Federal Workers Compensation and Attorney Fees

Are you a federal employee who has suffered an injury while on the job?  Whether you work for US Postal Service, Homeland Security, the VA, or other federal agencies, you are entitled to benefits under the FECA.  The Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) manages all Federal Workers Compensation claims.  So what if my claim is denied?  What if OWCP is trying to terminate my benefits?  Where can I get help?

Mooney & Associates offers a Federal Workers Compensation practice in Central Pennsylvania.  Although we can represent injured federal employees nationwide, most of our clients come from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

So how do attorney fees work with Federal Workers Compensation.  Is it a contingency fee like regular workers compensation?  The answer is NO.

Contingency fees are illegal under OWCP.  The Employees Compensation Appeal Board (ECAB), the highest appellate authority in Federal Workers compensation, has ruled that only fees based on an hourly rate agreement will be approved in accordance with 5 U.S.C. §8127, and OWCP has stated that it will conform its fee approval standards to that of the ECAB.  So, if an attorney offers you a contingency or percentage retainer agreement, that attorney is not complying with the law regarding fees and fee approvals and is not familiar with Federal Workers Compensation.

So how do the attorney fees work then?

Attorney fees for Federal Workers’ Compensation must be paid on an hourly basis.  In Federal Workers Compensation, the attorney is paid at the end of the case, after OWCP has reviewed the fee statement and agrees that the charges were reasonable given the nature of the injury and the work performed.  At Mooney & Associates, I take an initial retainer for services, which is placed into a trust account and held there until we receive the go-ahead from OWCP to pay the fee at the end of the case.  I keep track of my work on the case and keep you informed regularly as to the status and amount of my billing.  Additionally, there are times I may charge a flat fee, rather than a retainer and ongoing hourly expense.  Again, it depends on the issue.  This arrangement is similar to other types of cases where an attorney accepts a retainer, such as family or criminal law.  The difference is,  I am not permitted to remove the retainer from the trust account until the case is done and OWCP agrees with the fee.  You also will be asked to agree or disagree with the fee.  The client is also responsible for cases expenses.

I would be happy to meet with you and discuss our fees work and the retainers we require, dependent on your issues within your Federal Workers Compensation case. You can contact Mooney & Associates toll-free at 1-877-632-4656 or 717-200-HELP.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.