If you have worked for the postal service or any other federal agency and have suffered a disability that prevents you from doing your job, you may be eligible to retire under Federal Disability Retirement. Before you do, there are several factors that you will need to understand. An experienced federal disability representative can help you navigate your options.
Before you file, make sure that you have sufficient medical documentation of your disability and have informed your agency. We can gather the medical evidence you need. Telling your employer will be critical to whether you’re ultimately eligible, but you are not required to tell your employer prior to filing.
Once you have cleared these initial hurdles, you must be eligible to retire as disabled.TheOffice of Personnel Management(OPM) has listed the six eligibility requirements you must meet under the law:
- Eighteen months of Federal service in a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) credited position;
- A disability arose, due to disease or injury, during your employment in the FERS position;
- The expected length of your disability is to last at least one year;
- You have informed your employer, as noted above, and your agency certifies, in writing, that it cannot accommodate you;
- You have applied to separate from the service or within a year thereafter and that OPM received your application within one year from the date you separated; and
- You have applied for social security disability benefits.
If you do not meet these eligibility requirements, you will not be eligible to retire. Do not let this happen to you!
Where People Fall Short
The most difficult eligibility requirement to prove is that you have a qualifying disability, the second factor listed above.
Most of the six requirements are objective in nature. You can easily prove that you have met the requirement by producing a form. You either have the form or you don’t. However, whether your disability is legitimate and qualifies will depend on an evaluation of your medical records and documented history of disability. Don’t be fooled. The government will heavily scrutinize your claim.
Being disabled doesn’t necessarily mean you are totally disabled. It means that you cannot “render useful and efficient service” in your position or any comparable position according to the federal regulations.
It is crucial that you have an experienced federal disability retirement representative that can maneuver through this difficult landscape, which is often legal and argumentative in nature. Do not let your future hinge on your belief that you should qualify and your doctor said so. You will have to prove it and a legal representative can make the difference.
As you move forward with you claim, you will need to file the following forms:
- SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
- SF 3112, Documentation In Support of Disability Retirement
Please review the OPM’s website above, the required forms that you will need to fill out and contact your agency’s representative for guidance.
If you need further advice or have questions, please contact a qualified and experienced attorney to help you. The federal laws and regulations can be difficult to understand and the process can be confusing to navigate. It is always advisable to have help on your side.