Federal employees can receive financial help through the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) if they are injured on the job. This office can deny a claim for benefits, but employees can file requests for reconsideration if information surfaces after an earlier claim was denied. Requests are processed by an independent senior claims examiner and can result in reversal of an earlier decision.
Provide New Legal Arguments
Requests for reconsideration cannot be filed just because the employee disagrees with the OWCP's original decision. Instead, the employee must be able to provide new information or arguments. Reconsideration requests typically are denied if they simply re-argue the same case. However, employees can get their case reconsidered if they have new legal arguments that apply to the case. For example, a case could be reconsidered if the agency's interpretation of a law or rule has changed since the case was originally decided.
Provide New Evidence
Requests for reconsideration will also be considered if the claimant provides new evidence that was not included with the original claim. If a new witness to the accident comes forward, for example, his statements could be included as the basis for reconsideration if they provide new evidence not considered in the earlier decision. A new medical report that provides new reasons for the injury could also be considered as the basis for a request for reconsideration.
Meet the Deadline and Include the Right Details
A claimant must submit his reconsideration request no later than one year after the date of the decision he is contesting, regardless of the date of injury. The request must be in writing and signed and dated by the claimant or his representative. Along with the new evidence or arguments, the request must include the original decision and identify the specific issues for which the claimant requests reconsideration. Requests do not have to be on any special form, and the request does not have to use the word "reconsideration."
Decision on Reconsideration
A reconsideration request is assigned to a senior claims examiner who was not previously involved in the case. If the request is granted, the senior claims examiner notifies the employing agency, which has 20 days to respond to new legal arguments or facts. The claimant then has 20 days to respond to the employing agency's comments. Medical evidence, however, is not given to the employing agency for response. The senior claims examiner then issues a new decision independent of the previously issued decision.
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- U.S. Department of Labor: Division of Federal Employee's Compensation: Procedure Manual: FECA Part 2
- Federal Workers Compensation Consultants: OWCP Appeals
- Cornell University Law School: Legal Information Institute: 20 CFR 10.609 - How Does OWCP Decide Whether New Evidence Requires Modification of the Prior Decision?
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.