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.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Lawyer
In attempting to understand others, it is important to gain a perspective from which the third party views the world. Understanding the third party perspective is a way to formulating an effective way of persuading a change in that person, if that is the goal. Or, perhaps understanding X merely in order to accept the behavior or actions of the individual, is enough of a reason.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often important to understand the perspective of one’s treating doctor in order to obtain the necessary support and administrative initiation of the medical provider.
From the doctor’s viewpoint, it is normally counter-productive in terms of treatment and therapy to declare, ascertain and deem that the patient is “totally disabled”. Work is therapeutic; it allows for a teleological motivation which compels continuation in recuperative and rehabilitative terms.
Further, when this “fact” is combined with the general exposure of most doctors to other forms of disability benefits — state or federal OWCP benefits; Social Security Disability benefits; private disability insurance benefits — and rarely an encounter with FERS Disability Retirement issues, it becomes apparent why doctors often become reluctant and resistant to getting involved with the administrative process. Federal OWCP benefits require an assertion of causality-to-employment; SSDI necessitates a declaration of “total disability”; private disability policies can often lead to depositions and legal responses.
Thus, everything that is counterintuitive to a doctor’s perspective of what is therapeutically beneficial to the patient, is potentially there when presented with a request for support in a FERS Disability Retirement case.
Explanation is the key to understanding; effective explanation should persuade and alter a perspective founded upon a misinformed foundation. It is often necessary to explain the differences between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and the “others” which have previously polluted the waters of a pristine stream of thought.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney
||Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to confirm the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement law. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.