Out of our nation’s 2.6 million federal employees, the largest single protected category in federal hiring is the set aside for Veteran’s preference. This has resulted in nearly 400,000 Veterans being recruited to federal service a very large minority of whom come with pre-existing service connected injuries or illnesses. Many of these receive some sort of compensatory payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
One of the most frequent questions our firm receives is “Can I receive VA V.A. benefits and workers compensation at the same time?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as the question.
The defining rule is whether the veteran employee has or can be seen to have an illness, which is BOTH government work-related and military service related. A common example in this context is a veteran who enters federal employment with a service-connected disability, which is then aggravated by a federal work injury.
For example, let us say a federally employed veteran has a military back injury with a bad case of Sciatica. Lets say that Veteran trips over a cord while ambulating in the office, causing significant worsening of a herniated disc, and back surgery. In that case he or she may be eligible to receive both VA and OWCP payments at the same time. But the Veteran must be very careful about seeking increased VA benefits, as this could cause him or her to lose money from the OWCP benefits. This is important since OWCP pays more!
At The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC we have abundant experience assisting federally employed veterans negotiate the minefield that exists between OWCP and VA benefits. Call or write us and get the most in benefits from both!