DOL Introduces Efficiencies for Claims Processing

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Recent Industry Notices from the DOL

The DOL’s Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) recently issued two industry notices which will potentially benefit both employers/carriers and the DOL with more efficient claims processing.

Industry Notice No. 179 details the Director’s new policy to accept electronic signatures on documents submitted to DLHWC. The notice explains the types of acceptable electronic signatures and the recordkeeping required.

As most companies are paperless, and with an increasing number of communications generated through email, this is a welcomed change. This new policy has the potential to speed up the resolution of claims by eliminating delays caused by requiring multiple parties to sign documents with physical signatures.

Industry Notice No. 180 introduces new procedures and forms for stakeholders to use to request an action of the DLHWC. These forms include:

  • Form LS-4 (Attorney Fee Approval Request)
  • Form LS-5 (Application for Special Fund Relief)
  • Form LS-6 (Commutation Application)
  • Form LS-7 (Request for Intervention)
  • Form LS-8 (Settlement Approval Request Section 8(i))
  • Form LS-9 (Stipulation Approval Request)

These procedures and forms became effective May 4, 2020, when the DLHWC implemented a new claims operating system (and, coincidentally, the same day AEU implemented our new claims system, Origami).

The new forms will function like a cover sheet and upon receipt, the DLHWC will be alerted to the filing and be able to more efficiently take the appropriate action. For example, when a Form LS-8, which is a settlement approval request, is uploaded by a party via the DLHWC’s online upload portal (SEAPortal), the responsible claims examiner will be notified of the request and an internal timetable will be initialized, ensuring that the application will be acted upon within the time required by the Longshore Act and code of federal regulations.

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Department of Labor (DOL)