Post 1- A TRIP I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT –INJURED POSTAL WORKERS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

I couldn’t climb over the wall back to my job. I had no choice but to trudge up a narrow trail  with steep uphills and uneven ground, stumbling over stones underfoot. With no idea of what to do next I limped toward an unknown destination and  on the way I came across other walkers who knew where they were going who gave me a pole and written directions to one trail that would lead me to Retirement and another to Compensation.

This blog is dedicated to those people.

 While this blog deals with  problems postal employees encounter in dealing with receiving compensation and the never ending campaign of some  members of congress “working hard”  to decrease compensation for injured postal  employees ,what applies to them also  applies to injured federal employees as both are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. 

Comments ,experiences, new information are welcome by postal and federal injured employees and those who represent them  When  a injured employee shares his experience with his agency and OWCP he is responsible for the accuracy of his post.

Information is freely given if known but legal advice is to be sought from a lawyer. 500 words or less are welcome. Be polite.

Welcome to my blog.

UPDATES ON FEDERAL COMPENSATION POSTED HERE

The trip continues with a November 14th update  on the 21st Century Postal Reform Bill S1789  which Senators Lieberman as Chairman, Collins as Ranking Member, Carper and Brown  presented to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recommendations on cutting mail services to the public and slashing benefits for postal employees ,working ,injured at work and retired which would also affect federal employee benefits. For dates and comments on S1789 check out websites by going to the search windows of Google or Yahoo and typing in  21st Century Postal  Reform Bill S1789This Bill has Cleared the Oversight Committee!

update 12/29/2011 HR 2309 with the same agenda as S1789 has not only  cleared in  committee  but  is scheduled to be on  the Senate Floor in February or March of 2012.The link below gives information on just what the bill would do if it passes and the opportunity  to sign a protest against it .http://www.petition2congress.com/5117/please-oppose-hr-2309/#comment-2984811

S1789 Passed in the Senate on 4-25-12.  and is being “held at the Desk” in the House.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPIY9bFFZY

HR2309  Hearing in the House  not held in August, 2012  but is being planned to be to be heard by June,2013

UPDATE  3-14 2013

                   S316 and HR630   would not only save the Post Office from privatization but would leave Federal Compensation for injured workers intact.  Click on March 2013 in Archives /Post 13 for more  information  and links to show your support for these two bills.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post 2 – WHY THIS BLOG? WHY NOW?

Susan Collins, a Senator introduced S261-The Federal Employee Compensation Reform Act of 2011. Three thousand were targeted to BE REMOVED from OWCP rolls when they reached 65. They were then to apply for retirement at the rate of pay at the time of their injury. I am one of them.

I started this blog  to augment the arguments made on other sites why this proposed law is intrinsically flawed and to counter the postings that are in favor of it.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Post #3–SIDETRACKED to COMPENSATION

 

 Compensation Cats          DO MATH  We have done the math. We have come to the conclusion that it is better to have 100% pay with increases in pay along with COLA or CPI. and pay taxes and be uninjuredthan to be injured at work and have 75% pay with no chance for an increase in pay   have to depend  on Cola or CPI to keep up with expenses .

  IT HURTS A LOT LESS TOO

The proposal that 3000 injured federal employees over the age of 65  have         compensation pay for work related injuries removed and replaced by retirement benefits is a key goal of Senate Bill 261  The Federal employees Compensation Reform Act of 2011 proposed by Susan Collins.

According to  Senator Collins  2000 of the injured federal employees over 65 collecting federal workers’ compensation were formerly employed by the post office.  If all 2000 were removed from OWCP rolls it would have no effect on the government budget,  not only because of the small number involved as it is  for the other 1000, but also because the Post Office, which is not supported by taxes, reimburses OWCP for payments made to injured postal employees plus an administration fee.

1.8% of the Federal and Post Office payrolls costs  provided by the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation  compares favorably to to 2,3% for private insurance and state funds. Overhead for the Division of federal Employees’ Compensation is 4% of benefits. If the 3000 older injured employees were removed from OWCP rolls it would have no noticeable reduction on the 1,8% of the Federal and Post Office payroll compensation costs or on  the national budget deficits. What it would have a immediate negative impact on is the 3000 older injured workers she has targeted for a substantial reduction in income as they have no way to make up for this loss except partially through food banks, state sponsored health care, food stamps, housing assistance as well as other programs which may be supported  by state or federal taxes.

The circumstances  of the 3000 injured federal employees over  65  will be different depending on several factors  such as what pay their OWCP  Compensation is based on, the income of their mate which is likely Social Security payments or if the person receiving Compensation is single.

Even though it is touted as an extra benefit that OWCP compensation isn’t taxed  it hasn’t been proved that income from  OWCP  payments by those over 65 years are high enough to be taxable even if combined with income of  a mate.

Would Susan Collins if injured  at work be satisfied with 50% of her pay when she reached 65 if her pay was based on, not what a senator gets, but on what a postal clerk got years before?

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post 4 – UM… Federal Compensation is a lifetime committment

http://www.apwu.org/news/burrus/2007/update02-2007-012607-chart.pdfThe link above gives a detail history of the increases in pay at the END of the contract at Level 5, Step O.  During the contract at designated intervals the pay the clerk would receive was increased. Cost of Living increases are negotiated in the contract. I haven’t been able to locate a chart listing the Cola  including those years when Cola was capped

. Federal compensation is based on the rate of pay at the time of injury.

The Compensation with one dependent is 75%:

Compensation with no dependents is  2/3 of former pay. To compute approximate compensation the PAY can be divided by 3 and then multiplied by 2. Dis Retirement is the same for all.

The figures used in this blog for federal compensation are based on 75% at top pay at the end of the APWU contract.

For Disability Retirement the guaranteed minimum is the lesser of 40 percent of  the “high-3 average salary”, or the regular annuity obtained after increasing the time between retirement and a 60th birthday.

  A Postal clerk’s PAY          Fed. Comp.  Dis. Retire.        

         1969  8442.          $6,331.            $3376.            

         1970  $9657.         $7,242.              $3619.  

 1971-1973  $11,073.  $8304.             $3889.   

 1973-1975 $13,483. $10,112.           $4561.     

1975-1978  $16,501.  $12,375         $5474.         

1978 -1981 $21630.  $16,222.         $6881.       

1981 -1984  $24,173 $18,129.       $8307.      

1984 -1987  $27,401. $20,550.    $9760.         

1987 -1990  $31,766. $23,824.    $11,112.         

1990 -1994  $35,604.  $26,703.     $12,636.    

1994 -19 98 $37,831.  $28,373.     $14,026.

 1998 -2000 $40,472.$30,354.     $15,187. 

2000 – 2003 $43,099.$32,324.     $16,186.

  2003 – 2005  $45,997. $34,497. $17,275.

   2005-2006 $47,996. $35,997.   $18,278. 

2006-2010  $52,442.    $39,331.   $19,524. 

 Looking over the chart using postal clerks’ yearly income a close approximation of Federal Compensation and Disability Retirement can be made. 

Given the ages of the 2000 postal employees that Senator Collins has targeted for a 60% reduction in their  income  it seems fair to ask if she were injured at work so that there was no real chance of being employed in the future would she consider  reasonable to have her income cut by 60%  when she reached 65 or would she consider a 25% reduction in pay was more in keeping with providing compensation in a fair manner.

 

Salary Pay for House Members for January 2009, 2010,2011 is $174,000. 
Federal Compensation with one dependent =$130,500.yr.
Disability Retirement= $69,600.yr.

In any case her income would be more than a postal clerk at level 5 step O would earn in 2010.

Compensation Cat just wants to know what Senator Collins would do. 

 .

References:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post #5- 13 WEBSITES FOR INJURED POSTAL and FEDERAL WORKERS

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

POST #6 Video Protest Against Bills to lower pay and benefits

Political Cat

For larger pictures 1) RIGHT CLICK for a drop down boxThen 2) LEFT CLICK on Zoom 200% or Full Screen for the original video.

Or to watch 2 Youtube videos with music click on the links below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am4wez1ShPY&context=C409f45aADvjVQa1PpcFMDznQSUqPR7GMuh-mNnia1gnSlI9xxIaw=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09ybkkiH2Ho&context=C496ddc1ADvjVQa1PpcFMDznQSUqPR7Bm44Jv5TlDkdXG44cVnQGo=

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post 7– LINK UPDATES to protest HR2309-Promote Bill 1351

1.All bases are covered in what is wrong with HR2309 .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5SLZWExTic&feature=related

2.UPDATE on HR2309 posted on the site below on Jan.5, 2011  is followed by some strong reasons to defeat HR2309                                                                                                 http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0112/010512kl1.htm 

3. Link that was reached by a Yahoo web search of “Save the US Post Office”Posted here on January 9th,2012

Complete and current news on Post Office closures,http://www.savethepostoffice.com/node?page=1 

4. Update on January 5th, 2011  on HR2309http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0112/010512kl1.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Post 8 Wages VS EXPENSES

As the chart below shows  the Median price of a house sold in January of each year rose dramatically from 1970 to 2010 in comparison to Postal Clerks’ wages so that the longer the clerks worked the more their  chances of buying a house greatly decreased just as it was for average wage earners.

The cost of food, soaps, natural gas, electricity, water, sewer. cable TV, health insurance,  medical expenses, transportation went up at the same time so that  postal clerks  found themselves in the same financial  position treading water as those workers whose increase in income was so little that it didn’t cover  the true  cost of living expenses.

Of significance to federal injured workers  whose income  diminished by at least 25%  at the time of injury was that they took a financial  hit even more by the “housing bubble” and unavoidable “living expenses” .

Although states can set their own minimum wage the Federal Minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour which means a workers  at 40 hours a week would earn $13,920.00 a year before deductions.

http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

According to the census report 1 out of 3 Americans are poor or close to it while Wall Street profits between 2007 and 2009 climbed 720 percent, unemployment rose 102 percent,  home equity declined 35 percent. 2.7 million households lost their homes.
According to the current chart the worker making $13,920.00 , if single wouldn’t qualify as poor but would soon qualify for that status if hit with a  layoff,car repair or health problems.  
 http://www.census.gov/const/uspriceann.pdf

1970) US Median House Cost= $23,600__ Postal Clerk step O annual pay=$ 9,657                               Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$13,943

1973) US Median House Price= $29,900__Postal Clerk step O annual pay=$11,071                              Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$18,827

1975) US Median House Price= $37,200__ Postal Clerk  step O annual pay =$13,483                              Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$23,717

1978) US Median House Price= $52,000__Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $16,501                              Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$35,499

1981) US Median House Price= $67,500__Postal Clerk step O annual pay = $21,630                             Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$45,870

1984) US Median House Price= $76,200__Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $24,173                              Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay = $52,027

1987) US Median House Price=$ 98,500__Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $27,400                             Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay = $71,100

1990) US Median House Price= $122,900 __Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $31,766                           Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay  =   $91,134

1994) US Median House Price=$130,000__Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $35,604-                            Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay = $94,396

1998) US Median House Price= $152,500__Postal Clerk step O annual pay=  $37,831-                          Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay = $114,669

2000) US Median House Price=  $169,000__Postal Clerk step O annual pay=  $40,472-                         Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =  $128,528

2003) US Median House Price= $195,000 __Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $43,099-                        Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =  $151,901

2005) US Median House Price= $240,900__Postal Clerk step O annual pay= $45,997-                          Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$194,903

2006) US Median House Price= $246,500__Postal Clerk step O annual pay=   $47,996-                          Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay =$198,504

2010) US Median House Price= $221,800__Postal Clerk step O annual pay=  $52,442.-                        Difference  between Cost of House and annual Postal Clerk’s Pay = $169,358

  • Gave it some thought 
  • Less could be bought           
  • As  the years rolled by
    AW HECK
  • Despite what I tried                                      AW HECK  says “It,s Not that Postal Employees are overpaid but that workers making less are underpaid.
  •  The difference between the median house price and a Postal Clerk’s pay in 1970 Step O was $13,943
  •                     by 2010 the difference was $169,358

Going by the old formula that a house should cost no more than 3X the yearly income of the purchaser the postal clerk in 2010 would need an annual income of $73,933 ,whereas in 1970 the Postal Clerk the clerks annual income  was MORE than 3X the median price of housing.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

POST # 9- Goodness Gracious– FEDERAL and POSTAL EMPLOYEES receive more COMPENSATION for work injuries than those working in the private sector.

FEDERAL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Questions to Consider in Changing Benefits for Older Beneficiaries

GAO-11-854T, Jul 26, 2011

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs (202) 512-4800 youngc1@gao.gov
  This testimony discusses issues related to possible changes to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) program, a topic that we have reported on in the past. At the end of chargeback year 2010, the FECA program, administered by the Department of Labor (Labor) had paid more than $1.88 billion in wage-loss compensation, impairment, and death benefits, and another $898.1 million for medical and rehabilitation services and supplies. Currently, FECA benefits are paid to federal employees who are unable to work because of injuries sustained while performing their federal duties, including those who are at or older than retirement age. Concerns have been raised that federal employees on FECA receive benefits that could be more generous than under the traditional federal retirement system and that the program may have unintended incentives for beneficiaries to remain on the FECA program beyond the traditional retirement age. Over the past 30 years, there have been various proposals to change the FECA program to address this concern. Recent policy proposals to change the way FECA is administered for older beneficiaries share characteristics with past proposals we have discussed in prior work. In August 1996, we reported on the issues associated with changing FECA benefits for older beneficiaries. Because FECA’s benefit structure has not been significantly amended in more than 35 years, the policy questions raised in our 1996 report are still relevant and important today. This testimony will focus on (1) previous proposals for changing FECA benefits for older beneficiaries and (2) questions and associated issues that merit consideration in crafting legislation to change benefits for older beneficiaries. This statement is drawn primarily from our 1996 report in which we solicited views from selected federal agencies and employee groups to identify questions and associated issues with crafting benefit changes. For that report, we also reviewed relevant laws and analyzed previous studies and legislative proposals that would have changed benefits for older FECA beneficiaries. The perception that many retirement-age beneficiaries were receiving more generous benefits on FECA had generated two alternative proposals to change benefits once beneficiaries reach the age at which retirement typically occurs: (1) converting FECA benefits to retirement benefits and, (2) changing FECA wage-loss benefits by establishing a new FECA annuity. We also discussed a number of issues to be considered in crafting legislation to change benefits for older beneficiaries. Going forward, Congress may wish to consider the following questions in assessing current proposals for change: (1) How would benefits be computed? (2) Which beneficiaries would be affected? (3) What criteria, such as age or retirement eligibility, would initiate changed benefits? (4) How would other benefits, such as FECA medical and survivor benefits, be treated and administered? (5) How would benefits, particularly retirement benefits, be funded? The retirement conversion alternative raises complex issues, arising in part from the fact that conversion could result in varying retirement benefits, depending on conversion provisions, retirement systems, and individual circumstances. A key issue is whether or not benefits would be adjusted. The unadjusted option would allow for retirement benefits as provided by current law. The adjusted option would typically ensure that time on the FECA rolls was treated as if the beneficiary had continued to work. This adjustment could (1) credit time on FECA for years of service or (2) increase the salary base (for example, increasing salary from the time of injury by either an index of wage increases or inflation, assigning the current pay of the position, or providing for merit increases and possible promotions missed due to the injury). Currently most federal employees are covered by FERS, but conversion proposals might have to consider differences between FERS and CSRS participants, and participants in any specialized retirement systems. Other groups that might be uniquely affected include injured workers who are not eligible for federal retirement benefits, individuals eligible for retirement conversion benefits, but not vested; and individuals who are partially disabled FECA recipients but active federal employees. With regard to vesting, those who have insufficient years of service to be vested might be given credit for time on the FECA rolls until vested. There is also the question of whether changes will focus on current or future beneficiaries. Exempting current beneficiaries delays receipt of full savings from FECA cost reductions to the future. One option might be a transition period for current beneficiaries. For example, current beneficiaries could be given notice that their benefits would be changed after a certain number of years. Past proposals have used either age or retirement eligibility as the primary criterion for changing benefits. If retirement eligibility is used, consideration must be given to establishing eligibility for those who might otherwise not become retirement eligible. This would be true for either the retirement conversion or the annuity option. At least for purposes of initiating the changed benefit, time on the FECA rolls might be treated as if it counted for service time toward retirement eligibility. Deciding on the criteria that would initiate change in benefits might require developing benchmarks. In addition to changing FECA compensation benefits, consideration should be given to whether to change other FECA benefits, such as medical benefits or survivor benefits. For example, the 1981 Reagan administration proposal would have ended survivor benefits under FECA for those beneficiaries whose benefits were converted to the retirement system. For the retirement conversion alternative, another issue is the funding of any retirement benefit shortfall. Currently, agencies and individuals do not make retirement contributions if an individual receives FECA benefits; thus, if retirement benefits exceed those for which contributions have been made, retirement funding shortfalls would occur. Retirement fund shortfalls can be funded through payments made by agencies at the time of conversion or prior to conversion.
                                                                              NOTE
1. The Post Office pays back to OWCP their portion of what was paid to injured workers due to employment in the Post Office. 2.The current number of Postal Employees  is 2000 over 65 years which  is paid back to OWCP. and 1000 federal employees over 65 that HR2309, S1789 and S383 has been actively promoting to have their income reduced.  In the federal workforce this accounts for a smidgen of costs  and would have no  effect on the federal budget. What does have an affect on the  federal budget are TAX Breaks for the Super Rich, Wars and Bailouts, not compensation payments made under the Federal Employees Compensation Act.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

POST #10 THE SENATE Passed S1789 62 to 37 on APRIL 25 2012

 

A video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPIY9bFFZY

A link to comment on bills too “Save the USPS

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-approves-changes-to-the-us-postal-service/2012/04/25/gIQADpovgT_story.html#weighIn

This post will be updated as new information is received

 The link below has the amendments proposed for S1789

 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d112:./temp/~bdaAd95:1[1-86](Amendments_For_S.1789)&./temp/~bd0Glt

Regarding  Why No Changes should be made to FECA  

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp112&sid=cp112njDpq&refer=&r_n=sr143.112&item=&&&sel=TOC_304196&

 Although this website was posted several days before S1789 passed in the Senate it has detailed information on what the bill is and would do if passed including the premise that the Post Office is being set up for privatization.

To the right of the main article are other sites with still more information

 http://www.savethepostoffice.com/senate-does-postal-reform-overview-s1789

Added 5-2-2012 From the American Postal Workers Union Website  http://www.apwu.org/news/webart/2012/12-046-1789passes-120425.htm   

Added 5-5-2012

Posted on 5-4-2012 a day before S1789 was passed in the Senate.http://www.arcataeye.com/2012/05/dana-utman-congressional-meddling-is-whats-killing-the-post-office-may-4-2012/

The real reason that the USPS is being dismantled http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3190:postal-workers-the-last-union

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment