Workers' compensation


Q. I am on leave without pay and Department of Labor workers’ compensation due to an injury which occurred on duty as a federal agent. I had surgery 16 months ago. I am still having issues that prevent me from returning to work at this time. I am undergoing physical therapy and pain management. Doctors are recommending more surgeries, epidural treatments, PT, etc. Keeping in mind that additional surgeries and epidurals may not be beneficial and come with additional risks, do I have to take the doctors’ recommendations?  Do I have the option to say I have had enough poking and prodding? Can I remain indefinitely on workers’ comp and call it quits? If so, what should I do? I have been told that as far as an agent position, there are no “desk jobs.” Do I have to apply for other benefits?

A. Questions about what you have to do about doctors’ recommendations fall outside the boundaries of this forum. Only the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs can tell you if not taking those recommendations would affect your continued entitlement to workers’ compensation.

One thing you should do is file for disability retirement. If you were approved for that, it would be a fallback if your workers’ compensation benefits were to end.


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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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