Injury Compensation

The Postal Service continues to work closely with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) to place injured employees who cannot be accommodated within the Postal Service into private sector employment. In 2010, these efforts resulted in private sector placements, retirements, or reductions in compensation payments for 319 former employees, which reduced compensation costs by more than $8 million. The Postal Service saw an increase of 2 percent in Workers’ Compensation chargeback expenses from the OWCP this year, primarily because of medical cost inflation and increases to the number of claimants receiving wage loss benefits. The increase occurred despite continued decreases in illness and injuries. The Postal Service filed 47,897 new claims in 2009 and 44,805 in 2010, for a 6.5 percent decrease. The 2010 cash payout for compensation chargeback expenses totaled over $1.11 billion.

To help reduce Workers’ Compensation medical costs, the Postal Service expanded the First Script Pharmacy Card Program, which discounts prescription prices for the Postal Service and helps employees avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses and waiting for reimbursement. In 2010, durable medical equipment and imaging costs were added to the system, resulting in a savings in excess of $10.5 million. Ongoing efforts with the program have attained $40 million in cumulative savings. Monetary gain from pursuit of third-party claims and overpayments are credited to the Postal Service by OWCP.

The National Reassessment Process is a key initiative for reviewing the status of employees in rehabilitation and limited-duty assignments at the end of each year. It ensures that every evaluated employee is placed in an appropriate and necessary work position. Currently, all sites are assessing limited duty and rehabilitation assignments to eliminate “make-work” assignments. The process is 90 percent complete. Through June 2010, the number of employees in rehabilitation and limited duty assignments had been reduced from 28,147 to 24,224, saving $255 million. The savings represent costs avoided by employees’ retirement, resignation, or return to full duty. At the end of September, the Postal Service had 22,678 limited duty and rehabilitation employees nationwide.