In 1916, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) was enacted. FECA provides medical, compensation, death, and other benefits, such as vocational rehabilitation, and nursing services to federal employees who sustain injuries, including occupational diseases, as a result of their employment. All Postal Service employees are covered by FECA.

The Department of Labor (DOL) administers FECA and makes all decisions regarding the eligibility of injured workers’ to receive workers’ compensation benefits. DOL provides direct compensation to medical providers, claimants, and beneficiaries. The Postal Service reimburses DOL for all workers’ compensation claims in addition to paying an administrative fee.
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In fiscal year 2009, the Postal Service workers’ compensation expense was approximately $2.2 billion, an 81 percent increase from $1.2 billion in FY 2008. These costs include $55 million in DOL administrative fees for FY 2009. About 72 percent ($718 million) was a non-cash charge related to changes in the estimated discount and inflation rates used to calculate the liability for future payments. At the end of FY 2009, the Postal Service estimated the total liability for future workers’ compensation cost was over $10 billion.

One of the contributing factors to the high cost of workers’ compensation payments is that FECA does not mandate a cut-off age for workers’ compensation benefits. Thus, injured workers can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits well past the legal retirement age of 65, and in some cases employees over the age of 90 are still receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims also result in higher overall costs. To combat workers’ compensation fraud the OIG launched its crime prevention and awareness campaign in September 2009 and a joint year-long initiative with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in February 2010. The successful investigative efforts saved the Postal Service more than $400 million for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 combined.

What can the Postal Service do to reduce workers’ compensation costs?

This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Human Resources and Security Audit Team.

Comments (85)

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  • anon

    Who do I contact to get work comp claim number for an injured worker for medical billing?

    Nov 29, 2017
  • anon

    May I please get the address and fax number for your subrogation department? Thanks.

    Oct 27, 2017
  • anon

    I was injured a little over a week ago and called my supervisor after I got back to the truck after delivering a parcel. No documents were filed...now my injury is more severe and unbearable my so called supervisor has no recollection of the report of injury and practically called me a liar and has refused treatment when the ER called. What are my options?

    Sep 26, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The best thing to do would be to file an online complaint with our Hotline. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Sep 27, 2017
  • anon

    I submitted a ca2 claim to my supervisor which was received by the injury compensation dept and processed on 07/11/2017. Don't they have to send it to the owcp right away? Does an employee from the injury compensation dept have the right to the tell the installation where I'm working at to challenge my claim or not?

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    I was injured on the job and the hospital has sent the billing to Heather Tylor at Hampton Post office Three times with no response and know are sending it to my home address. I have contacted Hospital. sending this information to you as requested by Union.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    If I understand they're basically sending bill to you and your HRM Office or supervisor. Doesn't matter. Need to tell hospital to send the bills to OWCP. Make sure the hospital has you OWCP case number. I had that problem for over a year. Finally got fixed. It's OWCP. Need to be patient and go through their process.

    Aug 23, 2017
  • anon

    I am a former USPS emplyee who was laid off from the holiday season. before that i was a CCA/letter carrier who was injured on the job July 14, 2016. I had a legitimate claim which was approved but i still have yet to receive my injured workers pay which is only 20 days as i resigned so i could do something less strenuous. I call once a week and no one answers or returns my call. When i do ask about my loss pay i get "We're working on it". How long does this process take? I feel as if I'm getting the run around and need to seek legal action.

    Mar 22, 2017
  • anon

    Lisa King if you suffered a traumatic injuring you should be receiving 45 days of pay at 100%.You should contact your employing agency to find out if they received your ca-1 and the documentation from your doctor,and also contact your union rep and let them know and file a grievance

    Apr 10, 2017
  • anon

    A co-worker of mine was injured on the job and was off work a little over a month and was not given pay even though their claim was accepted. The postmaster alleged that he falsified pprwrk for modified duty, so he filed with EEOC and also a grievance. He's also requested a transfer because Postmaster gives all new hires they don't like a hard time. Why does his union contract prohibit him from acquiring an attorney? They finally gave him modified duty. EEOC rep has an attitude that he is at fault and wants to make sure he is willing to sign a medical release form so as to not waste her time. Who can help him understand this unfair work comp system?

    Sep 01, 2017
  • anon

    You all have used up the bodies of the postal workers carrying heavy mail like mules and when it is time to take care of them, you want to change the rules. I see a lot of it, the workers are bullied, given misinformation, and then when they return to work on light duty, they are given a full load. It's a ponzi scheme in a different manner. And while all this distraction is going on, there are workers stealing mail, throwing away mail, and their jobs are being given back to them because of the negotiations that go on...

    Jul 18, 2011
  • anon

    There are reasons that injured employees should be required to changed over to retirement at age 55 or 62 and the tax advantage is one of them. I have read many pointless comments about suing the USPS. All postal employees raised their hand and took a oath. If you wanted to have the same benefits [chuckles] as private industry, you should not have come to the Postal Service as you knew the benefits and the pitfalls. I have reviewed other likewise pointless comments about how hard the employee worked and were injured [mostly because they failed to work safely in the first place] and somehow are entitled to FECA for the remainder of their life. NOT SO! Congress does need to give retirement credit to compensate injured employees for the time they have been off "through no fault of their own." Lastly, I reviewed comments about OIG and PI investigating fraud as if it is not needed. Come On Man! I do personally know allegedly injured people who are milking the system when they are able to do everything at home they claim they cannot do at work. EVERYTHING! They need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because they are thieves. The abuse of the system is what need to change. If individuals on WC paid their taxes I might have more sympathy. Just imagine what would happen if every non-injured employee to claim they are injured right before retirement so as not to have to pay taxes. There would be no Postal Service and the injured fake Jack A-- would have killed the golden goose.

    Mar 06, 2011
  • anon

    The USPS needs so much help on everything... It's really a POORLY run organization with TONS of miserable workers.... probably beyond help.

    Feb 22, 2011
  • anon

    Are you aware that 98% of mailers do not know the difference between first class and priority mail? That they believe for that for the cost of a first class stamp, 44 cents, they are entitled to full tracking and reimbursement of postage if item is not delivered, for whatever reason? Honestly, what company can pay for tracking and reimbursement of postage (of 44 CENTS!) because a mailer is, sadly, too stupid to lick the envelope! HOW can the postal employee locate one first class mail item within the multitude of items because the mailer, A; misaddressed B: forgot the stamp C: didn't mean to mail... They then insult the USPS by threatening to use FedEx or UPS in the future (we wish they would), right up until they realize that that service will cost them far more than 44 cents... and not deliver to their door, as those items are handed off to the USPS. So... they pay far more to send an item thru UPS only to have it delivered by USPS, cuz UPS will not/can not, do that. Good plan citizens! Keep insulting us and wanting FedEx/UPS tracking at USPS postal rates. Have u never heard the phrase "you get what u PAY for"??! You are the same citizens that scream when we request an increase in first class postage.... Where/How else could you purchase residential delivery for the price of a STAMP? We are not federally funded, and have been self-sufficient since 1984. We rely solely on the cost of postage and stamps to finance the USPS. Check with your congressman, please. We do not withhold your mail, we have no desire to keep your monthly bills, or checks, from you. What would we do with them? We cannot cash them without committing forgery, and, really, is your product rebate worth prison time? Use common sense, and courtesy, when dealing with the USPS. You yell at us, we yell at you. You treat us with respect, you are respected. Common sense people, you will get more with honey than with vinegar.

    Apr 07, 2011
  • anon

    Sorry wrong calculation...I will wait until march 9th for full data to be released.

    Feb 21, 2011
  • anon

    OK here's the math. The USDOL says that the average cost of workers compensation for civil employees is 7.8% of payroll. The USPS' payroll is 49 billion multiply that by 7.8% and you get 3.12 billion. Would you now like to switch to private insurance???? Keep in mind that this calculation is an average cost. The USPS would likely pay more because their rate of injury(risk factor) is much higher than average.

    Feb 21, 2011
  • anon

    I just finished doing some very basic calculations and I figure the US government is getting off cheap with these workers compensation costs. I would like to see some real calculations as to what workers compensation would cost the US government if it would switch over to private insurance. I bet this yearly cost would at least double. So give us the facts, don't just throw a figure out there. With 2.5 million federal workers less than 3 billion is very cheap considering agencies like the USPS have a high injury rate and private insurance would be very costly.

    Feb 21, 2011
  • anon

    Management Whips people until they are injured and beyond either mentally, emotionally and/or physically. Why should the USPS allow this modern day slavery to happen and then be allowed to shirk their responsibility for the damage they created!! Don't tell me this doesn't compare to slavery....if you think about it...it does. If you think that statement is extreme, you can't see the trees thru the forest.

    Feb 13, 2011
  • anon

    NRP CAUSED THIS PROBLEM, #1-PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND STOP PAYING OUT THESE MULTI-MILLIONS DOLLARS CONTRACTS. BY THE WAY WHERE IS THIS MONEY COMING FROM SINCE WE SUPPOSE TO BE BROKE. #2-GIVE EMPLOYEES A DECENT BUY-OUT ON THIS SUPPOSELY VER AND JUST MAYBE YOU CAN SAVE A BUCK OR TWO.

    Feb 10, 2011
  • anon

    Fed comp is a legal process with appeals, hearings, transcripts and all those other legal requirements that require a specialized and knowledgeable agency to administer. So, you're suggesting that postal training makes the USPS the right organization to do this rather than the DOL? Every USPS employee better get ready to kiss good-bye to their rights when injured if the USPS takes it over because all the USPS cares about is how much money it won't have to spend on injured employees and it could care less if you are disabled for life. Just look at the NRP program.

    Feb 08, 2011
  • anon

    There are several things wrong with forcing injured employees to take retirement rather than staying on workers' compensation. First, there is no provision for the loss of regular retirement benefits under CSRS and FERS suffered by FECA recipients who are separated from the Federal service. Injured workers get no years-of-service credit for there retirement once they are separated from Federal service because of their injuries. Their annuities are based on their high-3 average salaries at the time of their separation, not at the time of regular retirement. A separated employee who had 10 years of service would not get the benefits had they worked 30 years rather than being hurt. Second, this loss of retirement income is compounded for FECA recipients covered by CSRS since those employees are unable to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan or to accrue benefits under Social Security—both of which make up two-thirds of the retirement package earned by FERS employees. To be fair Congress should enact a law that compensates the injured worker for lost benefits before considering a forced retirement because of permanent injury. Any FECA program that requires a transition to retirement must be carefully constructed to ensure a fair retirement for injured workers. It should not punish workers for being injured in the line of duty. In the private sector, injured employees have advantages that federal workers do not. They are allowed to collect their pensions and social security while collecting compensation, Federal workers are not allowed to collect anything but workers' compensation benefits and a small offset of social security. They are also allowed to sue for injures that resulted from employer neglect. Federal employees can not. Injured federal employees are treated as second class employees. Another inequity, once you retire from the federal service because of an injury, your workers' compensation payment become taxable. If you manage to stay employed by the federal agency and collect workers' compensation payments your benefits are not taxable. This is just another form of punishment for being injured. The employer forces you to take retirement and then they take more of your income away.

    Feb 06, 2011
  • anon

    Thank-You

    Feb 11, 2011
  • anon

    OIG There is a movie on this website your agency should order. It is called "MURDER BY PROXY" We need to get on the right track before a catastrophe happens.

    Feb 05, 2011
  • anon

    OIG, you are the ones USPS employees are supposed to turn to when laws are broken. Clean out your ranks of the compromised agent! Give us an internal law enforcement agency we can trust again! You have become an agency of DIRTY cops! Stop the denial and clean up your house. I remember a day at work when a DIRTY manager introduced us to our offices OIG agent. This agent was assigned to us to help us if we needed. It was disgusting. They talked like bar room buddies! They were obviously GOOD friends. OIG is supposed to be unbiased and that display on the workroom floor was an intimidation tactic for workers there(I just so happened to file a charge recently with OIG)...a silent message..."Now, I dare you to file that charge on my good friend here..." If you don't protect the employees, the innocent will pay the price.

    Feb 05, 2011
  • anon

    This has nothing to do with being on comp but seeking justice. Managers and supervisors are obligated to follow the law and some are not. I expect to get a fair investigation if I have a problem with my manager. I have no problem with OIG watching me. It is what it is. It can be a waste of money for most.

    Feb 08, 2011
  • anon

    I doubt there are many "compromised agents" in the OIG. Most of their work contributes directly to the bottom line. They do the USPS a favor when they find the employee taking money, mail or unearned worker's comp benefits. I'm glad we have the internal security force to make the USPS a better place! If anything, we need a few more agents so even more problems can be fixed. If you are on comp and are worried someone is watching you, I have to wonder why you are so worried.

    Feb 07, 2011
  • anon

    Snowed... Sooo... right!!!!! OIG, you are no better than dirty cops!!! Look at yourselves first, I went to OIG regarding the shredding of mail and nothing was done, yet because I'm an injured on the job employee your organization is targeting me by harassing/intimidating my doctor.... SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    Feb 07, 2011
  • anon

    On the Federalsoup.com forum for postal workers, TE's are asking where they can but headlamps for night vision out on the street. I'm not kidding. They will deliver mail at 6,7,or 8 o'clock to keep their jobs. How safe is that? Avoid and prevent injuries and accidents. Don't create them. Running yourself ragged so supervisors can make their PFP bonuses? When they get injured, the PO will fire them, that will help their OWCP costs.

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    omg. you're looking to reduce the expense of wcp claims, yet you are changing the jobs to increase the amount of physical stress on the human body. the human body was not meant to be a beast of burden. that's why God created mules, oxen, etc. i have an idea: you do the jobs for a few years. do what they do day in and day out, and watch what happens to you. heat stroke, frostbite, fatigue, etc. or take the job description(s) to a physical therapist and ask whether repetitive motion or stress factors or heart attack are increased in later years doing this type of work. no, i'm not a carrier (anymore), and i'm in good shape. but the human body does have its limits. i suppose you could have regular physical exams and requirements, or mandatory retirement at age 55 or so or some other creative idea. maybe your casuals could work 6 hours carrying, instead of 8 to 10. seems like 6 hrs physical work is more reasonable and more humane. just sayin

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    All the desk jockeys, who's biggest potential hazard is slamming their hand in a file drawer, are weighing in on number two with a yes response. Look outside your ivory tower for one second at all the federal employees who actually perform services that put them in harms way on a daily basis. They routinely face the potential of having a career-ending event. Forced retirement is WRONG! Trust me, if you were in that boat, you would see just how wrong it is too.

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    Feca was designed to basically screw federal employees like that of the federal EEO system. The federal employee is required to use FECA as a sole remedy. This means the program sets the amount of coverage and can not be challenged. This is unlike the other private remedies which grant attorney fees the right to go to court and recover a larger amount of money for damages. The other system also allows for other compensation for losses such as the loss of use of hands because you were a professional pianist or other skills you loss due to an injury, this does not occur with FECA. ect. No employees should not be force to retire while on FECA at retirement age remember compensation is for loss of wages do to disability. The reasoning here is simple , There is no mandatory retirement age for federal workers if there was America would no longer have its Congress or Senate nor most of the Presidents of the past or present. IF the question above was should we retire the members of the Congress ,Senate, and White house at 55 the retirement age under CSRS. (if can answer yes to this then the answer to the question above should be also yes ) So I would expect that if question two is adopted are employees the representatives should be forced into retirement. The response to the OIG question is also simple. I heard a quote one time "what is the difference between Organize Crime and the OIG ;The answer was one is organized." After considerate review of the reported information relevant to question three and the OIG concerning correspondence by members of my agency it was clear that they only enforce illegal activity when it does not involve the agencies official or the "GOOD OLD BOYS"

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    "In fiscal year 2009, the Postal Service workers’ compensation expense was approximately $2.2 billion, an 81 percent increase from $1.2 billion in FY 2008. These costs include $55 million in DOL administrative fees for FY 2009. About 72 percent ($718 million) was a non-cash charge...." $718 million is ~34% of 2.2 billion, not the 72% claimed in the article. Is this level of accuracy typical of OIG?

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    I know a lot of people who fake their injuries just so they can get out of work. They actually make jokes about it on the work room floor and say the rest of us who believe in coming to work and doing our job to the best of our ability are saps.

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    Oh, PLEEEEEAAAASSSEEEE allow us the right to sue for damages when injured instead of getting continued OWCP benefits. I would love the right to sue the Postal Service for what they have done to me!!! If they think they have a big OWCP bill now, just wait till all the injured employees can sue their behinds and they will REALLY know how much debt they are in. The Postal Service doesn't have that much money!! Bring on the change, I can't wait!!!

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    As for the retirement part, it should be the average age healthy postal workers retire. If the injured person was healthy then they would most likely work to that age. Besides upper crust with golden parachutes, no postal worker retires at 55; they can't afford it.

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    OIG agents, if like Postal Inspectors, and federal law enforcement,get to retire at age 50, supposedly because of all the hours they work. But, letter carriers who are forced to work overtime for years as they age must keep working. Seriously, stop the forced OT: carrier jobs are physical; therefore, more injuries. How much analysis does that fact need?

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    Those that have the mandatory retirement can usually afford to retire and their retirement is calculated differently. I was hired at age 44, not much retirement there. I think they need to look at all the variables.

    Feb 11, 2011
  • anon

    Anon: So what if they do? It's their right under the law. If you want'a 20-year retirement, go into fed law enforcement or some other type of police work. BTW, not THAT many retire at 50, b/c they can't collect benfits until later anyway, so many(MOST) stay on into their mid-fifties or until 57. I appreciate the work carriers and ALL employees do and wish they could get some consideration for the type of work they do which is very physical and demanding. Many of them stay on well past 55.

    Feb 07, 2011
  • anon

    Please. MANY retiree by age 50. Start at age 24, after college, by 50 you have 26 yrs. Even starting at age 30-the 20 year retirement is age 50. A letter carrier that starts at 20 or 22 has 28 r 30 yrs by age 50 and is expected to work at least until age 55.

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    Apparently that "fact" does need some analysis. OIG agents, Inspectors and Federal Law enforcement have a 20 year retirement. Very few are ever able to retire at 50, but some do. The law requires them to retire at 57. The statute is due to their work as law enforcement.

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    I believe the entire system should be torn down and rebuilt. First fraud accusations are used too often when somebody is within the regulations. Such as You were spotted driving and your CA-17 states no work how are you driving? The answer is of course that OWCP allows for this as a basis of it falls upon the operation of the household and transportation to a medical appointment. Second the whole person needs to be taken into account. If a individual has say a lower lumbar sprain and after a referee evaluation they find it is advanced arthritis instead and the patient ison a walker. Sure you can pull them off the OWCP benefits payments, but it should not allow a supervisor to state "your fine and you needto report to work without your walker because you sprain has healed. If a person cannot do a job there should be some type procedure to drop from roles but not be able to terminate employment just because there is another medical condition that makes her unable to work. Management uses this too often to get rid of a employee they have a personal dislike for. There should also be a wider choice of secop and referee decision Doctor, My wife and I were sent to the same secop Doctor and to the same company (CHurchill Evaluation Systems) although the Doctors were differant. There must also be a clear line where the Post Office is forbidden to force a person to work while still on OWCP benefits, while the individual has NOT recieved a final decision on removal from the roles.

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    If worker intended to work to full SS age (67 for me), and can't cause they were injured, why should they be penalized? At full retirement age do conversion!!

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    AND give them their full retirement or equivalent...they don't get it, that's why many HAVE to stay on OWCP rolls.

    Feb 13, 2011
  • anon

    If you make rules just for injured workers that is called DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE DISABLED!!!!

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    Snowed: It not "forcing" the disabled to retire, it's converting people who will never return to work in the first place into a retirement system they were entitled to in the first place. How is that "discriminatory" both disabled and able bodied beling in the same retirement system? The OWCP is a return to work program primarily, NOT A RETIREMENT SYSTEM. That is the whole point. Why should injured people go into their 80's 90's 100's get paid better than the retirement system they should have been in? Where do you get this age 55 number by the way in regards to this argument?

    Feb 17, 2011
  • anon

    Watchman- You are the one that is clueless. Lee is right. If you force the disabled to retire and not the able bodied, this is discrimination. How would you like to be the one hurt at age 55 and forced to retire immediately?

    Feb 11, 2011
  • anon

    So, based on your argument, OWCP is discriminatory because it's only for injured workers, right? Think before you type.

    Feb 07, 2011
  • anon

    Hey WATCHMAN, it's the LAW!!

    Feb 02, 2011
  • anon

    If you make rules based on AGE that is called AGE DISCRIMINATION!!!

    Feb 01, 2011
  • anon

    Watchman- Hasn't hired for awhile? A little over a year ago there were newbie supervisors in training and carriers only about 4 years ago. Plenty of older workers hired. What about all the TE's? They get injured too...they have no retirement. So one slip on the ice and you sliiip into retirement???? ridiculous. How about promoting the older carriers into management who would do a much better job....or instead of telling me my career was over the day I slipped, offering me one of those newbie supervisor jobs...they wouldn't because I have morals and more education that the supervisors they hired....they want moldable minds....to do their evil work...kind of like HITLER.

    Feb 13, 2011

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