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Dave Mann’s article “Dear Mr. Mayor” (9/24) failed to accurately report the details of Shirley Massey’s disability-compensation claim.

Since June 1989, Massey has received medical treatment and nearly $250,000 of replacement wages for injuries sustained during her employment with the University of the District of Columbia.

An independent medical examiner recently cleared Massey to return to work. She opposes the idea and has resisted filing for a formal hearing, before an administrative law judge, to dispute the medical examiner’s diagnosis and present evidence justifying further taxpayer-financed support. The deadline by which to do so is quickly approaching.

Instead, Massey opted to write a letter to Mayor Anthony A. Williams asking him to unilaterally restore her benefits. However, existing disability-compensation law clearly specifies the procedures that must be followed in considering such requests.

Mann’s reference to another injured worker’s receipt of medical treatment in Switzerland is also misleading and proof that he does not understand the difference between disability compensation and workers’ compensation.

Yes, $436,154 was expended for the stated purpose; but by the CIGNA Insurance Co., not the D.C. Department of Employment Services. Disability compensation and workers’ compensation benefits are respectively reserved for public- and private-sector workers. The DOES’s involvement in awards to the latter is primarily limited to settling benefit disputes. Actual medical and indemnity payments are usually facilitated through an employer’s insurer.

Mann could have simply telephoned me to obtain the facts about the aforementioned matters. Unfortunately, he chose to rely on faulty research and unsubstantiated charges of inaction to disparage the mayor’s constituent-services operation and my agency.

Your loyal readers, of which I am one, deserve better.


D.C. Department of Employment Services