Often, in a Federal Disability Retirement case, there are “indicators” which are telltale signs as to whether or not something was done or not. Federal and Postal workers who call in to inquire about the feasibility of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS are often vague about certain facts and issues, and understandably so, because things have never been explained properly, or as is more often the case, explained but with mistaken information. For example: Federal and Postal workers often confuse OWCP & Department of Labor issues, with issues concerning OPM Disability Retirement. Such statements as: “I already filed for Department of Labor disability benefits”, or “I filed a CA ___”, or “I’ve been separated for X number of months” (when in fact he or she has merely been on LWOP with the Agency).
The problem with confusing the concepts between OWCP benefits and OPM Disability Retirement (and to make it even more confusing, to mix those two with SSDI issues) is that a person may be on OWCP or SSDI for over a year after being separated from Federal Service, and fail to file for OPM Disability Retirement — and forever be foreclosed from doing so because he or she never realized that you must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, independently and separately from OWCP or SSDI. Read up and study the conceptual distinctions; for, there may be some long-term consequences from such confusions.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire