EEOICPA BULLETIN NO.02-01

 

Issue Date: March 28, 2002

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Effective Date: December 28, 2001

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Expiration Date: March 26, 2003

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Subject: Modification Orders and ECMS Status Code Updates

 

Background: On December 28, 2001, the President signed into effect amendments to the EEOICPA. Prior to the enactment of the amendments, the National Office was in the process of issuing payment on a number of claims. As of the day of enactment, any claim with a payment pending and that was affected by the changes to the statute was withdrawn from the payment process. In most of these situations, a payee was disqualified due to changes in the definition of eligible survivor.

 

It was determined that the final decisions issued by FAB for these cases would be vacated on the motion of the Director and remanded to the district offices for issuance of a new recommended decision. The determination to vacate a final decision of the FAB on motion of the Director is being designated as a "Modification Order." Comparatively, a "Remand Order" is an action taken by FAB to reverse or modify a recommended decision prior to the release of a final decision.

 

Given that this was the first instance in which a modification order was issued, procedures were needed in order to provide guidance to the district offices. In addition, new claim status codes have been developed to track claims containing a modification order. A series of "M" status codes have been added to ECMS.

 

Reference: 20 CFR 30.320

 

Purpose: To notify the District Offices of the process for handling modification orders.

 

Applicability: All staff.


 

Actions:

 

1. The National Office is responsible for issuing any modification order. A modification order will originate from the Director of the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation. The modification order will contain language describing the basis for vacating a final decision and explain the action to be undertaken by the district office. Once the Director signs the modification order, the case file is packaged for return to the appropriate district office.

 

2. Any case file received by the district office (D0) that includes a modification order is to be treated as a priority claim action. The case file should be logged as received in the DO and referred to the responsible claims examiner (CE).

 

3. Once the CE has received the case file and has had an opportunity to review the material, it is necessary to verify the claim status in ECMS. Depending on the nature of the modification order, the following M codes are to be applied:

 

ML - Modification order has been issued due to change in law. This code is to be entered into ECMS when the basis for a modification order is a legislatively authorized change to EEOICPA.

 

MU - Modification Order has been released due to change in the underlying facts of the case. This includes the following scenarios, subsequent to the issuance of a final decision:

 

     Payee death prior to payment

 

     New survivor identified

 

     Technical error

 

MO - Modification Order has been released for some other administrative reason. This status code is entered whenever the basis for a modification does not fall into any other "M" claim status category.

 

The effective date for code input corresponds to the date affixed on the signed modification order.

 

The National Office or National FAB office is responsible for entering M codes in ECMS. However, the DOs are to ensure that the appropriate code has been input in the ECMS.


 

4. Prior to the addition of M status codes in ECMS, the F7 (FAB Remand) code was input for any case that contained a modification order. If the CE reviewing the claims status history in ECMS notes the F7 code was input in a case file containing a modification order, he/she should revise the ECMS coding to accurately reflect the claims status history. The F7 claim status code should be deleted and replaced with the appropriate M code.

 

5. After the CE has verified the correct case status in ECMS, he/she may proceed to take action consistent with instructions provided in the modification order.

 

Disposition: Retain until incorporated in the Federal (EEOICPA) Procedure Manual

 

 

 

PETER TURCIC

Director, Division of Energy Employees Occupational

Illness Compensation