Federal Employee Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Procedural Hurdles

Bureaucratic complexities have become a part of everyday life.  When societies become entrenched in administrative procedures, where the process itself is paramount over the substantive goals intended to achieve, and the proper filing of standard forms cannot be ignored lest the conformity of all is undermined by the exception of the singular; then, it is declared that progress has been made, the height of civilization has been achieved, and the pinnacle of human inventiveness has been reached.

Whether one agrees with the satire of bureaucratic conundrums or not, the reality is that the inherent complexities of government must be contended with, and attempting to subvert or otherwise evade the necessity of completing standardized procedural methodologies is an act of futility bordering on rebellion.

For injured/ill Federal employees and Postal Workers who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, the importance of overcoming procedural hurdles cannot be overstated.  SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C & SF 3112D must be completed for all Federal and Postal employees filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; and for FERS Federal and Postal Workers, one must also complete SF 3107 (as opposed to SF 2801 for CSRS & CSRS Offset Federal and Postal employees).

And, while there are ways to provide additional addendum information beyond that which can fit within the neat spaces provided on the standard forms themselves, nevertheless, it is necessary to follow the rules and abide by the bureaucracy of conformity.  Yes, administrative hurdles are a headache and a difficulty to overcome; but, no, you cannot ignore them, as the reality of administrative and bureaucratic headaches is a constancy we must live with in a society deemed to be the pinnacle of human achievement and progress.


Robert R. McGill, Attorney


OPM Disability Retirement: The Workplace (Part 2)

In filing for FERS or CSRS Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the Office of Personnel Management, it is important to stay away from issues which may explicitly or implicitly characterize the particular medical condition as being “situational” in nature.  However, this does not mean that the medical condition cannot have originated from, or been exacerbated by, the workplace environment.  Remember that OPM disability retirement is not like OWCP/Worker’s Comp — the issue of causality, or whether the medical condition occurred as a result of your occupation, is not important to prove. 

However, sometimes, it is simply an indisputable fact that the medical condition originated from the workplace, or was exacerbated by conditions in the workplace.  Such origination or exacerbations, once it takes on a “life of its own” and becomes chronic and pervasive such that the medical condition impacts a person both at the workplace as well as outside the workplace, then it has transformed into a medical condition beyond being merely “situational”.  Thus, that which originated as a “situational” medical condition may well no longer be a situational one.  In such cases — and that is normally the case in almost all medical conditions which begin as a situational disability — there would be no problem with filing for OPM disability retirement benefits.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement & Essential Elements

When an applicant for FERS & CSRS Federal Disability Retirement benefits begins to craft his or her Applicant’s Statement of Disability, certain foundational questions must be considered before composing the historical, emotional, substantive and impact-descriptive narrative.  For instance, to the legal criteria, To be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement Benefits, one must show that one’s medical conditions prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the initial and most foundational question obviously is:  What are the “essential elements” of one’s job? 

Now, that may seem like a simple — even simplistic — question.  One needs only to look at the official position description and pick out the major factors of the position.  If only it were that easy.  For, there are many “implicit” essential elements which are not explicitly stated, and it is often those unspoken, “un – described” elements, which are directly impacted by one’s medical conditions and disabilities, which must be creatively woven into the narrative of one’s disability statement.  Always remember to take care of the “foundational” issues first; thereafter, the narrative can extrapolate from the major factors of the position description.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire