Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing

The Lawyers for Federal Employees

Federal employees have unique rights unlike other employees, and many of those rights are governed by specific laws that are unique to federal employees. At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, our team of experienced federal employment lawyers is dedicated to helping federal employees understand and protect their rights.

Just like other employees, federal employees can face an array of challenges. When these challenges require you to file a lawsuit, an administrative complaint, or a claim for benefits, it is important that you have a knowledgeable advocate on your side.

The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing has experience with all types of legal issues affecting federal employees, including disability claims, discrimination and harassment, whistleblower claims, retaliation, wrongful termination, and other adverse employment actions.

If you are a federal employee, the process for protecting your rights is different than for most employees in the private sector. It is important that you have an attorney with specific experience in federal employee law, not just general employment law.

Our practice is directly focused specifically on federal employee law.

Enforcing your rights as a federal employee frequently involves navigating various layers of bureaucracy.

Additionally, it can often be challenging to determine which agency is responsible for your specific type of claim and what process that agency requires you to comply with.

The Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing has experience working with numerous agencies across the federal government regarding federal employee issues. These issues can include complaints or claims involving:

When dealing with claims before these agencies, even small mistakes, such as missing filing deadlines, failing to gather adequate supporting documents, or filing a claim with the wrong agency can be costly.

Having an experienced federal employee lawyer on your side can make all the difference.

At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, our team of federal employment attorneys is passionate about helping federal employees with any legal issues they may face. If you need help pursuing benefits you are entitled to or protecting your rights against wrongful conduct, contact us today.

How We Can Serve You

Meet Aaron Wersing

Federal Employee Attorney

Aaron Wersing is the founder of the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC. His practice focuses solely on assisting federal employees in a broad array of litigation and transactional matters. Mr. Wersing’s practice includes the evaluation and resolution of a diverse variety of federal employment matters.

Meet Ellen Sprovach

Managing Attorney

Ellen Sprovach, Esq. is a board-certified managing attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Jacquelyn Trevino

Senior Attorney

Jacquelyn Trevino, Esq. is a senior attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Leah Badri-Moradi


Leah Badri-Moradi, Esq. is a federal employment attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Patrick J. Paradise


Patrick J. Paradise is a federal employment attorney here at FEDLAW.

Client Testimonials

  • I can’t say enough good things about Mr. Wersing. He was dedicated to my case and because of his dedication he won my case. I was lost without him. I went to many attorney’s and all of them told me they were unable to help me because the government was to hard to fight against, but not Mr. Wersing. He knew his stuff . If your looking for an attorney who treats you like a person and just not like another number, Mr. Wersing is that attorney. He knows his stuff and will fight for your rights. I can never thank him enough.

    - Sandy | EEOC
  • Aaron Wersing is at the very top of every attorney I have met or dealt with. He is a patient, pleasant and professional attorney who is mission oriented and dedicated to get the job done. He helped me through a very arduous disability process allowing me to keep my self dignity and respect. I cannot imagine working with any attorney other than Aaron Wersing when applying for Fers Disability or any other employment & labor, employee benefits or workers compensation issues.

    - Howard M. | FERS Disability
  • Aaron is not only confident in getting things done, he is very compassionate and caring. He is a true fighter for what he believes is right. My case was a bit complicated but Aaron never backed down. Applying for OPM can be daunting and personal. Aaron has the ability to keep you focused and on track which means he understands how emotional it can be for somebody that has to retire due to medical conditions. Because of Aaron my OPM was approved the first time and we didn't have to do a reconsideration. If you want a good attorney that will fight for you, Aaron is your man. I will be forever thankful.

    - Tammy | FERS Disability

Our Federal Employment Law Library

Empowering Federal Employees To Know and Exercise Their Rights

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5 Steps for Applying for Federal Disability Retirement

Federal employees who become disabled face significant stress. From handling pain and multiple doctor appointments to worrying about finances and an uncertain future, a federal employee can be overwhelmed. The last thing that a disabled federal employee should have to deal with is filing complex paperwork to apply for federal disability retirement benefits.  At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, our federal employee disability retirement lawyers take the worry out of applying for benefits. We help our disabled-federal-worker clients so that they can focus on their health and their families. Our hands-on approach keeps our clients informed throughout the entire process, from completing the initial paperwork to the appeal of benefit denial. We are experienced in all aspects of Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) disability retirement benefits so that federal employees don’t have to be. For assistance, please contact us online or call (833) 833-3529 today. Requirements For Applying For FERS Disability Retirement To be eligible for the FERS disability program, federal employees must have worked in a covered position for at least 18 months. In addition, an employee must have become disabled while employed and the disability must be expected to last for at least one year. Importantly, however, a work-related injury or illness need not have caused the disability. Federal employees can apply for disability retirement benefits at any age. What Disabilities Qualify for Federal Government Disability Retirement Benefits? To qualify for federal government disability retirement benefits, an employee must experience either a physical or mental disease or injury. The employee’s disability must prevent “useful and efficient service” in the employee’s current job with the federal government. Essentially, the federal employee must be unable to perform one or more essential job functions of their current position. If the employing federal agency can accommodate the worker’s medical condition, the employee may continue to work in his or her current position. In that case, the employee will not be eligible for federal disability retirement. Alternatively, if the employing agency can transfer the disabled employee to a different job, known as the accommodation of last resort, the employee will not be entitled to disability retirement benefits. The new job should be at the same grade or pay level and in the same commuting area. In short, the employee may apply for federal disability retirement only if the employing agency is unable to accommodate the employee’s disability. Five-Step FERS Disability Retirement Application Process There are five essential steps that a federal employee needs to follow to apply for FERS disability retirement. 1. Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits Why? Because when a federal employee applies for FERS disability retirement, the employee must indicate whether he or she has applied for Social Security disability benefits. Remember, you do not have to be approved for SSDI, but you must apply. The applicant also must attach a copy of the Social Security application receipt or award notice to the FERS disability retirement application. If a disabled employee receives Social Security disability payments, the amount of federal disability retirement payments under FERS will be reduced. Importantly, if the Social Security Administration denies disability benefits, federal employees still may be entitled to FERS disability retirement payments. 2. Complete Standard Form 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement Form 3107 is available from federal personnel offices or online here. Federal employees must file their application for federal government disability retirement benefits while still employed with the government or within one year of their separation date.  The Application for Immediate Retirement is several pages long and asks for detailed information, including: Form 3107 also includes the Certified Summary of Federal Service, SF 3107-1. The employing agency completes this certification form to provide a history of the employee’s federal jobs, earnings, and FERS coverage. You can apply for FERS disability retirement before the agency completes this form. After the agency completes that certification, the employee must review and sign it, attesting that it is accurate. The agency also should complete the Agency Checklist of Immediate Retirement Procedures, which is part of Form 3107. In addition, depending on your responses to certain questions, supplemental documentation may be required, such as a marriage certificate, W-4 form, or a DD-214, for example. For guidance on how to complete the application, disabled federal employees can review the instructions that accompany the Application for Immediate Retirement. They may also read an informational pamphlet SF 3113 titled Applying for Immediate Retirement Under the Federal Employees Retirement System. 3. Complete Standard Form 3112, Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement Application Disabled federal employees need to provide documents that support their FERS disability retirement application. Standard Form (SF) 3112 includes five main forms, some of which are completed by the applicant and others to be completed by their physicians or agency. In general, employees use these forms to document their medical condition to show that they are disabled and unable to perform their job duties.  The disabled employee must complete Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability. On that form, the applicant describes his or her disease or injury and how it affects current job duties. The applicant then lists the physicians and dates of treatment that can support his or her claim of disability.  Next, the federal employee must ask each doctor to complete Standard Form 3112C, Physician’s Statement. The employee should also provide each doctor with a current job description. With that job description, each doctor can state how the employee’s disease or injury affects the employee’s ability to work. In addition to completing the form, each doctor must enclose medical documentation of the patient’s medical condition on letterhead stationery. Doctors must provide copies of all medical reports detailing the patient’s symptoms and history, diagnostic tests, diagnosis, treatments, and therapies. The doctors also must indicate if and when the employee will recover. Finally, if the doctors place any restrictions on the employee’s activities, such as lifting or standing limits, the doctor must describe those restrictions.  Next, the employing federal agency must complete forms that...

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Can You Lose Your Federal Retirement If Fired?

In addition to competitive pay, federal employees enjoy good benefits and a generous pension. What’s more, federal employees with at least one year of service have significant rights with respect to their job security. Federal employees have a reputation for being hard to fire because of these rights and the corresponding processes. Nevertheless, agencies may fire federal employees for a variety of reasons, including poor performance, misconduct, or downsizing. If you’re a federal employee, you’ve probably wondered, can you lose your federal retirement benefits if fired? How Federal Retirement Benefits Work The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), awards retirement benefits to eligible employees. FERS covers employees who started their service with the government after January 1, 1987. The Civil Service Retirement Act (CSRS) covers federal employees who started working for the government before that date. FERS is a retirement program that provides benefits from Social Security, a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and a Basic Benefits Plan. The first two are transferable to other jobs if a federal employee leaves before retirement. These retirement benefits fully vest in employees after five years of service, though annuities won’t begin until an employee reaches minimum retirement age (MRA). For example, the federal minimum retirement age for employees born in 1970 or later is 57. Although the eligibility rules vary slightly depending on service length, federal employees with more than 10 years of service receive an annuity immediately upon reaching their MRA. Employees with 5-10 years of service can receive an annuity starting at age 62.  Federal employees with at least 10 years of service can elect to take an immediate retirement or defer it. FERS reduces immediate retirement benefits by 5% per year for each year the employee is under age 62. Disability and early retirement may have slightly different timelines depending on the employee’s age and years of service. If you have questions about your federal retirement benefits, a federal employment lawyer can provide advice on your eligibility and the benefits available to you. Do Federal Employees Lose Their Retirement If They’re Fired? The short answer is no. Unfortunately, the misconception that you can lose your federal retirement if fired persists even among federal employees. Many employees incorrectly believe that they will lose their federal retirement benefits if the agency fires them. However, the truth is that federal employees whose retirement benefits have vested are all but guaranteed to receive those benefits, subject to a few exceptions. Employees unaware of this may be tempted or pressured to resign if they know they are about to be fired. These employees are often under the wrong impression that by resigning, they can save the benefits they would otherwise lose. This was exactly the situation in Morrison v. Department of the Navy. In that case, the Department of the Navy alerted an employee that an adverse employment action was pending against him. The Department urged him to resign to avoid losing his retirement benefits. Ruling on the case, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) noted that retirement benefits earned over the course of a federal career “are generally available upon separation from federal service, even when the separation is agency initiated.” To be clear, this means that when an agency fires a federal employee—whether for cause, poor performance, reduction in force, or otherwise—that employee remains entitled to any vested retirement benefits. There are very limited exceptions to this rule (discussed below), but for the vast majority of federal employees, they will never be an issue. How Federal Employees Can Lose Their Retirement Benefits As mentioned above, there are only a few narrow circumstances in which federal employee will lose their retirement benefits. Under 5 U.S.C. § 8312, federal employees forfeit their retirement benefits only if they are convicted of one or more specific federal crimes. There are more than 20 in total, each covering an act against the national security of the United States, including: Related statutory sections cover additional crimes that would render a federal employee ineligible for benefits. These include: Federal employees who do not commit any of those crimes don’t have to worry about losing their benefits. Can Federal Employees with Voluntary Early Retirement Lose Their Retirement Benefits If Fired? The Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) allows government agencies to temporarily reduce the minimum age and service requirements for retirement benefits. Agencies usually use VERA to offer employees an incentive to retire voluntarily, often during a restructuring, downsizing, or reorganization. Rather than involuntarily reducing the number of employees at the agency, it may make VERA offers or Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) to willing employees. Unlike with FERS or CSRS, federal employees fired for poor performance or misconduct cannot take advantage of discontinued service annuities under VERA. However, they may still be eligible for a deferred benefit. Federal employment lawyers familiar with government retirement plans can help you assess your options. If you accepted a voluntary early retirement offer from a government agency, a federal employment lawyer can also advise you of your rights moving forward. Hire a Federal Employment Attorney The Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing has been helping federal employees with their retirement and disability benefits for many years. During that time, we’ve helped hundreds of clients reclaim their jobs, stop discrimination, and resolve other issues in the workplace.  If you resigned based on false information about the status of your retirement benefits, we can help. Contact us today or call us at (833) 833-3529.

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Reasons Your FERS Application May Be Denied and Can You Reapply?

If the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) denies your Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) disability retirement application, you can reapply if there has been a material change in your circumstances. But getting a denial isn’t always the end of the road. You may have options to ask for reconsideration, or you can appeal a refusal of benefits. And the help of a good attorney can protect your rights during the application and appeal process. If you are looking for a good FERS disability attorney, you are on the right page. The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC exclusively handles employment law cases. We provide award-winning advocacy. Please contact us for help with your federal employment needs.  Why Was My Disability Retirement Application Denied? The FERS disability retirement application process is detailed and complex. There are also several rules regarding who can and cannot receive disability retirement benefits. The OPM might have denied your retirement disability benefits because it believed you were not eligible or because you did not submit an adequate application. 1. Denial Because of Ineligibility Can you be denied retirement benefits? The answer is yes. The OPM can deny your FERS disability retirement benefits if one of the following circumstances applies to you: The OPM might also deny or dismiss your application if you don’t adequately explain how you meet each eligibility requirement. Our skilled and knowledgeable federal employment lawyers can ensure that your application clearly reflects your right to receive benefits. 2. Denial Because Your Application Was Late Your disability application must be timely. You must file your application while you are still federally employed or within one year of separating from your federal job. The application process requires a lot of documentation and statements from several individuals. As soon as you notice that your medical condition is affecting your ability to work, you should contact one of our experienced attorneys. We can help make sure you gather all the necessary information and meet the deadline for requesting benefits. 3. Denial Because of an Inadequate Application Your disability retirement application requires detailed information from you, your employer, and healthcare professionals who have treated you or have information about your condition. And all statements in your application should corroborate each other. If there is a lack of detail or there are discrepancies, the OPM may refuse to give you benefits. You can prevent discrepancies and a lack of detail by:  We can help you with all of this. Along with your disability retirement application, you must also apply for Social Security Disability (SSD)  benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). To prove that you applied for SSD benefits, you must give OPM a copy of your application receipt and a copy of the SSA’s notice of approval or disapproval of your SSD application. If you do not take these steps or provide proof of your application status, the OPM may dismiss your FERS disability retirement application.  What You Can Do After a Denial You have a handful of options to obtain a better result if the OPM denies your request for benefits. These options include the following. Reapplication Generally, you have only one chance to apply for disability retirement based on the same circumstances. However, you can reapply for disability retirement if there is a material change in your circumstances, such as a deterioration of your condition.   Requesting Reconsideration In many cases, the OPM gives applicants a written initial decision regarding their right to benefits. After the OPM makes the initial decision to deny your retirement application, you have 30 days to ask the OPM to reconsider its decision. After reconsidering your case, the OPM issues a written final reconsideration decision that includes its findings and conclusions and information about your right to appeal. Appealing the Denial You can appeal your denial to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if the OPM does not grant you disability retirement benefits after a reconsideration. And if the initial decision you receive is an initial final decision, you must appeal directly to the MSPB. In general, you have only 30 days to file your appeal, and it must be in writing. Any attempt to seek benefits for retirement disability must include detailed documentation, a clear explanation of your circumstances, and timely filings. We can handle these tasks for you and maximize your chances of receiving your well-deserved benefits. Speak to Attorneys Who Can Turn a No Into a Yes Whether you are on the first, second, or third bite at the apple in your request for retirement benefits, the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC can champion your rights. We handle only federal employment cases, so our knowledge and experience are extensive. An award-winning attorney leads our firm, and we are passionate about protecting federal employees. You can contact us for help today by calling or reaching out on our website.  

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