It should be well established for anyone who has looked into Federal Disability Retirement issues, that a person has one (1) year from the time of separation from Federal Service to file for Federal Disability retirement benefits. Separation from Federal Service can take many different forms: Resignation; separation for cause; administrative separation based upon one’s medical inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; etc. The latter of these delineated forms (separation for medical inability to perform) is obviously the most beneficial to one contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement (first and foremost because it allows for the Bruner Presumption to be applied).
On the other hand, separation based upon a resignation is often neutral for issues concerning disability retirement (unless, of course, one has been foolish to put into his or her letter of resignation that the reason for the resignation is to go and become a professional poker player for the next year — but even then, if a medical condition existed prior to resignation, one might still be eligible for disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS); and, obviously, if the resignation was accompanied by a medical reason, and that particular medical reason was reflected in the SF 50, all the better. Even separation for adverse actions — if there was a medical condition which existed prior to separation — can be explained away and fought for. The point here is, regardless of the nature, reason and expressed rationale for separation from service, if a medical condition existed prior to separation from service, such that the medical condition prevented one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is a viable basis for filing for, and fighting for, Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire