Individuals attempting to file for Federal Employee 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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.