Intersection with Other Benefits

Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the Office of Personnel Management is an independent benefit from an independent agency.  However, there may be some intersecting features which are important to understand, prior to beginning the process.

A FERS Disability Retirement annuity has an “off-set” feature with certain other federal annuities, by statutory mandate and direction, but not with certain others.  For instance, there is a coordinating offset with Social Security Disability (under FERS), and an election must be made between OWCP Temporary Total Disability payments and Federal Disability Retirement benefits (except for scheduled awards).  On the other hand, there is no offset between a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and VA Disability payments.

In making a decision as to whether to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, each Federal and Postal employee should be fully informed as to the offsets with other Federal benefits and payments, as well as whether there are limits and restrictions as to the amount of other “earned income” a person may be allowed to make.

The importance of finding out which benefits are fully or partially offset is important in making a final decision as to whether it is financially feasible to proceed in preparing, formulating and filing a FERS Disability Retirement application.  Of course, in the end, it is usually a medical decision which is paramount — out of necessity, and not out of choice– as opposed to a financial one.  However, it is nevertheless important to know what is on the other side of the cave, before one enters it to begin with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Lawyer

The information on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments in FERS Disability Law. The content and interpretation of the law addressed herein is subject to revision. However, if you have any questions about current law developments or if you need to have a professional assessment of your personal case, contact the author for a free initial consultation.

OWCP, EEOC, Grievances & the Comfort Zone

Medical conditions are often accompanied by the necessity to engage in certain forums, to initiate particular legal actions, and to file for alternative means of compensation.  Actions of necessity often come in bundles, and this is natural, as a single event can spawn multiple avenues of legal relief, and reflect various responses by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, a medical condition — whether work related or not — can result in Agency retaliation, persecution, adverse actions, subtle changes of attitudes, etc.

It is therefore not a surprise that a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management also has parallel actions which may include the wide spectrum of a simple Grievance, to an EEO Complaint; a concurrent OWCP/Department of Labor case (for an application of compensation based upon a medical condition or injury resulting from an on-the-job incident or on an occupational disease claim, etc.); a claim of hostile work environment, retaliation; assertion of the whistleblower provision, etc.

As an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal and Postal employees, one observes the following: there is often a mistaken belief that being involved in parallel or alternative routes of litigation somehow delays the need — whether practically speaking, or in terms of the 1-year Statute of Limitations — for filing of Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.

This mistaken belief often stems from a “comfort zone” that arises — whether because OWCP is paying on a regular and monthly basis, and so the financial concern is not presently and immediately existent; or because one is continually engaged in some form of contact with the Federal Government through alternative litigation, that the 1-year requirement to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is automatically delayed.  The Statute of Limitations is not a sympathetic statute.

A personal comfort zone is not a basis to delay what the law requires. Immediacy of an event should not be the basis of whether to file for a claim or not.  Planning for the future is the important basis to act, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits is something which every Federal or Postal employee should be considering concurrently with all other forums and avenues of compensation.  A man can do more than one thing at a time, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should be one of those multiple issues to be embraced.

Don’t let a present comfort zone deny you the right of a secured future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

Mr. McGill is a Federal Employee Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Employment Law, helping Federal and Postal employees across the nation secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  You may contact Attorney Robert McGill over the phone or by email to receive a free and confidential 30 minute initial case evaluation.

OWCP Determinations

The key to effectively using collateral sources of disability determinations in a FERS Disability Retirement application is to tailor its relevance in each individual circumstance.

Thus, for example, because the focus upon percentages of disability, or the issue of causal connection to the workplace, is a focal point of importance in an OWCP/Department of Labor case, but not in cases of Federal Employee Disability Retirement.  Such issues should be left alone.  However, the fact that there may be an “independent medical examination” by a Second-Opinion doctor, or a referee doctor in a Worker’s Comp case, can be used to one’s advantage.

Often, a person who has been under the agonizing scrutiny and torture of the Worker’s Comp process will miss the point, and complain that the OWCP-appointed doctor “didn’t even exam me for 2 minutes”, or “didn’t listen to a thing I said,” but all the while missing the key ingredients in the doctor’s report:

(1) That the doctor can be effectively characterized as “independent” — not from an OWCP standpoint, but certainly from a FERS Disability Retirement standpoint, because that particular doctor has no self-interest from OPM’s viewpoint.

(2) If the doctor’s opinion is that, while the causal connection (for example) may not have been established, does he nevertheless express an opinion that the Federal or Postal employee is unable to return to perform the essential functions of his or her job?

Often, the emotional uproar in an OWCP case, or in other similar cases (SSDI & Veteran’s Department disability determinations) causes the Federal or Postal employee to miss the primary point of the process: to use the tools effectively in getting a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS approved.  With that goal in mind, an experienced FERS Disability Retirement Attorney can help you to evaluate your medical records to identify which ones you should use as supporting documentation for your Federal Disability Retirement claim.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

The law office of Attorney Robert R. McGill, P.C., has intended to convey general information by the information contained in this blog. The information contained in this website should in no way be construed as legal advice or opinion. The intent of this website is a source for general information about Federal Disability Retirement law only.

OWCP and FERS Disability Future Reviews

There are horror stories: of people on “disability” who are watched and video-taped, and after having 500 hours of taping, it is edited to show that, within a 2-minute period, it is revealed that you can indeed perform physical feats which your medical disability should restrict.

As an attorney who receives daily inquiries concerning Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, people relate such fears to me.  However, I am quick to remind such callers on two (2) matters: First, such stories relate almost exclusively to Federal OWCP cases, which have nothing to do with FERS Disability Retirement, and Second, the people I represent have legitimate medical conditions which impact and prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

There is also an additional Third element in the issue, FERS Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed, under the law, to go out and get another job, and to work and make up to 80% of what his or her former position currently pays.

Now, obviously, any such job should be essentially different, in many ways, from the former job.  But the point is that the FERS Disability Retirement is intimately wedded to a particular job, and the inability to perform the essential elements of that particular job.  That is where the difference lies between FERS Disability Retirement rules and OWCP cases — the former allows one to continue to remain productive in the workplace; the other does not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Attorney

Please note that the information that appears in this article is copyrighted.  Originally written by Attorney Robert R. McGill, it has been more recently updated by the webmaster.  This article has been previously published in other OPM Disability Retirement blogs.