Understanding a Schedule Award – Part 3

… Continued from Part 2


In the 6th edition, it specifically requires you to be at MMI before the impairment can be rated. Have patience! Getting the rating appointment with a good doctor could be a waste of time if you haven’t allowed an adequate amount of healing time to elapse.

Federal workers compensation is difficult enough without having to redo your work or take more time to see a doctor. It is important to try to get it as right as you can on the first try. Once the fight begins, you will benefit from having all of your ducks in a row.

FedDoctor is the only place online to find quality federal doctors all over the country that help the federal employee! Using this resource and sharing it with your friends and co-workers can net you more money when it comes time to file the schedule award claim.

So now that you have reached MMI, schedule your visit with a qualified doctor to have your impairment rated. You can use your treating physician, but make sure that they fully understand the type of report they are generating.

As we discussed previously, the rating must be done in accordance with the AMA Guides 6th edition. Not all doctors know how to use this version as most states have chosen not to adopt this version. In addition to being done using the 6th edition, federal workers compensation schedule awards are not done using Whole Person Impairment (WPI), but rather stay at the local level using Regional Impairment.

To explain the difference, here is an example. If you have a 10% loss of use to your upper extremity (UE) that may equate to a 2% loss of the whole person. The difference is clear: 2% WPI vs. 10% UE.

OWCP does not accept WPI ratings at all. If your report is done using WPI, you have a significant chance of having the entire report thrown out by the district medical advisor in your OWCP regional office.

Your impairment rating should be left in the regional format. In addition, it is generally not helpful to have your doctor rate additional parts of your body that are not included on that claim number. If you have multiple claims, have separate reports done. OWCP often has different claims examiners responsible for different claims and they won’t necessarily both get a copy of the report. This seems like a minor detail, but it can cause confusion and delay or ruin your schedule award claim.

To be continued…

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