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 Disability Retirement: Rhythmic Interruptions

A simple alteration such as moving the clock forward or backward one hour, in accordance with daylight savings time, can interrupt the rhythmic habituation of daily living.  Such minor tinkering has greater impact than we care to concede, and to which we fail to respond appropriately.

Man enjoys the pinnacle of technological snobbery; daily, he lives “as if”; whether lost in the insular privacy of his own thoughts, or deliberately in the parallel universes created through video escapism, virtual universes of linguistic scaffolds high atop the animal kingdom, the ignoring and averting of biological rhythms is to the detriment of health, whether mental or physical.

One can get away with dismissing a singular incident of feeling out of coordination because of a long day, a tiring embattlement with work, or a protracted convalescence from unexpected turmoil. But medical conditions which are progressive in nature, chronic in defying avoidance, and deteriorating to a degree which cannot be denied, are all greater exponential forces beyond mere rhythmic interruptions of daily routine. Some things, we can ignore; others, we do so at the cost of paying a greater price by procrastination.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are available for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who decides, after long and quiet deliberation, that an impasse has occurred between one’s health and one’s physical or cognitive requirements of the positional duties required by the Federal or Postal job. Rhythmic interruptions are one category; medical conditions which have an interceding impact upon the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, quite another.

Fighting the good fight does not mean that one should expend to the end of time at the cost of one’s health.  When the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that the fictional fantasy of being at the pinnacle of the animal world does not include being exempted from the biological reality of injury and disease, and that rhythmic interruptions resulting from a health issue need to be attended to, then the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement will be appreciated, as it is an employment benefit available to all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum years of creditable service with the Federal Government.

One can lie to one’s self only for so long; and as the species of Man can survive with the blanket of surreal condiments by asserting exemption from biological entrapment, so the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, can endure pain and rhythmic interruptions only for so long.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire