5 Roadblocks Federal Employees Face When Applying for Disability Retirement

Oct 5, 2023

veteran federal employee discussing roadblocks entered when apply for FERS disability retirement
Applying for FERS Disability Retirement can be overwhelming. There are qualification requirements to meet, confusing forms to fill out, and legal processes to navigate. Taking on the burden alone means you risk losing the federal benefits you’ve worked hard for. Schedule a free consultation with Harris Federal today to get a plan for your path forward and keep reading to learn about the 5 disability retirement roadblocks you might encounter when applying for this benefit. We’re here to make the process easy; we know exactly how difficult it can be and we want to help you secure your future.

1. Not Having a Service Deficiency

One of the main qualification criteria for FERS Disability Retirement is the presence of a service deficiency in performance, attendance, or conduct. This means you must be deficient in one of these areas in order to be approved for FERS Disability Retirement. However, a lot of clients shy away from showcasing their disability at work – we see a lot of federal employees with perfect performance reports and acceptable attendance records. But, deciding not to push through the pain can actually support your application! If, however, you do not have a service deficiency to support your case, you must show that your medical condition is incompatible with useful service or retention in your current position.

2. Insufficient Medical Evidence

Medical evidence to back up your claim is arguably the most important part of your application. The key here is to include supportive medical evidence, not just any and all medical documents you have. The OPM wants to see documentation that directly proves your medical condition is preventing you from performing your federal job. It can be difficult to determine what evidence to include and what, if anything, should be excluded.

3. Not Requesting Accommodation

A major disability retirement roadblock can be the reasonable accommodation process. Going through this process is a necessary step in the journey towards FERS Disability Retirement. You and your agency should work together to exhaust all reasonable accommodation efforts before you apply for FERS Disability Retirement. You should be in communication with your supervisor regarding any accommodation that would allow you to fully perform your job. If there are none, you may qualify for FERS Disability Retirement. If you were separated from your position before being able to request accommodation, it will be the OPM’s responsibility to prove that there was no accommodation that would work for you, which can be helpful for your application.

4. Filling Out Forms Incorrectly

The FERS Disability Retirement application is long and can be incredibly confusing. Many sections are intertwined, and it’s easy to unintentionally weaken your case if you’re not careful. Our firm has helped more than 8,000 federal employees apply, and we know the application like the back of our collective hand. We don’t want you to lose out on the benefits you have worked for because of a mistake on your application.

5. Lack of Legal Argument

Having a legal argument to back up your case can significantly improve your chances of approval, especially after a denial. Showcasing relevant cases that support your claim can help the OPM make a decision on your case. Our experienced case managers and attorneys are familiar with case law surrounding FERS Disability Retirement, and we can use that case law to strengthen your claim.

Navigating the FERS Disability Retirement application process alone opens you up to all kinds of challenges, pitfalls, and roadblocks. But we want to simplify the process as much as possible for you. You deserve the federal benefits that you’ve worked so hard for, and FERS Disability Retirement can provide you with the security you need in retirement. Give our office a call at 877-226-2723 or schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can take the application burden off your shoulders.

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