THE BOARD The Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (Board) was created in 1946 and delegated exclusive jurisdiction by Congress to consider appeals of federal employees from final decisions of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) in claims arising under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 8101 et seq.). The Board’s Rules of Procedure are published at 20 C.F.R. § 501 et seq.
The Board is independent of OWCP. Its jurisdiction is strictly appellate and extends to questions of both fact and law. Board review is limited to evidence in the case record upon which the OWCP made its decision. No new or additional evidence may be submitted to or considered by the Board. Board decisions are binding upon OWCP and not subject to court review. If an appellant or the Director of OWCP is not satisfied with the Board’s decision, a petition for reconsideration may be filed with the Board within 30 days from the date of issuance of the Board’s decision or order. Following Board review, OWCP may in appropriate circumstances further reconsider a claim if appellant timely requests reconsideration and submits relevant new evidence or legal argument.
THE APPEAL The Board’s Rules of Procedure require that an appeal must be filed within 180 days following the date of OWCP’s final decision. The appeal must be made by the individual adversely affected by the decision. An application for review must state appellant’s full name, address, email address, and telephone number; the OWCP case file number, the date(s) of the OWCP decision on appeal; and must provide a clear statement of the reasons for the appeal. When an appeal is docketed, a docket number will be assigned to the appeal and a copy of the application will be served upon the Director of OWCP, who is permitted time within which to forward the case record to the Board.
The Board and OWCP do not have simultaneous jurisdiction over the same issue in a case. Once an appeal is filed and the Board has jurisdiction of the appeal, OWCP does not have jurisdiction to finalize another decision regarding the issue on appeal.
REPRESENTATION Appellants may proceed with appeals to the Board without the assistance of an attorney or other representative. However, an appellant may authorize in writing that an attorney, union representative, or other representative assist with the appeal. Appellant must provide the authorized representative’s address, email address, and telephone number.
All fees for representative services performed in connection with an appeal before the Board require prior approval by the Board. Receipt by a representative of any fee or other consideration for such legal services without approval is a misdemeanor. Disbursements for such items as travel, telephone calls, postage, etc. do not require approval; they are a matter for adjustment between the representative and client. An application for approval of a fee for services should not be submitted to the Board until after the appeal is closed. The fee application must be accompanied by an itemized statement of the time and character of work performed solely in connection with the appeal and state the amount of the fee requested. Due to the increasing number of fee applications received, representatives should submit their statements in a clear and understandable format addressing the regulatory requirements pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 501(9)(e). The Board will mail a copy of the fee application to the appellant who is given the opportunity for comment. The payment of any fee approved by the Board is the responsibility of the appellant. For services performed for work before the OWCP, a separate fee application must be submitted to OWCP for approval.
ORAL ARGUMENT Either the appellant or the Director may request oral argument within 60 days of filing of the appeal. Oral argument is held at the discretion of the Board. In requesting oral argument, appellant acknowledges that the Board will not reimburse any costs associated with attending the oral argument. All oral argument requests must specify the issue(s) to be argued and explain why oral argument is required. If oral argument is granted it will be confined to the evidence in the case record. There is no provision for the introduction of testimony, questioning of witnesses or transcription of the argument.