One is often asked the question, “Where do I begin”? It is the question of pervasive immediacy, combining both exasperation at a process too complicated to comprehend and requiring a sense of urgency because of the importance attached to the successful outcome, precisely because it may well determine one’s future financial security, and the present ability to continue to attend to one’s medical conditions. Such a question, however, often needs to be reordered in order to prepare a case properly, in retrospective fashion.
Thus, to reorganize the priority of questions: Where do I want to end up? (With an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) Who approves a Federal Disability Retirement application? (Not one’s agency, but the Office of Personnel Management and, as such, be careful of promises made and statements asserted by one’s own agency) How does one obtain an approval from OPM (By satisfying the legal criteria as applied by OPM) What does one need to do to obtain such an approval? (Two-part answer: File the proper forms; complete the forms effectively) When should I begin the process? (Since filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits can be a long, arduous process, it is wise to file as soon as one has the support of one’s doctor) Where does the application need to be filed? (If one is still with one’s agency, then it must be filed through one’s agency; if one has been separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service for more than 31 days, then it must be filed directly with the Office of Personnel Management).
The question of “why”, of course, need not be asked or answered, because it is a self-evident one. It is the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “how” which require one’s attention. For, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee already knows the “why” of filing. The medical condition itself provides that answer.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire