(This article first appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) âÂ€Â‹
All postal employees who are injured on duty will soon have the option of filing Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWCP) claims online through the Employees’ Compensation Operation and Management Portal (ECOMP). This is a long overdue option that will finally bring the Postal Service into compliance with a Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) regulation requiring all federal agencies, including the USPS, to offer employees electronic claim filing directly with OWCP by December 31, 2012.
A segment of ECOMP, Web Enabled Electronic Document Submission (WEEDS) was initially introduced to postal workers in 2012 as an online tool to assist with claims processing and document tracking, but it alone did not satisfy the federal mandate. WEEDS allows claimants, representatives, medical providers and employing agency staff to upload documents into existing claim files. Claims Examiners are able to view the newly submitted information within four hours. Documents are assigned a Document Control Number (DCN) as proof of receipt and for tracking purposes.
This feature remains available without registration under the expansion of online services but claimants will need to provide their OWCP case file number, date of injury and other personal identifiers to take advantage of this portion of the user-friendly system. As an added security measure, these identifiers must precisely match the existing file information.
DOL reports ECOMP filing is more secure than paperbased filing and permits more efficient data management. Benefits for claimants include an improved ability to track the status of forms and documents submitted through ECOMP, faster claim adjudication, expedited delivery of FECA medical and compensation benefits, and quicker OWCP nurse intervention assignments for employees who are unable to return to work because of workplace disabilities.
The Postal Service has established a staggered Area rollout for its Districts. Employees should not attempt to use the electronic filing application before their District is online. Once implemented, postal management should inform injured workers that e-filing is available. If, however, an employee prefers paper forms and manual filing, management must accept and process paper claim forms. Refusal may subject them to a fine of not more than $500 or 1 year in prison, or both (ELM 542.33).
To use ECOMP, claimants must create an account with a unique user ID and passcode. They will need to provide personal information including their Social Security number, their private email address (not postal) and their immediate supervisor’s work email.
After logging in, employees will have access to their personal ECOMP Dashboard; they will be able to file new traumatic injury and occupational disease claims, and track documents submitted through ECOMP with the document’s ECOMP Control Number (ECN). They will also be able to submit new forms, such as a CA7 Claim for WLC directly from an existing claim in their dashboard, and be able to file for scheduled awards. In these instances, a claim number will also be required.
Upon employee submission, all new claims (CA1, CA2) will be forwarded to their immediate supervisor for completion of the agency portion of the form. Employees and supervisors will be required to sign and date a paper copy of the form following a short review that is conducted by a USPS Health and Resource Management specialist. The paper form will be retained in the employee’s USPS compensation file. The employee’s online submission date, not signature date is tattooed on the e-form and will be relied upon to hold the Postal Service accountable to all FECA timely submission deadlines.
ECOMP is maintained by the Department of Labor and is easily accessed through its public internet site. To register, find user guides, video tutorials and to learn more visit https://www.ecomp.dol.gov.