Breaking news affecting all Defense Base Act claimants, employers, and carriers! The Office of Workers Compensation Programs merged the divisions that administer the Federal Employees Compensation Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Defense Base Act. The news came in an e-mail from Director Rios.
Notice from Antonio Rios:
Here is Director Rios’ e-mail in full:
I am pleased to announce that the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) is merging the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) with the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC).
The two divisions will be consolidated into the Division of Federal Employees’, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DFELHWC), which I am excited and honored to lead as Director.
The new organizational structure will allow OWCP to carry out its mission more efficiently and effectively.
- This merger will not change any processes, addresses, or points of contact for the Longshore Program.
- OWCP’s website has been updated with the new DFELHWC name. The associated Longshore Program website has everything you are used to seeing on the former DLHWC website (no web address changes needed). Minor updates will be made over time to adjust the language in all the related webpages, outreach materials and correspondence.
- The DFELHWC leadership structure as it pertains to the Longshore Program will be as follows:
- I will be serving as the DFELHWC Director, which supersedes the DLHWC Director and DFEC Director positions.
- A new position, Deputy Director of Longshore Claims, will oversee the development of all Longshore Program policy and operational recommendations to the DFELHWC Director. The Longshore Program leadership in the national office and District Directors will report to the Deputy Director of Longshore Claims. This position will be filled in the coming months.
This reorganization will allow the Longshore program to benefit from DFEC’s administrative resources and infrastructure, such as its information technology (IT) platforms, particularly as OWCP moves towards its vision of a single enterprise wide IT system serving all four programs. Certain functions within the two programs have statutory interrelationships requiring interaction as two separate entities while administering benefits for the same injury. Administration of these claims will remain in separate entities within the same Division, but this reorganization will improve operations as a whole and allow both workforces to optimize the handling of all claims.
This new direction will make Longshore Program claims administration more efficient and effective in the future, and I look forward to working together with you in achieving that objective.
ANTONIO A. RIOS, Director
Division of Federal Employees’, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation