Federal Disability Retirement: Is an Attorney Worth it?

by | Mar 6, 2018

Last Updated November 8, 2022

attorneyIf you find yourself in a position where you’re looking at filing for federal disability retirement, you are, no doubt, looking into whether hiring an attorney is worth the money. A Federal Disability Retirement attorney is not required for you to file your disability retirement claim with the Office of Personnel Management. And let’s face it, attorneys are expensive. However, NOT hiring one may cost you even more.

Below are areas in the federal disability retirement process where you may want to have an attorney’s help.


Determining your eligibility for federal disability retirement seems straightforward—you meet the requirements, you’re eligible. Generally, that’s true. However, a few of the criteria have a bit of a gray area and you may want the expertise of a Federal Disability Retirement attorney who has seen your type of case before.

One of the criteria for federal disability retirement is you must have become disabled, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position.

Let’s say you work on a computer all day and deal with paperwork and you suffer from migraines. These migraines get so bad that you miss work, can’t focus on your computer screen, can’t sleep, or eat. Eventually, this leads you to other illnesses that keep you from doing your job duties effectively. (Remember, this is just one of the criteria; there are others you must meet as well.) Now, let’s say you suffer from migraines, but this time its stress related from your work environment. You still are unable to complete your job duties but removing you from your work environment removes the trigger for your migraines, so you can work again.

One of these is more likely to get help your claim with OPM and one isn’t. But do you know the difference?

Medical Records

This one is tricky. You can get your own medical records from your doctor. You don’t need an attorney to help you with that. The one thing here an attorney CAN help you with is ensuring you supplement your disability retirement application with the RIGHT medical evidence from supportive doctors.


The application for federal disability retirement is lengthy and can be confusing. Again, you don’t need an attorney to help you with it. The problem here is that the entire process with OPM generally takes 12-18 months. That’s with a full and complete application. But what if there’s a mistake in there that you don’t know about or didn’t realize you made? That could delay your decision another year. You don’t want that, especially if you are out of work and not receiving any income.


Harris Federal Law Firm represents clients through all three stages of the process; initial, Reconsideration, and Merit Systems Protection Board. Of course, you can file on your own and receive an approval. But what if you get denied? You then have an incredibly tight window to appeal (and then hire a Federal Disability Retirement attorney if you choose to). The same thing goes for the next stage, should you get denied again.

So, should you hire an attorney for federal disability retirement? There’s no right or wrong answer. While an attorney may be expensive, there are great benefits to retaining one. Harris Federal Law Firm has represented thousands of federal employees with filing for federal disability retirement. Our consultation is always FREE. Fill out this INQUIRY form or call us at 877-226-2723 to schedule yours today.

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