A brief introduction to Federal Disability Retirement Law
The following is an overview of how to get started if you are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits
Prefatory RemarksFederal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the exclusive law that I have practiced for 25+ years. It is a complex process that involves 3 major components:
First, obtaining an effective medical report
Second, formulating a well-crafted Statement of Disability
Third, providing a road map -- a detailed legal memorandum -- that persuades the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to approve the Federal Disability Retirement application.
Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process which can involve multiple stages. The Initial Stage -- or the "first stage" of the process -- entails the preparation, formulation and completion of all required Standard Forms for submission. If the Federal Disability Retirement application gets denied at the First Stage, the Applicant has the right to have it "reconsidered" (thus, the Second or "Reconsideration" Stage). If a case is denied at the Second Stage, then the Federal or Postal employee has the right to file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (the "MSPB").
Additional informationAdditionally, always remember that, if you are separated from Federal Service -- whether by resignation or termination -- you have one (1) year from the date of separation to file your Disability Retirement application. Furthermore, if it has been less than thirty one (31) days since the separation from service occurred, you can file your Federal Disability Retirement application with your former agency's Human Resource Office. If it is more than thirty one (31+) days since being separated, you must file your Federal Disability Retirement application directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Federal Disability Retirement is a complex bureaucratic process that must be approached with care, precision and technical (legal) knowledge. While it is true that the criteria for eligibility is somewhat "lower" than what is required for Social Security Disability benefits -- as SSDI's legal criteria requires, generally speaking, "total disability", as opposed to a FERS Disability Retirement which requires proof that you are unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job -- each case must be prepared, formulated and filed with extreme care.