what is a schedule award?

When federal employees suffer a permanent injury to certain body parts, they are due a payment for the permanent impairment. This is known as a schedule award. You are compensated for the loss of use of to that body part according to this schedule:

chart - body parts

am i eligible?

If you can answer 'yes' to these questions, you should explore your eligibility:

check I was working for a federal agency when I was injured.
check I suffered permanent damage to a rateable body part (see chart).
check I can provide medical evidence to support my claim.
check My injury is at its maximum medical improvement.
check I am currently working or receiving my pension (but not collecting disability for this injury)

is there a deadline?

You must be alive to claim a schedule award; otherwise there is no time limitation. Even if your injury occured decades earlier and you no longer work for the government, you may still qualify for this benefit.

Your injury should have reached its "maximum medical improvement" (i.e., a medical judgment that your condition has permanently stabalized).

how do i file a claim?

You must submit a CA-7 Claim for Schedule Award to OWCP along with an impairment rating from your treating physician. If you are currently employed by the federal government, send these materials to your agency's Injury Compensation Office and follow up with them to make sure your claim is submitted to OWCP. If you are no longer employed by the federal government, then you can submit your completed form to:

OWCP at U.S. Department of Labor
DFEC Central Mailroom
P.O. Box 8300
London, KY 40742-8300

Always put your claim number on every page, keep a copy for your records, and get a receipt.

The accompanying physician's report must thoroughly describe your condition as well as provide a rating according to the AMA Guides 6th edition. Make sure your physician is experienced with this type of evaluation, or you may permanently forfeit awards to which you are entitled. In the course of your claim, OWCP may send you to a SECOP (second opinion physician) or to a referee physician. In either case, you must be careful to file rebuttals or disagreements to the findings in a timely manner or you will lose your claim including your right to appeal.

where do i find help?

If you need help applying for this benefit, contact OWCP Lawyer, Jeff Zeelander. He has decades of experience handling federal workers' compensation cases and can help you maximize your award. Call for a free initial consulation: 215-545-2132.

what are the pitfalls?

With schedule awards, there are some traps for the unwary. First, you cannot collect a schedule award and wage loss benefits simultaneously. It may seem tempting to switch to your pension so you can also collect your schedule award, but this is probably not a good idea. Most schedule awards are not that substantial when offset by pension or disability paychecks, so it is important to consider when it is most advantageous to apply. A schedule award is most valuable to someone who is back to work, or someone drawing a CSRS pension, or someone already collecting a wage loss check from OWCP for a different injury.

If you are collecting SSD benefits, make sure you understand all the implications of applying for a schedule award. An attorney or representative who does not work with Federal Workers' Comp cases regularly may not be knowledgable about possible negative outcomes.

If you do not complete your paperwork properly, you may be forfeiting awards to which you are entitled.

If your treating physician is unfamiliar with this process, you may not be applying for all the benefits you should.

For more detailed information about the claims process and the rules that govern it, click here to go directly to OWCP's website.