If you are separated from federal service, there are a few things you need to know about applying for Federal Disability Retirement. The process is a little different, and there are strict deadlines that must be followed.
In this article, we will walk you through applying for Federal Disability Retirement after separation from your agency. We also want to remind you that if you have any questions or concerns, it is best to speak with an experienced legal team who can help guide you through the process.
Applying After Separation
In order to apply for Federal Disability Retirement, you must submit your application within one year of separation from your federal agency. This is a strict deadline, and the only way you may be able to get an extension is if you were mentally incompetent to file within the one-year time frame.
If you have been separated from your agency for less than 31 days, and you want to apply for Federal Disability Retirement, you will submit your application to your agency for processing. You will be working with your agency throughout the application process and will need their cooperation in order to move forward.
If you have been separated from your agency for more than 31 days, your agency may no longer have your personnel records and may not be able to recover them in time to process your application and submit it to OPM within the one-year time limit.
Because of this, if you have been separated for more than 31 days you will submit your application directly to the OPM for processing.
One qualification requirement for Federal Disability Retirement is your agency must be unable to reasonably accommodate you in your current position. A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment made to your job or work environment that would allow you to fully perform all your job duties.
This could be something like a flexible work schedule, a standing desk, or noise cancelling headphones.
If your agency is unable to reasonably accommodate you, they will automatically start the reassignment process. A valid reassignment to the OPM is an existing, vacant position, at the same pay and grade level, within your commuting area, that you are qualified for.
You must prove to the OPM that you have exhausted all reasonable accommodation and reassignment efforts before applying for Federal Disability Retirement.
If you were separated before undergoing the reasonable accommodation or reassignment process, you will have to prove to the OPM that there was no accommodation or reassignment that would allow you to complete all of the essential duties of your position. This can be difficult as requesting reasonable accommodations is often a trial-and-error process. You and your agency will have to work together to attempt to find the best accommodation for your specific disability, and if you haven’t experimented with different solutions, it’s hard to prove to the OPM that no accommodation will work for you.
Requesting Documentation After Separation
Throughout the application process for Federal Disability Retirement, you will have to work with your agency often. There are specific agency portions of the disability retirement application forms, and you will have to request documentation to support your claims.
Because of this, it is recommended to maintain an open line of communication with your agency, so that they are aware of your intention to apply for Federal Disability Retirement after your separation. Doing this can make the process a lot smoother and often they will be more supportive of your decision.
We Are Here to Help
Applying for Federal Disability Retirement alone can be a massive undertaking. There are many forms, deadlines, and documents that you need to be familiar with, and it’s easy to become confused. That is why we want to remind you that you are not alone in this.
An experienced legal team can be the difference between an approval or a denial for Federal Disability Retirement. We are here to help you through every step of the process, so that you can focus on what is important – your health and your future.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Federal Disability Retirement process, or if you would like to learn more about how we can help, please contact us today. We offer a free consultation where we will review your case and answer any questions you may have.