Objective

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service is properly paying its injured employees.

Postal Service employees are covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers FECA, determines injured employees’ eligibility for benefits, and pays direct compensation to claimants or their beneficiaries. In 1974, FECA was amended, increasing benefits and significantly changing the law by adding provisions such as continuation of pay, which allows for an employee to elect to continue receiving salary from the employer, in lieu of annual or sick leave, for up to 45 days if the employee is absent from work due to disability or medical treatment from a work-related injury. The Postal Service is responsible for paying the injured worker continuation of pay while DOL adjudicates the workers’ compensation benefit claim. The DOL will begin making payments, following adjudication, to compensate for the loss of wages or wage-earning capacity due to the job-related injury.

Employees may receive both salary from the Postal Service and workers’ compensation payments from DOL for the same payroll period, but those payments cannot be for the same workhours, except when an employee has suffered a loss of wage-earning capacity as the result of the job-related injury. The Postal Service reimburses the DOL each year through a chargeback process. For the 2018 and 2019 chargeback years, the Postal Service reimbursed the DOL over $1.3 billion each year.

Workers’ compensation disability payments are payments made to injured employees for the loss of wages or wage-earning capacity and do not include reimbursement for incurred medical costs. In chargeback years 2018 and 2019, disability compensation totaled over $800 million for each year.

Our audit was in the fieldwork stage when the President of the U.S. issued the national emergency declaration concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID19) on March 13, 2020. The results of this audit do not reflect any process and/or operational changes that may have occurred as a result of the pandemic.

Findings

The Postal Service did not always properly pay injured employees who elected to receive continuation of pay prior to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Using data analytics, we identified and selected all 155 transactions in which workers’ compensation claimants charged 80 or more continuation of pay hours to their timecards while they received workers’ compensation payments during calendar years 2018 and 2019. The Postal Service duplicated payments in 97 of 155 transactions by paying continuation of pay benefits directly to the injured employees and also reimbursing the DOL for workers’ compensation payments for the same workhours.

In addition, for 71 of the 97 transactions, the Postal Service provided continuation of pay benefits beyond the maximum 45-day limit. As a result, the Postal Service overpaid these injured employees $126,202.

Further, the Postal Service did not always process OWCP claims accurately and timely. We statistically selected a sample of 207 out of 439,491 transactions between January 2018 and December 2019 in which injured employees were paid by the Postal Service for normal workhours and also received workers’ compensation benefits for the same payroll period. The Postal Service processed 97.6 percent of the transactions properly; however, five transactions were not accurately or timely processed. Specifically:

  • Two injured employees’ supervisors did not timely inform Human Resources management that an employee returned to full-time work or was working hours in excess of those determined by the OWCP based on the disability. We referred one of these cases to our Office of Investigations for further review.
  • An injured employee claimed the same hours on two separate claims for compensation and Human Resources management approved both claims. We reviewed payroll records for four months prior to and after these two claims and did not identify any additional issues.
  • Two injured employees’ field supervisors did not enter OWCP-Leave Without Pay hours in the payroll system.

Management stated that field supervisors and district personnel missed these items during the payroll or claims approval process. In addition, the Postal Service workers’ compensation program is a manual process that heavily relies upon timely coordination and accurate information between district personnel, field supervisors, and employees.

Because the Postal Service did not process OWCP claims accurately and timely, we estimated it overpaid injured employees $3.9 million annually in workers’ compensation benefits during calendar years 2018 and 2019, and will overpay $3.9 million annually in calendar years 2020 and 2021 if corrective actions are not taken to address the issues.

Recommendations

We recommended management:

  • Reiterate to field supervisors the requirement to input continuation of pay hours in the payroll system.
  • Enhance systems to automatically calculate days of continuation of pay per employee and limit supervisor ability to enter continuation of pay hours when the 45-day limit is reached.
  • Reiterate to field supervisors the requirement to timely communicate to Human Resources management when injured employees return to work or experience change in pre-determined work hours; and to record workers’ compensation leave without pay hours.
  • Enhance relevant systems to provide automated tools and edit checks to reduce reliance on manual procedures during the payroll and claims approval process.

Read full report

Comments (54)

  • anon

    I was injured August 4th. I have not received COP to this date. I believe my PM and Supervisor are responsible for the missing COP as a retaliatory measure because I blamed them in my Accident Statement for the cause of my injury. The doctor had me off work for one week, then to only work 4 hours the next week, then went to 6 hours where I am currently working now with a weight restriction, I have been delivering mail and light packages and casing. I have been to every physical and massage therapy appointments, and doctor's appointments. I became an employee, (RCA) in June. I have no clue as to what I can do from here for help. I missed on day of because I had COVID symptoms and spent the day trying to get a test before I returned to work. I chose a facility that could get me tested and the results immediately or I could of scheduled a test for the following day at another place and have to wait up to 3 days. Of course I chose the facility that could get me the same day test and returned to work the next day. My PM wasn't sure if I should be paid for that day. I submitted to her the test results as well as the doctor's diagnosis of an infection. I am looking to find out what the policy is and cannot find the answer if employees are paid while waiting for COVID 19 test results before returning to work. I was also sent home one Saturday by my supervisor because she said that because I was on light duty that I wasn't supposed to work on Saturdays, then she called me in the next Saturday to work, and I also worked the one after that. I was never paid the two hours for showing up that Saturday. Our office has no schedules posted. So is there a policy on that says that employees on light duty are not work on Saturdays or was my supervisor misinformed? Where am I to go for help with these matters because I do not trust my PM or supervisor?

    Sep 14, 2021
  • anon

    injured 3/17/21. in need of spinal fusions. spend most of my time on my back in bed. was injured on the job while picking up a package from customer. still no compensation. still waiting for surgery. still in pain! VERY inhuman! I'm also a honorable veteran. Where is the Justice!

    Sep 06, 2021
  • anon

    I got injured at work on 6/9/21. Ever since I didn’t get treatment I needed. It’s September 3rd of this year and nothing is being done other than running me around this entire time. As of July 24th I didn’t get any money from anybody resulting me losing my car insurance and on the path of losing my car as well. My case worker doesn’t respond to my emails at all. Even the times I get hold of her she asked me what exactly is my problem and so on. Today I’m unable to seek treatment on my own because I have no insurance. I’m reaching out to anybody who can do something for me. My location is Saint Augustine, Florida. Thank you

    Sep 03, 2021
  • anon

    Good evening not sure if this is right place, however if not maybe u can lead me. I have been on workman's comp since may of this year. My case manager is not helpful and I can't seem to get thing done etc. Whom can I speak to above her I am in palm bay, FL and work out of sebastian

    Aug 25, 2021
  • anon

    I got run over by a longboy from behind. I suffered fractures and crushing injuries Almost 2 yrs later im still in pain. Why cant i sue for continued pain and suffering?

    Aug 19, 2021
  • anon

    I did not get paid 7-23-2021 I have surgery on 7-27-2021 from on the job injury I work at Richardson Texas I have not been paid properly since 6-7-2021 C O P . I need assistance ASAP I am behind on my bills because of this. Thank you

    Jul 24, 2021
  • anon

    Same her....although I haven't had surgery I haven't been pd since 7/17/2021. Following, in case you get a resolution...I am all phone called out with nothing done.

    Aug 29, 2021
  • anon

    I was injured on the job on 06/22/2021. I reported this to my postmaster the following day. He would not provide me with a ca-1, so I had to print one online. When I turned in my ca-1, he did not file the claim. When I called to find out the hold up, because I wasn't getting my continuation of pay. I was told they don't do paper ca-1 anymore and I had to go to owcp website and fill out one there. It's been almost a month and I put in for COP everytime I called in. He now want even answer my phone calls. He put in the wrong date I reported the injury. Now, since I haven't been paid my utilities are about to be cut off. What can I do? He refuse to pay me for lost wages.

    Jul 21, 2021
  • anon

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It is unlikely that you will see any pay without getting a lawyer. The USPS is a good place to work, however I have only had one good Postmaster in the past 22 years. I also have had only one good supervisor in that time . Very sad! They do not care about whether you get paid or not. No one holds them accountable for doing things right! We are on our own unfortunately. OWCP is a very difficult entity to work with. I can not even get my case manager to respond back to me. It's been 8 months and I have not seen any compensation. Good luck!

    Aug 05, 2021
  • anon

    I got injured in March 2015 and I am unable to perform my work duties but can perform with restrictions. USPS has discriminated against me to have full time hours and become career because of my disabilities. USPS and DOL OWCP denies every claim being submitted which is related to my injury. I do not get paid at all for time I have to go to doctor or miss because of my injury. I have to use personal insurance because waiting on OWCP I am either denied and it causes me lack of medical care that’s needed.

    Jul 20, 2021
  • anon

    I have been submitting CA 7 forms for over 6 months. I have not received any compensation for the time missed to attend my appointments for my on the job injury. My claims manager has not gotten back to after several attempts of leaving voice message for him. OWCP is paying for my treatment and approving my treatment. However they have not paid me for my lost time from work. They do pay mileage though. I do not know how I am suppose to get paid if OWCP ignores my forms I submit..can you help me?

    Jul 11, 2021
  • anon

    Last year June 2020, while working at the USPS I contracted COVID-19. OWCP denied my claim on January 2021. My OWCP Workers' Compensation claim was accepted on March 23, 2021, thanks to the passing of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 law under Section 4016. Unfortunately, the USPS Injury Compensation office refused to acknowledge my OWCP claim and is reluctant in assisting me with the processing of my "COP." During the onset of the pandemic, all USPS employees are considered "essential workers." It is appalling that certain USPS employees working for Injury Compensation refuse to do their job and help injured workers. Office of the Inspector General MUST investigate!

    Jul 02, 2021
  • anon

    I got hurt at work on 5 Feb 2021. Went to hodpital, got xrays, was sent to ortho dr on 16th. Workers comp threw $1,500 at the case and closed it within a week. All the medical bills were sent to me at home, over $3,000.00. I called each and every one gave them the phone number i was given to get them paid. Today, 26 june i was sent a $1,500 bill from the hospital that workers comp refused to pay. I didnt know they would pay any time off, so, i took very little, as it was my sick leave that was charged. They also refused the MRI on my knee from the ortho dr. As of today, still no MRI, thank goodness, or i would have another $5,000 bill to pay out of pocket! USPS expects me to fight OWCP to pay their bills. Im sorry, but, im not the employer and thats NOT my job. Its USPS's job to fight OWCP, not mine. Should you wish to help, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Margaret Oliver

    Jun 26, 2021
  • anon

    I was injured 9/10/2019 when a huge pitbull named Diesel bit me. A police report was filed immediately at the scene. I was approved for a minor dog bite in October 2019. My surgeon along with 2 other surgeons (including the work comp surgeon) agreed that I have major nerve damage along with CRPS. Finally, in January of 2021 my injury was updated for nerve damage and CRPS. This was after my doctor wrote 4 letters explaining my injury. I was put on the daily role on 4/19/2021. Kyle who is handling my case, told me and my union contact Pat Rothwell that I would be paid the next week. I have not been paid. I have left multiple messages for Kyle. Kyle will not call me back. Please help me

    Jun 17, 2021
  • anon

    Hey, I’m going through the same thing. I was injured in February 2021 and I’m still waiting on worker’s compensation to pay me. I’m confused as of right now because they got everything needed to pay me but yet I’m still waiting to be paid. I had to pawn my car to get some cash smh. I was injured on the job because someone hit my USPS vehicle in a car accident in which I hurt my back badly so I went to the worker’s compensation doctor and did physical therapy. U had to return to work for limited duty because I’m still hurt which is sad. I had no choice but to return to work because I wasn’t getting paid at all so now I’m seeing a psychiatrist because these folks drove me crazy by chasing money that’s rightfully owed to me.

    Jul 01, 2021
  • anon

    I have been out of work since 04/12/2021 due to injury on Job. I still have not received any COP and it took weeks before I received proper Medical treatment. When I try to reach out for any Information, no one seems to know anything, Assistance would be appreciated.

    Jun 14, 2021
  • anon

    Hi, I recently had an injurie on the job. I signed all of the documents I needed to but I have still not been contacted by a case worker for workmans comp

    Jun 11, 2021
  • anon

    I am a retired postal worker. I was hurt on the job. I got an impairment rating. I was not rewarded as of yet. What are the steps to getting my reward. Thanks for your

    Jun 07, 2021
  • anon

    my husband got hurt at work and it was previously approved and then they decided they weren’t going to approve it again so he has suffered for years with his back and he needs an operation they just finally approved his operation but no one answers the telephone to approve the doctors the doctors have called my husband has called but he gets no answer and the doctors cannot see him without talking to dept Of Labor. As I I’m here another day listening to him scream out in pain but he cannot get it done because he cannot get in touch with anybody it is really devastating. someone please help us?

    May 12, 2021
  • anon

    I was on wormqns comp for 5 months and didn't get paid a penny....where is my money...from 4/20-10/20

    May 07, 2021
  • anon

    4/29/2018 I dislocated my shoulder at work and when finally approved owcp approved my surgery, I had a whole tear. Surgery was on Nov 4, 2018. In June or July of 2019 I returned back to light duty, October 10 my back went out because my st orders were 7 hrs light duty, 1 hr street duty because I’m a letter carrier, no more than 15 lbs snd no more opening my side doors, back gate and hand brake more than 20 times an hour well my supervisor after 5 hours on the street I told her I exceeded my dr orders and tgat I was in pain my shoulder was swollen, my neck was stiffening snd they ignored me and sent me out to do CBU’s. Squatting at each cbu at least 48 in a 3 hour period, from a squatting position with letters in hand tried to stand and almost fell back, I had to grab on to the cbu to pull myself up . I felt a pop behind my left ear, got a bad headache a pain shot up and down my back through my left foot and my second and third toe went numb, I broke out in a cold sweat called my supervisor and told her I couldn’t go on I was in so much pain. Although I was working 8 hrs a day my second injury if you go back a year I was out on my shoulder injury so owcp only gives me 10 hours a week. I was originally denied had to get a lawyer to help me fight my case, I don’t understand how I’ve been wronged, I can’t live on 10 hrs a week. My original injury was due to lift gate on truck locking and having to pull and push hard I did tell my supervisor and asked to write it up and she said no One else complained about that truck, so must just be you, maybe this job isn’t for you.

    Apr 29, 2021
  • anon

    Typical postal service mentality! They do not care! AT ALL! Trust me you do not matter in the big picture. Employees are a dime a dozen and if you are not able to do your job because of an injury you will be harassed, mistreated and all of your requests or concerns will probably be ignored.

    Aug 01, 2021
  • anon

    I did not receive my cop payment for injury.

    Apr 19, 2021
  • anon

    Contact your steward or the National to get assistance with making sure your COP is being put in. Not sick nor annual leave should be used. COP

    Apr 27, 2021
  • anon

    I'm a 6+ year USPS employee working as a clerk in mail processing. I have had 3 on the job injuries in the last year and OWCP denied my claim for all. I had no lost time for the first two, just ER treatment. They denied and I'm paying the expenses. I just got injured 12/21/2020 on the job and have been off work without compensation since. My Supervisors lied about circumstances and said that I didn't report it to them. I have had to get a lawyer, and pay him up front, just to try and get medical treatment for my injury. Treatment doesn't inspire me to want to continue my work with USPS. I'm exploring a different career path. I'm a honest person and it angers me to work with people that have no integrity and only care about getting over,

    Mar 25, 2021
  • anon

    I had a work related injury that was excepted I have now retired and I am looking for medical help what happens now after you retire Retired United States Postal Service

    Mar 19, 2021
  • anon

    Taken to medical clinic by USPS on January 22, 2021 after injured from fall on the job. After 45 days, medical clinic has still not sent Medical Report to OWCP. Medical clinic states Medical Report was submitted. Claims examiner at OWCP says no narrative Medical Report has been received and that status is closed. What is claimant suppose to do to receive proper care, treatment and pay?

    Mar 08, 2021
  • anon

    Always get a copy of your medical reports. You should call the medical clinic and get them to fax you a copy and then you ECOMP it to your claim examiner.

    Apr 27, 2021
  • anon

    I was injured on the job back in December 2020 and had to go to 3 different doctors before one was approved to see postal employees. I left the post office in January it's now March and my doctor sent me a letter stating my worker's comp has been denied and the week I had to be off from work I also never got my pay. I'd like to know why all this has happened and why my claim was denied. I lost money and time do to negligence of my office putting off my paperwork for my claim.

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

    If I got hurt on the job in the postal service and was out a long period of time, who notifies my health plan when i go back to work, the post office or me. am i responsible for the paperwork not getting done telling them that i am back at work. so they can take out health benefits from my paycheck or is management responsible? they want me to pay $5000.00 to my health benefits plan because they never told them i was back at work.

    Feb 18, 2021
  • anon

    My girlfriend got hurt while working and they put her on light duty just delivering mail driving and can't walk. She has not be getting 40 hours a week because they are making her do physical therapy. They told her that she can not be paid workers compensation for the hours she couldn't work to hit 40 without using her sick time or annual leave. Is that correct? Because her shop Stewart is saying that there is nothing she can do without losing all of her annual time

    Feb 08, 2021
  • anon

    OWCP has not paid me for almost 2 months of pay.

    Jan 18, 2021
  • anon

    Get a hold of your case manager they are the ones that will direct you on what your postmaster will have to fill out it should be a ca1

    Feb 03, 2021
  • anon

    I been a CCA for a year and a three . I was injured while working and out of worked for three and half month’s .While under a doctors care and having several procedures done I applied for PUA and UC. I was denied both. My postmaster asked a note from my doctor about my condition and weather it was Covid related. I did that and should have been paid 75 percent of my pay. I received NOTHING! I was told by the postmaster that someone wanted me to resign! Even though I wasn’t 100 percent I ask my doctor for a note go back to work. To matters worse I’m back working and while delivering mail I fell through a porch. I notified my supervisor he came out seen the condition of the property and proceeded to ask questions take pictures. For people to have TITLES they failed to give me all the proper paperwork to receive treatment. How am I supposed to handle this matter ? There is more

    Jan 14, 2021
  • anon

    I have worked for the USPS for 22 years. The postal service is horrible about holding their Postmasters and supervisors accountable for doing their jobs. I wish you the best at getting your supervisor or Postmaster to actually help you to get your situation resolved. When I got injured it was not a priority for my supervisor to do my paperwork. It took him two months. Even though they are suppose to submit it within 30 days after you give them notice of your injury. I have not received any compensation for time lost from work in order to attend my appointments. It is a shame that we are treated as if we do not matter once we have an on the job injury. It does not pay to give it your all at work because management could care less about you. All they want is the job done and if you are unable to do it, then they would rather have you just disappear.

    Jul 11, 2021
  • anon

    I have an issue with being a USPS employee that was injured on the job in October 2015 and was never compensated by the USPS as it was put in writing and signed by my then supervisor Gwendolyn High. What could be done to rectify this situation with USPS and OWCP, because there is a lot of explaining that should be done about this situation?

    Dec 28, 2020
  • anon

    I was injures on the job at the station a year ago and my supervisor told me by me being there only 30 days not to mention it to anyone and for me to leave and them come back when i am able to work. I need help with this situation.

    Dec 27, 2020
  • anon

    RCA working out of one office and I was injured bitten by two dogs and working in another office in a different state now I'm supposed to be getting continuous of pay but 4 weeks later I'm still not getting paid and they're still fighting on which one is going to pay me which office postmaster supervisors I need help ASAP what do I do nobody wants to work with me

    Dec 11, 2020
  • anon

    How about. Getting rear ended while delivering mail and they refuse to pay the medical bill.

    Dec 10, 2020
  • anon

    I have injure from March 3 2020 But I don’t have income from utopia now

    Nov 28, 2020
  • anon

    I was injured very badly at work which caused me to missed work. I can I find out if I'm getting covered for the time of me being out of work?

    Nov 19, 2020
  • anon

    I was injured on the job in 2018 and I just found about COP. I looked in my paperwork after finding it out and it was checked on the paper but never received anything. And now 2 1/2 years later my PM sent me home because he said he didn’t have any work for me he will not send it in writing to DOL so I can get paid for those months I was out. Now I’m back at work part time and he won’t even give me the job offer or send it to DOL. So how do I get paid? I told the union and they said they don’t handle OWCP. I’m confused

    Oct 24, 2020
  • anon

    You should go to your injury compensation office and they should handle it

    Jan 16, 2021
  • anon

    That's not true. They can grieve ANYTHING...however, they'll tell you that to discourage you to file a grievance. I suggest you read over the contract regarding the grievance process.

    Nov 08, 2020
  • anon

    I was forced to retire under disability in 2009, after being injured in 2005, during these years I lost hundreds of hours of work and did not get any compensation. My personnel person told me to submit the paper work for pay but when I did she kicked it back to me saying I had to break down the hours for W.C. but this was for years and I could not remember what hours where LWOP, or comp related hours so I didn't try anymore. With my papers submitted O used my SS earnings profile they send you and it shows what my earnings were during those years. Easy way to show lose of wages for that time. Very frustrated to know that I could have gotten those lost wages.

    Oct 15, 2020
  • anon

    Call your union rep and ask for something called an "everything report" for the time period. This will show all of your clock in a clock out hours and you will be able to use this as a reference to fill out your paperwork

    Oct 19, 2020
  • anon

    Both the injured employee department and the DOL need to enhance their notification systems. As well both need to be on the same page. This is now the second time I am going without a DOL compensation check due to one or the other not knowing that there is info needed to process the compensation check. First time I went 72 days without pay after surgery. Dol case worker didn’t know I had filed for compensation until I called. Now that I am back to work on limited duty, Dol needs my gross pay from my cluster, I called on the last day and spoke with my local case worker she was unaware those papers were there stating the request. Dol stated this is normal process to receive attachment showing gross pay with CA-7A so I don’t understand why this wasn’t part of normal process when a CA-7A is submitted. So again I am going without compensation, however they are working on it because I the injured employee prompted the action.

    Oct 14, 2020
  • anon

    We didn't ask to go from making 90k on overt time 'for the good of the service or face discipline for refusing overtime' to 30k as a result of destroying our bodies to get this mail out resulting in permanent life long injuries and life long pain as a result. The NRP is still in full effect in the form of never ending obstacles to simple compensation for doctor ordered and explained need for LWOP absences. Lost my home this month in the middle of COVID closures to these never ending games by the USPS/OWCP offices. Do they really think we are 'too lazy' to walk from box to box with pieces of paper making over $30 an hour and prefer fighting month to month for compensation? Do they really think we are faking our injuries despite MRI's and X-rays showing how broken our bodies have become as a result of decades of carrying this mail? I advice all postal employees to turn down every last minute of over time, it is not worth sinking into poverty when you get injured for these people who have a rigged system from top to bottom to deny you compensation once your pack mule services cause permanent disabilities. Do it for us, those who have been abused for years by a system that threatens claims examiners for doing exactly what they are hired for. The Chicago OWCP district office is the worst. When do the congressional hearings begin. I WANT IN

    Oct 05, 2020
  • anon

    During 2016 after an on the job injury I file a CA1 and check the box for COP , never got paid , after HR told them to pay , they ignored it, still no payment, because of my LWOP it affected my earn leave , after I left I asked the PM to pay me my COP he told me take it up with OWCP, then my SSDI was garnish to repay that leave used for medical injury , I paid over 4,000.00...

    Oct 04, 2020
  • anon

    What about the thousands of NRP claims that the postal service has refused to pay out for the last 2 years after LOSING a class action law suit that they drug out for over 10 years regarding IOD employees and the ILLEGAL actions they took against them? Maybe the OIG needs to take care of that problem which is racking up interest as we speak instead of worrying about a handful of piddley overpayments. The ILLEGAL NRP effected 130,000 injured employees and the Postal Service continues to LIE and STALL STALL STALL

    Oct 03, 2020

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