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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)


  1. Purpose and Scope. This Chapter outlines the basic provisions for approving or disapproving the withdrawal of a claim which was properly filed under section 13 of the Act. (See 20 C.F.R. section 702.225.)
  2. Before Adjudication of a Claim. A claimant (or an individual who is authorized to execute a claim on his/her behalf) may withdraw a previously filed claim, with the approval of the DD or designee, when the following circumstances exist:
    1. The claimant files with the DO handling the claim a written request stating the reason(s) for withdrawal;
    2. The claimant is alive at the time his/her request for withdrawal is filed;
    3. The DD approves the request for withdrawal as being for a proper purpose and in the claimant's best interest; and
    4. The request for withdrawal is filed on or before the date that OWCP makes a determination on the claim.
  3. After Adjudication of a Claim. A claim for benefits may be withdrawn by a written request filed after the date the District Director makes a determination on the claim, provided that:
    1. The conditions enumerated in subparagraphs 2(a) through (c), above, are met; and
    2. There is repayment by the claimant of any benefits previously paid because of the claim that is being withdrawn or it can be established to the satisfaction of the OWCP that repayment of any such amount is assured.
  4. Effect of Withdrawal of Claim. Where a request for withdrawal of a claim is filed and the request is approved, the withdrawal is without prejudice to the filing of another claim, subject to the time limitation provisions of section 13 of the Act. The 84 amendments eliminated the need for protective claim filings in occupational disease cases--see Section 13(b)(2) of the Act.
  5. Action by DD/CE on Withdrawal of Claim.
    1. The DD/CE should not approve a request for the withdrawal of any claim when it can reasonably be concluded that the claimant or representative has requested the withdrawal for the purpose of arriving at an unauthorized settlement (i.e., one not approved by the OWCP). The parties are to be advised that settlements can only be authorized under section 8(i).
    2. Upon receipt of a withdrawal request, the DD/CE should meet with the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, and discourage such request unless there exists no reasonable probability that upon adjudication the claim can be established. If a personal meeting with the claimant or representative is not feasible due to cost or time considerations, the DD/CE may discuss the request by telephone or by written communications with the claimant and/or representative.
    3. The employer/carrier must be advised that if they enter into any settlement agreement that is not in compliance with 20 C.F.R. sections 702.241 to .243 (also see PM 3-500), it will be considered only as an advance of compensation and that the claim will remain open indefinitely as long as Form LS-203, Employee's Claim for Compensation (Exhibit 17, PM 10-200) has been filed with the DD.
    4. While the DD cannot prevent a claim from being withdrawn, such request should not be approved in writing unless:
      1. it is apparent that the claim is without merit,
      2. there exists no reasonable probability that the claimant will be successful if the claim is formally adjudicated, or,
      3. there is no reason to suspect there will be an unauthorized settlement. If such criteria are met and the claim is withdrawn with the approval of the DD, and the claimant still accepts or enters into an outside settlement, the DD, having acted in good faith based on the facts of the particular case, need not be concerned with the claimant's action.
    5. Following a meeting, telephone conversations, or written communications with the claimant or the claimant's representative in connection with such a request, a memorandum should be prepared for the file which discusses the nature of the conversations, the position and action taken by the DD/CE.
    6. When approving or disapproving a withdrawal of a claim the DD must make a written finding of fact that the withdrawal is/is not for a proper purposes and is/is not in the best interests of the claimant. This record is subject to review by the Benefits Review Board.
  6. Authority of the ALJ. It has consistently been held that administrative law judges may also approve, disapprove or remand withdrawals of claims. There have been some exceptions. Therefore, the DD should review the current state of the law in his/her Circuit before making a definite statement. The DD should refer to 20 C.F.R. section 702.225 for the specific language regarding withdrawal of a claim.