In case anybody was wondering: yes, it is true: government is not always efficient in conducting business. When it comes to workers’ compensation claims for government employees, this inefficiency can be particularly frustrating. Right now in the District of Columbia, government workers injured on the job know this all too well. There, injured employees, attorneys and advocacy groups complain of various flaws in the system, including delays and inconsistency in decisions regarding claims.

One example of the inefficiency and mismanagement of the system there is the diversion of tens of millions of dollars from a workers’ compensation program managed by the Department of Employee Services. Another incident involved a disbarred attorney who was allowed to serve as an administrative law judge in the system for 16 years before being found out. In addition to these issues, there apparently hasn’t been an independent audit of the workers’ comp program since 2006. 

Part of the problem in the District of Columbia is that workers’ compensation is not provided by an independent agency as it is in most other states. There, it is clear that there either needs to be significant reforms to the system or a change to an independent workers’ compensation agency.

The situation in D.C. is a reminder that government workers’ can face unique challenges when it comes to making use of workers’ compensation. When the system is not operating the way it should be, whether because of the inherent challenges of bureaucracy or some other reason, injured workers’ aren’t getting the support they need. In these situations, it can help to work with an experienced attorney in ensuring one’s rights are protected.

Source: Washington City Paper, “D.C. Government: Yes, Workers’ Comp Needs Better Oversight,” Jeffrey Anderson, October 1, 2014.