, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc303040/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.