- Jeff Zeelander
Schedule awards - can OWCP increase my prior rating?
Yes! A schedule award determination can be reviewed at any time and if your impairment percentage has increased, you can receive additional schedule award payments. There are a couple of general guidelines.
Most importantly, one must remember the cliche' hogs get fed pigs get slaughtered. Requesting an increase in your rating opens you up, however remote the chance, that your new rating could end up lower than the prior rating. This could happen because of mistakes in the determination of your new rating, or mistakes in the prior rating that incorrectly rated you higher than you should have been. The most important concern is that a new lower rating based upon the same version of the AMA Guides as the prior version opens one up to eventually receiving an overpayment determination.
Notwithstanding that concern, if your condition is worse now than it was previously, then getting a new rating should be considered. Many injuries, will go up over time simply due to the acceleration of the aging processes of degenerative joint disease and arthritis.
A particular exception to this rule is hearing loss which typically is only considered to be made worse by your job for as long as you continue to be exposed to noise.
Due to the risk of getting a lower rating later, and the possibility of ending up with an overpayment determination, one should be careful about trying to get an increased rating if you are not well versed in the process.