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Blog Posts in December, 2009

  • Federal Disability Retirement: Important timelines in the Federal Disability Retirement Application and Appeal Process

    The point cannot be stressed enough – do not miss your deadlines in a federal disability retirement application or appeal. The major deadlines are: 1) Terminated or otherwise separated federal employees must apply for disability retirement within one year of separation 2) If you are denied federal disability retirement by OPM, you must request reconsideration from OPM within thirty (3o) days of ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Why we don't use the Medical Authorization on SF-3112C

    One of the parts of the Federal disability retirement package submitted to OPM and your Agency is SF-3112C, called the “Physician’s Statement”. In all actuality, this is a deceptive name to the form, as what you are doing by signing this form in Block 5 is giving full access to your medical records not only to OPM but to your employing agency. We won’t use this form for many reasons, a few of ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Can I get disability retirement with a mental health condition?

    Before discussing this question, I want to say that no federal disability retirement lawyer can tell you if any one condition will get you accepted for disability retirement. The key element of a disability retirement case is its connection to your ability to perform the essential functions of your current position. Having said that, mental health conditions can (and do) form the basis for ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Going back to work for the Feds and collecting your CSRS or FERS retirement annuity.

    I get this question a lot from Law Enforcement Officers and Air Traffic Controllers who have (usually) much higher retirement annuities by law. The question is: can I collect my ATC or LEO disability retirement, then go back to work for the federal government in another job and still collect my annuity? Under this scenario, the former federal employee would be known as a re-employed annuitant. ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Where do I find a doctor to support my application for disability retirement?

    The title of this post has been appearing in recent emails and contacts to our Firm with increasing frequency. In the opinion of this author, it is the wrong question to be asking. The reason I say this is the wrong question is that the Federal employee does not want to go out and find some random doctor who will support their claim that they are unable to work and therefore eligible for federal ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: I can't get my supervisor statement - what do I do?

    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 ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Is the MSPB the end of the line?

    Federal employees who apply for disability retirement must advance their claim through several stages if OPM initially denies d disability retirement. The first stage is the reconsideration stage, where the postal or federal employee asks OPM to reconsider its decision, presumably with additional evidence or argument why the federal disability retirement benefit should be granted. If OPM continues ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: What does and does not constitute accommodation by the employing Agency?

    One key element to federal government disability retirement under FERS or CSRS is that the accommodation of the federal employee’s disabling medical condition must be unreasonable. Many times, an Agency (there are some that do this more than others) will modify the employee’s position or duties in such a way that it is not truly accommodating the employee. This could take the form of Light Duty, ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: OPM and OWCP Benefits

    Many individuals that are currently receiving OWCP wage loss compensation and/or a schedule award ask us whether they can simultaneously receive disability compensation from OWCP and federal disability retirement from OPM at the same time. You cannot receive wage loss compensation from OWCP and federal disability retirement payments from OPM at the same time. Deciding which benefit to choose is a ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Can work-related stress be the basis for a disability retirement application?

    If you suffer from work-related stress, can you claim disability retirement from OPM? The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has repeatedly held that job-related stress resulting in physical or mental ailments that prevent an employee from performing the duties required in a position can warrant the granting of disability retirement. In fact, the cause of a medical condition is not relevant in ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: If I am denied Disability Retirement by OPM, can I refile?

    Generally, the MSPB relies on the legal theory of “res judicata” to prevent an individual from applying over and over again for disability retirement that OPM has already denied. “Res Judicata”, loosely translated from Latin, means “the thing has been decided”, and is a basic theory of Western jurisprudence that bars a second action involving the same parties and the same facts. Now, if you apply ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Can I still apply for disability retirement if I miss the deadline to file?

    Can a Federal Employee apply for disability retirement through OPM if they miss the 1-year deadline? There are situations where an untimely application might still be considered. One such scenario where a former federal employee’s late application for disability retirement to OPM might be considered is when the federal employee has been mentally incompetent. Generally, an application for ...
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