Under Federal Disability Retirement for FERS & CSRS, a Federal or Postal employee must file for the benefits within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service. Another way to put it, is that a Federal or Postal employee must file within a year after being terminated as an employee from the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service. Thus, the 1-year Statute of Limitations does not begin from the “date of injury”, or from the date a person went on Sick Leave, Annual Leave, or Leave without Pay (LWOP). Rather, the tolling of the Statute of Limitations begins when a person is separated from Federal or Postal Service.
Thus, for example, if a Postal employee continues to receive “zero-balance” paychecks, it is a good indicator (though not a certainty) that the Postal Worker has not been separated from service, but is merely in an LWOP status but still “on the rolls” of the Postal Service. In most cases, the Federal employee will be informed that he or she is being separated from Federal Service, through a process of personnel actions, resulting in an SF 50 being issued informing the Federal employee of his or her separation from Federal Service. From that point on, the Federal or Postal employee has one (1) year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.
Remember, if you don’t file for it, you can’t make any arguments about your Disability Retirement application. While there are limitations as to amending or supplementing a Federal Disability Retirement application after it has been file, there is not a scintilla of a chance to argue, amend or supplement if you don’t meet the minimum requirement — i.e., filing for it within the 1-year Statute of Limitations.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire