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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)


  1. Purpose and Scope. This Chapter of the PM describes the approved procedures for handling and processing mail in the DO, including receipt, sorting, and routing of mail. Offices with a small case load may be able to combine and simplify processing. However, any such changes require the approval of the DD or higher authority.
  2. Mail Classifications. This paragraph describes the sources and primary classifications of incoming mail. Mail may be delivered to a central mail room from several different sources (e.g., the U.S. Postal Service, the Department's mail room, the regional mail office). The mail must be processed as expeditiously as possible, consistent with control practices and procedures. If indicated, a DO may obtain and use a post office box for the receipt of Longshore Program mail. If a post office box is used, mail should be picked up twice a day but no less frequently than once per day. Except for mail that has been opened by mistake, or wrongly delivered to another recipient, the mail room receives unopened mail. The following are the primary classifications of mail received in the DO:

    a. Priority Mail. The term "priority mail" denotes incoming documents and correspondence requiring prompt action. This type of mail is identified with an "Expedite" tag or other appropriate notation and delivered to the specified recipient ahead of the regular mail. Mail from the following sources is considered priority mail:

    • The President and the White House Staff
    • The Vice President and members of his staff
    • Members of the Cabinet
    • Members of Congress
    • Governors of States
    • Heads of employee organizations
    • Heads of national and international labor organizations
    • National Office correspondence
    • Regional Director correspondence
    • ALJ/BRB correspondence

    Based on their content, documents and mail of the following types are also designated as priority mail:

    • Hardship reports
    • Requests for medical treatment
    • Appeals
    • Freedom of Information Act requests and correspondence
    • Privacy Act requests
    • Other mail for which there is a time requirement on action, such as subpoena actions and controverted cases

    Priority mail, if it can be identified without opening the envelope, is delivered unopened to the DD. In other cases, the mail will not be recognized as priority until it is opened. Priority mail will, therefore, be found both in the sort of unopened mail and the opened mail. The Supervisor of the Mail and File Section will decide, in questionable cases, whether to classify the mail as priority.

    b. Injury and Claim Forms (See also CH.1-300.5 and 1-400.3). A case file is created, or an action is taken, following receipt of one or more of the following:

    LS-201 - Employee's Notice of Injury and Claim.

    LS-202 - Employer's First Report of Injury.

    LS-203 - Employee's Claim for Compensation.

    LS-206 - Payment of Compensation Without Award.

    LS-207 - Notice of Controversion of Right to


    LS-208 - Final Payment or Suspension of Compensation.

    LS-262 - Claim for Death Benefits.

    Other - A combination power-of-attorney and claim executed by the attorney or representative and signed by the claimant or a medical report.

    A case may be created based on receipt of an LS-207 or a medical report where there is information indicating that the case will present serious disputes or that lost time is likely.

    The more frequently used LS forms received in the DO, including those referenced above and in the following subparagraph, are shown as exhibits in PM 10-200 and discussed elsewhere in this PM.

    c. Other Case-Related Forms. The Mail and Files Section also receives other documents on which action must be taken. Some examples include:

    LS-207 - Notice of Controversion of Right to


    LS-570 - Card Report of Insurance.

    CA-58 - Request for Case File Transfer.

    Other - Medical and rehabilitation reports.

    d. Correspondence. In addition to the above, correspondence of various types will be received in the DO. Generally, it will be addressed to a CE or the DD, or will carry a case number. In most instances, this mail is routed to the CE handling the block of cases in which the case number or alphabetical breakdown falls.

  3. Initial Sort. The Mail Clerk or designated office clerk should first screen the unopened mail for the following types of correspondence:

    a. Priority Mail. The priority classification of mail is dependent on its source and on the action that it calls for within the office. It is defined in subparagraph 2.a., above. Such mail is usually directed to the DD and is, therefore, forwarded unopened. All mail that can be identified as priority is date-stamped on the envelope, marked as "Expedite" by the mail room, and forwarded unopened to the DD for action.

    b. Personal Mail. Correspondence addressed to a particular Claims Examiner or Claims Clerk should be handled with other mail unless it is marked "personal," "confidential," "do not open in mail room," or similar notation. Personal mail is delivered unopened to the addressee. Some mail so addressed can be identified as priority mail and should be so handled; it should be marked "Expedite" and delivered to the addressee.

    c. Misdirected Mail. Mail which has been misdirected should be forwarded internally to other DOL offices or returned to the Postal Service.

    d. Other Mail. This constitutes the bulk of the mail on the initial sort, and is opened and processed by the Mail and Files Section as described in the following paragraphs.

  4. Opening/Date-Stamping Mail.

    a. Opening Mail. All mail remaining after priority, personal, and misdirected mail has been appropriately routed is to be opened.

    (1) In opening the mail, care should be taken not to damage the contents or to leave part of the contents in the envelope.

    (2) While opening the mail, you may occasionally notice that some of the pieces do not bear a current date. This is very important in the case of report Forms LS-202 and LS-208. Therefore, before either destroying the envelopes or date-stamping the mail, look through these forms and check the reporting dates.

    (a) Form LS-202 or other report of injury must be filed by an employer within ten days of the date of the injury. The DOL considers the report timely if the envelope is postmarked within 10 days of the date of injury. The date of the report should be noted when the envelope is opened. If the reported injury occurred less than ten days prior to the date received, no further action is required. If there is any question, attach the envelope to the LS-202 or, if this cannot be done, annotate the LS-202 to show the date of the postmark.

    (b) Form LS-208, Final Payment, should also have the envelope attached (or bear an annotation as to the date of postmark) if sixteen days or more have elapsed since the date of final payment shown on the LS-208 form. In some cases, mail containing this form will be addressed to the DD and the envelope will be delivered without opening; in this case (if the sixteen day period allotted has passed), the office of the DD is responsible for ensuring that the envelope is attached to the form or that appropriate annotation is made.

    b. Date Stamping Mail. After opening, all mail is to be date stamped to show the date of receipt in the office. Carefully check the setting of the date-stamping machine. If a manual machine is used, date stamp any mail remaining from the previous day before changing the setting to the current date and stamping the current mail. In stamping, do not make any writing illegible. Stamp all Longshore Program mail on the front. The date may be stamped on the back of a form if it cannot be placed on the front so as to be legible.

  5. Sorting Opened Mail. After date-stamping, sort the mail according to the following classifications:

    a. Priority mail.

    b. Unnumbered mail.

    c. Numbered mail.

    d. Insurance mail.

    e. Rehabilitation mail.

    f. Misdirected mail.

    g. Mail containing checks, drafts or cash.

  6. Processing Mail.

    a. Priority Mail. Check priority mail against the LCMS for the proper identifying case number on a priority basis. For a description of priority mail, see subparagraph 2.a., above. Check the case file number even if it is shown on the correspondence to make certain that the number is correct. It is suggested that the LCMS Case Search Find function be used where there is no case number and that the Claims Tab be used where a case number is provided. When the case number is determined or confirmed, obtain the case file and deliver the mail to the DD.

    b. Unnumbered Mail. Unnumbered mail should be routed to appropriate personnel for identification of the case number through the Case Search function of LCMS. It is recommended that this mail be further separated into two subgroups -- injury report/claim forms and all other correspondence.

    c. Numbered Mail. Arrange the numbered mail in numerical order. Numbered mail will include mail originally received as unnumbered to which the case number has been added after a search of the LCMS, and internal mail such as CE requests for specific cases because of, for example, expired case call-ups. Forward numbered mail to appropriate personnel for attachment to case files (see paragraph 7, below).

    d. Insurance Mail. All mail relating to carriers, self-insured employers, new employers' records, and other mail identified as relating to identification and/or assignment of carriers is routed to the individual designated by the DD to handle insurance-related matters.

    e. Rehabilitation Mail. Rehabilitation mail from claimants or from state or private rehabilitation workers or organizations is delivered to the Rehabilitation Specialist or other specified designee.

    f. Misdirected Mail. Misdirected mail not identified in the sort of unopened or unnumbered mail should be forwarded to the correct DOL office or returned to the Postal Service, as appropriate.

    g. Mail Containing Cash. Mail containing checks, cash, or any form of monetary remittance must be processed in accordance with the Department of Labor's accounting and control procedures. Before delivering mail containing cash, checks, money orders, etc., follow the procedures for cash receipts described in paragraph 9, below.

  7. Attaching Numbered Mail. Based on the batch of numbered mail, the necessary files should be pulled and the mail attached (see also PM 1-500.3). Mail may be attached to the case jacket or drop filed inside the jacket, but not secured on the spindle. The cases are now ready to be forwarded to the appropriate Claims Examiner. Except for cases with priority mail going to the DD, a case file should go to the Claims Examiner assigned to that case. The Claims Examiner will determine the next disposition of the case file. There should be no access of unauthorized personnel to the case files so that files removed from the file room are generally at the appropriate Claims Examiner station.
  8. Delivering Case Files. Following the sorting operation and the delivery of priority mail, routine mail is to be delivered as follows:

    a. Cases With Mail Attached/New Cases. Deliver case files with mail attached and newly created cases to the CE handling that range of case numbers.

    b. Interoffice Mail. Pick up interoffice mail from stations as delivery is made. Such mail should be processed (e.g., CE requests for case files with expired call-ups) or delivered to the appropriate station within the office.

    c. Remaining Mail. Each day's mail should be processed the day it is received. Therefore, at the close of each day all mail received during the day should have been cleared from the mail room. If this is not possible, the remaining mail should be processed first on the following business day. However, it should bear the date stamp showing the date of actual receipt in the office.

  9. Cash Receipts. All cash received in a district office shall be processed in accordance with the Department of Labor's accounting and control procedures. This includes recording all cash upon receipt, maintaining prescribed records, physically safeguarding cash while in their possession and obtaining receipts when transferring the cash to appropriate individuals or organizations for further processing. Therefore, the DD, the Mail and Files Supervisor and any other employees responsible for processing cash receipts shall be familiar with the Department's cash control procedures (see Department of Labor Manual Series (DLMS) 6, sections 910-918, Cash Control).

    a. Cash. The term "cash" as used in these procedures refers to currency, coins, money orders, and any type of negotiable instrument.

    b. Priority Handling. All cash received by a DO shall be given priority handling and shall be processed immediately. Where cash cannot be transferred immediately and must be kept in the office, it should be kept in a secure location.

    c. Sources of Cash. Cash is received by a district office primarily in relation to the following matters:

    (1) Charges for reproduction and services under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act.

    (2) Payment of penalties for late reporting, sections 14(g) or 30(e), and for discrimination, section 49 of the Act.

    (3) Death benefit payments under section 44(c)(1) when there is no survivor entitled to benefits.

    d. No Enclosure. Occasionally, letters are received which make reference to cash enclosures, but do not contain the cash. When such letters are received, the mail clerk should write the following notation on the letter:


    IN THE MAILROOM _____________________

    (Clerk's Initials)

    The letter will then be referred to the Claims Examiner for appropriate response.

    e. Recording on the Cash Receipts Register (CRR). When the letters containing cash receipts have been separated from all others, each cash item is recorded on DL Form 1-301, Cash Receipts Register (Exhibit 56, PM 10-200). (Refer to DLMS 6, sections 915-916, Cash Processing, for detailed instruction on recording and maintenance of the CRR.) The pages of the CRR shall be maintained by the DO for a period of two years from the date of the last entry on each page, after which they may be destroyed. In addition, if the cash received is a penalty payment, appropriate entries shall also be made on the Penalty Log. (See PM 8-302.9.)

    f. Transferring Cash. After cash receipts have been recorded on DL Form 1-301, they are grouped by routing destination and recorded on DL Form 1-303, Cash Transfer Receipt (Exhibit 57, PM 10-200). A separate Cash Transfer Receipt (CTR) is prepared for each receiving agency. (Refer to DLMS 6, sections 915-917, Cash Processing, for detailed instructions on the use of Form DL 1-303.)

    (1) Penalty payments under sections 14(g), 30(e) and 49 of the Act, as well as death payments under section 44(c)(1), shall be transferred, by means of the DL Form 1-303, to the Director, DLHWC, for deposit in the Special Fund. Cash receipts for reproduction and services under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act shall be transferred, also by means of DL Form 1-303, to the appropriate regional office for processing and deposit. Any questions concerning the proper office to which a particular cash receipt is to be transferred shall be referred to the DD, or an individual designated by the DD, to make this determination.

    (2) The DO shall maintain the original (white) copy of the DL Form 1-303 in a chronologically arranged file. When the signed receipt (pink) copy of the DL Form 1-303 is returned to the DO from the office to which the cash was transferred, it will be attached to the original (white) copy in the file. Each month the Mail and Files Supervisor, or other individual designated by the DD, shall review this file to determine if there are any receipt copies which are outstanding. If so, inquiry shall be made with the office to which the DL Form 1-303 was sent to determine if the cash was received.

    (3) The original and receipt copies of the DL Form 1-303 shall be maintained on file for a period of two years after the date the form was prepared, after which they may be destroyed. This file, in conjunction with the Cash Receipt Register, will enable auditors to trace cash receipts from the time of initial receipt in the district office to receipt by the depositing organization.

  10. Processing Outgoing Mail. Outgoing mail and packages should be delivered to the Mail Room preferably twice per day, but no less than once a day, for mailing. The mail is processed as follows:

    a. Registered and Certified Mail. This mail is processed in accordance with the USPS regulations and procedures established in each OWCP office location.

    b. Regular Mail. All envelopes must show the addressee's ZIP code. Some city post offices require a further separation of local mail from out-of-town mail.

    c. Window Envelopes. Depending on staff and office practice, window envelopes may be used. As mentioned above, the addressee's zip code must be clearly readable.

    d. Packages and Heavy Envelopes. All such mail must be securely wrapped and or taped.

    e. Mail Metering. Mail meter machines have replaced franked postage which was previously used on outgoing mail. Some district offices share the use of a meter machine with a FECA district office. Longshore Mail and File personnel are to follow their local regional office's procedures for accounting for program mail costs.