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So you’ve decided to file for federal disability benefits, and you’ve asked your doctor to complete SF 3112C: “Physician’s Statement.” And you’re waiting… and waiting… and waiting for your physician to return the form to you. Every time you call the office, you get variations of the same response: “The doctor is overwhelmingly busy and simply hasn’t had time to even look at the paperwork you provided.”

This is a recurring theme for many disability applicants. Why? Well for starters, let’s look at the situation from the perspective of your doctor. He/she really isoverwhelmingly busy. Your doctor works long hours for days at a time with little to no “down time.” With such an exhausting schedule, you can probably understand why your doctor isn’t exactly lighting a fire to write a complex, detailed letter about your medical conditions and how they prevent you from performing the essential functions of your federal job.

So what can you do? First, you may want to consider writing a draft of the letter yourself (or with the help of an experienced attorney). Not only does this guarantee that the letter will address all of OPM’s disability eligibility requirements, but it gives your doctor a solid starting point. Let’s face it; it’s much easier to get motivated about reviewing an existing document rather than writing one from scratch.

Second, you may want to consider making an appointment with your doctor for the sole purpose of writing and/or reviewing the letter. If your doctor knows that he/she is going to be compensated for the time devoted to the drafting/reviewing of the letter, then this, again, provides motivation for your doctor to stop procrastinating.

Finally, if you are a federal employee and are currently contemplating filing for federal disability benefits, consider contacting an experienced federal-employment attorney to discuss your options. Federal-employment law is incredibly complex, and an exceptional attorney can help you avoid the many potential pitfalls and setbacks that plague this area of law.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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