The Reconsideration Appeal Versus the ECAB Appeal
The Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) was created in 1946 by Congress to hear appeals taken from determinations and awards under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act with respect to claims of Federal employees injured in the course of their employment. The board has final authority to determine the liability of the Federal government with respect to the disability or death of employees injured in the scope of their employment. There is no further administrative or judicial appeal of ECAB decisions.
When filing an appeal, one must carefully consider the circumstances and/or reasons the District Office denied the claim. There are three very critical facts that one must understand when choosing to file an ECAB Appeal.
- The ECAB will not accept any new evidence that has not previously been considered.
- The ECAB will only consider evidence in the record prior to the denial decision.
- Typically, the ECAB will take 10 to 12 months to issue their ruling or decision.
Due to those three reasons, one has to be absolutely certain that the evidence prior to the denial decision is rock solid.
Although one can file a Reconsideration Appeal of the ECAB Decision, the Reconsideration Appeal of an ECAB goes to the District Office. I can assure you that the Sr. Claims Examiner (CE) who is assigned the Reconsideration is never going to overturn an ECAB Decision that was decided by three Administrative Law Judges whom affirmed the District Office’s prior decision.
I will only file an ECAB as a last resort. I believe the most advantageous course of action is to thoroughly analyze and scrutinize the initial denial in order to determine what new evidence is going to get the case accepted through the utilization of the Reconsideration Appeal. If the first Reconsideration Appeal is denied, the new denial decision will provide specific reasons for the denial. With that, I simply reload by addressing those new specific reasons. One of the many problems one faces when dealing with CEs is that they all have their own interpretation of what the FECA Requirements are regarding the acceptance of a claim. However, I believe if I do go the Second Reconsideration Appeal route and it is denied again, the odds go up dramatically in one’s favor to prevail with the ECAB.
The goal for the District Office to issue a Reconsideration Decision is 90 days.
Why would one want to wait 10 to 12 months to find out that evidence that could have been provided by a second Reconsideration Appeal would have been considered by the ECAB resulting in having the claim accepted?
The ECAB Appeal is tough and I am extremely skeptical of anyone who claims to have prevailed with the ECAB the majority of the time.
Anyone who bases a representative’s competency based on an ECAB Win/Loss record is, in my opinion, delusional at best and could be someone whom never represented an OWCP claimant.
If I was looking for a representative, I would want to consider their Win/Loss Reconsideration Appeal record.
Reconsideration Decision, 90 Days
ECAB Decision, 356 Days
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