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.
Category: Tips and Advice Before Filing
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?
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.
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 Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management is a long road […]
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. In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, however, remember to always satisfy the “basics”, because if you fail at the basic level, you will never get to the “substantive” level to argue your case.
Many Federal and Postal Workers ask me to represent them in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement at the Second Stage (OPM’s Reconsideration 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,…
In Federal Employee 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.