SUBCHAPTER B -- Federal Employees' Compensation Act

 

PART 10 -- Claims for Compensation Under the Federal Employees'

Compensation Act, As Amended

 

 

REPRESENTATION

 

 

10.700 May a claimant designate a representative?

(a) The claims process under the FECA is informal. Unlike many workers' compensation

laws, the employer is not a party to the claim, and OWCP acts as an impartial evaluator of the

evidence. Nevertheless, a claimant may appoint one individual to represent his or her interests, but

the appointment must be in writing.

(b) There can be only one representative at any one time, so after one representative has been

properly appointed, OWCP will not recognize another individual as representative until the claimant

withdraws the authorization of the first individual. In addition, OWCP will recognize only certain

types of individuals (see 10.701).

(c) A properly appointed representative who is recognized by OWCP may make a request or

give direction to OWCP regarding the claims process, including a hearing. This authority includes

presenting or eliciting evidence, making arguments on facts or the law, and obtaining information

from the case file, to the same extent as the claimant. Any notice requirement contained in this part

or the FECA is fully satisfied if served on the representative, and has the same force and effect as if

sent to the claimant.

10.701 Who may serve as a representative?

A claimant may authorize any individual to represent him or her in regard to a claim under the

FECA, unless that individual's service as a representative would violate any applicable provision of

law (such as 18 U.S.C. 205 and 208). A Federal employee may act as a representative only:

(a) On behalf of immediate family members, defined as a spouse, children, parents, and

siblings of the representative, provided no fee or gratuity is charged; or

(b) While acting as a union representative, defined as any officially sanctioned union official,

and no fee or gratuity is charged.

10.702 How are fees for services paid?

A representative may charge the claimant a fee and other costs associated with the

representation before OWCP. The claimant is solely responsible for paying the fee and other

charges. The claimant will not be reimbursed by OWCP, nor is OWCP in any way liable for the

amount of the fee.

Administrative costs (mailing, copying, messenger services, travel and the like, but not including

secretarial services, paralegal and other activities) need not be approved before the representative

collects them. Before any fee for services can be collected, however, the fee must be approved by

the Secretary. (Collecting a fee without this approval may constitute a misdemeanor under 18

U.S.C. 292.)

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B -- Federal Employees' Compensation Act

 

PART 10 -- Claims for Compensation Under the Federal Employees'

Compensation Act, As Amended

 

 

10.703 How are fee applications approved?

(a) Fee Application.

(1) The representative must submit the fee application to the district office and/or the Branch

of Hearings and Review, according to where the work for which the fee is charged was

performed. The application shall contain the following:

(i) An itemized statement showing the representative's hourly rate, the number of hours

worked and specifically identifying the work performed and a total amount charged for the

representation (excluding administrative costs).

(ii) A statement of agreement or disagreement with the amount charged, signed by the

claimant. The statement must also acknowledge that the claimant is aware that he or she must pay

the fees and that OWCP is not responsible for paying the fee or other costs.

(2) An incomplete application will be returned with no further comment.

(b) Approval where there is no dispute. Where a fee application is accompanied by a signed

statement indicating the claimant's agreement with the fee as described in (a)(1)(ii) above, the

application is deemed approved.

(c) Disputed requests.

(1) Where the claimant disagrees with the amount of the fee, as indicated in the statement

accompanying the submittal, OWCP will evaluate the objection and decide whether or not to

approve the request. OWCP will provide a copy of the request to the claimant and ask him or her

to submit any further information in support of the objection within 15 days from the date the

request is forwarded. After that period has passed, OWCP will evaluate the information received

to determine whether the amount of the fee is substantially in excess of the value of services

received by looking at the following factors:

(i) Usefulness of the representative's services;

(ii) The nature and complexity of the claim;

(iii) The actual time spent on development and presentation of the claim; and

(iv) Customary local charges for similar services.

(2) Where the claimant disputes the representative's request and files an objection with

OWCP, an appealable decision will be issued.