APWU Western Region Coordinator: Filing a Stress Workers Comp Claim

Excerpt from APWU Western Region Coordinator Omar M. Gonzalez’ Dealing With Postal Monsters Guidebook

Postal workers who are harassed may suffer emotional stress when carrying out their postal assignment duties.  At times employees file Workers Compensation claims and are taken aback by the denial of such claims by the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) which only adds more stress.

Not every personnel or administrative event is compensable under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).  Abuse has to be determined.  Altercations and/or difficult relationships with supervisors if properly documented may be considered a compensable factor of employment.

There are requirements that must be met because the relationship between the condition to the exposure is not always obvious.  When assisting an employee with a workplace harassment the employee, if in distress, should be advised to seek medical attention and report the matter to a competent medical professional.  There could be stressed related conditions such as emotional, gastrointestinal or heart conditions that arise from the harassment or abuse which should be medically documented.

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2 thoughts on “APWU Western Region Coordinator: Filing a Stress Workers Comp Claim

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Western Region
    Office held, if any
    Western Regional Coordinator
    Email Address
    Hello Sister, first and foremost you may want to seek assistance from your Association. That being said, from what I know regarding access to VA medical records if you are informing your provider (i.e., attending physician) of the stress factors causing your work related condition they normally enter that info into your records. You can go to the VA Medical Records Office, provide two forms of ID and be able to get the doctor’s notes of your treatment. You can also set up an online account through their process.

    But doctor’s notes most likely will not be deemed sufficient by OWCP to establish a compensable factor of employment related to a difficult relationship with supervisors.They will most likely want more.

    ALL claims for compensation require medical evidence. That evidence is usually in the form of a written narrative report from your attending doctor stating and establishing that the condition he/she has diagnosed is (not may be or could be) but IS related to the injury or event(s) that took place at work and how the doctor came to that conclusion. In other words the condition diagnosed is causally connected to the work factors.

    I am not aware of why or who told you the VA would not issue such a statement to OWCP. From what I understand if you request it and you give authorization for the release of medical information it is provided.

    May I suggest that you visit the U.S. Department of Labor OWCP website for more info on medical documentation and if you are aware of a Veterans Advocacy Group that you seek assistance from them. It is not easy fighting postal monsters and the damage they do. But it is possible to fight them and vanquish them from our midst. I will try to get more info on the VA.

    Good luck!

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    NRLCA, Arkansas District, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
    Email Address
    I am interested in receiving more information about filing a stress OWCP. I am a full time rural carrier and a veteran. Based on the past two-three years of harassment and abuse that I have endured, I believe that I qualify for stress OWCP.

    All of my medical documentation is either in my medical records at the VA or documented thru the EAP program thru the USPS. I have been told that VA physicians are not allowed to fill out or sign any paperwork for OWCP. In addition, I have also been told that any information discovered or documented thru EAP is confidential and also cannot be used for OWCP purposes.

    I have filed numerous grievances and two EEO complaints that have yet to be settled. I have submitted statements to attest to each grievance, of which several of the situations, co-workers on the workroom floor personally witnessed. At least one of the grievances has advanced to Step 2 in the grievance process so far.

    How do I go about getting the medical aspects of my claim documented?
    I believe that I qualify for stress OWCP and would like to find out how to proceed.

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