About the Study

In 2018, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) and funded contractor Summit Consulting to conduct Return-to-Work Outcomes for Federal Employees in the Office of Workers’ Compensation Disability Management Program. This descriptive and statistical analysis aims to understand what factors are associated with disabled workers returning to work and to examine the timing of disability management services on injured workers’ return-to-work outcomes and disability management duration. Researchers used 17 years of administrative case management data (February 2001—November 2017) to identify relevant trends.

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Program (FECP), managed by OWCP, supports civilian federal employees who experience work-related disability. In cases in which an employee is unable to return to work, they enter the disability management program and receive active recovery assistance from OWCP and their employing agency.

This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual process to determine the Department’s research priorities for the upcoming year. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform data and reporting programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.

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The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.