Monthly Archives: September 2016

Illness Can Qualify You for Federal Disability Retirement-Part 2

illness

As discussed in part 1 of this post, physical illnesses can qualify you for Federal Disability Retirement. But did you know, Psychological and Psychiatric disorders can also qualify you for Federal Disability Retirement? These are harder cases to prove because they require much more documentation. Treatment notes such as diagnosis, symptoms, your treatment plan, prognosis, a history of your treatments (including every medication prescribed), and how you responded to each treatment are all extremely important as evidence for your case. However, the most important notes that need to be included in your packet is how your condition has impaired your functioning, and more importantly, your job functioning.

Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Early set Alzheimer’s, and Schizophrenia are common illnesses we’re going to focus on. To learn more about each one of these, click on the blog post below.

Can I Qualify for Federal Disability Retirement with My Illness?-Part 2

As mentioned before, OPM doesn’t have a set list illnesses or disorders that will qualify you for Federal Disability Retirement. If you suffer from one of these (or another) and it causes you to be unable to perform your job duties, the important thing to do is make you sure you have complete documentation of it. Feel free to give us a call at (877) 226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form. We can walk you through the process. Also, we can help you make sure you have all the forms and medical evidence you need. Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping federal workers for years. We are confident we can help you too!

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Is a Situational Disability Enough?

situationalWhat is a ‘situational’ disability? Can I be approved for Federal Disability Retirement if I have one?

In order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement, you must meet certain criteria. One of those being your disability must be keeping you from being efficient at your current essential job duties. So having a disability that is ‘situational’ sounds good then, right? In short, the answer is not necessarily. Let’s look at this in more depth.

First, let’s define what a situational disability is.

  • It is location-specific. This means the condition is attributed to a supervisor, co-worker, or work environment at that specific location.
  • Your medical or psychological condition only shows up in that specific work context.

**The condition is NOT a situational disability if it extends beyond your specific work situation.

Find out more by clicking on the post below.

The team at Harris Federal Law Firm is here to help guide you through the process. We have been in helping federal workers for over a decade with their Federal Disability Retirement cases. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from a condition that is causing you to not perform your job duties, give us a call at 877-226-2723, or fill out this inquiry form. The consultation is always FREE.

Situational Disability–Can it Approve Me for Federal Disability Retirement?

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Illness Can Qualify You for Federal Disability Retirement-Part 1

illness

A requirement for Federal Disability Retirement is that you have a qualifying injury or disease that keeps you from performing the essential duties of your job. While there is much written about the injury portion, the same cannot be said about the illness part. If you develop an illness or psychological disorder during your employment in federal service, you may qualify for benefits through Federal Disability Retirement. Your condition must also be expected to last at least one year.

This two-part post will look at some common illnesses and psychological disorders that affect federal workers. Harris Federal Law Firm has years of experience assisting federal employees with their disability retirement cases. If you have a condition that is keeping you from being effective in your job, please give us a call at 877-226-2723. We would love to speak with you and help in any way we can!

Can I Qualify for Federal Disability Retirement with my Illness?-Part 1

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Benefit Interaction Part 2-FERS vs. OWCP

fers interactionIn a previous post, we looked at the interaction between FERS disability benefits and Social Security benefits. Now we’re going to focus on FERS benefits and OWCP (Office of Workers Compensation Program) payments.

  • Workers Comp
  1. Lost wages-66% Single and 75% with dependents (either is tax-free)
  2. Medical-pays medical bills, not premiums, for the life of the injury
  3. Schedule Award (SA)-can’t receive this and lost wages at the same time but can get disability and SA concurrently.
  4. Continuation of Pay (COP)-your pay will continue at same rate for 45 days after injury occurred
  • Workers Comp is designed to be temporary whereas disability is ongoing. If you want to receive OWCP benefit, payments from OPM (disability) will be suspended. However, if OWCP benefits stop, you can get disability benefits back.

There are a couple of instances where you can receive a FERS annuity and OWCP benefits concurrently.

To learn more about how these two work together, and don’t work together, read the post (below) on our website.

Benefit Interaction Part 2–FERS Disability Vs OWCP Payments

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The Process of Applying for Federal Disability Retirement

fdr processAfter determining your eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement comes the process of filing for disability benefits. Make sure you understand the process and what forms are needed. Keep these things in mind when applying:

  • Apply for Social Security Disability.
  • You must apply within one year of separation from your employing agency.
  • You must submit required supporting medical documentation, forms SF 3107 (Application for Immediate Retirement) and SF 3112 (Documentation in support of Disability Retirement), and proof you have applied for Social Security.

If you’ve been separated from your employing agency for 31 days or less, they will help you complete the required forms and forward them to OPM. It’s your responsibility to obtain all info necessary for the OPM to make a decision. If you’ve been separated more than 31 days, your application should be sent straight to OPM. Your employing agency may no longer have your personnel records and may not be able to recover them in the one-year time frame.

Proving that your medical condition is affecting your attendance, conduct, or performance may be the hardest qualification to show. Make sure to include your doctor in the process. The team here at Harris Federal Law Firm has been representing Federal workers for over a decade. We can help walk you through the process. Fill out this inquiry form or give us a call at 877-226-2723 to find out how we can help you!

For more information on this process, check out our blog below!

I’m Qualified for Federal Disability Retirement, What Now?

 

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Benefit Interaction Part 1: FDR vs SSD

benefit ineractionOPM requires you to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) when applying for Federal Disability Retirement (FDR). If you happen to be approved for both, you can receive benefits concurrently. However, your benefit payout calculation can be a bit tricky.

If you happen to be approved for both SSD and FDR, the SSD would be the primary benefit and your FDR would be offset by that amount. Here are the formulas for computing your annuity while receiving both FDR and SSD:

 

  1. Year 1=SSD + (60% FDR minus 100% SSD)
  2. Year 2 (up to age 62) =SSD + (40% FDR minus 60% SSD)

During year one of your FERS disability, you receive 60% of your High-3 Salary. So your disability is offset by all of your SSD benefits. In year 2, and every year after until age 62, you receive 40% of your High-3 Salary. This time, however, your disability amount would be offset by 60% of your SSD benefits. This can be confusing to read, so click on the link to learn more about how these benefits work, and in some cases, do not work together.

Benefit Interaction Part 1–FERS Disability Vs Social Security Disability

Harris Federal Law Firm knows the process of applying for Federal Disability Retirement very well and we can help walk you through the process. Give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form to find out how we can help you!

 

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OPM Process for FDR Claims

opm process

The process of The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) making a decision on your Federal Disability Retirement case can be a long and tedious one. They have only 16 Legal Administrative Specialists (LAS) that review anywhere between 10,000-14,000 cases a year. That’s a lot! So it’s extremely important to ensure that you submit and complete and timely application.

To start, you should consider applying for Federal Disability Retirement only after you have provided your employing agency with the complete documentation of your medical condition and your agency has exhausted all reasonable attempts to retain you in a productive capacity.

Once OPM receives your application, they take several steps in determining whether or not your application gets approved.

To look at these steps with more detail, click on the following link.

How Does OPM Process Federal Disability Retirement Claims?

Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping injured or sick federal workers who can no longer work, with their case for Federal Disability Retirement for over a decade. If you think you qualify, or just want to learn more about the process, call us at 877-226-2723. You can also fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.

 

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Pitfalls and Delays-Avoid Them!

pitfallsThere are many common reasons a claim for Federal Disability Retirement might be denied. A few of these pitfalls may include not meeting deadlines, submitting the wrong or insufficient evidence, and your employing agency trying to “accommodate” you. Furthermore, being considered medically recovered, being re-employed with Federal service, or earning more than you are allowed to may all cause delays in receiving your annuity payments.

To ensure these don’t happen to you, make sure you know the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement. Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping Federal workers for over a decade, all across the country. Click here to learn more about how we can help you with your case.

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New Fall Webinar Schedule!

webinar

We just posted our new Fall webinar schedule! We love that we are able to offer FREE webinars for Federal workers. Here is the new schedule.

Wednesday, October 19th 12:00pm EST–“Myth-Busting: Federal Disability Retirement”

  • Increase your knowledge about the program—it may be critical to one of your co-workers or even you and your family because it can drastically improve a federal employees’ life. For example, an employee is allowed to work outside the federal government while drawing OPM occupational disability benefits! If you’re interested in learning the facts and discarding the myths, this webinar is for you!

Wednesday, November 16th 12:00pm EST–“OWCP Federal Worker’s Compensation vs. OPM Federal Disability Retirement”

  • If you have questions about the difference in OWCP Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits and OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this webinar is for you! Federal employees are often unsure of which program they are eligible for, and the specific benefits associated with each. When making decisions about the best path for you, it’s crucial you know how to tell these two programs apart and understand how the benefits offset one another.

Thursday, December 15th 12:00pm EST–“Your Rights to Federal Disability Retirement”

  • If you are a federal employee who cannot fully perform the duties of your normal job assignment, you may qualify to leave your service position with federal disability retirement benefits. This benefit is already built into your CSRS or FERS. Many federal employees are unaware of what it is or even if they qualify. For example, did you know that your medical condition does not have to be a work-related issue or injury?

We hope you’ll join us!

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Eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement

disabilityIn order to be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, you will need 18 months of creditable service. Aside from that, here are the criteria you must meet in order to qualify. They include:

  • The sustained disease or injury occurred while you were employed in a FERS position. You must be considered disabled for useful or efficient service.
  • The medical condition must be expected to last at least one year.
  • You must apply for Social Security Disability, although you do not have to be approved.
  • Your employing agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your condition and it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same pay/grade level within the same commuting area.
  • You must be considered occupationally disabled, meaning your disability is keeping you from being efficient at your current job duties.

Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping Federal workers with their Federal Disability Retirement cases for over a decade. If you think you may qualify, feel free to give us a call at (877) 226-2723. The consultation is always FREE! You can also fill out this inquiry form!

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