Sometimes federal employees suffer from unanticipated health problems that force them to stop working much earlier than they would like. Fortunately, the law recognizes a system of benefits that allows disabled former federal employees to receive annuity compensation and healthcare coverage, provided they meet certain requirements, as assessed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The qualifying criteria for federal disability requirement includes:
- At least 18 months of service creditable under FERS or 5 years of service creditable under CSRS;
- Suffering from a condition, disease or injury which prevents the applicant from rendering useful and efficient service in their position of record;
- Suffering from a disability expected to last at least one year from the date of filing the application;
- The employing agency's certification that it is unable to accommodate the applicant in their current position.
We are available to assist in all aspects of the complex disability retirement process, including: filing an application for benefits, working with medical providers to obtain supportive documentation, filing a request for reconsideration of OPM's initial denial of an application, appealing an adverse final determination from OPM to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). We can also assist annuitants with post-approval issues such as annuity overpayment/ debt recoupment claims and efforts to terminate disability benefits based on claims of restored earning capacity by OPM.
There are strict deadlines involved at both the application and appeal stages of disability retirement filings. Eligibility to participate in the disability retirement system is a benefit of your service to the federal government. With very limited exceptions, if these deadlines are not met, the right to file for benefits may be waived forever. For this reason, you should immediately consult with an attorney experienced in disability retirement law matters to determine your options and preserve your rights.