Federal Workers Comp hurts Americans
By William T. Gallucci
Published in: The Shenandoah Valley-Herald
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
WHILE STRAINING TO LIFT a heavy press wipping rag into position in April
of 1973, I badly injured the fifth lumbar disc in my back.
If one becomes injured in the Federal Government, the injured worker will
face the US Department of Labor Workers Compensation Office. This office
is mandated by Congress to assist workers injured on the jobBill Gallucci and
rehabilitate them if they cannot return to their usual employment.
However, instead of following the law and the intent of Congress,
individuals at the Department of labor write capricious decisions, fail to
follow the law, and refuse to pay timely medical bills and compensation.
In my own compensation case, under federal law, and like 2.7 million
other federal employees, should they ever get hurt on the job , I was now
entitled to receive monthly ³Workers¹ Compensation² benefits.While straining to lift
Moreover, if for some reason I could not return to my former position, I was
entitled under the law to Vocational Rehabilitation. This did not happen.
Through a series of astonishing blunders, arbitrary rulings and outright
fraud, I received only a tiny fraction of the monies to which I was lawfully
entitled in 1974.
I lost my home first. Later, I wound up on the street, the stresses and
strains caused bankruptcy, it broke my family apart, a Divorce ensued, and I
saw far less of my children.
OWCP whistleblower Joseph Perez, a longtime hearing examiner told a
subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Management, Information,
and Technology on July 6, 1998 that, ³I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that in
fact most of these cases [brought by injured federal workers illegally
denied their benefits] are legitimate, and there are needless roadblocks
being put up against these employees. What is the basis for these
roadblocks, Mr. Chairman? I feel it is complaints from the employing
agencies about rising compensation costs.²
While outlining how OWCP routinely deprives federal workers of rightful
benefits in order to cut down on costs, Mr. Perez noted that, ³Then-OWCP
Director Thomas Markey routinely violates the integrity of the appeals
process. As the top official, involved with the day-to-day administration
he routinely reviews the decisions of Hearing Representatives. This is a
clear violation of the independence of the hearing process.²
Mr. Perez went on to say, Director Markey directly interferes with the
rendering of fair decisions in favor of injured employees. He does this by
trying to intimidate Hearing Representatives into rewriting their decisions
and, when this is unsuccessful, by actually overturning the decisions
Today the OWCP is still up to their dirty tricks, disallowing valid
claims and forcing endless appeals that force injured federal workers into
bankrupts by the system that was created for their protection.
The Congress and Senate has allowed this problem to continue, devastating
the lives of war veterans and injured federal workers, many of whom are
destitute women forced to live with repetitive stress injuries.
PO Box 99
Edinburg VA 22824