Here is a common scenario. You have left federal civil service or your job with the Postal Service. Within the first year after you leave, you want to file an application for Federal disability retirement. You need a “supervisor statement”, but nobody at the Agency will return your calls, or when they do, they don’t seem to know what to do.
This problem usually occurs for employees that have left their federal civil service or postal job, and are applying for disability retirement within one year of their separation. Particularly if the federal employee or postal worker left on less than pleasant terms (removal, suspension, resignation in lieu of termination), the Agency is likely to be less than responsive to your request for a Supervisor Certification of accommodation for your federal disability retirement application.
A little background. To apply for Federal Disability Retirement, all you need* are the following forms:
1) SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
2) SF 3112, Documentation In Support of Disability Retirement
3)If you are under age 62, documentation that you have applied for social security disability benefits after you separated from your agency.
*N.B. – the reality is you should provide much more documentation to OPM besides these forms including relevant medical records, medical reports, and argument as to why you are entitled to disability retirement.
Typically, your supervisor prepares SF 3112B, SF 3112D and SF 3112E and give them to you so you can send them to OPM. These forms include comments on performance, attendance and/or conduct deficiencies, a supervisor’s statement on accommodation attempts, and whether or not you have declined an offer of reassignment.
If you are in civil service when you apply for Federal disability retirement, your employing agency will help you complete these forms and will forward the completed forms to OPM.
If you have been separated from the Postal Service or Federal civil service for more than 31 days, you may have some difficulty getting the necessary documents from your former employing Agency. Here are some reasons:
1) The former employing agency may no longer have your personnel records and may not be able to recover them in time to process your disability retirement application and submit it to OPM within the one-year time limit.
2) Your supervisor (or former supervisor) might not have any desire to assist you in your claim (yes, they are required by law in some situations to provide certain documentation, but I have never seen a supervisor or HR tech that has ever been disciplined for not assisting a separated employee unless there was a settlement agreement);
3) You may not know who to contact at the Agency.
In those situations, submit your application for Federal disability retirement directly to OPM rather than to your agency at this address:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017
Provide for them the name, address and telephone number of anyone you asked to complete the SF 3112B, SF 3112D and/or SF 3112E. This may slow your application process a little, but at least you won’t miss any important deadlines.
A completely different question is what happens when the supervisor does not support your application for federal disability retirement? This is another question for another day. If this has happened to you, you might consider contacting a Federal Disability Retirement attorney to discuss your situation.
No post on this website is legal advice, is meant to be legal advice, and certainly does not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the federal employee, with some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Federal Employees.
The Law Office of Eric Pines represents Federal employees under FERS or CSRS in their applications for federal disability retirement to OPM. If an application for federal disability retirement is denied, the Firm represents Federal employees under both FERS and CSRS in their MSPB appeals of denials of federal disability retirement applications by OPM.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and disability retirement appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about federal disability retirement under FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney at the Law Office of Eric Pines to schedule a telephone consultation.