Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)
Special Fund FAQs
Questions and Answers about Your Benefits from the Special Fund
- How do I contact the Department of Labor about my Special Fund benefits?
- How do I go about getting income verification of my Special Fund benefits?
- To whom and how do I report an address or bank account change?
- What do I do when my Special Fund check is late or missing?
- How do I go about having my biweekly benefits payments directly deposited into my bank account?
- What do I need to do if I want someone else to manage my Special Fund benefits?
- Why wasn't my annual October 1st cost-of-living-adjustment increase in my first October check?
- I receive Special Fund checks, but there was no increase in October. Why not?
- My spouse, a Special Fund recipient, recently passed away. What do I do with the Special Fund checks/direct deposits s/he received after s/he died? Can I keep them?
- Will I be entitled to receive death benefits when my spouse dies?
- I'm a widow/widower receiving death benefits from the Special Fund. Will I receive these benefits for life?
- I am a Special Fund recipient currently receiving permanent total disability (PTD) / permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Will I continue to receive these benefits for life?
- I am receiving permanent partial disability benefits from the Special Fund. My doctor has just informed me I require more surgery. I will be temporarily and totally disabled for a while. Who will compensate me during this period?
- I am currently receiving permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits but my condition has worsened and my doctor advises me to stop working. How do I apply for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits?
You should contact your local Longshore district office because it maintains your claims records and has the most current information regarding your claim. When you call, give your OWCP claim number or your Social Security Number (the deceased employee's Social Security Number if you are receiving death benefits). If your district office directs you to the national office for further assistance, you may contact the national office at (202) 693-0038.
If you prefer to submit written correspondence, you can use Longshore's Secure Electronic Access Portal (SEAPortal), located at https://seaportal.dol-esa.gov/portal/.
- The SEAPortal is a web-based application that allows any stakeholder with internet access to upload documents (in pdf or tif format) directly into a case file. Users do not need to register or enroll to use the SEAPortal. You simply need the OWCP case number and the injured worker's last name, date of birth and date of injury.
- The SEAPortal provides important advantages over other means of submitting documents to OWCP, such as same-day delivery to the appropriate case file and OWCP employee, and the elimination of costs associated with traditional delivery methods.
- SEAPortal submissions are delivered to the OWCP examiner within four (4) hours of your submission, and you have the ability to track the document using a tracking number that is generated by the website.
- If a document is submitted via the SEAPortal, please do not submit a hard copy of the document.
- To learn more about the SEAPortal, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the SEAPortal site.
Alternatively, case file documents can be sent to the following address: U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation, 400 West Bay Street, Suite 63A, Box 28, Jacksonville, FL 32202. This is the address of our Jacksonville DLHWC District Office, which is designated as the Central Mail Receipt site for the entire program. This site scans all mail for all existing cases, regardless of the owning District Office. The mail is then viewable electronically by the District Office with jurisdiction for the case, as well as the National Office.
Requests for income verification should be submitted through Longshore's Secure Electronic Access Portal (SEAPortal) or to Longshore's Central Mail Receipt site. See FAQ 1 for further detail.
If a third-party requests income verification directly, your written authorization releasing this information must accompany the request. The OWCP will not release income information to a third party without your written authorization.
Report address changes or changes in payment instructions to the OWCP in writing. Telephone messages will not be honored.
Report late or missing checks in writing to the attention of the National Office Fiscal Officer. Submit the notification to the following address:
U. S. Department of Labor OWCP/DLHWC
Frances Perkins Building, Room C-4319
200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington DC 20210
This notification must include your case number, the date of the missing check and should not be submitted until the check is fourteen (14) calendar days overdue.
Obtain a direct deposit sign-up form from your bank, your district office, or via this link: Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form. Fill out the top section of that form, and have your bank fill out the bottom section. Then return the form to OWCP.
You must submit a properly-executed Power of Attorney if you want to authorize another person to manage your Special Fund payments. See FAQ 1 for document submission options.
October 1 frequently falls between pay periods, so the adjustment beginning October 1 is included in the following pay period.
You are only entitled to annual adjustments if your benefits are for permanent total disability benefits, or you are the dependent survivor of a claimant whose death was related to his/her work-related injury.
No. Any checks or direct deposits paid to your spouse after his/her death must be returned to the attention of the National Office Fiscal Officer at the address provided in FAQ 4. The national office will then determine whether your spouse's estate is entitled to a full or partial refund.
In order to obtain workers' compensation survivor benefits, you must file a claim and supply medical information that supports the connection between your spouse's work-related injury and his/her death. A claim for death benefits must be filed within one year of the employee's death, two years in the case of occupational disease (e.g., asbestosis). To file a claim for death benefits you should complete Form LS-262, which can be obtained online or from your district office. You must submit this information to OWCP.
As a widow/widower receiving Special Fund payments, you will receive survivor benefits for life as long as you do not remarry. If you remarry, you will receive a one-time, lump-sum payment, representing two years of survivor benefits. If you subsequently divorce your new spouse, or s/he dies, your benefits will not be reinstated.
Generally, you will receive PTD or PPD benefits for as long as your disability continues. However, your benefit may be increased, decreased, or terminated as a result of modification of your award. Any party in interest (including the Director or employer/insurer) may ask for modification based on a change in your condition or due to a mistake of fact. A change in condition may include either a change in physical (medical) condition or a change in economic condition, such as wage earning capacity.
13. I am receiving permanent partial disability benefits from the Special Fund. My doctor has just informed me I require more surgery. I will be temporarily and totally disabled for a while. Who will compensate me during this period?
Your employer/insurer will compensate you during periods of temporary disability. As soon as you become aware that you will require more surgery, or that other circumstances have temporarily disabled you, you or your attorney should submit medical information to your employer/insurer and to OWCP to that effect. If your employer/insurer does not agree that your benefits should be modified, you may request an informal conference on the issue. If all parties agree to the modification, the district office will issue an order modifying your original award of compensation. All parties involved must comply with the original order until it is modified. Your case will be reviewed when it is determined you have once again reached maximum medical improvement.
14. I am currently receiving permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits but my condition has worsened and my doctor advises me to stop working. How do I apply for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits?
As soon as you become aware that you are permanently and totally disabled, you or your attorney should submit medical information to your employer/insurer and to OWCP. If your employer/insurer does not agree that your benefits should be modified from PPD to PTD, you may request an informal conference on the issue by contacting your district office. If all parties agree to the modification, the district office will issue an order modifying your original award of compensation. If not, your case must be referred to an Administrative Law Judge for a decision on the matter. All parties involved must comply with the original order until it is modified.