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 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).
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.
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.
As with most things in life, attempting to secure a Federal Employee 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)? Will my doctor support me (collection of information stage)?
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. […]
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.
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, and further compounded by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments; and…
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 Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.
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 of law.