Attorney helping Federal and Postal Employees from all across the U.S.  
  obtain Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS & CSRS

Top Questions:
What is "Federal Disability Retirement"?
Federal disability retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal Employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). For CSRS employees, you must have a minimum of five (5) years of service. For FERS employees, you must have a minimum of 18 months of service.
 
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and Federal Disability Retirement?
The main difference is that the criteria to obtain Social Security Disability is much higher -- that of "total disability". To obtain disability retirement under CSRS or FERS, you must merely be disabled from performing one or more of the essential elements of your particular kind of job.
 
Must I be totally disabled in order to file for disability retirement?
No. You only need to be disabled from performing one or more of the essential elements of your particular kind of job.
 
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Articles about Federal Disability Retirement

OPM Medical Retirement: A Federal and Postal Challenge - Nov 22, 2014
      Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available for all Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, whether under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset. So long as minimal eligibility requirements are met - 18 months of Federal Service for FERS employees, and 5 years for CSRS (which, given the nature of the old CSRS system, one assumes that anyone from that bygone era will necessarily have met that criteria) - the prefatory threshold for filing can begin; but beyond, the complexity of the law, the preponderance of the evidence to meet, the bridging nexus to formulate, and the administrative procedures to follow; it is the complexity of the entire bureaucratic artifice and apparatus which must be understood, comprehended, and ultimately overcome.

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: A 5-Step Pathway to Success - Mar 29, 2014
      The essential principle behind Federal Disability Retirement is twofold: (A) recognition that individuals may become disabled, through medical conditions or injuries which impact one's ability to continue in the chosen vocation in the Federal Sector, combined with (B) a progressive acknowledgment that the mere fact that one is disabled, should not mean that the disabled individual cannot potentially remain productive in another vocation, capacity, or employment sector. It is the combination of these two principles which forms the foundation of why Federal Disability Retirement is a compensatory employment program in the Federal Sector which is not only worthwhile, but far-reaching in its recognition of the value of work, and the incentivizing of man's desire to remain productive.

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Accommodations, in Practical Terms - Aug 1, 2013
      The issue of accommodations for the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, can be a complicating factor. On the one hand, the entire issue may be approached as merely comprised of, and dispensed with, a single form - Standard Form 3112D, otherwise entitled, "Agency Certification of Reassignment and Accommodation Efforts"; on the other hand, there is an entire body of case-law and statutory authority which clarifies (some would insert, instead, the term "muddles" or other applicable synonym thereof) and expands upon the concept beyond the delimiting form itself - comprised of a series of boxes and short statements following each, providing for a multiple choice of options.

Medical Retirement for US Government Workers: An Incentivized, Progressive Paradigm for the Federal and Postal Worker - Feb 14, 2013
      These are difficult economic times. For the everyday worker, both Federal and Postal employees, the decisions made at the top echelons of the Federal Government and the U.S. Postal Service impact the financial security and viability of each and everyone. Bad decisions have a cumulative impact upon future alternatives for economic security. Wasted funds thrown at various programs which engendered political favoritism and popular responses at the time, are spent resources which now squeeze out necessary services and programs.

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Arguing with the Necessary Tools - Aug 10, 2012
      Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires, first and foremost, a sophisticated understanding and insight into the entirety of the Federal Administrative Process. Whether it is the procedural rules and regulations governing all Federal Disability Retirement applications -- that all Disability Retirement applications, whether under FERS or CSRS, must be submitted through one's agency if still employed, or within thirty one (31) days of being separated from Federal Service; if separated for more than thirty one days (31+), then directly to the Office of Personnel Management.

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Don't Fill Out the Forms before You Know the Law - Mar 30, 2012
      In undertaking any endeavor, one should never engage the activity until one has thoroughly analyzed and understood the overarching rules which govern the enterprise, whether it is in sports, a trade, a craft - or applying for a benefit at the Local, State or Federal level. Would you advise your child to play football without first going over the rules? Would you hand a power tool to a novice? Or entrust a large sum of money to an individual who possesses no knowledge about financial management? Yet, many Federal and Postal employees who have little or no knowledge of the statutes, rules, regulations or laws governing Federal Disability Retirement will complete the "forms" which comprise the heart of a Federal Disability Retirement application, with scant concern or inkling of the consequences, intended or otherwise.

Federal Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Sticking to Basic Approaches is the Road to Success - Oct 13, 2011
      The preparation, formulation, and finalization prior to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS (the Federal Employees Retirement System) or CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System), should be sufficiently reviewed and carefully scrutinized prior to submission to the Agency of the Federal Employee (if still employed or separated but not more than 31 days) or the H.R. Shared Services Center for the Postal Employee (in Greensboro, North Carolina, where all Postal Disability Retirement applications are processed.

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: 3 Basic Elements to Avoid in Preparing a Case - Jun 20, 2011
      Filing for Federal Disability Retirement requires planning, preparation and foresight. It is first and foremost a "paper presentation" to the Office of Personnel Management and, as such, unless it goes to the Third Stage of the Process - the Merit Systems Protection Board - the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, will not have an opportunity to personally plead his or her case as to the validity, persuasiveness or merits of the case.

Federal and Postal Workers: Preparing, Formulating, and Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS - Feb 24, 2011
      Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to prepare, formulate, and file a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS must somehow endeavor to "put it all together" in order to meet the 7-part criteria which the Office of Personnel Management has extracted and extrapolated pursuant to (so they claim) Sections 844.101 to 844.404 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (for those under FERS) and similar provisions for those under CSRS (which is becoming a rarer animal close to extinction).

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: While the Law May Favor the Applicant, the Process Does Not - Oct 29, 2010
      There is often a suspicion that certain forums are "weighted" in favor of the government. In speaking with Federal and Postal Workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, a concern which often surfaces repeatedly is that the Merit Systems Protection Board is "weighted" in the government's favor. While it may be true that the MSPB may find in favor of the Federal Government and its agencies in a majority of cases, this does not necessarily mean that there is a bias on the part of the Administrative Judges.

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: SF 3112A - Jul 20, 2010
      The central focus of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is the Applicant's Statement of Disability - the Standard Form 3112A. All applicants who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must complete this form - regardless of whether one is under FERS or CSRS. It is a daunting, foreboding (and some would say, forbidding) form. People approach this form with fear and loathing, and for very good reasons: It requires the applicant to discuss the most personal aspects of the case: one's medical condition and the impact of one's medical conditions upon one's job.

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Understanding the Different Perspectives and Differing Interests - May 12, 2010
      As with most things in life, attempting to secure a Federal Disability Retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS requires an extraordinary amount of time, effort, planning, and the collection, formulation and coordination of a compendium of information. Multiple questions arise at the early stages of planning: Can I live on 60% of the average of one's highest-3 consecutive years of salary for the first year, then upon the second and subsequent years at 40% (planning stage)?

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Difference between 'Accommodation' Used in a General Sense, And in a Legal Sense - Mar 23, 2010
      When a Federal or Postal employee files an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, one of the many issues immediately introduced, and which must be confronted, is the legal issue of “accommodation”. The fact that you can show that a medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job, is merely the first step in proving eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Federal Disability Retirement: The Full Arsenal of Weapons - Jan 27, 2010
      When a Federal or Postal Employee decides to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, he or she is confronted with a compendium of "Standard Forms" -- from SF 3107 (2801 for CSRS employees), to the 3112 series (for both CSRS & FERS employees). The initial reaction in confronting the multiplicity of forms is usually an admixture of anxiety, puzzlement, disbelief, confusion, and concern.

Federal Disability Retirement Laws, Medical Conditions, and the Intersecting Complications with OWCP, Social Security and FERS & CSRS - Sep 24, 2009
      It is indeed a complex world. The multiple issues surrounding Federal Disability Retirement Laws, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the intersection between such benefits received under Federal Disability Retirement and the choices to be made with benefits potentially received from the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP), the difference between Temporary Total Disability benefits and a Scheduled Award....

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Understanding the Complexities of the Law - May 8, 2009
      The law is often a compendium of complexities for the lay person. Non-lawyers who enter into the "arena of law" often find it befuddling, confusing, and moreover, against the very grain of what law is "meant" to be. Law is meant to provide "justice". But if Justice is indeed the goal, one must know, understand, and apply the law properly. This is no less true for those Applicants who are attempting to obtain disability retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.

Legal Landmines in Federal Disability Retirement Law - Dec 3, 2008
      Law is an evolving process. Statutes are merely the beginning point. Thereafter, cases are tried before Judges, and the evolution of the law, within the context of a particular sector of law, begins to unfold. As the evolution of law begins to unfold, the complexity of the legal process becomes more and more intricately intertwined. A body of law develops and grows. Yes, to a great extent, lawyers create the complexities which grow within that body....

Federal Disability Retirement: The Case Does Not End Until A Final Order Is Issued And The Time For Appeals Has Expired - May 19, 2008
      In Law, not only is persistence necessary (as well as being a virtue), it is necessary in order to prevail. It is always disheartening to go up against a governmental Agency; it is even harder when a person suffers from a medical condition which impacts one's physical abilities, or perhaps one's emotional or cognitive capabilities -- or both. The process of obtaining disability retirement under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management is a long road....

Important Cases Which Impact Disability Retirement Applications - Feb 25, 2008
      The recent case of Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, decided on November 26, 2007, cannot be overemphasized for its importance to the disability retirement process. It is, in my view, a landmark case which will greatly advance potential disability retirement applicants who base their disabilities upon psychiatric conditions.

OPM's Medical Questionnaire And The Issue Of Accommodations - Sep 10, 2007
      In this article, I will be addressing two separate issues: First, the issue of OPM's Medical Questionnaire, and next, the issue of Accommodations. At each stage of the process, an annuitant must always see his or her monthly annuity as a right which must be fought and protected. In recent months, I have seen an increase in cases where....

In Filing For Federal Disability Retirement, Remember The Basics - May 7, 2007
In the opening sentence of Davis v. the Office of Personnel Management, PH-844E-06-0242-I-1, the Merit Systems Protection Board reminds us all that the "burden of proving entitlement to a retirement benefit is on the applicant..." In past articles, I have discussed a variety of issues, from important legal principles based upon Bruner v. OPM, to showing how to build the "proper bridge" in preparing a federal disability retirement application.

Federal Disability Retirement And The Agency Cover Of "Accommodation" - Oct 26, 2006
I am receiving too many phone calls from people who have been fooled by his/her Agency that they have been "accommodated", and therefore they cannot file for disability retirement. From Federal Workers at all levels who are told that they can take LWOP when they are unable to work, to Postal Workers who are given "Limited-Duty Assignments" -- all need to be clear that your are NOT BEING ACCOMMODATED, AND THEREFORE YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO FILE FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT.

Federal And Postal Workers: Things You Shouldn't Do When Filing For CSRS Or FERS Disability Retirement - May 1, 2006
Many Federal and Postal Workers ask me to represent them in obtaining disability retirement at the Second Stage, after having filed without representation. I have no problems with that -- indeed, sometimes (though rarely), individuals have such a severe degree of medical disabilities that an attorney is not necessary. For the majority of Federal and Postal Workers, however,...

Legal Updates Impacting Disability Retirement Laws For FERS And CSRS Employees - Oct 23, 2005
I have often discussed the legal advantages of being separated from Federal Service for one's "medical inability to perform" one's job, which results in what is commonly known as the "Bruner Presumption", where such a termination results in a prima facie showing of his or her burden of proof.

Preparing the Proper Bridge to Win a Federal Disability Retirement Case under FERS and CSRS - Jul 1, 2005
Many individuals who have filed for disability retirement benefits with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), get their applications rejected because they have not created the proper "nexus", or bridge, between their medical condition and the duties of their job. Remember, disability retirement is unlike Worker's Comp or Social Security. Under Worker's Comp, often the primary focus is to prove the causation between work and injury.

Differences Between FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement and OWCP - May 1, 2005
At least once a month, I receive a call from an individual who has been on total disability with Federal Worker's Comp for several years. The individual has been separated from service from the Federal Government or the Postal Service for more than a year, and suddenly the Office of Workers Compensation Program sends the individual to a Second Opinion doctor, and thereafter....

Federal Disability Retirement And The Law Today - Jul 1, 2004
The Office of Personnel Management is constantly and aggressively attempting to change the laws concerning disability retirement, to make disability retirement laws more difficult to overcome. Such attempts at changing the law always comes in incremental steps,...

How to Win a Disability Retirement Case Under CSRS and FERS - Jun 21, 2004
Individuals attempting to file for disability retirement, either under FERS or CSRS, on their own, and without an attorney, must meet the same standards, same criteria, and same legal thresholds, as those who are represented. While it may cost an individual in the short term to hire an attorney, that cost may be insignificant compared to the loss of a long-term investment...

OPM Disability Retirement and Accommodation - Feb 7, 2003
I have previously discussed the case of Bracey v. Office of Personnel Management, 236 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2001). This is an important case which directly impacts upon the issue of accommodation. One of the threshold issues which a federal disability retirement applicant must overcome, is the issue of whether or not the Agency can accommodate the individual's medical disability.

Tips On filing For CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement - Oct 22, 2002
In Disability Retirement law for CSRS and FERS, the main thrust of an application are twofold: proper medical documentation and resolution of all accommodation issues. However, you must also be aware of the hundreds of little "pothole" issues which unexpectedly appear in the course of filing for disability retirement, and it is often such smaller issues which hinder a successful filing.

Disability Retirement And Your Medical Documentation - Jul 1, 2002
Many clients come to me after having attempted to file for federal disability retirement benefits on their own. Having been denied once, they are now in what is called the "Reconsideration Stage". It is often a purely financial decision for a person to file for disability retirement without the assistance of an attorney; however, in doing so, many pitfalls may abound, and it may be difficult to correct mistakes already made.

Federal Disability Retirement - Jun 2, 2002
I am again updating you with this informational sheet concerning Disability Retirement. Remember that disability retirement is an entitlement based upon your Federal Service. Once you have met the necessary time-requirements, it is a benefit accorded to you in the event that your medical condition renders you unable to perform the essential elements of your duties.

Applicant's Statement Of Disability - May 1, 2002
Standard Form 3112A (Applicant's Statement of Disability) is a form requiring the disability retirement applicant to state his or her injury or disease; to describe how the injury or disease "interferes with the performance" of one's duties, attendance or conduct; and further asks one to describe "any other restrictions" of any activities which may be imposed by the disease or injury.


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