News and Hot Topics

Items of Interest

Chargeback FY16, 3rd Quarter Now Available

OWCP has provided us with the data load for the 3rd Quarter of Chargeback Year 2016 (1/31/2016 to 3/31/2016). Detailed chargeback reports are now available. If you have any questions regarding your data, please notify us through the Email: ICUC Questions link located to the right under Contact Us, or contact your Liaison.

UserID and/or Password Compromise

In light of the increased emphasis on cybersecurity, DOL has informed DOD that any future userID or password compromises would be forwarded to their Security Office for resolution. Actions that could be taken could range from suspension to revocation of AQS access. As is mentioned in your letter granting you access, "User Identification Codes have been approved and assigned for your use. The code and/or password must not be shared with, or passed on to, any other individual . . . Any unauthorized use of the AQS system, or its data, is a security violation and appropriate measures will be taken."

The best way to prevent a security compromise is to NEVER cc anyone on an email that contains a userID for AQS.

Modification Form Update

An update has been made to the "Request for Modification of Existing ICUC System User Account" account form. The form now allows an individual to specify DIUCS Injury Compensation (IC) and/or DIUCS Unemployment Compensation (UC). This should alleviate any confusion when modifying and/or deleting an account. Users who have both a DIUCS IC and DIUCS UC account will need to specify which account(s) needs to be modified/deleted. Effective immediately, older versions of this form will no longer be accepted. To download the new form click on "Modify ICUC Systems Access" located under Products & Services on the ICUC webpage.

New ICUC Recognition Program

The Injury Compensation and Unemployment Compensation (ICUC) Branch announces a new program to recognize Injury Compensation Program Administrators (ICPAs) and Agencies for their hard work in meeting and exceeding goals for timely filing of CA-1 and CA-2 forms. The recognition periods will be each year from 1 April to 30 September and from 1 October to 31 March. The Agency Received Date and OWCP Received Date that are received from the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for each form will be used to determine timeliness. Agencies that file more than 10 forms during the recognition period will be eligible for the Recognition Program. A Letter of Recognition will be sent to the ICPA (cc to the agency HR Director) when they achieve their timeliness goal for either 6 month period. A Letter of Excellence will be sent to the ICPA (cc to the agency HR Director) when they achieve their timeliness goals for the entire 12 month period. The initial recognition period will be 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. After that, the review periods will be 1 April to 30 September and 1 October to 31 March. Each DOD Liaison will review the timeliness for the agencies they service and nominate ICPAs that meet the criteria. These nominations are forwarded to the ICPA Recognition Team which verifies the information for the nominees and forwards the names for recognition letters.

New Records Retention Requirement

DOD has established a records retention requirement for the Defense Injury and Unemployment Compensation System (DIUCS) with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The retention requirement is to keep records for no longer than 10 years after they become inactive. Records for claims in DIUCS that have had a C_ closure status for 10 years and longer will be purged, as well as records for claims in DIUCS that have been retired (case status of RT) for 10 years or longer. Records for claims in DIUCS that have been destroyed (case status XX) by OWCP will be purged quarterly regardless of the date they were destroyed. On March 31, 2015 DCPAS will begin the process of regularly purging records in DIUCS that meet this criteria. Once purged, the records will no longer be available in DIUCS. The data purges will be executed the last week of every quarter.

Service Computation Date Decision

An important decision was issued by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in January that deals with the issue of FERS service computation for FECA recipients. The case is Velma Thomas v. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Ms. Thomas worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1985 to 1998, when she applied for and was granted disability retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). She received disability retirement for 19 months, until December of 1999, and then elected and received FECA benefits for six years - from December of 1999 to November of 2005. When the employee turned age 62 in 2000, "OPM recomputed Thomas's potential retirement benefits to an amount that represented an annuity she would have received if she had continued working until the day before her 62nd birthday, as required by 5 U.S.C. § 8452(b)." This meant that though she was not getting disability retirement benefits in 2000 because she had switched over to OWCP, had she been getting disability retirement benefits in 2000, those benefits would be reduced. In 2005, at age 67, she returned to work for USPS. She worked until November of 2009, a total of three years and 11 months, when she voluntarily retired.

So how much service credit did Ms. Thomas receive? She received OPM benefits based on 17 years of service, from 1985 to 1998 and 2005 to 2009, using her high-3 salary from 1985-1998 and adding a supplemental annuity using the high-3 for the period 2005-2009. She therefore received NO service credit for the six years that she received OWCP benefits, nor her time in receipt of disability retirement in 1998 and 1999. Page 6 of this decision states, "Thomas would not qualify for a redetermination under § 8468(b)(2)(A) because she only served at the USPS for three years and eleven months during her reemployment, short of the five years required by statute." The entire decision can be found at http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/14-3143.Opinion.1-7-2015.1.PDF

In 1991, there was a case where a requirement that an employee return to work for 5 years applied to CSRS recipients (Gordon R. True v. Office of Personnel Management). That 1991 decision can be found at http://openjurist.org/926/f2d/1151/true-v-office-of-personnel-management. The Thomas case tells us that this logic also applies to FERS cases, as well.

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