Category Archives: Federal Disability Attorney

Do I Need a Lawyer for Federal Disability Retirement?

lawyer

Question of the Week: Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Federal Disability Retirement?

A: This question is a common one. We hear it quite often. And the answer, quite simply, is no. You do not have to hire a lawyer to file for federal disability retirement. However, a lot of thought should be put into this question and decision.

Filing for federal disability retirement yourself, while manageable, is a complex, and often, confusing process. There are deadlines and requirements you must be aware of and meet.

The following are important to consider when deciding whether to hire a lawyer or not.

Eligibility

The Office of Personnel Management has laid out specific criteria you must meet to qualify for federal disability retirement. However, it’s not always clear if you meet those criteria. Seeking a lawyer is beneficial here. Harris Federal Law Firm offers FREE consultations so we can help discuss your case and specific situation and help determine if federal disability retirement is right for you.

Medical

The important thing with federal disability retirement is tying your medical condition to your inability to perform your duties at an efficient level. Doctors may not be aware of the one-year deadline t submit your application to OPM. On top of that, you need to know which forms to submit with your application.

Application

Often, federal disability retirement applications are lengthy and might include hundreds of pages. If filing on you own, that may get overwhelming. A lawyer can help you understand, not only what forms you need, but can make sure those forms are accurate and complete.

Appeals

Sometimes cases get denies by OPM, whether by mistake or an incomplete application. Again, there are deadlines, much tighter in this event, and having a lawyer in this stage is extremely beneficial. You may hire a lawyer at this stage, however, if you had one already at the initial stage, they generally represent you at any subsequent stages, should your application get denied.

Again, it’s not required that you retain a lawyer to file for federal disability retirement. However, having one may put your mind at ease when moving through the federal disability retirement process. We have represented thousands of federal employees with their cases, and we can help navigate you through the process. Call us at 877-226-2723 to set up a FREE consultation with us so we can discuss your specific situation. You can also fill out this INQUIRY form.

Tagged , , , , ,

Planning for Retirement?

planningPlanning for retirement can be a scary time. Many questions surround people as they start to think about retirement; Can I even afford to retire? When should I retire? Can I still have insurance coverage? Do I have to elect beneficiaries? Those, along with other questions, are important to think about as you enter this phase in your life.

Five Years Before

While it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement, the five-year before mark is an especially important one. This is because, in order to carry over any health and life insurance when you retire, you must carry coverage continuously for the five years immediately before retirement. Continuing health insurance in retirement is possible if:

  • You maintain health insurance when you retire.
  • Your annuity must begin within 30 days.
  • You must maintain coverage for the 5 years immediately leading into retirement.

 

One Year Before

It becomes more critical at this point to double check your benefits and ensure that all your personal and work information is correct. The following are key to ensuring a smooth transition into retirement:

  • Confirm that you are eligible to receive a retirement benefit.
  • Decide on the date you want to retire and tell your supervisor.
  • Ask about any other benefits you may be eligible to receive, including your TSP.
  • Confirm your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete and your insurance coverage is documented.

Also, make sure that you have any beneficiaries designated. If there is not designation made, your benefits will be paid out in the following order, 1. Widow/widower, 2. Children in equal shares, 3. Parents in equal shares, 4. Appointed executor/administrator of your estate, and 5. Next of kin under the laws of the state in which you reside in when you die.

To learn more about what you need to do at each stage, click below.

Retirement Planning? Here’s What You Should Know

In the event that an injury or illness affects your job duties and you can no longer work, you may be eligible for a disability retirement. Of course, there is no way to plan for this happening, however knowing your options should this arise can help you plan for your next steps. Our team at Harris Federal Law Firm can help you if you find yourself in a situation like this. If this sounds like what you’re facing, please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.

Tagged , , , ,

Is Seeking Representation Right for Me?

representation

Deciding whether or not to hire an attorney to help with your disability retirement case is a big decision. However, trying to navigate your way through the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement can be a confusing and complex one. Below are a few points to think about if you find yourself having to file for disability retirement.

Help Determine Your Eligibility

Knowing if you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement isn’t always clear. OPM has specific criteria you must meet, but every case is different. Here at Harris Federal Law Firm, our consultation is always free and we can help you determine if you are eligible for disability retirement benefits.

Medical Records

Proving your medical condition is affecting your performance at work may be the hardest part of the process. You are required to prove you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, and the condition is affecting your job performance, conduct, and attendance.

Preparing Your Application

Understanding what legal forms are asking is often confusing. You don’t want to guess what the form is asking and then hope for the best. There are deadlines you must meet when filing for disability benefits, so you want to make sure you have a complete understanding of the forms and process. An attorney can help you understand what each question is asking and help you submit your application.

Representation for Appeals

It’s a fact that cases get denied. More often than not, this is because there is a lack of medical evidence.

To learn more about each one of these, click on the blog post below.

Why Should I Seek Representation?

While hiring an attorney is a choice, it is extremely beneficial to do so. Harris Federal Law Firm has been in this business for over a decade. We have helped many federal workers with their Federal Disability Retirement cases. We know the system and can help navigate you through it. For a FREE consultation, fill out this inquiry form. You can also call us at 877-226-2723.

Tagged , , , ,

Look for These in a Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

attorneyApplying for Federal Disability Retirement requires a lot of attention to detail. You need to know when filing deadlines are, ensure you have the proper documentation, and complete all the paperwork necessary for the OPM to accurately decide your claim. Many federal workers are understandably unsure of how the process works and who they can ask for help. While it’s certainly not required to hire an attorney, many people have found hiring one has been extremely helpful. Below are some attributes and questions to keep in mind when searching for someone to represent you and your case.

 Experience

Hire an attorney who has experience with federal disability claims. You don’t want someone who is in general practice. Chances are, this person wouldn’t navigate the tedious process of disability retirement claims, especially if your case is denied by the OPM. Find someone who knows the system and is well established. Also, don’t be afraid to look for an attorney outside of your local area. The team at Harris Federal Law Firm has been successfully navigating the OPM and MSPB process for more than a decade and we have helped countless federal workers in all 50 states. Hiring an attorney with experience is key!

Ask about Fees

Make sure you ask any attorney that you call what they charge. Find out if they charge a flat fee or aby-the-hour fee. If they charge on a by-the-hour basis, follow up by asking for an estimate on how long they expect to work on your case. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect to spend. Some attorneys offer discounts for union members, so make sure to ask that if you are a member of a union.

Communication

Communication is key is every part of our lives. When finding an attorney to handle your Federal Disability Retirement case, this should be at the forefront of your mind! We all know that having open and honest communication makes life easier. This is especially important when dealing with an attorney. Would you like it if, after the initial consultation and paying your attorney, you didn’t hear from them for months? No, just like you wouldn’t only talk to your friends or family once a year. Make sure you hire someone that will stay in constant contact with you throughout the process.

Do your Research

You can find just about anything on the internet these days, so use it to your advantage when looking for an attorney. Do research on attorneys you’re considering and find and read reviews on them. Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney if they have former clients who will be willing to speak with you over the phone or in person. Most happy clients are excited to share their success story with others.

Passionate

Your attorney should be passionate about helping federal workers. Find someone who loves what they do and is constantly learning more about their specific practice. Generally, if you’re passionate about your field, you want to learn as much as possible. This is the type of attorney you want representing you; one that aims for success and gets a sense of accomplishment from helping federal workers.

Hiring an attorney is an investment. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth and that your attorney has your best interest in mind. We would love the opportunity to speak with you if you think you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement. Our consultation is free! Give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form.

 

Tagged , , , ,

Open Season is FEGLI’s First in 12 Years!

Open Season

FEGLI’s first Open Season in 12 years is coming! During the month of September 2016, eligible federal employees will be able to elect any FEGLI coverage or change current elections. Elections made in this Open Season will have a one year delayed effective date, meaning any elections made during this time will not be effective until the first day of the first full pay period starting October 1, 2017.

You are not required to make any changes, and if you choose you’re happy with your current coverage, simply take no action. However, if you want to add or increase coverage, you must elect ALL the coverage you want. Coverage that is not elected will be waived or cancelled. You may also change your elections as many times as needed during September 2016.

For more information on this rare FEGLI Open Season event, check out our blog post http://www.federaldisability.com/blog/2016/08/first-open-season-fegli-12-years/

Tagged , , , ,

Harris Federal Law Firm Announces New Training Webinars For Federal Workers

As a firm that works with injured and disabled federal employees across the country and abroad, Harris Federal is providing FREE training webinars for federal workers to learn more about their rights and benefits.

Federal employees now have new resources to learn more about their rights and benefits. Harris Federal Law Firm, a national employment law firm representing federal workers, will host four free webinars within the coming months. The webinar topics will pertain to federal employee benefits, such as OWCP federal workers’ compensation and OPM federal disability retirement.

“We realize that not many federal employees know about their rights to collect benefits when a medical condition hinders them from doing their job, and we believe these webinars will serve as an invaluable resource,” said Senior Attorney Brad Harris.

The webinars are free and open to the public, and will occur monthly. For the webinar presented in May, “Money Talk: Financial Considerations to Address Before Regular or Federal Disability Retirement,” the firm will feature guest panelist Matt Whitten, a financial consultant with United Benefits.

“Filing for federal disability retirement requires federal workers to make critical financial decisions, and they often don’t know who to turn to for advice. We know the team at United Benefits, and they do a phenomenal job guiding federal workers throughout the process. We are excited to include Matt in our upcoming webinar,” said Brad Harris, “It’s a webinar you really won’t want to miss.”

 

Federal employees can learn more about each webinar by going to the Resources page on the Harris Federal website.

April 19, Noon EST – OWCP Federal Workers’ Compensation vs OPM Disability Retirement

Click Here to Register for the Webinar. *After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

May 19, Noon EST – Money Talk: Financial Considerations to Address Before Regular or Federal Disability Retirement with Guest Panelist Matt Whitten

Click Here to Register for the Webinar. *After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

June 15, Noon EST – Watch out! How the OWCP Can Terminate Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Click Here to Register for the Webinar. *After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

July 15, Noon EST – Myth-Busting: Federal Disability Retirement

Click Here to Register *After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Harris Federal Law Firm serves federal employees in all 50 states in the U.S. and abroad. The firm is dedicated to assisting workers and others with obtaining federal disability retirement benefits, federal workers’ compensation benefits and Veterans’ Affairs disability benefits. The firm also represents clients in third-party liability and employment discrimination cases. The firm features offices in Washington, D.C., Lexington, KY, and Austin, TX. To learn more, call (877) 226-2723 or connect with the firm online.

Tagged , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,