< Back to H.R. 4977 (103rd Congress, 1993–1994)

Text of To change the appeals process in the workers’ compensation provisions of title 5, United States Code.

This bill was introduced on August 17, 1994, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Aug 17, 1994 (Introduced).

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HR 4977 IH

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4977

To change the appeals process in the workers’ compensation provisions of title 5, United States Code.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 17, 1994

Mr. KREIDLER (for himself, Mr. MURPHY, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. BARLOW, Mr. MARTINEZ, Mr. OBERSTAR, Mr. JACOBS, Mrs. UNSOELD, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. TORRES, Mr. VENTO, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. SYNAR, and Mr. JOHNSTON of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor


A BILL

To change the appeals process in the workers’ compensation provisions of title 5, United States Code.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. APPEALS PROCESS.

    (a) REFERENCE- Whenever in this section an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 5, United States Code.

    (b) TIME PERIOD FOR DECISION- Section 8118 is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(f) A final decision by the agency which first receives a claim shall be made within 90 days of the date the claim is received by the agency. If a final decision on a claim is not made within such 90 days, the claimant shall be authorized continuation of pay under section 8118 from the date compensation benefits were terminated until a final decision is made on such claim.’.

    (c) CLAIMANT’S PHYSICIAN- Section 8123(a) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘The Secretary shall provide the claimant’s physician with the same opportunity and information as was provided to the physician acting for the Secretary, including the statement of accepted facts and all medical information in the claimant’s file.’.

    (d) PHYSICIAN FEES- Section 8123(c) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘The fees paid to physicians acting for the Secretary shall not exceed the fees paid for the claimant’s physicians. The claimant’s physician and bills for medical services provided the claimant shall be paid within 60 days of the submission of an approved claim.’.

    (e) HEARING DATE- Section 8124(b)(1) is amended--

      (1) by adding after the first sentence the following: ‘The hearing shall be held within 90 days of the date the request for a hearing is received by the Secretary.’, and

      (2) by adding at the end the following: ‘If the Secretary does not hold a hearing within 90 days of the date the hearing is requested or if the Secretary does not issue a further decision within 30 days after the hearing ends, the compensation benefits for any claimant challenging a suspension, termination, or reduction in benefits shall be reinstated from the date such benefits were terminated until such time as a decision has been made.’.

    (f) CONDUCT OF HEARING-

      (1) ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES- Section 8124(b)(1) is amended by striking ‘on his claim before a representative of the Secretary.’ and inserting a period and the following: ‘The hearing shall be conducted by administrative law judges of the Department of Labor.’

      (2) CLAIMANT’S AUTHORITY- Paragraph (2) of section 8124(b) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(2) In conducting the hearing the Secretary shall follow the requirements of chapter 5 of part I. The claimant shall have the right to confront and cross examine all adverse witnesses and present such evidence as the claimant feels necessary for consideration of the claim. The claimant’s employer shall not be present at the hearing but shall be provided an opportunity to comment on the transcript of the hearing.’.

    (g) APPEALS- Section 8124 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a), by adding after and below paragraph (2) the following: ‘After a decision has been made by the Secretary on a claim under this subsection there shall be no further administrative proceedings on the claim. The claimant may make an appeal for judicial review of the Secretary’s decision within 90 days of the date the decision is received by the claimant in accordance with chapter 7 of part I.’, and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(c) After a decision has been made by the Secretary after a hearing on a claim there shall be no further administrative proceedings on the claim. The claimant may make an appeal for judicial review in accordance with chapter 7 of part I.’.

    (h) ATTORNEYS’ FEES- Section 8127 is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(c) Except as provided in subsection (d), claimant’s attorney or representative shall be entitled to receive a fee of 25 percent of the benefits awarded to the claimant or $5,000, whichever is less. The Secretary shall take such action as may be necessary to assure that payment is made directly to the attorney.

    ‘(d) If the claimant prevails in a decision of a Federal court under chapter 7 of part I, the claimant’s attorney shall be paid by the Secretary, but not from the claimant’s award, for the work of such attorney if the position of the Secretary with respect to such claimant was found under section 2412(c) of title 28 to be not substantially justified.’.

    (i) REVIEW OF AWARD- Section 8128 is amended by striking out subsection (b) and by striking out ‘(a)’ in subsection (a).

    (j) MORTGAGEES AND OTHER SECURED CREDITORS- Section 8130 is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘If a mortgagee or other secured creditor of the primary residential dwelling of a claimant agrees to forebear foreclosure or forfeiture of such dwelling until a final decision is rendered on the claim of the claimant under this chapter, the claimant may give security under rules promulgated by the Secretary to ensure direct payment from the approved award of the Secretary on such claim to such mortgagee or other secured creditor for all delinquent payments, including interest. The Secretary shall not pay, and no liens shall be given, for attorneys’ fees, recording costs, penalty clauses, or other charges other than delinquent payments, including interest, to such mortgagee or other secured creditor. No mortgagee or other secured creditor may hold a lien on the claimant’s primary residential dwelling for any amount in addition to claimant’s delinquent payments, including interest.’.

    (k) SUBROGATIONS AND ADJUSTMENTS- Section 8132 is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘In no case shall a subrogation secured under section 8131 or an adjustment after recovery made under this section exceed the amount the claimant received in an action brought against a person other than the United States for lost wages and medical expenses. In a subrogation under section 8131, the Secretary may not bring an action for loss of consortium or other compensatory or punitive damages other than damages for lost wages and medical expenses.’.

    (l) EMPLOYEE’S COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD- Section 8149 is amended by striking out the second sentence.