Issues in life often recur repetitively without rhyme or reason; as a rule of life, it becomes true “all the more” with mistakes in life. Thus, particular issues in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, seem to resurface regardless (I would enjoy writing “irregardless” just to irritate those who are alert enough to recognize the nonsensical nature of such a term, but I refrain) of the number of times such issues are addressed or corrected.
Three such issues are: A. Filing for SSDI. Yes, it does need to be filed. No, it does not technically need to be filed in sequence; moreover, while many Human Resources (one agency calls it “Human Capital”, which is viewed as a self-contradiction and an inside joke) offices misinform Federal and Postal workers that you have to wait for a decision of approval before filing for Federal Disability Retirement, the Federal or Postal Worker should refuse to listen to such misguided misinformation. Technically, the only time OPM needs a receipt showing that one has filed for SSDI is at the time of an OPM approval. However — yes, just to get it over with, you should just go ahead and file online, and print out a receipt showing that you filed, and attach it with the Federal Disability Retirement application. B. Time of filing: within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service. No, LWOP or being on sick leave does not begin to toll the 1-year Statute of Limitations. C. One’s medical condition must last for a minimum of 12 months. No, you do not need to wait for 12 months and endure your medical condition. Most doctors can provide a prognosis of the extent of your medical condition early in the process.
Don’t let the irony of life rule one’s actions. Mistakes and misinformation abounds, but how one responds is the key to successful living.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire