OPM Disability Retirement: The Necessity of Filing

Sometimes the question is asked as to whether it is “necessary” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits if certain advantages, benefits and comfort levels have already been reached.  

Therein lies the problem, of course:  that when one has secured one benefit which one relies upon and has depended upon, the necessity of filing for a collateral source in order to allow for future options, seems (at times) to be a remote necessity.  But the immediacy of a necessity should never be the primary basis for deciding whether or not to do something; forethought, securing the possibilities for future circumstances, perhaps somewhat unforeseen at the moment, should always be factors in making a decision.  

In general, it is best to allow for as many options to remain open in life, and not allow for an option to close merely because the tolling of the Statute of Limitations has passed.  Thus, if a person is on SSDI or OWCP, the question will often be presented as to whether or not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is necessary.  The unequivocal answer is, “yes”.  

For those on SSDI (already approved), the approval itself from SSDI will have some persuasive authority in getting a FERS Disability Retirement approved.  It will not be determinative, but merely persuasive. Further, while there will be an offset between SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement, there are multiple other factors which should convince a Federal or Postal Worker that filing for FERS Disability Retirement is the intelligent thing to do.  

As for those on OWCP, while one cannot receive both OWCP and FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits concurrently, the Federal or Postal employee can get it approved, and simply leave it in an inactive statute — for, as no one knows what the future holds, it is good to secure multiple benefits for potential future use.  To unnecessarily close out options to the future is never a wise thing to do.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: The Necessary Point

Obviously, the recommendation would be to have a Federal or Postal Attorney from the beginning of the process in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS; however, each individual must make the determination as to what and wherein lies the necessary point of obtaining an attorney experienced in the area. 

The problem which often arises is that each individual who personally experiences the medical conditions which impact his or her life, as the identical person who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, feels that his or her disability retirement case is a “sure thing“.  It is difficult to bifurcate and distinguish between the two:  he who feels the direct impact of a medical condition will always be the only person who “knows” how that medical condition directly impacts his or her life, as distinguished from whether or not such facts and circumstances can be properly conveyed in a convincing and persuasive manner to the Office of Personnel Management.  Of course, the one point of necessity is if a case needs to be filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board.  An attorney is not only a necessity; it is almost impossible, in my humble opinion, for an appellant to go forward on his or her own.  On the other hand, I believe the same at each point in the process.  But the “necessary point” can only be determined by each individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire