If you were approved for Federal Disability Retirement, congratulations! You have successfully secured your future. But you are not completely in the clear.
Once approved for Federal Disability Retirement, you will be subject to OPM medical reviews. This is an annual process that is used to determine if you are still eligible for disability retirement annuity payments. If you are found to be medically recovered, you will lose your benefits.
The OPM also performs annual income reviews that you can learn more about in our blog about Administrative Recovery.
It’s scary to be at risk of losing your annuity payments, but don’t worry, OPM medical reviews rarely cause problems as long as you know what they are looking for. In this blog post we are going to share what to anticipate from OPM medical reviews, so you can be as prepared as possible.
What is an OPM medical review?
OPM medical reviews serve to prove to the OPM that you still qualify for Federal Disability Retirement. The OPM will ask for updated medical documentation stating that you are still unable to perform useful and efficient service and that you are still receiving treatment for your condition.
If you are employed, you will need to report your job to the OPM. The OPM may request additional information to help prove how your new job differs from your previous federal position.
These reviews come annually every February, so be sure to watch out for them. If your condition is chronic or expected to worsen over time, you may be exempt from these reviews.
What happens during an OPM medical review?
If you are under age 60, the OPM will contact you and ask you to provide a current report from your treating doctor or medical facility. You should include any treatments, medications, and side effects that you are experiencing. The OPM wants to see that your doctors are still supportive of your disability and that you are still treating your condition.
Keep in mind that you will be required to pay for any expenses involved in answering OPM’s requests.
If you are age 60 or older, the OPM will only review your medical status if you request them to. Once you turn age 60, the OPM will stop reviewing your case and there is no longer an earning cap on your employment.
How can you prepare for an OPM medical review?
When you receive your approval letter from OPM for Federal Disability Retirement, there will be a list of conditions that you were approved for. You might not be approved for all the conditions that you listed on your application so it’s important to know what the OPM determined was your disabling condition(s).
It will be beneficial to keep treating with medical providers for the conditions you were approved for, to prepare for reviews or any additional questions from OPM.
We recommend treating with a medical professional at least every six months to stay up to date on communications with your doctor. It’s important to continue gathering medical documentation and information on your disabilities just in case the OPM asks any additional questions.
If you do not respond to an OPM review, your annuity will be suspended.
What if I am found to be recovered?
If the OPM determines that you are medically recovered, your payments will stop one year from the date of the medical examination showing your recovery.
If you recover, or are found to be recovered, you can apply for reemployment in the federal government for any position you are qualified for, but your former agency is not required to rehire you if you are found to be recovered.
OPM medical reviews can be a daunting process, but we hope this information helps give you a better understanding of what to expect and how to prepare.
If you have any questions or are thinking of applying for Federal Disability Retirement, give our office a call at 877-226-2723 or schedule a free consultation.
Let’s secure the future you deserve.