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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)


Loyola Law School &
U. S. Department of Labor
OWCP DBA Conference October 2008

Status Report on DBA Claim Administration

Miranda Chiu
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
Division of Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation



Overview

  • OWCP Claim Administration Functions
  • Claim Statistics
  • DBA Case Transfer Update
  • Foreign Claims
  • PTSD Claims
  • Claimant Privacy
  • Website and Contact Information

OWCP’s Primary Functions

  • Ensure proper administration of the LHWCA and its extensions, including the DBA.
  • Authorize insurance carriers and self-insured employers.
  • Ensure proper & timely delivery of benefits to claimants.
  • Provide dispute resolution services.
  • Provide technical assistance.

DBA Case Transfer Update

  • Goal is to equalize the DBA workload by redistributing cases to other District Offices based on claimant residence.
  • About 3000 existing cases were transferred beginning October 2007, plus new cases beginning mid November 2007.
  • A total of 5450 cases were transferred out of New York in the last fiscal year -- 2200 cases to Houston, 1560 to Jacksonville, the rest to other District Offices around the country.
  • At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, New York has 4620 open cases, Houston 1500, and Jacksonville just under 1000.

The New York District Office

  • Will continue to receive new DBA reports of injury and death from all areas within its jurisdiction and create new cases.
  • Will transfer all new time loss and death claims of US residents to other District Offices once cases are created.
  • Will transfer cases on request.
  • Will become the center of foreign claims.

Issues in Foreign Claims

  • Educating foreign employers of the need to secure DBA insurance.
  • Educating and assisting foreign employers and employees to file claims and reports.
  • Identifying the correct carrier for foreign employers.
  • Security issues as barrier to communication.
  • Language barriers and time zone differences.
  • Difficulty identifying foreign claimants and survivors.
  • Difficulty in securing medical records and evaluating disability.
  • Commutations.

PTSD Claims

  • No mechanism to accurately track claims.
  • Post-employment claims are difficult to investigate.
  • Initial medical reports often lack proper diagnosis.
  • Access to qualified medical care is limited except in major metropolitan centers.
  • A claim is presumed compensable under the Act unless rebutted by substantial evidence.
  • Delayed claim decisions add to the stress and anxiety of the claimants.

OWCP Action Plan

  • Began tracking PTSD claims in the Longshore claim database in 2006. Current count is 453 cases.
  • Fast track PTSD claims through the dispute resolution process.
  • Assist the parties to gather factual and medical evidence needed for claim resolution.
  • Schedule Informal Conferences promptly on request.
  • After conference, if the OWCP claims examiner’s recommendations are rejected, refer the case promptly for hearing on request.

Privacy Issues

  • The OWCP takes the issue of claimant privacy seriously.
  • OWCP staff are prohibited from discussing claim related matters with any party via external email because such emails are not secure.
  • We ask all parties to be aware of claimant privacy and to take steps to safeguard it.
  • Submit claim documents by fax, mail, or delivery service in lieu of email.

DLHWC Website
http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/index.htm.

  • Statutes and Regulations
  • Contact Information for all Longshore Offices
  • Longshore Forms
  • Defense Base Act Page
  • Max and Min, NAWW, Mileage, and Interest Rates
  • Longshore Procedure Manual
  • Links to OALJ and BRB websites

Contact Us


DLHWC New York District Office

Other District Offices

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/lscontac.htm.