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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Narrative for the Ages

The Age of Modernity is too cynical to believe; or, at the very least, too arrogant not to disbelieve.  It was once thought that information is all that is necessary to propel humankind into a state of sophistication, but time has revealed that Orwell’s reverse effect merely compels us to rely upon devices more and more, and that neither knowledge nor greater wisdom is gained by the wide dissemination of data and content.

We want a “cause” to believe in; yet, each day, we encounter those who allegedly toiled throughout their lives for just such a motivating core, only to find a shell of a person, neither interesting nor interested, and grubbing for amassing of life’s toys, like everyone else in the neighborhood.  Is it, in the end, true that the one who “wins” is defined by the last person standing with the toy and a smile?  We seek for the narrative which fits, and one which declares truth for all ages; but whether we would even be able to recognize “the One” if we passed by it, is doubtful.  This is a time for reflection and re-dedication to one’s core belief-system, despite the world’s agony bereft of such a centrality of intuition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must contemplate changes in the coming year because of a medical condition which is impacting the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to remain in the Federal or Postal position, the narrow focus of formulating one’s statement of narrative on SF 3112A is an important microcosm of effective conveyance.  The questions asked on SF 3112A are simple enough; but the narrative which the Federal or Postal employee must prepare, formulate and submit, will determine the future course and causal impact in getting an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Prepare it carefully; formulate it thoughtfully; submit it only with wise counsel and guidance, wherever and whatever the source.  Yes, perhaps one’s narrative on SF 3112A is not as “grand” or “timeless” as the narrative for the ages of which we seek; but for the individual life of the Federal or Postal employee who is searching for answers for an uncertain future yet to dawn because of a medical condition, the significance and importance may be just as great.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire