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

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Avoiding the Pedantic Prophet

Doomsayers are everywhere, and in every generation and region of thoughtful pronouncements, prophets foretelling of anticipated events await to ring the ears of those who desire future confirmation of that which was already expected.

Beyond the general prophesy of future events, however, is the one who focuses upon minutiae and details irrelevant to the greater paradigm of events.  It is like the man who was informed that major surgery would be necessary, and oh, by the way, the scalpel to be used is made by a German manufacturer whose great uncle was related to Lord Byron.  Interesting tidbits may be relevant in limited circumstances; one should avoid the pedantic repetition of facts, events and details which detract from the main theme of a narrative.

In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, part of the process must involve the preparation of a Statement of Disability as required by completion of Standard Form 3112A.  Certainly, details can be important; but a meandering rambling of peripheral issues detracting from the centrality and essence of one’s case, can not only become a self-undermining proposition, but annoying as well.

Begin the narrative with the focus upon the condition, then build upon that with reverberating ripples of riveting prose of significance and tactile tenses entailing direct links to positional requirements.  For, in the end, a Federal Disability Retirement application is a person’s story, told in narrative form, as a paper presentation to OPM which must be singularly focused, coherent and comprehensively conveyed.

When the world is foretold of coming to an end, one does not want to know the color and make of the undergarment to be worn by your neighbor; at best, it distracts; at worst, it may well reveal a privacy concern you did not want to stomach.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Laconic Latitudes

Brevity of words often reveals otherwise unnoticed characteristics through silence; being concise, while important in conveying specific information, can interrupt the natural flow of linguistic rhythms; and, as with music, it is the silence and the pause between notes which create for the beauty of a piece.

In preparing an effective narrative, the essayist, the novelist or the biographer must set a tone in order to draw the reader into the web of verbiage, and like the opening to a secret entranceway leading to the cavernous dark of insular worlds, a light must shine in order to invite the way in. But if the traveler is mired in confusion, how can the journey into a pathless narrative allow for any sense, logic or directed discourse? Even Science Fiction and Fantasy genres must have some relational connection to the world we know; otherwise, it is merely relegated to the private musings of insanity extricated.

The laconic dialogue often requires greater concentration, precisely for the lack of words, where silence and large tracts of pauses mandate implications and inferences.

Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition are often mired in the confusion of the process of seeking security and a pathway for their future.  In the midst of such confusion, they are asked to fully comprehend the entirety of the administrative process recognized as “Federal Disability Retirement“. To prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is to have foresight, mental acuity, intellectual capacity and physical stamina to embrace a complex bureaucratic process, and all the while deal with major medical problems.

It would thus be understandable if a laconic Federal Disability Retirement application was prepared; but unfortunately, from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (which is the singular agency which makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications), rarely are pauses and silences taken into account.

While there is always some latitude in reviewing an OPM Disability Retirement application, regardless of whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the time for brevity and implied latitude should be replaced by concise verbosity of a longitudinal perspective.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire