U.S. Postal Service:
Workers' Compensation Benefits for Postal Employees
GAO-02-729T: Published: May 9, 2002. Publicly Released: May 9, 2002.
In fiscal year 2002, U.S. Postal Service employees accounted for one-third of both the federal civilian workforce and the $2.1 billion in overall costs for the Federal Workers' Compensation Program (WCP). Postal workers submitted half of the claims for new work-related injuries that year. Postal Service employees with job-related traumatic injuries or occupational diseases almost always provided the evidence required to make a determination on their entitlement. In two percent of the cases, the Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP) found that evidence was missing for one or more of the required elements. However, the length of time taken to process claims varied widely even though all were subject to the same OWCP processing standards. OWCP claims examiners took 59 days to process traumatic injury claims after receiving the notice of injury claim forms from the Postal Service--a process that should take 45 days for all but the most complex cases, according to OWCP performance standards. The case files lacked the information necessary to determine whether the claims for compensation were prepared and filed by the employees within the time frame set by OWCP regulations. OWCP claims examiners took 23 days to process traumatic injury compensation claims for wage loss and schedule awards. OWCP's performance standard states that all payable claims should be processed within 14 days from the date of receipt.