Monthly Archives: March 2013

Denied Federal Disability Retirement Benefits; What Next?

When federal employees apply for federal disability retirement, it can often be a long and frustrating process that can take up to a year from start to finish for the claim to be adjudicated. While it is our hope that the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) decision is favorable, not all claims will be approved. However, if your initial decision is a denial, there is an option to enter what is known as the federal disability retirement reconsideration stage.

In the event that one’s federal disability retirement claim is denied, the OPM will send a letter explaining the decision. The final page of the letter will include a request for reconsideration form that allows for the claimant to acknowledge intent for the Office of Personnel to revisit their claim. The applicant is given three options with regard to the re-adjudication of their federal disability retirement claim.

The first option designates for the OPM to make a decision based on evidence included along with the request form and documentation already included in the case file. Option two asks for a reconsideration based on the original documentation included with federal disability retirement application. The last option requests a reconsideration of the initial decision along with a 30 day extension to gather and submit additional evidence.

The request for reconsideration must be received by the OPM no later than 30 calendar days from the date of the initial denial letter. If the option to submit additional evidence at a later time is chosen, it may be wise to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to begin compiling new documentation.

Harris Federal Law Firm

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Understanding Occupational Disability

In our third installment of the new Harris Federal Video Blog, Bo answers the question “Do I have to be totally disabled to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.”

To truly understand the answer as to why you do not have to be totally disabled, you must first understand the concepts of occupational disability.

Total, permanent disability and occupational disability are two completely separate things.

Total disability indicates that a person is not capable of any gainful employment at all. This is the type of disability that one must have in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability. All Americans that have paid into the SS system (enough eligible quarters) are entitled to this benefit if they develop a medical condition that will prevent them from doing any work.

Occupational disability is simply not being able to complete one’s specific job. That is what federal disability retirement is. You do not have to prove that you cannot work at all, just that you are unable to fully complete all of the work required under your current employment.

That is a huge difference. For example, a bad knee injury may prevent a USPS letter carrier from walking their route and delivering parcels, making them eligible for federal disability retirement. That same person may still be capable of working at a desk job for IBM (a private sector company), which would disqualify them from getting Social Security Disability benefits.

Keep in mind that even if you receive federal disability benefits, you can still work in a job in the private sector, as long as the requirements of your new employment are within your medical restrictions.

Federal Disability Retirement is a part of every career federal employee’s pension. Read more of our articles or watch our videos to learn more about your rights. If you have more questions, call us!

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Harris Federal Video Blog: Episode 3 Disability Myth-busting

Bo and the team at Harris Federal Law Firm bring another installment of the video blog to life! This time covering the four most common questions/myth asked about federal disability retirement.

Bo answers the questions “Does my medical condition have to be job related?”, “Does modified duty count as reasonable accommodation?”, “Do I have to be totally disabled to qualify?”, and “Am I allowed to work somewhere else while on Federal Disability Retirement?”

Watch the video HERE.

We will post a few articles in the next week to go into a little more detail about how these questions are answered. Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to get all of our videos as they are released.

We strive to make it easy for federal employees to find a disability retirement attorney and get their questions answered so they can make informed and wise decisions about the future of their employment. If you have questions, visit Harris Federal’s website to learn more about your options.

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