Understanding a Schedule Award – Part 1

OWCP Schedule Awards are a unique benefit to federal employees that have accepted federal workers compensation claims. This benefit is paid for permanent impairment to a part of their body as a result of a work related injury.

While most federal employees that have OWCP claims understand that the benefits exist, they rarely understand them, and even more rarely understand the process that goes into figuring out if they are entitled to one. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the subject of how much there schedule award will be.

First, the biggest difference between a federal workers comp schedule award and a state law workers compensation settlement (from most states) is that a schedule award does not signify the end of compensation benefits for the injured worker. Just because a schedule award is given, does not mean that your claim is over.

Under the most common state laws, a final settlement means that payment will cover the rest of the injury’s life. This means that the settlement would cover any future lost wages as well future medical bills related to the injury.

Under OWCP, the schedule award doesn’t mean that the claimant is not allowed future coverage for medical benefits or lost wage reimbursement. A schedule award only stops lost wage payments during the period of award.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

A schedule award is calculated using a formula that incorporates the injured federal employee’s pay rate, or compensation rate. This is the same figure that is used to calculate lost wage payments. All impairment ratings and scheduled members will equate to a corresponding number of ‘weeks’ of compensation. So once that period has elapsed, the claimant is again eligible to file for lost wage reimbursements at their typical rate.

The medical benefits are never extinguished in this scenario. It is important to know this when you are working with your doctor. They may not know the differences between the federal and state laws when it comes to ‘settling’ your claim. That is why it is best to work with a federal doctor (like the ones found on FedDoctor) who understands those different concepts.

To be continued…

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