Episode 33 Federal Workers Compensation Coffee Break Podcast -How to File an OWCP Claim on ECOMP
How to File an OWCP DOL Form–Introduction to the ECOMP Claims Process
Reporting a workplace incident and filing a claim for compensation require different forms, depending upon your employment status and government organization. Not all government agencies use ECOMP for form filing. You can check to see what forms your agency files through ECOMP by clicking “Register” from the ECOMP homepage and then selecting your employing government organization.
If your agency uses ECOMP for form filing, you will be able to manage the entire process from your Employee Dashboard. You can get to your Employee Dashboard by clicking “Sign In” on the ECOMP homepage. Lately I am seeing more and more employee agencies utilizing ECOMP portal for E-filing of CA-1 & Ca-2 forms for establishing a case. We have been using paper CA forms and uploading them into ECOMP …forever but now many employers like for example the VA require that you fill out the CA forms online on the portal. So I want to walk you through some of these new online filing requirements.
Usually, to file a notice of injury, you should start by reporting the incident using OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). Some agencies support filing an OSHA-301 via ECOMP, while others do not. Either way, ECOMP will guide you through the process.
If you wish to file a claim under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), you can file a claim using Form CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation) or Form CA-2 (Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation). Depending on your agency, you may be required to file an OSHA-301 before filing a FECA claim.
If your claim is submitted to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), you will be assigned a case number and receive an informational letter from OWCP with that case number. That letter will also provide you with information regarding how to view your case status, billing updates, coverage limitations, and other information via the Claimant Query System (CQS). To access CQS, please visit OWCP Connect. BUT one of the reasons I am doing this podcast is because there are big changes in this system coming up next month. OWCP Connect allows users to prove their identity and create an account for communication with OWCP’s various self-service applications. It is a centralized identity-proofing system used to create credentials for a user, and then to authenticate the credentials for login.
Identity proofing is accomplished by validating the user’s information entered in the Account Registration process against secure Credit Bureau data. Once the user’s identity has been verified, their account can be created.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR CQS USERS: Starting April 27th, CQS will be integrated directly into the Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP) and will be decommissioned as a standalone system. If you do not already have an ECOMP account, please register for one to access this information.
Once a case number has been assigned, you can submit information pertaining to that case file through ECOMP’s Document Upload feature, available from the ECOMP homepage. To use this feature, you will need your last name, case number, date of birth and date of injury. You can use this feature for any existing case, not just those initiated through ECOMP. Information submitted should usually be available to OWCP within 4 hours of upload.
An OWCP case number also enables you to file a Form CA-7 (Claim for Compensation). A CA-7 can be filed for any existing claim, not just those initiated through ECOMP, as long as you have a case number and other identifying information. You may also need to file a form CA-7a (Time Analysis Form) for intermittent periods of wage loss and/or a form CA-7b (Leave Buy Back Worksheet Certification). Forms CA-7 and CA-7a may be filed electronically via ECOMP, but listen up gang…right now at this time…Form CA-7b may not be filed electronically and should be submitted by your employing agency.
Submitting and Reviewing Forms
Remember that before filing a form in ECOMP, you must register and create an account. Once you have registered, you can initiate a form from your Employee Dashboard.
You must fill out each form completely and submit it for review. You may save a partially completed form and come back to it later. You may also upload and attach supporting documents to be submitted along with a FECA claim form. If your form is incomplete, it will appear in your Dashboard as ‘DRAFT’, and will not be processed until you complete all fields and submit the form for review.
Once you submit your form, it will be reviewed by your supervisor (we’ll ask you for their email address) and then by a reviewing official within your agency. If appropriate, FECA forms will then be submitted to OWCP. If your supervisor has a question, he/she may send the form back to you. Forms sent back for your review will appear in your Dashboard as ‘Returned to Filer’.
You will receive status emails during this process. You may also use the “Track Status” function to monitor the progress of your submission or check the status of your forms from your Employee Dashboard.
Which Form Should I File?
OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) If required, you should report a workplace injury or illness to OSHA. Some agencies support filing OSHA-301 forms via ECOMP, while others don’t. When you start a new form, ECOMP will tell you how to proceed.
Form CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation)
Form CA-2 (Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation)
File only if you are a Federal employee and wish to submit a claim to OWCP.
Form CA-1 is used for a traumatic injury (a medical condition resulting from an incident or activity occurring during one work shift).
Form CA-2 is for an occupational disease (a medical condition resulting from an incident or activity occurring over more than one work shift).
Form CA-7 (Claim for Compensation)
File only if you have a Case Number, and if you want to claim wage loss compensation, leave buy back or a schedule award.
How long will it take?
Registering for ECOMP: 5 minutes
Filing OSHA-301: 22 minutes
Filing a Form CA-1 or CA-2: 15 minutes
Filing a Form CA-7: 15 minutes
What Will I Need?
An ECOMP account (you can register for an ECOMP account using your email address)
Your government organization
Your supervisor’s email address
For new injury/illness claims, details for the event (place, time, extent of injury, etc.)
If available, supporting documentation, such as medical reports (have these ready in electronic format)
If you wish to file a CA-7, you need a case number
How Do I Get Started?
Create an account and then file the appropriate claim form from your Employee Dashboard.
ECOMP can be used to submit documents for a particular case file, but it does not provide a communication vehicle with the Claims Examiner or the District Office. You must contact your servicing District Office if you have questions about a specific claim or the claims process. You may also wish to visit DFEC’s website for more information.
So, I hope this makes it clear to you that the days of uploading scanned paper documents and receiving traditional mail from OWCP is no longer going to be the norm. ECOMP is being turned into the complete all in one place to do everything now. So, tell you co-workers with old cases that they are going to need to register to ECOMP because the claims examiners and employers are being told to file everything in ECOMP. Time will tell if this new online only portal for filing will work out or typical of government ….be laden with problems during the roll out phase. We will all see come April!