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New Online Tool for OWCP Claims

Sue Carney, Director
Human Relations Dept.

(This article appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Clarification (09/01/12) The USPS has not yet opted to activate its access to ECOMP; however postal employees are permitted to upload documents to the system from the ECOMP homepage.

The Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP) is the newest on-line tool created by the Department of Labor Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP) to assist with claims processing and tracking.

The system permits claimants, representatives, employing agency staff and medical providers to upload documents directly into existing OWCP files through the internet. ECOMP enables Claims Examiners (CEs) to view the new information within four hours of submission.

Registration is not required to upload documents. Claimants need only provide a case number, their last name, date of birth and the date of injury to access the user-friendly system. As an added security measure, these four identifiers must precisely match the existing file information. Users who experience difficulty accessing a claim will have to contact the respective OWCP District Office (DO) to acquire the necessary data.

Multiple documents submitted through ECOMP must be uploaded individually, never as a combined document. Users will need to categorize each document as Medical or Incoming. The Nurse and Rehab categories are reserved for nurses and rehabilitation counselors working for OWCP’s Nurse Intervention or Vocational Rehabilitation programs. The Medical category is used for all medical documentation such as test results, narratives, physician notes, forms CA-20 and OWCP 5, work tolerance limitations and functional capacity evaluations.

The Incoming category should be selected for documents that do not fit the other three more specific categories, such as job offers, elections of benefits or even witness statements. The Incoming category can also be used to pose questions to CEs; responses, however, will be provided by mail.

Users will not be penalized for misidentifying documentation. When the upload process is finished, a Document Control Number (DCN) will be issued as proof of submission and for tracking purposes. To obtain any additional information pertaining to document disposition, the designated DO must be contacted. CEs will not need the DCN to locate documents.

ECOMP does have some limitations that should be understood before attempting to use the portal. Adobe Flash Player (at least version 9) is required to use ECOMP. Only .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .tif, .txt, .rtf, .pdf, .doc, and .docx documents up to 5mb will be accepted. The size limitation accommodates most documents related to the claims process. OWCP offers a few tips on its ECOMP FAQ page to help reduce the size of larger documents.

Despite the initiation of ECOMP, there are a few documents that still must be mailed to a specific OWCP address or submitted through the employing agency. Form CA-16, medical bills, reimbursement claims and medical authorization requests should continue to be submitted through the ACS Web portal, http://owcp.dol.acs-inc.com or by mail to the U.S. Department of Labor, DFEC, Central Mailroom, PO Box 8300, London, KY 40742-8300.

Requests for a hearing or review of the written record should be sent by mail to the Branch of Hearings and Review, OWCP, P.O. Box 37117, Washington, DC 20210. Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) appeals should be sent to the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board, Room S-5220, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. The claim number should be listed on every page regardless of the submission method.

As a result of a new FECA regulation that requires all federal employers, including the USPS, to offer e-filing capabilities to their employees, postal workers should anticipate having the option of submitting new injury and disease claims, and claims for compensation and scheduled awards through a web-based portal, rather than going through the agency by Dec. 31, 2012.

OWCP deserves praise for implementing ECOMP. The system provides easier access for claimants and their advocates, and helps ensure that all documents become part of the OWCP record, including those that may have been selectively omitted by employers.

To learn more visit the ECOMP Web site, https://www.ecomp.dol.gov.

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