When completing the SF 3112A, one of the first questions requires you to list your diagnoses for which you are claiming disability. The instinctive response is generally to list only the diagnoses that your physician detailed in the statement provided in support of your OPM Disability Retirement application.
At Pines Federal , our Houston federal employee attorneys check with our clients whether there are any other significant or existing medical issues that warrant mentioning. Let us understand why this could be a potentially vital step.
How Does the Process Begin?
Often, the federal employee who submits an OPM Disability Retirement application will be suffering primarily from a mental disorder that severely inhibits work performance. The employee has garnered support from his/her psychiatrist who is glad to sign a letter that certifies the patient’s inability to perform due to the mental disorder.
The applicant also suffers from severe lumbar pain, which certainly exacerbates the issue, however, the psychiatrist is not comfortable taking responsibility for a condition he does not treat and thus does not mention the diagnosis in his letter. The applicant, in turn, does not list the lumbar condition in SF 3112A.
Can Benefits Be Taken Away?
Fast-forward ten years in this scenario. The applicant has fortunately been approved for disability retirement, and has been receiving annuity checks for years now. One day, he/she gets a notice from OPM to go for an evaluation to ensure the mental disorder still meets the requirements for disability by OPM’s standards, but upon testing, OPM finds that the annuitant does not, and promptly cancels benefits.
By this time, the former federal employee has indeed made great strides in mental rehabilitation, however, the lumbar issue has since progressed to a debilitating level and is certainly incapacitating on its own. The problem is that since the physical condition was not originally mentioned on the SF 3112A, the individual cannot save the situation and claim disability now for lumbar pain.
While this exact example is not common, Pines Federal nevertheless takes the time to ensure that our clients will never be confronted by an avoidable loss such as this.
Get in Touch with Pines Federal
It is extremely important for OPM Disability Retirement applicants to either educate themselves regarding the small details of the entire process, or to retain a Houston federal employee law firm that is experienced in this area and has a track record of success.
Contact Pines Federal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-801-0598 to find out how you can apply for OPM Disability Retirement the right way.