OPM Disability Retirement: Which Forms, How to Fill Them Out, and What to Put

Filling out forms is a part of life.  At some stage in our lives, we are required to complete forms.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal employee (which encompasses the full spectrum of positions, from secretaries, administrative assistants, to scientists, Information Technology Specialists, 1811 Law Enforcement Officers, etc.) or a U.S. Postal worker (including Craft employees, Managers, Postmasters, Supervisors, etc.), preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.

Thus, the act of “form filling” must be confronted.  On computers, of course, if you have been completing online queries, the “autofill” option may be presented.  But the limitation of such an option, and the unavailability of that choice, should become readily apparent when attempting to complete the various “Standard Forms” required of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For any remaining CSRS employees intending to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, the series embodied under the designation of SF 2801 must be completed, along with the SF 3112 series.  For all of the rest of the Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who came into Federal or Postal Service after around 1985, and who are under FERS, the SF 3107 series must be completed, and as well, the SF 3112 series of standard forms.

Thus has the question, “Which Forms?” been answered.  As for the remaining two questions:  How to fill them out and What to put —  the “how” is, to put it mildly, with care and trepidation; the “what to put” is too complex to elucidate in this forum.  The series of “informational” forms — SF 2801 series for CSRS employees and SF 3107 for FERS employees — are fairly straightforward (e.g., full name, date of birth, Social Security number, agency name and location, military service, etc.).

It all comes back to the SF 3112 series which becomes problematic — for that is where the Federal and Postal employee must “prove” the nexus between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions by which one is prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  For that, the Federal and Postal employee must go “outside” of the boundaries of the forms themselves, and consult documentation obtained from the doctor, and make legal arguments based upon wise counsel and advice.

As with much of life, it is never as easy as a bureaucracy promises; indeed, the complexity of life is in the very bureaucratization of administrative forums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The key to happiness

There are countless titles of books which predicate upon the presumptuous endeavor; palm readers who, for a prepaid fee, make their living from it; and wanderers who trek the Himalayas in search of it.  Others merely change the definition or meaning of what constitutes the achieved goal, or drink themselves silly when self-deception fails to fulfill.

The problem with happiness is that it was once a byproduct of our lives; when it became the end-goal, the very nature and essence of it became unachievable.  It is when a singular focus upon an effect becomes the sighted destination to reach, that the frustration of unrealistic expectations come to the fore, and dismay and doubt of self becomes the mainstay.  Happiness was never meant to be a constancy of one’s trophied achievement; rather, it is a secondary effect as the residual of an accomplished life.  Frustration thus dawns upon us because the fleeting aspect of its very nature is never within one’s control.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from an ongoing medical condition, such frustration of purpose is self-evident on a daily basis, especially when one plays the never-ending game of, “If only X…”  For, the contingent precedent is never within the grasp or control of the injured Federal or Postal Worker, or one who is beset with progressively debilitating medical conditions.  Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service make it their job to obfuscate, place obstacles, and ensure the daily denial of accommodations, and flout their open disregard of the laws and protections allegedly designed for Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition.

Often, in life, there are limited choices; but the options we choose are the known pathways to happiness.  Loss of it, or the denial of the effect, comes about when we rely upon those things which are beyond our control, and expect others to “do the right thing“.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the key to happiness is to take affirmative steps in taking charge of one’s own life.  Beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a pragmatic step which one can actually quantify with respect to the progress made towards a goal defined.

Purchasing another book with the word “happiness” in it will be to waste another dollar; identifying those issues within the purview and control of one’s destiny is a greater investment in achieving a realistic goal defined, so that one day, when the whispers of past days of dark and dismal hauntings are remembered from a place afar, the vestiges of unhappiness will merely be a faint echo in the peaceful slumber of one’s joyous summers yet to be dreamed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire