I find that when a person is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, an important component which is often overlooked is the supportive spouse. I often get calls concerning various aspects of the Disability Retirement process — not from the applicant, but from the spouse.
And, indeed, this is natural, because often the medical condition itself is serious enough that the applicant is unable to “handle” or “deal with” the complexities of the process itself. It becomes further complicated when the medical condition which is suffered is a psychiatric condition — severe Major Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, etc.
However, whether it is psychiatric or physical, a supportive spouse — or “significant other” — is often very, very important to the success of the entire process. Obviously, as an attorney who represents “the Client”, I must be careful that there is never a conflict between the Applicant (my client) and “the spouse”, but that is rare.
In almost all cases, I find that the spouse is looking after the best interest of my client, and I am happy to talk to and update the spouse on any and all issues surrounding disability retirement issues, because I know that he/she is looking after the best interests of my client, just as I want to.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Medical Disability Retirement Attorney