Monthly Archives: April 2014

Federal Disability Benefits – presentation in DC

At Harris Federal, educating and assisting federal employees is our passion. We are honored to have our very own Brad Harris give a presentation on Federal Disability Benefits in Washington, DC this week! If you or someone you know has questions about their rights and options as a federal employee, contact our office. We are here to help. Federal Disability Benefits

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Federal Disability Retirement – Thank You Letter!

At Harris Federal, our passion is helping federal employees get the benefits they deserve. We consider our work meaningful, as it truly changes the lives of our clients and helps them move onto better days. Everyday we are honored to serve federal employees all across the country and receiving kind notes of appreciation from our clients is more than a reward. Here is a note from a client who worked for the VA Medical Center in Kentucky:

“Making the decision to apply for disability retirement from my government position, was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made! When I made that decision, many people advised me that there was no need to hire an attorney because I could submit all the necessary paperwork myself.

That may have been true, but I truly believe that without your guidance and professional expertise the outcome of my case would have been very different! Due to your vast knowledge of the requirements to qualify for disability retirement, I was able to obtain the information from my medical providers in a format that was clearly documented to provide the information needed by OPM to support my claim. Something I would never have been able to do on my own.

Filing for disability retirement was also an extremely stressful experience. The process takes so long that it’s impossible not to become discouraged upon occasion. I appreciate that you were always willing to answer questions and calm my fears. Your emotional support was invaluable to me.

I want to thank you for everything! I would recommend Harris Federal Law Firm to anyone planning to file a claim for disability retirement from federal service.”

– P. G., Lexington, KY

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Federal Disability Retirement – What is the OPM?

When we work for federal employees with their applications for disability retirement, the governing body that adjudicates the claim is the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM. The OPM oversees many of the Human Resource functions for all civilian federal employees. It falls under the Executive Branch of the federal government. While there is a very large office building on NW E Street in Washington, DC, the OPM houses it largest operation at the bottom of an old rock quarry in Boyers, PA. Hundreds of feet underground, the office processes almost every aspect of federal employee retirement benefits.

Whether you need to change an election on your life insurance or have need to update your annuity banking information, the OPM is who you need to speak with.

Here at Harris Federal, we work with the OPM every day. The main aspect that we engage them is with regards to federal disability retirement adjudication. The OPM has a claims office in the Washington, DC building where all of the determinations are made. The claim workers, or Legal Administrative Specialists, are assigned cases as they arrive with all of their documentation and evidence. After checking the merits of the claim and examining the evidence, the assigned LAS will make a decision about whether to approve or deny the application. If approved, the LAS forwards the paperwork to the post retirement branches for out processing and payments.

 

This may sound simple, but one of the many problems is the budget issues that the OPM has to deal with. Being a part of the Executive Branch has perks, but also drawbacks. The OPM is constantly in a budget flux and the administration changing every 4-8 years can lead to instability at the top, causing more rocky roads for customers. The budget can additionally hamstring the office and keep them constantly understaffed. It causes a massive backup and can force an applicant to wait up to a year to get a response.

We work hard to make sure that you case is put together in a way that will give you the best chance for success. We cannot make you more or less disabled, we can only help you understand your rights and then work with you and your doctors to document the strongest case possible to help you get the benefits that you are entitled to.

If you or someone you know has questions about federal disability retirement, call Harris Federal today for a free case consultation. We are here to help!

 

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Federal Disability Retirement – Success Story

D.C. was a City Carrier for the United States Postal Service for 19 years. She was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in both knees, patellofemoral syndrome, and a torn meniscus. Due to her medical conditions, she was unable to perform many of the duties of her position, and began working only 5 hours a day. D.C. reached out to Harris Federal in May of 2013. After speaking with our staff, she immediately hired us to begin work on her claim for federal disability retirement.

We began work on her claim in May of 2013. Harris Federal gathered all of the pertinent medical documentation, and worked with D.C. to complete all of the necessary forms. Her application was submitted in July of 2013, just two months after Harris Federal began work on her claim. D.C.’s application arrived at the OPM in October of 2013. While awaiting a decision, we continued to work with D.C. and her medical providers to submit updated medical evidence in support of her claim. It took just five months for D.C. to receive a decision, and as of March 2014, she has been approved for her disability retirement claim.

 

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