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Disability Retirement


The federal government allows employees who are unable to work to retire under a disability retirement. It is in the best interest of both employees and the federal government for employees to remain gainfully employed in their current grade or pay level, as long as they can provide useful and efficient service without endangering themselves, others or government property.
Disability retirement should be the very last option and should be used only when attempts have been made to preserve an individual's employment, and those attempts have failed.

Order our Disability Retirement guide to educate yourself on the rules and regulations concerning disability retirement for federal employees.

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.
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Meaux  
#1 Posted : Thursday, April 05, 2012 4:31:26 AM(UTC)
Meaux

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Party I received my decision letter today from OPM and I was approved
 
Here is my timeline -
 
Packet to my HR Dept - End of December 2011
Forwarded to National Finance Center - January 4, 2012
Assigned CSA number/packet received by OPM Retirement Center - January 31, 2012
Assigned to Specialist - February 29, 2012
OPM approval dated - March 30, 2012
 
I did lawyer up only because my doctor was difficult and refusing to release my medical records to me.   My agency sent me for a fitness for duty with my personal doctor which the results of that were also forwarded to OPM (in early February) and I think that was the icing on the cake for my approval.    The attorney I paid $3000.00 to work on my paperwork sent a blanket 1 page form to my doctor with yes/no fill in the blanks for 5 questions and requested all of my records.   What a big let down this attorney turned out to be but that was the only way for me to get the medical records (Psych records).  Most of my documentation (2 lengthy letters) were ones that my doctor had hesistantly prepared for OWCP and I forwarded them to the attorney to be included in the disability packet.   So they really did nothing butsept take the money and get some records.  I honestly feel that if it would not of been for the fitness for duty evaluation that I would have been disapproved by OPM.   Finally in February after requesting a reconsideration with OWCP they accepted my claim.   
 
I am/was law enforcement so that had a good bit to do with my approval atleast thats what I am thinking and the medical requirements for my position.   
 
Anyone who is waiting for approval of disability retirement I hope things work out for you and quickly.   First thing every morning since this process began I would check this website to see what the timelines were of anyone posting and look for any guidance I use.  I appreciate all of you that post.      
 
StandStrong  
#2 Posted : Thursday, April 05, 2012 4:53:50 AM(UTC)
StandStrong

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Congratulations Meaux, How has it gone with SSDI?
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Meaux  
#3 Posted : Thursday, April 05, 2012 6:55:43 AM(UTC)
Meaux

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I was denied social security and at this point I am not going to fight that battle.  I filed for the social security disability in October 2011 and found out in January 2012 that I had been denied for that. 
GSBS  
#4 Posted : Thursday, April 05, 2012 7:50:14 AM(UTC)
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Sorry to hear that the lawyer experience did not work out for you. $3000 to get a lawyer to coach a doctor via a 1 page 5 question letter is a lot. I have heard of having to pay up to $1000 for a medical report A clinical psychologist would have been the perfect solution if a psychiatrist was being unhelpful. My psychologist spent quite some time preparing the report and at no charge. He was fun to see, made it clear he would help in any way, and thought my lawyer who he spoke with was fascinating. Many Doctors want to have little to do with any reports going to the federal government for something they know little about.  At least you won! Congrats. SSDI would limit your options especially as you still are & can be a LEO somewhere else. I'm nothing. The majority of people who apply at first are turned down, and after a period of time you can't even try because you have no credits left. Of course I have no idea what a credit is, really don't want to know, and still wonder why the average criminal or homeless person in my town (long story)  qualifies for SSDI, subsidized housing, food stamps along with FREE MEDICAL. Extra money is also available to all who are pregnant which doesn't seem to be a problem. Added together that's much more than my GS 11 salary pension paid at about 33% of what money was worth 7 years ago~   
snippet  
#5 Posted : Friday, April 06, 2012 4:54:26 AM(UTC)
snippet

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congrats on the approval!  My timeline is similar to yours, except I don't have an approval yet.  
Whale wall  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:34:28 AM(UTC)
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Meaux, do you think it would have been easy enough to apply for Dis Retirement yourself without a lawyer. Is it basically the Medical Narrative that is most important. Would you recommend myself applying without a lawyer. Thanks
GSBS  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:55:29 AM(UTC)
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Whale wall wrote:
Meaux, do you think it would have been easy enough to apply for Dis Retirement yourself without a lawyer. Is it basically the Medical Narrative that is most important. Would you recommend myself applying without a lawyer. Thanks
Oh no, the Medical narratives, and properly edited at that is just one of the components that go into a successful OPM DR retirement case.  Every case can be different. This is a psych case which can be even harder to run by the OPM.
Meaux  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:23:38 AM(UTC)
Meaux

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I guess it depends on your medical issue and if your doctor is willing to dot the i's and cross the t's.   If you were going to lawyer up my advice would be to ask them to show you exactly what they send to the doctor ?  If it is a one page fill in the blanks with some yes/no answer's and if your medical records don't indicate a terminal illness with a grave prognosis - I would be checking with another lawyer.    If it is an indepth letter listing some of your job requirements that you are unable to perform or it is unsafe for you to perform then I would seriously consider retaining them to help you with your disability retirement.   
 
You need to have your position description and I would suggest talking with your doctor about it and what items in your position description that you cannot perform.   If you do not have the backing of your doctor then you need to move on to another doctor and get established with them. 
 
What I found is the term "disability" retirement sets with most doctors in a bad way.  You may be young and they automatically think social security disability and you'll never work another day in your life.  So there is a misconception with most doctors about what "disability" retirement is for federal employees.  It should be called a medical retirement.   I never approached my doctor regarding the disability retirement until after he brought it up to me and I knew I had his backing. 
 
I hope that helps, sorry to ramble.   In any case - be prepared to make it thru a minimum of 6 months financially and thats probably a best case timeframe. 
Whale wall  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:03:24 PM(UTC)
Whale wall

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So, Meaux, the way inferred your posting was, unless it is an obvious disability such as a leg chopped off, get a lawyer. For example, if I have to relate certain positions of my job description I can't perform. The lawyer will work with the doctor in coming up with the job descriptions and word it right for OPM to understand. Correct me if I am wrong, but from I have read in previous post, OPM just wants correct writing in the narrative for themselves. Thanks buddy.
Meaux  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:57:52 PM(UTC)
Meaux

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I think that is correct about it being something obvious.  OPM wants to see how your illness or disease does not allow you to perform certain aspects of your job and they are permanent in nature or expected to last atleast a year.  OPM will know the certain aspects of your job exists when they review your position description that is sent with your disability retirement packet.    They will also review your written narrative which carries some weight but they would discount that if your doctors narrative/medical evidence is weak.     

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