Workers’ compensation and leave


Q. I was injured in September 2010 and was out of work until I retired on disability in March 2011. I exhausted my annual and sick leave, since my initial workers’ compensation claim was denied.

After numerous appeals, my workers’ compensation claim was approved in October 2011. I began receiving interim retirement payments in September 2011 but have yet to receive payment from OPM for annual and sick leave I would have accumulated during that period. I have contacted DFAS and OPM, along with filing two congressionals regarding this issue, but no resolution.

Shouldn’t I be paid for the time I would have been on workers’ compensation? Shouldn’t OPM pay the lump sum after receiving notification that my workers’ compensation claim was approved? I have contacted OPM, and it seems to lack adequate professionals to decipher this mess.

A. First things first. Now that you’ve been approved for workers’ compensation, you’ll have to reimburse OPM for all the annuity you’ve been paid. Normally, OWCP will reimburse OPM by deducting that amount from your workers’ compensation payments.

I’m not aware that you have any entitlement to payment for annual leave because you were a retiree during that period and, in fact, you are still a retiree; you have simply suspended your disability retirement in favor of workers’ compensation payments. As for sick leave, it has no cash value anyway.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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