There are many Federal and Postal workers who have been receiving OWCP payments (Temporary Total Disability benefits) for years. Such payments can, indeed, continue for many years, or for a few months, depending upon the length of time it may take for a medical condition to persist.
The problem with relying upon OWCP as a retirement system is that, strictly speaking, it is not a retirement system. The Department of Labor can begin the process of sending the benefit recipient to a “Second Opinion” doctor, and the process of attempting to cut off OWCP benefits has thus begun.
Further, there is often the problem of reliance upon OWCP, resulting in a Federal or Postal worker failing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service. This sometimes happens because the Federal or Postal Worker begins to feel secure in the monthly OWCP benefit, and because it pays a higher rate than FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits. However, one should never be fooled by the tenuous nature of OWCP — it is not meant to be a retirement system, and most Federal and Postal workers who have experienced first-hand the treatment by OWCP/DOL will attest to the fact that they can be sudden, arbitrary, and difficult to deal with.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire