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Fers & Csrs Disability Retirement: Opms Methodology Ii
When the Office of Personnel Management approves an OPM disability retirement application, as I stated in the previous article , they will normally choose to approve it based upon only one of the listed disabilities. This is because, from OPMs viewpoint, if the applicant lists multiple medical disabilities, once OPM reaches any one of the listed disabilities and finds that one of them is a basis for an approval, there is no further need for OPM to review the remaining medical conditions.
This methodology requires that future applicants consider the consequences of such a method: it is essential that the applicant base a disability retirement application upon only essential, significant medical conditions, normally best to list them in the order of significance, and further, to document a case in the order of severity.
Sincerely,Robert R. McGill, Esquire
How Important Is The Doctor’s Letter For Opm Disability Retirement When I Have A Mental Disability
Individuals with mental disabilities, such as Anxiety, Depressive Disorder, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, rarely come along with a medical file of irrefutable diagnostic evidence of the existence of said conditions. There are no X-rays or laboratory tests that will provide black-and-white proof of these diagnoses, leaving the burden of the decision up to the treating physician.
When faced with a patient displaying symptoms of mental disability, the medical provider will have to rely on incisive questioning and the patients subjective report of symptomology, along with skilled observation of the patients manner, reasoning, and a host of other superficial indications to arrive at the appropriate diagnosis.
A federal employee with a mental disability who is applying for OPM Disability Retirement must be aware that OPM will attach great value to the Physicians Statement to determine eligibility. While the typical modus operandi of OPM is to study objective medical evidence as a deciding factor, in cases of mental disability, the doctors written certification is carefully considered.
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Tips In Considering Opm Disability Retirement
By Kimberly H. Berry, Esq., www.retirementlaw.com
Our law firm handles many different types of federal retirement issues in our representation of federal employees. One of the more common types of retirement cases that we often handle involves the representation of federal employees in the disability retirement process before various federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management . Federal employees filing for disability retirement are typically either covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System or the Civil Service Retirement System .
The following questions identify a few of the initial considerations that you should examine when determining whether or not to pursue OPM disability retirement. If you are seriously considering filing for disability retirement, there are many considerations to discuss with an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law.
The following five tips are only meant to get you thinking through some of the issues and concerns as you to consider or begin filing for OPM disability retirement:
1. How serious are the federal employees medical issues and are they linked to the federal employees position description duties?
2. How long is the medical disability realistically expected to last?
3. Can a federal employee survive on a reduced annuity?
4. Are there modifications to a federal employees current position that can be made to allow the federal employee to continue to work?
When The Opm Application Is Approved
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Aristotles admonishment of determining too early the virtue and reputation of an individual, can be analogously likened to the state of emotional turmoil we find ourselves in, at any given moment of ones life. Happiness is indeed a fleeting state of ones being and the history Read More
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Position Descriptions And Opm Disability Retirement For Federal Employees
Our law firm handles many different types of federal retirement issues in our representation of federal employees. One of the more common types of retirement cases that we often handle involves the representation of federal employees in the disability retirement process before various federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management . Federal employees filing for disability retirement are typically covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System or the Civil Service Retirement System .
Federal employees should consider the following questions before they pursue OPM disability retirement:
How serious are the federal employees medical issues and are they linked to the federal employees position description duties?
When making a disability retirement decision, keep in mind that OPM evaluates your continued ability to work with your medical condition in the context of the duties described in your position description. If the medical disability is not deemed serious enough, or not fully supported by medical documentation and evidence, and is not sufficiently linked to your inability to usefully and efficiently carry out your job duties, then OPM may deny the disability retirement application.
How long is the medical disability realistically expected to last?
Can a federal employee survive on a reduced annuity?
Are there modifications to a federal employees current position that can be made to allow the federal employee to continue to work?
I Suffer From A Specific Medical Condition Does This Condition Necessarily Qualify For Opm Disability Retirement
While there is not an official list of OPM qualified medical conditions , you will be considered disabled under OPM Disability Retirement rules if your particular physical or psychiatric condition prevent you from continuing to perform efficient service in the Federal Service. So, in theory, it is not so much what your medical condition is, but how it interferes with the quality of your work performance. Even if you are accommodated but you cant work efficiently, you may qualify for a Federal Disability retirement pension. That is basically the main idea with the original disability provisions under both FERS and CSRS laws.
Of course, in the real world, they would rather let you go empty handed. Therefore, in order to qualify for disability retirement, your treating physician will typically need to be familiarized with FERS and CSRS laws to fill out the proper OPM medical forms to help you to explain to OPM how your current medical condition will make you eligible for OPM Disability Retirement benefits. There are several legal and medical issues your primary health care provider should know to achieve this end. However, just to illustrate an example of a potential problem, if your primary health care provider doesnt write that your particular physical or psychiatric conditions will be expected to last for at least one year, even if that is very obvious, your medical disability application will likely be defeated and denied.
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Primary Reasons For A Fers Disability Retirement Denial
As a general rule, denials will normally be sent by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management by Certified Mail with a signature requirement. If the correspondence is otherwise received by regular mail with no such signature requirement, it is likely either a request for additional information or an approval.
Preliminarily, it is crucial to point out that a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who receives a denial in response to an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must file a Request for Reconsideration within 30 days of the date of the Denial Letter NOT 30 days from the receipt of the denial. And, No you do not get to tack on an additional 3 days to account for the delay of mail. It is inadvisable to play with the number of days that a person has to respond to an OPM Denial. It is best to always be on the safe side. Furthermore, always send in the Request for Reconsideration via a trackable method if by fax, to obtain a fax confirmation sheet showing the number to which the request was faxed, or if by mail, any one of the venues which allows for tracking of the submission. Better yet, contact and consult with an attorney before anything is done unless, of course, you have waited until the 30th day to file your Request for Reconsideration, in which case you should immediately file it by fax to OPM and then call for a consultation.
Federal Disability Retirement Approved Now What
Congratulations are always in order after a federal employee gets their claim approved for federal disability retirement from the Office of Personnel Management. But what happens next and when do I start receiving my annuity?
The OPM will initiate the payment process and notify the employing agency to retrieve last date of pay information. Upon receipt, they will begin making interim payments to the annuitant. Interim payments are generally about 80% of what they expect the full payments to be. The purpose of these payments is to immediately get some money into the hands of the annuitant while OPM calculates the exact payments and sets up the retirement for the rest of the annuitants life.
Once the full payments are calculated, they will replace the interim payments and make up any back pay that is owed to the annuitant. The effective date the payment begins the day following the last time the applicant was paid, either by their agency, or the OWCP.
This process can be lengthy. Once a federal disability retirement application is approved the file is moved into the post retirement branch at OPM along with all other non disability retirement applications. OPM is currently backlogged with applications and it may take as little as a few weeks or as long as several months before the calculations are finalized.
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Handling Opm Disability Cases 50+ Years
Our Houston attorneys have decades of experience dealing with OPM Disability Retirement cases. Our goal is to help you obtain approval of your claim at the initial application stage so you can avoid the stress of filing time-consuming appeals.
Rest assured, however, that if you are denied at the initial stage for any reason, we are well equipped to assist you with the reconsideration appeal and/or the appeals with the Merit Systems Protection Board . Fill out the application form below, or call us today for a case evaluation of your OPM Disability Retirement case.
Contact us at 898-9902 to begin consulting with our skilled federal employment attorneys today. We serve clients both in Houston and nationwide.
What Can I Do If I Dont Get A Decision
If a decision takes too long, you may have a right to appeal. Failure to respond is essentially a constructive denial that you can appeal. An administrative law judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board will hear your case and determine eligibility.
Follow the steps outlined below to help with the appeal process. The amount of time that is too long is not set in stone, so a lawyer can be very helpful in this instance.
If your application is taking too long, the best thing you can do is be diligent in your follow-up. Once you submit your application, you should inquire as to your application status monthly. Document your inquiry: save emails save any other correspondence document phone calls and record the name of anyone you are in contact with. If you dont hear back from any OPM representatives, document that.
Only after submitting multiple status update requests should you notify OPM that you are treating their silence as a denial. After you notify them, wait at least a month for a response before filing an official appeal. You may hear back in the intervening time that your application is nearly processed or just needs a small fix for a decision to be made.
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Will I Be Able To Keep My Subsidized Health And Dental Insurance
Yes. However, there might be some slight variations about what insurance companies are available and how much they will charge you. An advantage of receiving a subsidized FERS health insurance is that if you move overseas, some companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield will allow you to use your medical insurance in other countries. This is in contrast to the benefits offered by the SSA in that if you choose to have Medicare, you wont be able use that form of medical insurance outside the United States and its territories.
Experienced Opm Disability Retirement Attorneys Call Today
OPM has historically been known to deny applications for federal disability retirement benefits: this is why its so important to work with a FERS attorney in order to get it right the first time. If youd like FREE information on how we can help you guide you through the bureaucracy and get you your benefits in no time, please contact us TODAY at 1-855-233-3002 and speak with one of our best federal disability retirement benefits attorneys. We look forward to hearing from you.
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How Does Opm Determine Fers Disability Retirement Eligibility
The following seven factors help guide the OPM in their decision-making process regarding your application. These requirements are cumulative. In other words, they all must be met.
If the federal agency you work for can provide reasonable accommodations that will allow you to work with your present condition, they should do so. Similarly, if your federal agency cannot accommodate you in your position, it should reassign you to a different qualifying job vacancy at the agency, if such a position is available.
This type of reassignment is known as the accommodation of last resort. If you can be accommodated or reassigned, you will not be eligible for FERS disability retirement benefits.
Federal Disability Retirement Benefits For Postal Employees: The Owcp Option Versus Opm
The National Reassessment Programs primary option for Postal employees who are not fully productive is for the Postal employee to file for OWCP benefits. A letter from the NRP will allegedly state that they have searched for all available work and have concluded that the Postal Service is unable to accommodate the Postal employee based upon the medical conditions identified. The option: file for benefits from the Department of Labor, Officer of Workers Compensation Programs.
The reality of the situation, of course, is that many Postal workers in every craft imaginable Letter Carriers , Mail Handlers, Mail Processing Clerks, Maintenance Workers, Sales, Service & Distribution Clerks, etc. can be placed on OWCP rolls and often forgotten for years, and sometimes decades . Such long-term payments, generous by some standards , can lead to a sense of complacency and comfort.
The further option that every Postal Worker must consider, of course, is to prepare, formulate, and file for Post Office Disability Retirement benefits under either FERS or CSRS, from the Office of Personnel Management. This can be done concurrently with receiving and being on the rolls of OWCP by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, then opting to stay on OWCP and placing the approved Federal Disability Retirement annuity into an inactive status as a back-up system in the event of termination of OWCP benefits.
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Opm Disability Retirement: Back
Remember to not spite yourself, especially when it comes to financial considerations. If your medical disability is forcing you to take excessive LWOP, it might be better to go cold turkey and stay completely out on LWOP while you file for disability retirement benefits. This is because, once you get your disability retirement application approved, you will be paid back pay in a lump-sum form, back to the last day of your pay, at the 60% rate from your last day of pay forward for the first 12 months.
Thus, if you work only 2 days out of the week, and you take LWOP for the other 3 days, you are losing 20% of pay, because were you to go out on LWOP, instead of being paid 40% of your salary , you would be getting back-pay for essentially 3 out of the 5 days . On the other hand, dont go out on LWOP, then after 4 or 5 months, go back to work for a week because in that instance, you will never recover the 4 or 5 months of LWOP, because the last day of pay will have been paid to you when you went back to work. While all of this may be a bit confusing, it is essential to your financial health and consideration when entering the complex process of Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.