“ECAB” WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO YOU FILE AN APPEAL?

Federal employees injured on the job file their injury claims with the Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs or "OWCP".  If the OWCP denies their claim, the injured employee has three different appeals available.  One of them is to the ECAB.

  

What and where is the ECAB?
 
The ECAB is located in Washington DC and consists of a Board of political appointees.  The Board is a three member quasi-judicial body which has been delegated exclusive jurisdiction by Congress to hear and make final decisions on appeals from determinations of the OWCP. 
 
The Board is independent of OWCP and its jurisdiction is strictly appellate and extends to questions of fact and law. The Board’s decisions are binding upon the OWCP and must be accepted and acted upon by the Director.
 
Is there a deadline to file an appeal to ECAB?
 
Yes. Rules require that an appeal must be filed within 180 days following the date of the OWCP’s final decision.

  

Is there a special form to use to appeal?

  

Yes.  Although you may file your appeal in any format the preferred method is to use the ECAB’s form "AB-1". That form is available here.

  

I have new medical evidence on my claim, can I send that to ECAB?

  

NO NEW EVIDENCE IS ALLOWED! This is the most common mistake by claimants; trying to submit new evidence on appeal to ECAB.  The Board’s jurisdiction is limited to a consideration of the evidence of record at the time of the OWCP final decision.  The Board may not take jurisdiction over informational or other routine letters sent by OWCP pertaining to your claim.  The judges may not consider new evidence on appeal.  If you have new evidence, you should submit it to OWCP with a request for reconsideration of your claim.
 
Do I need to submit a brief on my appeal?
 
Proceedings before the Board are informal and there is no requirement to file a pleading.  If you are completely satisfied that all relevant information was submitted and considered by the OWCP (an extreme rarity), your appeal may proceed with nothing further submitted. However, the better method is to present a formal brief that clearly states your disagreement with the OWCP decision and fully briefs any factual or legal matter you want considered.   
 
How will I know when ECAB has my appeal?
 
When your appeal is filed with the Board, a docket number will be assigned.  Please refer to your assigned docket number in all correspondence with the Board.  
 
How long will the ECAB appeal take?
 
ECAB is under no timeline to process your appeal.  You should expect to wait on average six to twelve months for a decision.
 
Instead of a written appeal I want to argue my case in person before the ECAB, can I do that?
 
Yes.  Any request for oral argument must be submitted in writing to the Clerk’s office and specify the issue(s) to be argued.  Your request must be made no later than 60 days after filing the appeal.  If oral argument is granted, the Clerk’s office will notify you at least 30 days prior to the argument as to the date set and issues determined for argument.  

*  Oral argument is held before the Board only in Washington, D.C.

*  The Board does not reimburse any costs associated with attending oral argument.

*  The Board exercises appellate review of the OWCP’s final decision and new evidence may not be introduced at argument.

*  Oral argument must be confined to the evidence of record.  There is no provision for the introduction of testimony, questioning of witnesses or a transcription of the argument.

  

If ECAB denies my claim, can I appeal it?

Decisions of the Board are final and are not subject to review, except they may be reconsidered by the Board.  If you are not satisfied with the Board’s decision, a petition for reconsideration must be filed within 30 days from the date of issuance of the Board’s decision or order.  After 30 days, the decision of the Board becomes final.  Thereafter, any request to reopen the claim must be submitted to OWCP.

 

Do I need representation for an ECAB appeal?

 

You may proceed with an appeal to the Board without the assistance of an attorney or other representative. However you can have anyone you choose represent you.  Should you elect to have an attorney, union representative or other representative appear on your behalf, you must authorize such representation in writing, either by completing the relevant portions of the Appeal Form AB-1, or submitting a separate signed statement of authorization. You reamin solely responsible for all representative fees.

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