Monthly Archives: March 2018

VA Employees Fear for Their Jobs

fearA few years back, a VA Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ created a “secret wait list” to make it appear the hospital was filling appointments and meeting the demand. This prompted Congress to examine VA’s hiring practices and empowered the departments’ secretaries to request authority to fire employees more quickly and hold them accountable more easily.

Enter, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. It passes in June 2017 and President Trump has said, “My administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve.” He called Congress to empower every cabinet secretary to “remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

VA employees say these new performance standards don’t give them enough time to improve and VA management continues to prize their goals over employee well-being. They say one mistake may cost them their jobs.

According to a November 2017 memo from VA Deputy Undersecretary for Field Operations Willie Clark, VBA employees are entitled to one opportunity to correct a performance deficiency each year.

One VBA employee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin offered to accept a demotion to a lower General Schedule level and $10,000 pay cut, rather than rick removal. He said he felt like he was being targeted. “Everybody is afraid, scared,” he said. “The pay is pretty good, but people are very afraid for their jobs. They’re afraid to act. Everybody is so worried about the repercussions, it’s really hard to do the right thing sometimes.”

Another employee at the VBA may have her 28-year career in jeopardy after failing a performance rating by less than 1 point, a VBA rating specialist and local representative for AFGE in Philadelphia said.

According to the VA’s 2017 All Employee Survey, VA’s overall employee engagement fell in 2017, and there were “significant declines” in employee attitudes toward the workplace and leaders.

The challenges and inconsistencies of implementing this accountability act have drawn the attention of Congress. “We have been told of multiple instances in which manager have attempted to remove employees for actions such as missing a deadline or moving slowly after an injury, even they were first offenses,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont), ranking member of the VA Committee, wrote in a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin. “We are sure you would agree that these are not the types of offenses that rise to the level of immediate termination.”

New HR Guidance

New guidance from VA Central Office shows the department is giving VA supervisors the option of using progressive discipline with their employees instead of it being a managers’ main tool, to deal with problematic employees.

According to an August 2017 memo from VA Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration Peter Shelby, instead of placing employees on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), supervisors can fire or demote an employee if:

  • The employee fails a critical element in his/her performance plan.
  • There’s a “reasonable belief” that an employee’s “performance deficiency is so serious that is cannot be improved”.
  • The deficiency poses a clear danger to the employee or others.
  • The deficiency presents a risk to important services for veterans.
  • The employee repeatedly fails non-critical elements of his/her performance plan.

“VA facilities are expected to adhere to this guidance (i.e., not use PIP’s) when implementing adverse action for covered employees,” the department’s spokesperson Curt Cashour said, “Improvement plans may be used when addressing performance deficiencies for employees not covered by [the new section].”

It’s no longer required that employees serve a 90-day PIP, and supervisors won’t use PIP’s to address an employee’s performance deficiencies before proposing a removal or demotion.

training document describes supervisors new flexibility in more detail. “Management can also base an adverse action of performance deficiencies noted during the rating cycle, provided it was shared with the employee in some form of communication (email or memo),” the guidance said.

Employees who are unsuccessful on one or more of the critical elements in their performance plans have “up to 4 pay periods (2 months) to correct performance deficiencies.” If they fail to meet performance targets during that time, managers should propose a removal or demotion. Employees have only 1 opportunity to correct a deficiency each year.

The VA’s implementation of the law is disappointing so far, Tester said. They expected the department would use its new authority to discipline employees more quickly. “In many of our conversations leading up to the passage of the bill, we discuss utilization of these authorities in cases of egregious conduct, but that is not how it currently appears to be executed by your agency,” Tester wrote in the letter.

A former executive said when shown copies of VA’s performance memos, “If that’s the way you approach your human capital [and] your employees, that’s a recipe for long-term failure of the organization.”

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Fun Facts About Federal Retirement

federalHow much do you know about the federal retirement system? Chances are, not a whole lot. Here are 8 fun facts about the federal retirement system.

The federal retirement system is almost 100 years old.

An act in 1920 created a single mandatory retirement age of 70. Earlier retirement was not permitted except for disability, although in 1922 a retroactive provision was introduced allowing discontinued service retirement at age 55 with 15 years of service. No survivor annuity benefits were payable and for service of 30 years or more, the basic annuity was 60% of the final 10-year average salary, with a minimum benefit of $360 per year and a max of $720 per year. Of course, that wasn’t enough to live on.

Retirement views were different back then. Secretary of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Ed J. Cantwell had this to say, “One doesn’t stick to a job 30 years and then lightly give it up, particularly when retirement brings home the gaunt, ghostly fact that old age is close at hand and advancing with his inseparable companion, the grim reaper.”

Withdrawals from Traditional TSP accounts are taxed as ordinary income.

Traditional (as opposed to Roth) TSP withdrawals become part of your other income and taxed at ordinary federal rates. Also, be aware of the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals if you’re resigning or taking early retirement before age 55.

People are working longer.

As of 2014, 23% of men and 15% of women age 65 and older were in the workforce and these numbers are only expected to rise. According to the Census Bureau, the nation’s 90 and older population has nearly tripled over the past 4 decades, reaching 1.9 million in 2010. Federal retirees should recognize the value of lifetime pensions and health insurance and weigh the value of lifetime survivor benefits that are adjusted for inflation.

There’s a 76% difference in the Social Security benefit when claimed at age 62 vs. 70.

If you delay your Social Security benefit until age 70, you can get $700-$1,000 in additional benefits. However, this only makes sense if most of the following are true:

  • You are still working at age 62 and beyond.
  • You live comfortably without claiming benefits early.
  • There is enough investment income in your accounts to withdraw larger payments in your early retirement years while delaying Social Security.
  • You have an average or above average life expectancy.
  • You are the higher income earner of a married couple or the older spouse of a married couple.

There are more than 250 health plans in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

There may be a ton of options but according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report, 2/3 of all participants choose one of the 2 options under Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Plans.

Federal Employee Group Life Insurance isn’t always the cheapest option, but the benefits it offers are important.

These include Basic and Option B benefits that increase as your basic pay rate does. It also follows you into retirement if you retire with an immediate annuity and you’ve had coverage for the 5 years leading into retirement.

Federal Employee Benefits don’t include disability insurance.

Sick leave and disability retirement provide for times when federal employees can’t work due to illness or disability. Federal employees earn 104 hours of sick leave per year. Those under FERS are eligible to apply for disability retirement after completing 18 months of service if diagnosed with a condition that prevents them from doing their job for at least a year.

If you think you may qualify for federal disability retirement, don’t hesitate to call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. The consultation is always FREE.

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A “New” Old Rule May Make it Easy to Cut Pay

cutThis week the House voted to extend a rule making it easier for lawmakers to eliminate federal jobs and reduce the salaries of federal employees. The Holman Rule was brought back at the beginning of the 115thCongress, but it was scheduled to only be in place for one year.

This rule, which had been banned since 1983, enables lawmakers to reduce the number of federal employees at specific agencies or cut their compensation as a provision of or an amendment to an appropriation bill. They can cut the rolls or compensation for employees only at the agencies covered by the specific spending bill in which the provision or amendment is included. The salary reductions can target only those employees whose salaries are paid from the Treasury.

The Holman Rule was never used successfully in 2017. Congress tried slashing 1/3 of the employees in the Congressional Budget Offices, but that was easily defeated on the House floor. Amendments were also put forward to strip the salaries of any employee working full time on official time or anyone “not subject to at-will employment”. However, those provisions did not make it out of committee.

The House Policy Committee said when it first passed the rule last year that it was intended to “provide members with additional tools to reduce spending during consideration of the regular general appropriations bill”.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., accused House Republicans of sneaking in the rule extension “without any public debate”. “This archaic tool, also known as the Armageddon Rule, is nothing more than a backdoor way for Republicans to dismantle the federal workforce and carry out political vendettas at the expense of career civil servants,” he said. He added, “no one is safe” because Republicans attempted to invoke the measure on the non-partisan CBO.

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2017 Saw an Increased Turnover in the Government

turnover

In 2017, more federal employees chose to voluntarily resign their positions leading to an increased turnover. Last year saw 468,000 employees leave the federal government resulting in a 16.7% turnover rate, up from 16.4% in 2016, according to data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of that number, 189,000 quit the government in 2017, up from 162,000 in 2016. This made the federal government’s quit rate 6.7% in 2017 compared to 5.8% in 2016 and 5.4% in 2015.

Even though more employees chose to quit, fewer decided to retire. Further, the number of separations (including retirements, deaths, and disability) fell in 2017 to 123,000, down from 138,000 in 2016. The other separations rate declined from 4.9% in 2016 to 4.4% in 2017. Rates are determined by the number of separations during the entire year as a percentage of annual average employment.

Aging Federal Workforce

From 2011-2014, the annual number of workers quitting federal service was small than the number of other separations. Since 2015, this has reversed with 2017 making this the largest gap between quits and other separations in the past 3 years.

The Office of Personnel Management reports approximately 45% of full-time is over 50 with 4% of those over the age of 65. Even the number of new hires declined to 456,000, down from 487,000 in 2016. The combination of fewer retirements and fewer hires is resulting in an older workforce. OPM estimates only 6% of full-time federal employees are under the age of 30.

Layoffs

Early in the Trump administration brought concerns the new administration would increase firings, however, the total number of federal employees laid off or discharged in 2017 remained the same as 2016. In both 2016 and 2017, there were 157,000 layoffs and discharges at a rate of 5.6%. This contrasts with 163,000 in 2015.

Comparing Private Sector Numbers

Turnover numbers and rates, and subcategories of turnover have always been greater in the private sector and that remained true in 2017. In the private sector, the rate of total separation rose to 47.4 % in 2017, up from 46.5% in 2016.

The rate of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs was 29.1% in 2017, rising from 28.1% in 2016. This number has risen for 8 consecutive years. Layoffs and discharges rose from 15.4% in 2016 to 15.6% in 2017, while the rate of other separations (retirements, deaths, disability) dropped from 3.0% in 2016 to 2.8% in 2017.

If you think you qualify for federal disability retirement, please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form.

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New Dental/Vision Plans for Military Retirees

dentalThe Office of Personnel Management announced that the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program will be offered for the first time to TRICARE eligible retirees and their families during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season. Active duty family members will be eligible to enroll in FEDVIP vision insurance.

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) ends December 31, 2018, therefore enrollees in this program must choose a dental plan through FEDVIP to have coverage in 2019 as enrollment isn’t automatic. This announcement affects 1.63 million beneficiaries enrolled in TRDP and offers a choice to an additional 1.3 million eligible retired beneficiaries not currently enrolled in TRDP.

Most covered under a TRICARE plan may enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan. This coverage, including eyeglasses or contacts, is in addition to the routine eye exam benefit that many beneficiaries have under TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select.

The Federal Benefits Open Season enrollment period will run from November 12, 2018, to December 10, 2018, and it runs concurrently with the TRICARE Open Season. Coverage will be effective January 1, 2019.

“OPM is thrilled to offer a variety of quality vision and dental plans to our military retirees and their families, and for the first time, an option for vision insurance to active duty family members,” said OPM Director Jeff Pon. “We look forward to providing FEDVIP to the military, their families, and retirees.”

While this may be a few months off, it’s important to plan and prepare now to avoid surprises or lapse in coverage.

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Should You Resign or Retire?

resign

A federal employee may be eligible to retire but decide to resign instead. Their paycheck ceases, and their retirement doesn’t start until they file for retirement benefits. It’s not a common occurrence but here are some situations in which a federal employee, who is eligible to retire, may decide to resign:

  • He/she wants to work for a different federal agency but not continue with their current employment while seeking the new position.
  • There is an interest in moving to a new state or different country and they are seeking reemployment afterward.
  • He/she wants to prevent an ex-spouse from receiving a court-ordered share of their retirement benefit, even though that keeps the employee from receiving their own share of the benefit.

So, why do this? Why not simply retire and get the benefit? There are several different reasons.

Once you voluntarily retire and then become reemployed in federal service, you are considered a reemployed annuitant. This may mean an offset to your salary in the amount of your retirement benefit, so you’d only be receiving the difference between your salary and your benefit.

Having new service added to your retirement requires at least a one-year commitment to reemployment and having your retirement recomputed would require 5 years of additional service. However, there are exceptions to this salary offset:

  • Dual compensation waiver of reemployment of civilian retirees to meet exceptional needs.
  • Involuntary retirement under discontinued service.
  • If you are found to be recovered from a disability, are under age 60, and have retired under provisions of CSRS or FERS disability retirement.

Employees who leave federal service at their Minimum Retirement Age with less than 30 years of service, but more than 10 years, or at age 60 or 61 with less than 20 years, but more than 10, will incur a penalty of 5% for every year they’re under age 62 at the time they file for retirement. Postponing the application will reduce or eliminate the reduction. If the employee returns to federal service prior to filing for retirement, they will not be considered a reemployed annuitant. They will simply be considered a rehired former employee.

Example

A former employee who is 58 years old with more than 20 years of regular FERS service, separated before reaching their MRA. She wants to find a FERS-covered position but wants to know how she would be treated upon rehire if she wasn’t able to secure that job until after her 60th birthday (at which point she would be eligible for an unreduced deferred annuity). The question is would she be considered a reemployed annuitant if she were to return to federal service after turning 60?

The answer is anyone who separated from federal service without filing a retirement application and is rehired would be treated as a rehire and a reemployed annuitant. This is also true if the employee had been eligible for an immediate retirement, be approved and start receiving payments prior to being rehired, in order to be considered a reemployed annuitant.

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Is FEGLI Option B Important?

option

What is FEGLI?

The federal government offers life insurance known as the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance. Like most options, it has advantages and disadvantages.

FEGLI Basic insurance coverage is equal to one-year base pay rounded up to the next thousand plus $2,000. This benefit is provided without a required medical exam and is subsidized 33% by the government (100% for postal employees).

It is currently priced at 0.15 per $1,000 of coverage each pay period. Also, the basic plan is supplemented free of charge starting at age 35 with a 10% increase in benefit each year until age 45. The supplemental benefit is removed at age 45.

FEGLI basic coverage may be a good option but should you purchase supplemental coverage separately? Let’s look and see.

Beyond Basic

  • Option A adds $10,000 to the benefit amount and is priced in 5-year brackets, increasing dramatically at age 55.
  • Option B lets you add a multiple of your salary to the insurable amount, up to 5 times your base salary. It’s based on your current age and adjusts at 5-year intervals.
  • Option C provides some coverage for spouses and dependents in multiples of $5,000 and $2,500 respectively. Their costs also adjust in 5-year increments.

A Closer Look at Option B

Major decisions involve Options B and C because the cost per thousand dollars of coverage on the basic plan is inexpensive and doesn’t change with age (until retirement).

One easy thing about Option B is if you elect additional coverage within 60 days of hire, there are no health requirements and the premium is deducted from payroll. However, if you miss the initial 60-day window, you’ll have to provide evidence of good health (at your own expense), wait for a qualifying life event, or for the Office of Personnel Management to have a rare Open Season.

Just remember, the cost of Option B in your later years could get expensive.

Alternatives

An alternative is using the marketplace to find term life insurance at significantly less cost as you age because it has a fixed, or “level” payment, and it provides better policy options. Also, individual policies are not affected by a change in your employer.

Rate Comparison

Here is an example of a 38-year-old federal employee who wants the max amount of Option B. He elects 5 times his annual pay of $39,400 (rounded to $40,000) totaling $200,000. The cost for Option B is $13/month. This is a good, or better than any preferred rates available.

However, when he is 55 years old, his monthly cost for Option B will rise to over $100/month. This is more than double the best rates available in the marketplace for a 55-year old rated preferred. He would’ve been better off taking a 20 or 30-year term policy initially.

If you have health issues, things get even trickier.

Of course, this is a personal decision and should largely be determined by your health. Healthy employees may want to look elsewhere. But if you are concerned about your health rating, electing FEGLI and shopping the marketplace may be a smart decision. After all, you can always cancel coverage once you have a better policy in place.

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Does Reemployment Affect Retirement Benefits?

reemploymentMany qualifying life events can have significant effects on your retirement benefits, such as marriage, divorce, or reemployment. This post will look at how reemployment (in the private and public sectors) affects your retirement benefits after retirement, under FERS.

Annuity

Reemployment will cause your FERS annuity to stop it:

  • You are receiving a disability annuity from the Office of Personnel Management and they have found you recovered or restored to earning capacity prior to reemployment.
  • You are a disability annuitant who was medically disqualified for continued membership in the National Guard.

FEHB

If your annuity stops upon reemployment, your health insurance coverage as an annuitant stops. If you are eligible for FEHB coverage with your new position, you can enroll in the program when re-employed.

FEGLI

Your life insurance stops without a right to convert it to an individual policy if your annuity stops upon reemployment. You can have life insurance coverage as an employee under the same conditions as any other employee who is rehired in federal service.

FEDVIP

No longer receiving annuity—coverage an annuitant ends if you are no longer receiving an annuity. If your new position gives you eligibility for FEHB coverage, you may enroll in the FEDVIP when re-employed.

Still receiving annuity—if you are reemployed in a position giving you FEDVIP eligibility, you must contact BENEFEDS if you want those premiums deducted from your paycheck. Most reemployed annuitants choose to make that change because retirees pay FEDVIP premiums with post-tax dollars and employees pay with pre-tax dollars. If your new position doesn’t convey FEDVIP eligibility, you may retain the coverage as an annuitant.

Future Benefits

When your annuity stops, you have the same status as any other fed employed in an equivalent position with a similar history. When you again leave service, you will be entitled to either an immediate or deferred annuity based on the new separation.

If you are reemployed with a Department of Defense agency, you are subject to a dual compensation waiver allowing receipt of both annuity and salary. However, under this waiver, you will not be entitled to future retirement benefits.

If you retired under a discontinued service position, you may elect to no receive this waiver and become subject to FERS reemployment provisions, which will apply an offset to your salary based on the monthly amount of your annuity. Reemployment service can be applied to your retirement depending on the amount of service you perform.

The following applies if you are a FERS disability annuitant considering federal reemployment:

  • If you are reemployed on a permanent basis in a position equivalent in grade and pay to the position from which you retired, OPM may find you recovered from your disability.
  • If you are reemployed subject to medical and physical qualification standards equal to those of the position from which you retired, OPM may have found you recovered.
  • The pay of the position in which you are reemployed, prior to the offset of annuity, will be included as earnings in determining whether disability annuity will stop due to the restoration of earning capacity.
  • Receipt of, or continued receipt of full or partial Workers’ Compensation benefits, when those benefits are based on the same injury or medical condition that is the basis of OPM’s award of disability retirement, is evidence you have not recovered from your disability.
  • If you are over age 60, your annuity can’t be stopped because of the earnings cap and OPM can find you recovered only if you ask to be found recovered.

Employment in the Private Sector

Effect on FERS Basic Benefit

Your employment outside the federal government won’t affect your basic FERS annuity payments unless you’re receiving a disability annuity under the age of 60. If that’s the case, you are subject to the 80% earnings limit. You can reach this by, if in any given year, your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80% of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired.

FERS Annuity Supplement

If you are receiving an annuity supplement, it will be reduced based on how much you earn over the Social Security earnings limit.

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New Priority Goals for Agencies

priorityThe Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act required the Trump administration to post its first set of agency strategic plans and priority goals, which it did. The goals, described on performance.gov, haven’t received much attention because the White Houses’ budget proposal was released the same day.

The documents on the website shoe a blueprint of the Trump administration’s priorities, such as agencies 4-year strategic plans and objectives for 2018-2022, and 2-year agency priority goals for 2018-2019.

There are 74 priority goals listed, in comparison to 91 listed during the preceding 2-years period under President Obama. Close to 1/3 of the Trump administration’s priority goals focus on the same areas as Obama’s administration, but with different emphasis. For example:

Commerce—priority goal for accelerating patent processing

“By September 30, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will reduce patent pendency to less than 15 months for first action pendency and less than 24 months for total pendency from the end of FY2017 results of 16.3 months and 24.2 months, respectively.”

Compare to the same goal under the Obama administration:

“By September 30, 2017, the Patent and Trademark Office will reduce patent pendency to less than 14 months for first action and less than 23 months for total pendency from the end of FY2014 results of 18.4 and 27.4 months. This priority goal supports the Department of Commerce’s longer-term goal focused on achieving 10 months for first action pendency and 20 months for total pendency by FY2019.”

Housing and Urban Development—priority goal for homelessness

“Reduce the average length of homelessness in communities by an average of 3 days by the end of FY2019.”

Compare to the Obama administration:

“In partnership with other agencies, the Department of Housing Urban Development will reduce the total number of homeless families, youth and children, and people experiencing chronic homelessness, as well as keep the number of veterans living on the street at 0.”

State Department—food security goal

“Increase food security and resilience in Feed the Future countries. By September 30, 2019, Feed the Future will exhibit an average reduction in the prevalence of poverty and stunting of 20%, across target regions in Feed the Future’s focus countries, since the beginning of the initiative in FY2010.”

In comparison, the food security goals during the Obama administration was:

“Increase food security in Feed the Future initiative countries. By September 30, 2017, 10 out of 19 Feed the Future focus countries will exhibit reductions of 10% or greater in the prevalence of poverty or stunting in their zones of influence, compared to the 2011-2012 baseline study results.”

Priority goals in new areas—the Trump administration has developed some agency priority goals not identified under the previous administration.

State Department has added a big goal:

“Achieve control of the HIV epidemic. By September 30, 2019, new infections are fewer than deaths from all causes in HIV positive patients in up to 13 high-HIV burden countries through leadership by State and implementation by USAID; the U.S> Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and National Institutes of Health; Departments of Defense, Labor, and Treasury; and Peace Corps.”

Other priority goals are reducing regulatory burdens, enhancing southern border security, and improving the processing of drilling applications of public lands.

Agencies have already begun implementing these priority goals and will be reporting their progress for the first quarter of 2018 soon on performance.gov.

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Should You Hire an Attorney?

attorneyIf you find yourself in a position where you’re looking at filing for federal disability retirement, you are, no doubt, looking into whether hiring an attorney is worth the money. An attorney is not required for you to file your disability retirement claim with the Office of Personnel Management. And let’s face it, attorneys are expensive. However, NOT hiring one may cost you even more.

Below are areas in the federal disability retirement process where you may want to have an attorney’s help.

Eligibility

Determining your eligibility for federal disability retirement seems straightforward—you meet the requirements, you’re eligible. Generally, that’s true. However, a few of the criteria have a bit of a gray area and you may want the expertise of an attorney who has seen your type of case before.

One of the criteria for federal disability retirement is you must have become disabled, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position.

Let’s say you work on a computer all day and deal with paperwork and you suffer from migraines. These migraines get so bad that you miss work, can’t focus on your computer screen, can’t sleep, or eat. Eventually, this leads you to other illnesses that keeps you from doing your job duties effectively. (Remember, this is just one of the criteria; there are others you must meet as well.) Now, let’s say you suffer from migraines, but this time its stress related from your work environment. You still are unable to complete your job duties but removing you from your work environment removes the trigger for your migraines, so you can work again.

One of these is more likely to get help your claim with OPM and one isn’t. But do you know the difference?

Medical Records

This one is tricky. You can get your own medical records from your doctor. You don’t need an attorney to help you with that. The one thing here an attorney CAN help you with is ensuring you supplement your disability retirement application with the RIGHT medical evidence from supportive doctors.

Application

The application for federal disability retirement is lengthy and can be confusing. Again, you don’t need an attorney to help you with it. The problem here is that the entire process with OPM generally takes 12-18 months. That’s with a full and complete application. But what if there’s a mistake in there that you don’t know about or didn’t realize you made? That could delay your decision another year. You don’t want that, especially if you are out of work and not receiving any income.

Appeals

Harris Federal Law Firm represents clients through all three stages of the process; initial, Reconsideration, and Merit Systems Protection Board. Of course, you can file on your own and receive an approval. But what if you get denied? You then have an incredibly tight window to appeal (and then hire an attorney if you choose to). The same thing goes for the next stage, should you get denied again.

So, should you hire an attorney for federal disability retirement? There’s no right or wrong answer. While an attorney may be expensive, there are great benefits to retaining one. Harris Federal Law Firm has represented thousands of federal employees with filing for federal disability retirement. Our consultation is always FREE. Fill out this INQUIRYform or call us at 877-226-2723 to schedule yours today.

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