The Federal Disability retirement process isn’t exactly intuitive. Loopholes and red tape can make securing benefits a hassle. Help your parent or other elderly loved one secure federal disability benefits by following some basic dos and don’ts.
Your Guide to Disability Retirement for Federal Employees
- Don’t Make Assumptions or Try to Shortcut the Process
When trying to help someone receive benefits, don’t take any part of the process for granted. Your application’s success depends largely on the treating physician. The physician will ascertain whether your parent’s condition keeps him or her from performing typical job duties. Even if your parent’s physician has shown great diligence and bedside manner in the past, keep a running dialogue with your parent’s doctor to ensure he or she completes the necessary documentation in a timely manner.
- Don’t Procrastinate
Receiving FERS benefits can be a long process, so don’t draw it out further by dragging your feet. Help your parent start the application process immediately, preferably while he or she is still employed. The longer you stall, the more likely it will be that your parent needs to dip into savings while waiting for a benefits application to be processed.
- Do Respond Quickly to Requests
More likely than not, the processor will ask for additional documentation to approve your parent’s claim. Respond to these inquiries quickly and efficiently. Ask the doctor for prompt and efficient filing of any documented medical conditions. Don’t be afraid to follow up several times if necessary.
- Don’t Try To Act as a Lawyer
It’s tempting to attempt the benefits acquisition process on your own, but these processes can get messy quickly. Agencies can unintentionally draw out the process. Work with a trusted legal professional to streamline the process and avoid obstacles.
- Be Mindful of Limits to Disability Programs
Here’s a compelling, if sobering quote from a recent Washington Post articleabout disability benefits to put the process in perspective: “The average federal disability check is about $1,200 a month, which puts people right around the poverty line…
The prospect of falling over the “cash cliff,” as the sudden dropoff in disability insurance is known, is part of what’s keeping people with disabilities out of the workforce, despite many programs put in place over the years to reduce that disincentive.
So many people are now on the assistance rolls that the federal government’s disability insurance trust fund is projected to run out of money next year, bringing new urgency to the search for a fix that goes beyond just throwing more dollars at the problem. If a remedy is not found by the end of 2017, benefits for an already vulnerable population would face a mandatory 20 percent cut.”
The moral is that getting your parents the disability benefits they deserve can be arduous. With diligence, promptness, and attention to detail, however, you can achieve a favorable outcome.
Call the experienced federal disability attorneys at The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation about your options.