Tel: 215-545-2132

Fax: 215-545-4617
 

 ​​1521 Locust St, 9th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19102​
 

​​​​© 2019 by Jeff Zeelander. All rights reserved.

About My Law Practice

I represent injured federal employees throughout the US and overseas with their federal workers' compensation claims. My clients include federal air marshals, USPS letter carriers, DEA agents and more. I have more than 25 years of experience in this area and have advised over 19,000 injured workers. 

If you need help getting and/or keeping the federal workers' compensation benefits to which you are entitled, feel free to contact me at any point in your claims process. I routinely handle these types of situations:

 

Notice of Proposed Termination of Benefits

This letter tells you that in 30 days OWCP will terminate your entitlement to benefits. They almost NEVER grant extensions. You cannot just call or write with a question and do nothing while you await an answer. You must provide a WRITTEN response that addresses the substantive problems OWCP is raising with your case. It must be RECEIVED before the end of the 30th day.

Notice of Suitable Employment

This letter tells you that a job you have been offered is determined by OWCP to be "suitable." This situation is VERY dangerous; many well-intentioned workers lose their monetary benefits in this process because they do not understand the gravity of what is happening and are not careful enough in handling their response. Be on alert. You should either be confident that you fully understand what is happening, or you should be represented by a lawyer. You must either accept the job or refuse the job WITHIN 30 days. OWCP must have your response in writing, and you must be able to prove they RECEIVED your written response before the end of the 30th day. If you mess this up, you forfeit your entitlement to receive any further money from OWCP. You will get an opportunity to appeal the decision. If you do not win on appeal, you may have lost all further monetary benefits on all of your existing OWCP claims--a very harsh result.

Stress Claims

If you develop an emotional condition that was caused by stress from the performance of your regular or specially-assigned duties at work, you may be entitled to benefits. Such conditions include anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease. These can be caused by stress due to impossible deadlines or volume of work, harassment by coworkers, supervisory harassment, and more. I have helped many clients gather, organize and summarize the supporting factual and medical evidence needed to substantiate a stress claim.

Schedule Awards

These benefits are paid for permanent loss of use to specific limbs and organs. When your injury has healed as much as is expected, you should investigate your entitlement. You must be alive to claim a schedule award; otherwise there is no time limitation. I have helped many clients with old injuries get schedule awards that they had no idea they were entitled to receive.

Notice of Proposed Reduction of Compensation Pay

This letter tells you that your compensation payments will be reduced. The reduction can be based on your actual earnings upon reemployment from a job that pays less than the salary used to calculate your compensation pay rate. Or the reduction can be based on the amount of make-believe money you can earn in a make-believe job. Your response to this letter must be RECEIVED before the end of the 30th day. Extensions are so rare as to be irrelevant.

Third Party Claims in FECA Cases

If someone's actions caused your work injury, or caused you to be further injured during the workers compensation process, you may have a "third-party" case against them. These are complex and sometimes expensive cases to pursue. There are also time limitations that, if you miss, would cause you to be unable to pursue your claim. OWCP has rights to share in any recovery and, if you fail to pursue a claim, or fail to notify OWCP that you are pursuing a claim, there are very serious penalties.

Here are some examples of situations that may lead to a third-party case: you are a USPS carrier and (1) get injured at a customer property, (2) get injured in an accident while operating a government vehicle, or (3) get injured while using a product in performing your job. Additionally, if you get hurt while receiving benefits, there may be further coverage by workers compensation and a third-party case. This can arise if you are injured while doing something related to your workers compensation case; for example, (1) you are in a car wreck going to or from doctors appointments, or (2) something goes wrong with your medical care that is the result of negligence. 

If you fail to pursue a third-party case within the relevant statute of limitation, that can be a basis for OWCP to determine that you have forfeited your right to receive FECA benefits!

Resolution of third-party lawsuits and liens involves highly technical issues that can create problems even for lawyers. A layperson should NOT try to handle these matters themselves as there are just too many risks and pitfalls.

Every situation is different; the facts of your case or the strategy applied to your case are unique. Reading this page is not a substitute for being represented by a lawyer or fully understanding the federal workers' compensation process.