This is a very interesting and relevant topic and probably one of our main specialities in assisting our clients. Virtually all of our OPM Disability Retirement cases have some period of time when the employee is struggling with whether or not they can go back to work or just stay on leave until they reach OPM Disability Retirement (unless the employee is incapacitated).
This is a very difficult predicament. Often our client is struggling with the idea of whether they can afford to stop working because they need the money to live vs. the fact that they cannot physically or emotionally continue to work. There are a number of interesting factors that play into this decision.
Factor 1 is the Bruner Presumption – this presumption is based on a legal case against OPM that led to a legal presumption that an employee who is removed for medical inability to perform is entitled to a presumption that they are disabled. Here we need to ask the question of whether or not your agency will remove you on this basis….
Factor 2 is Practical Reality — can you truly afford to be not receiving an income while awaiting OPM Disability determination. What goes into this equation is whether or not the employee is confident they will get OPM Disability and the fact that ultimately should they be granted disability the employee will receive full back pay from the last day they work.
Ultimately, this is a balancing act that the employee must consider and evaluate in working through the OPM Disability Application maze. Stay tuned for more details on these issues in further blogs…