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Federal Employer's Compensation Act



DOL/GOVT-1

System name:

Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Federal Employees' Compensation Act File (April 8, 2002, 67 FR 16815).

Security classification:

Most files and data are unclassified. Files and data in certain cases have Top Secret classification, but the rules concerning their maintenance and disclosure are determined by the agency, which has given the information the security classification of Top Secret.

System location:

The central database for DOL/GOVT-1 is located at SUNGUARD, 600 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees, New Jersey, 08043. Paper claim files and local databases are located at the various OWCP district offices, and in Kansas City (for imaged cases only); claim files of employees of the Central Intelligence Agency are located at that agency. Records from this system of records may be temporarily located in the office of health care providers and other individuals or entities with whom the Department contracts for such services as examination or evaluation of claimants. Copies of claim forms and other documents arising out of a job-related injury that resulted in the filing of a claim under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), may also be maintained by the employing agency (and where the forms were transmitted to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) electronically, the original forms are maintained by the employing agency). In addition, records relating to third-party claims of FECA beneficiaries are maintained in the Division of Employee Benefits, Office of the Solicitor, United States Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210-0002, in the offices of the Regional and Associate Regional Solicitors, and in various offices of the United States Postal Service, which undertakes various duties relating to third party claims pursuant to an agreement with OWCP.

Pursuant to the Department of Labor's Flexiplace Programs, copies of records may be temporarily located at alternative worksites, including employees' homes or at geographically convenient satellite offices for part of the workweek. All appropriate safeguards will be taken at these sites.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:

Individuals and/or their survivors who file claims seeking benefits under the FECA by reason of injuries sustained while in the performance of duty. The FECA applies to all civilian federal employees, including various classes of persons who provide or have provided personal service to the government of the United States, and to other persons as defined by law such as state or local law enforcement officers, and their survivors, who were injured or killed while assisting in the enforcement of federal law. In addition, the FECA covers employees of the Civil Air Patrol, Peace Corps Volunteers, Job Corps students, Volunteers in Service to America, members of the National Teacher Corps, certain student employees, members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, certain former prisoners of war, and employees of particular commissions and other agencies.

Categories of records in the system:

This system may contain the following kinds of records: reports of injury by the employee and/or employing agency; claim forms filed by or on behalf of injured federal employees or their survivors seeking benefits under the FECA; forms authorizing medical care and treatment; other medical records and reports; bills and other payment records; compensation payment records; formal orders for or against the payment of benefits; transcripts of hearings conducted; and any other medical, employment, or personal information submitted or gathered in connection with the claim. The system may also contain information relating to dates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death; notes of telephone conversations conducted in connection with the claim; information relating to vocational and/or medical rehabilitation plans and progress reports; records relating to court proceedings, insurance, banking and employment; articles from newspapers and other publications; information relating to other benefits (financial and otherwise) the claimant may be entitled to; and information received from various investigative agencies concerning possible violations of Federal civil or criminal law.

The system may also contain consumer credit reports on individuals indebted to the United States, information relating to the debtor's assets, liabilities, income and expenses, personal financial statements, correspondence to and from the debtor, information relating to the location of the debtor, and other records and reports relating to the implementation of the Federal Claims Collection Act (as amended), including investigative reports or administrative review matters. Individual records listed here are included in a claim file only insofar as they may be pertinent or applicable to the employee or beneficiary.

Authority for maintenance of the system:

5 U.S.C. 8101 et seq., 20 CFR 1.1 et seq.

Purpose(s):

The FECA establishes the system for processing and adjudicating claims that federal employees and other covered individuals file with the Department of Labor's OWCP, seeking monetary, medical and similar benefits for injuries or deaths sustained while in the performance of duty. The records maintained in this system are created as a result of and are necessary to this process. The records provide information and verification about the individual's employment-related injury and the resulting disabilities and/or impairments, if any, on which decisions awarding or denying benefits provided under the FECA must be based.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

In addition to those Department-wide routine uses set forth above in the General Prefatory Statement to this document, disclosure of information from this system of records may be made to the following individuals and entities for the purposes noted when the purpose of the disclosure is both relevant and necessary and is compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected:

a. To any attorney or other representative of a FECA beneficiary for the purpose of assisting in a claim or litigation against a third party or parties potentially liable to pay damages as a result of the FECA beneficiary's FECA-covered injury and for the purpose of administering the provisions of sections 8131-8132 of the FECA. Any such third party, or a representative acting on that third party's behalf, may be provided information or documents concerning the existence of a record and the amount and nature of compensation paid to or on behalf of the FECA beneficiary for the purpose of assisting in the resolution of the claim or litigation against that party or administering the provisions of sections 8131-8132 of the FECA.

b. To federal agencies that employed the claimant at the time of the occurrence or recurrence of the injury or occupational illness in order to verify billing, to assist in administering the FECA, to answer questions about the status of the claim, to consider rehire, retention or other actions the agency may be required to take with regard to the claim or to permit the agency to evaluate its safety and health program. Disclosure to federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, may be made where OWCP determines that such disclosure is relevant and necessary for the purpose of providing assistance in regard to asserting a defense based upon the FECA's exclusive remedy provision to an administrative claim or to litigation filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

c. To other federal agencies, other government or private entities and to private-sector employers as part of rehabilitation and other return-to-work programs and services available through OWCP, where the entity is considering hiring the claimant or where otherwise necessary as part of that return-to-work effort.

d. To federal, state or private rehabilitation agencies and individuals to whom the claimant has been referred for evaluation of rehabilitation and possible reemployment.

e. To physicians, pharmacies, and other health care providers for their use in treating the claimant, in conducting an examination or preparing an evaluation on behalf of OWCP and for other purposes relating to the medical management of the claim, including evaluation of and payment for charges for medical and related services and supplies.

f. To medical insurance or health and welfare plans (or their designees) that cover the claimant in instances where OWCP had paid for treatment of a medical condition that is not compensable under the FECA, or where a medical insurance plan or health and welfare plan has paid for treatment of a medical condition that may be compensable under the FECA, for the purpose of resolving the appropriate source of payment in such circumstances.

g. To labor unions and other voluntary employee associations from whom the claimant has requested assistance for the purpose of providing such assistance to the claimant.

h. To a federal, state or local agency for the purpose of obtaining information relevant to a determination concerning initial or continuing eligibility for FECA benefits, and for a determination concerning whether benefits have been or are being properly paid, including whether dual benefits that are prohibited under any applicable federal or state statute are being paid; and for the purpose of utilizing salary offset and debt collection procedures, including those actions required by the Debt Collection Act of 1982, to collect debts arising as a result of overpayments of FECA compensation and debts otherwise related to the payment of FECA benefits.

i. To the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the purpose of obtaining taxpayer mailing addresses for the purposes of locating a taxpayer to collect, compromise, or write-off a federal claim against such taxpayer; and informing the IRS of the discharge of a debt owed by an individual. Records from this system of records may be disclosed to the IRS for the purpose of offsetting a federal claim from any income tax refund that may be due to the debtor.

j. To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the purpose of using injury reports filed by Federal agencies pursuant to the FECA to fulfill agency injury reporting requirements. Information in this system of records may be disclosed to OSHA by employing agencies as part of any MIS system established under OSHA regulations to monitor health and safety.

k. To contractors providing services to DOL or any other federal agency or any other individual or entity specified in any of these routine uses or in the Department's General Prefatory Statement who require the data to perform the services that they have contracted to perform, provided that those services are consistent with the routine use for which the information was disclosed to the contracting entity. Should such a disclosure be made to the contractor, the individual or entity making such disclosure shall insure that the contractor complies fully with all Privacy Act provisions, including those prohibiting unlawful disclosure of such information.

l. To the Defense Manpower Data Center--Department of Defense and the United States Postal Service to conduct computer matching programs for the purpose of identifying and locating individuals who are receiving Federal salaries or benefit payments and are delinquent in their repayment of debts owed to the United States under programs administered by the DOL in order to collect the debts under the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97-365) by voluntary repayment, or by salary or administrative offset procedures.

m. To a credit bureau for the purpose of obtaining consumer credit reports identifying the assets, liabilities, expenses, and income of a debtor in order to ascertain the debtor's ability to repay a debt incurred under the FECA, to collect the debt, or to establish a payment schedule.

n. To consumer reporting agencies as defined by section 603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)) or in accordance with section 3(d)(4)(A)(ii) of the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 as amended (31 U.S.C. 3711(f)) for the purpose of encouraging the repayment of an overdue debt, the amount, status and history of overdue debts, the name and address, taxpayer identification (SSN), and other information necessary to establish the identity of a debtor, the agency and program under which the claim arose, may be disclosed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12)

o. To a Member of Congress or to a Congressional staff member in response to an inquiry made by an individual seeking assistance who is the subject of the record being disclosed for the purpose of providing such assistance.

p. To individuals, and their attorneys and other representatives, and government agencies, seeking to enforce a legal obligation on behalf of such individual or agency, to pay alimony and/or child support for the purpose of enforcing such an obligation, pursuant to an order of a state or local court of competent jurisdiction, including Indian tribal courts, within any State, territory or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia or to an order of a State agency authorized to issue income withholding notices pursuant to State or local law or pursuant to the requirements of section 666(b) of title 42, United States Code, or for the purpose of denying the existence of funds subject to such legal obligation.

Note: Disclosure of information contained in this system of records to the subject of the record, a person who is duly authorized to act on his or her behalf, or to others to whom disclosure is authorized by these routine uses, may be made over the telephone or by electronic means. Disclosure over the telephone or by electronic means will only be done where the requestor provides appropriate identifying information. Telephonic or electronic disclosure of information is essential to permit efficient administration and adjudication of claims under the FECA. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(1), information from this system of records may be disclosed to members and staff of the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Office of the Solicitor and other components of the Department who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:

The amount, status and history of overdue debts, the name and address, taxpayer identification (SSAN), and other information necessary to establish the identity of a debtor, the agency and program under which the claim arose, may be disclosed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12) to consumer reporting agencies as defined by section 603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)) or in accordance with section 3(d)(4)(A)(ii) of the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 as amended (31 U.S.C. 3711(f)) for the purpose of encouraging the repayment of an overdue debt.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining and disposing of records in the system:

Storage:

Paper case files are maintained in manual files, while security case files are in locked cabinets. Automated data, including case files that have been transformed into electronic form, are stored in computer discs or magnetic tapes, which are stored in cabinets. Microfiche is stored in cabinets.

Retrievability:

Files and automated data are retrieved after identification by coded file number and/or Social Security Number which is cross-referenced to employee by name, employing establishment, and date and nature of injury. Since the electronic case management files were created in 1975, these electronic files are located in District Offices which have jurisdiction over the claim, and (as noted above under ``system location''), a complete central data base is maintained at the location of the contractor. Prior to 1975, a paper index file was maintained; these records were transferred to microfiche and are located in the national office.

Safeguards:

Files and automated data are maintained under supervision of OWCP personnel during normal working hours--only authorized personnel, with the appropriate password, may handle, retrieve, or disclose any information contained therein. Only personnel having an appropriate security clearance may handle or process security files. After normal working hours, security files are kept in locked cabinets. Access to electronic records is controlled by password or other user identification code.

Retention and disposal:

All case files and automated data pertaining to a claim are destroyed 15 years after the case file has become inactive. Case files that have been scanned to create electronic copies are destroyed after the copies are verified. Automated data is retained in its most current form only, however, and as information is updated, outdated information is deleted. Some related financial records are retained only in electronic form, and destroyed 6 years and 3 months after creation or receipt.

System manager(s) and address:

Director for Federal Employees' Compensation, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room S-3229, Washington, DC 20210-0002.

Notification procedure:

An individual wishing to inquire whether this system of records contains information about him/her may write or telephone the OWCP district office that services the state in which the individual resided or worked at the time he or she believes a claim was filed. In order for the record to be located, the individual must provide his or her full name, OWCP claim number (if known), date of injury (if known), and date of birth.

Record access procedures:

Any individual seeking access to non-exempt information about a case in which he/she is a party in interest may write or telephone the OWCP district office where the case is located, or the systems manager, and arrangements will be made to provide review of the file. Access to copies of documents maintained by the employing agency may be secured by contacting that agency's designated disclosure officials.

Contesting record procedures:

Specific materials in this system have been exempted from certain Privacy Act provisions regarding the amendment of records. The section of this notice entitled ``Systems Exempted From Certain Provisions of the Act,'' indicates the kind of materials exempted, and the reasons for exempting them. Any individual requesting amendment of non-exempt records should contact the appropriate OWCP district office, or the system manager. Individuals requesting amendment of records must comply with the Department's Privacy Act regulations at 29 CFR 71.1 and 71.9, and with the regulations found at 20 CFR 10.12 (1999).

Record source categories:

Injured employees; beneficiaries; employing Federal agencies; other Federal agencies; physicians; hospitals; clinics; suppliers of health care products and services and their agents and representatives; educational institutions; attorneys; Members of Congress; OWCP field investigations; State governments; consumer credit reports; agency investigative reports; correspondence with the debtor including personal financial statements; records relating to hearings on the debt; and other DOL systems of records.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the act:

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), investigative material in this system of records compiled for law enforcement purposes is exempt from subsections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f) of 5 U.S.C. 552a, provided, however, that if any individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit that he or she would otherwise be entitled to by Federal law, or for which he or she would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of these records, such material shall be provided to the individual, except to the extent that the disclosure of the material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, or prior to January 1, 1975, under an implied promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence.