An employee that is eligible for the Defense Base Act (DBA) must file a written claim for compensation within one year after their injury. That may sound like a long time, but there are several circumstances that could end up delaying the process.
One factor that can impact the proceedings is how the worker files the claim in the first place. While there are multiple ways to file to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), the agency is specific on how they want it done. Make sure you know about the following methods before sending your injury claim to them.
Creating the case number
The OWCP’s preferred method of creating new cases is for the victim or employer to submit the claim to the designated fax number, 202-513-6814. Since this address is designed specifically to create case numbers for unassigned cases, you should not submit further documents to them if you already have an OWCP file number.
If you have no access to a fax machine, then you must mail case create forms to the Jacksonville DLHWC District Office.
To make the process easier for both parties, the OWCP recommends using the following guidelines when submitting your claim:
- Submit each form individually.
- Submit one copy of the form.
- Use one method of submission.
- Do not exceed four pages if you send the claim by fax.
- Use standard letter sized paper (8 ½ x 11).
- Avoid using colored paper and ink.
- Only reference one injured worker in a single document.
Submitting the case file documents
If you already have an OWCP file number and need to send additional documents for your claim, the fastest way to do it is using a web application called SEAPortal. All you need is your OWCP case number and your documents in the forms of pdfs or tifs before using it.
This is the only electronic way to submit your documents. You cannot discuss or submit claims with the OWCP via email.
If you cannot or do not want to use SEAPortal, you can submit documents to the Central Mail Receipt, which has the same address as the Jacksonville DLHWC District Office. The guidelines for submitting your documents are the same as the instructions you would use when submitting your claim for a case number.
If you have further questions or run into any issues with submitting documents, contact an attorney that has experience in the DBA claim-filing process to ensure that your voice is heard by the right people.