We just attended the Florida State Convention for the Florida Rural Letter Carriers Association and had the opportunity to talk with a lot of Florida Rural Letter Carriers. One common theme kept coming up: Rural Carriers feared filing OWCP injury claims because they worried their supervisors would retaliate against them. This was said over and over in many different ways. One person said, “they want to make me quit.”
Over and over, Florida rural carriers told us stories about being injured but just ignoring it and electing not to file an OWCP injury claim. So many of them even knew of other carriers who they knew had work-related injuries but were suffering instead of getting help. A carrier told me she wasn’t getting help because she thought she wouldn’t be eligible for continuation of pay (COP) and she didn’t have any sick or annual time available. That’s completely WRONG! And of course, the other common theme: “no OWCP doctors near me”.
People in Florida are having a terrible time finding willing doctors to help with their OWCP work injuries. So, let’s start with this: SUPERVISORS CAN’T STOP YOU FROM FILING AN OWCP WORK INJURY CLAIM. That’s the law! Look at the law below. . . .
542.33 Penalty for Refusal to Process Claim: Any employee or supervisor responsible for making reports in connection with an injury who willfully fails, neglects, or refuses to do so; induces, compels, or directs an injured employee to forego filing a claim; or willfully retains any notice, report, or paper required in connection with an injury may be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or 1 year in prison, or both.
Among other things, this tells supervisors that they can’t induce or compel you to not file your OWCP claim. Threats of being fired definitely qualifies here. COP: In order to be eligible for continuation of pay, you need to report your CA-1 work injury claim within 30 days from your date of injury (unfortunately COP is not available for CA-2 injury claims). So, report your CA1 injuries immediately to your supervisor.
Finally, we know how hard it is to find good OWCP injury doctors in Florida. That’s why we opened up in the Clearwater, Florida area. If you have an OWCP federal work injury in the Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Oldsmar, Lakeland, Tampa Bay area, please give us a call and let us help you get your Florida OWCP injury claim accepted. We help all injured federal workers and we want to help you too. Call us today.