Sometimes the OWCP issues a decision without appeal rights. If the decision, often in the form of a letter, denies the claimant’s request for wage loss compensation or medical treatment then that decision can be appealed to the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB). Typically a decision without appeal rights is couched as an informational letter. What’s disturbing about this, is that the letter does not include appeal rights so many claimants are not aware that they can appeal this denial of benefits. The Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) has held that Final Adverse Decisions are Appealable even if they do not contain appeal rights. In a decision dated Issued March 26, 2012, the ECAB stated:
On July 14, 2011an OWCP claims examiner advised appellant that her case (xxxxxx595) had been formally denied by decision dated March 12, 1993. OWCP further explained that it could not consider a recurrence on a denied claim and, therefore, no further action would be taken concerning the June 14, 2011recurrence claim. It effectively denied appellant’s recurrence claim. However, the July 14, 2011correspondence did not provide any appeal rights. The Board considers the claims examiner’s July 14, 2011action a final, adverse decision subject to review under 20 C.F.R. §§ 501.2(c) and 501.3(a).
B.C., ECAB Docket No. 11-1903, 2012 WL 1963993 (E.C.A.B.), (IssuedMarch 26, 2012).
Moreover, a decision is not properly issued if it is issued without appeal rights, thereby effectively denying the claimant an opportunity to exercise his appeal rights in a timely fashion. Sara K. Pearce, 51 ECAB 517 (2000). Where the Office issues a decision without appeal rights, it should be remanded to the Office to issue a proper decision with full appeal rights. Id.
Accordingly, you can appeal to ECAB any Decision that denies you benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) even if the OWCP District Office does not provide you appeal rights.
If you need legal counsel to discuss your rights under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) you should contact OWCP Attorney Gregory A. Hall to schedule a consultation.