Injured employees who undergo the National Reassessment Process (NRP) and are told by the Postal Service either that there is only partial day work available or that there is no work available, should consider filing for unemployment compensation. This temporary financial assistance can serve as an important monetary bridge during the time that an employee is waiting for his or her OWCP compensation to be processed.
This program is formally known as the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employee’s Program, and is administered by the states under separate agreements with the U.S. Secretary of Labor. A Postal Service employee’s entitlement to this benefit is determined by each state’s employment security laws and varies according to the individual state rules and to the employee’s wage and separation history.
An injured employee whose work hours have been reduced or eliminated by the NRP should ask the Postal Service to provide them with a SF 8, Notice to Former Employee About Unemployment Insurance. Don’t be misled by the phrase “former employee.” The SF 8 is also used for current employees who have had their work hours reduced or eliminated. The complete instructions can be found in Chapter 550, “Unemployment Compensation” in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual.
Health and Resource Management personnel at Postal Service headquarters have assured us that the SF 8 will be made available to injured employees who receive “Partial Day Work” or “Complete Day No Work” letters. However, the employee must ask for the form. It will not be provided automatically.
Injured employees who are provided work only on an intermittent basis are issued an SF 8 only for the first time in each calendar year when they are placed in a non-pay status. However, an SF 8 is issued each time to any employee who is, or will be, placed in a non-pay status for seven or more consecutive calendar days.
To facilitate the processing of a claim for unemployment compensation, an employee should take with them the SF 8; the most recent SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action; Social Security card; W-2 form; and a recent paycheck stub showing earnings and leave balance. Additional information can be found at the Web site of the Department of Labor.
OWCP will pay injured employees wage loss compensation even if they are receiving unemployment compensation. OWCP does not consider this situation to be a prohibited dual payment. However, virtually every state’s unemployment compensation regulations do consider this to be a dual payment, and would expect to be reimbursed for the unemployment compensation that was paid during the same period of time that a person received OWCP wage loss compensation.
From the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM)
553.12 SF 8, Notice to Former Employee About Unemployment Insurance
SF 8 explains an employee’s eligibility for unemployment compensation and describes the steps to be taken in filing a claim. Personnel offices complete SF 8 by entering at top of form the employee’s name, Social Security number, and pay location. In item 3 personnel offices enter #732 on the extreme right side and then enter the address of the Eagan ASC:
USPS EAGAN ASC
2825 LONE OAK PKWY
EAGAN MN 55121–9635
SF 8 is issued promptly to the employee by the separating personnel office so that he or she does not lose unemployment compensation benefits to which he or she may be entitled. An individual whose work or tours of duty are on an intermittent basis is issued an SF 8 only the first time in each calendar year that he or she is placed in a nonpay status. However, a completed SF 8 is issued to an employee each time the employee:
- Separates from the Postal Service for any reason.
- Transfers to another federal agency.
- Is (or will be) placed in a nonpay status for 7 or more consecutive calendar days.
SF 8 is issued on the employee’s last workday. The date is to be noted in the remarks section of PS Form 50.