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

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Of Camels and Corsets

Both represent anachronisms in our modern, technological society; the former as still somewhat distant and antiquated, with images of pyramids and times of colonialism; the latter of a time when the secrets of the body were hidden by shame, left to lust and imagination.  They no longer fit into the common usage of everyday language games, whether because of being relegated to uncommon reference or to irrelevance.

Similarly, that is how castaways are treated in a society which relishes productivity and promotional positive thinking.  Time is rarely a marking of empathy; though we feign the importance of community, we are simply too busy to regard those less fortunate, except perhaps with a deductible donation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the sooner the recognition that inclusion and accommodation are likewise foreign concepts, the better in planning for one’s future.  Federal OPM Disability Retirement is an employment benefit which was negotiated as the greater package for Federal and Postal employees.  It allows for the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to remain productive in society in another capacity, yet, receive a base annuity from the Federal government.

The formula is set by statute, ultimately filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and one must prove one’s entitlement after meeting certain eligibility criteria; but like camels, corsets, and even castaways, the arcane anachronism of the administrative system and bureaucratic process may require the strength of a camel, the mystery of hidden knowledge as only subsumed by corsets, and the thick skin of being treated as a castaway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire