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 Medical Retirement: Extreme Fatigue

The phrase itself can denote at least two connotations of conceptual paradigms, depending upon which word the emphasis is placed upon:  of an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that is experientially devastating to an exponential degree or, that one is so depleted and tired from the constant state of the extreme.

To experience extreme fatigue is to have a medical condition; to be tired of the constancy of crisis after crisis, is to live an existence which cannot be sustained forever.  Both states can be experienced simultaneously, especially when a medical condition occurs, because the debilitating effects of the disability begins to take its toll upon the individual’s mind, body and soul, and further, because outside reactionary influences tend to make an imbalance upon one’s perspective.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who is experiencing both forms of the phrase, it is probably time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

When an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and tiredness beyond mere overexertion begins to overtake, it is an indicator that the medical condition is taking its toll.  When the daily circumstances of one’s life tend to be interpreted as a constancy of extremes, like the proverbial “boy who cried wolf” once too often, and the daily events become skewed to such an extent that one becomes overwhelmed by the persistence of events, and where the extraordinary becomes the daily norm, then it is also a sign of portending causes to recognize.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an option of the extreme, although it may be one of the few and limited alternatives left for the Federal or Postal worker who has been struggling to maintain a linear level of normalcy for years on end.

Rather, it is a recognition of human frailty, and the limits of endurance, and ultimately a choice of reflective wisdom in recognizing when the extreme of life’s circumstances begin to take its toll, the resulting impact is often the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion beyond mere tiredness, and where the signs become clear that time is not on the side of health, but where health must accept the timeless constancy of changing extremes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire