| Read Time: 5 minutes | Federal Retirement

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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| Read Time: 4 minutes | FERS Disability

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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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal Retirement

Is OPM Federal Disability Retirement Considered Earned Income?

In the right circumstances, federal employees can qualify for disability retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM retirement disability provides regular payments to those who qualify, leading to a natural question come tax season: is OPM disability retirement considered earned income? If so, for what purposes is retirement earned income? OPM disability retirement is generally not considered earned income. However, your retirement disability benefits may qualify as earned income if you receive them before the relevant minimum retirement age. Working for the federal government places you in the heart of bureaucracy. If you need assistance determining whether you qualify for OPM disability, applying for benefits, or understanding your obligations, the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC can help. Our practice focuses on federal employment, making us proficient in guiding our clients through layers of bureaucracy.  How Does OPM Disability Retirement Work? You can qualify for OPM’s disability retirement at almost any age if: If you apply for benefits and are approved, your payments follow the OPM disability retirement pay schedule.  If you are under 62 for the first year, your benefits are calculated based on 60% of your high-3 average salary minus 100% of your Social Security benefits. Until your 62 birthday, if you continue to qualify for benefits, you follow an alternative calculation—40% of your high-3 average salary minus 60% of your Social Security benefits. If you are under 60, your OPM disability retirement benefits can terminate if you: You are restored to earning capacity if your income meets or exceeds 80% of your pre-disability earnings.  If you lose your benefits because you exceed the income limits, they can be reinstated if you dip below $80,000. If you lose your benefits because you medically recover, you may reinstate your benefits if your disability recurs and you do not exceed the earnings limitations.  Is OPM Disability Retirement Considered Earned Income? Whether your OPM disability retirement benefits are treated as earned income depends on context. Generally, earned income comes up in the context of taxes and continuing to qualify for benefits. What Is Earned Income for Tax Purposes? Earned income is a tax-related term, particularly related to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Individuals with low to moderate income can claim the EITC to reduce their tax burden.  Earned income generally includes: This last category comes into play for federal disability retirement. When Is OPM Disability Earned Income for Tax Purposes? Disability benefits are considered earned income if you receive them before you reach the minimum retirement age set by your employer. The federal service sets many different ages related to retirement, including what OPM refers to as the minimum retirement age (MRA). Despite OPM using the same term, your MRA for OPM voluntary or deferred retirement benefits is not the minimum retirement age for disability benefits. Instead, the IRS defines the minimum retirement age as the youngest you could be and still receive disability benefits if you were not disabled. For OPM disability benefits, this age is 62. Before you turn 62, OPM disability benefits count as earned income. What Is Earned Income for the Disability Earnings Survey? OPM regularly checks to see if those receiving disability retirement benefits continue to qualify by sending out a Disability Earnings Survey. If you are under 60, you must show you have not earned 80% or more of your pre-disability earnings. OPM does not consider disability retirement benefits earned income. If you are required to complete a Disability Earnings Survey, do not report your disability retirement benefits as income.  We Can Help If you are struggling to understand your options and responsibilities under OPM federal disability, the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC can help. We have years of experience cutting through and simplifying the federal bureaucracy.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal Disability

OPM Processing Time for Federal Disability Retirement Application

There are many unique benefits to working for the federal government, including retirement options. Yet, some tradeoffs come with these programs, including a sluggish pace that often plagues bureaucracies. Federal disability retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is among those unique benefits federal employees can get, but delays complicate the process. The average OPM processing time for all retirement applications is only one to two months. Yet, OPM federal disability retirement applications frequently take six months to a year. If you need help applying for federal disability retirement or dealing with OPM retirement processing delays, contact the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC. Our firm focuses on federal employment, so we know how to cut through the layers of federal bureaucracy. How Do You Apply for Federal Disability Retirement? If you believe you qualify for federal disability retirement, you can apply two ways. First, you can apply through your agency if you are still employed there. If you are no longer employed at the agency, you apply directly with OPM. You must apply within one year of separating from federal employment to receive benefits. Qualifying for Federal Disability Retirement To qualify for federal disability retirement, you must: Your agency must also certify that it cannot accommodate your disability. Although you need not reach a specific age before applying for FERS disability benefits, your age may affect your benefits. Until age 60, your benefits may end if: Additionally, OPM may require you to attend periodic medical exams to confirm you are still disabled. Applying for Federal Disability Retirement When you apply for FERS disability benefits, you must also apply for social security disability benefits. In addition, your federal disability retirement application must include Forms SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112, Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement. Form SF 3112 includes several parts to be filled out by different people, including:  Coordinating the pieces of SF 3112 can be challenging, especially if you no longer work for the agency. If you are running up on the one-year application deadline, you can submit Forms SF 3107 and 3112A and provide contact information for the individuals to complete the other portions of Form 3112.  How Can You Make the Process More Efficient? The most effective way to ensure your OPM disability retirement application is processed as quickly as possible is to follow the application instructions carefully. Once your application is out of your hands, you have little control over processing delays.  To the extent possible, review the information and documentation provided by others on Form SF 3112. Sometimes, you can identify mistakes or errors and have them corrected before the application reaches OPM.  Because getting OPM federal disability retirement depends on the effect of your disability, it is particularly essential to ensure your physician provides detailed information. Many agencies will instruct you on which doctor or doctors to see, and you may be unable to go to your primary care physician. It can be complicated to trust employer-recommended physicians in the same way as your primary care doctor, but ensuring the information the signing doctor provides supports your claim is crucial. Get Help Filing Your Disability Retirement Application  Requesting disability retirement on your own can lead to missteps that drag out the process. With the help of the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC, you can submit an application that is as complete as possible. We can guide you through what to include and how specific to be. We can also help you verify that the others involved in SF 3112 are providing the support you need for your application. Contact us today to learn more.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | FERS Disability

OPM Federal Disability Retirement vs. Social Security Disability

Whether it came on suddenly or built up over time, having a disability brings many changes, especially if it means you can no longer make a living. Current and former federal employees may qualify for disability benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Social Security. As a result, this leaves many disabled federal employees wondering which disability coverage to apply for. Depending on how severe your disability is and your work history, you may qualify for one, the other, both, or neither.  Navigating the federal bureaucracy to determine what to apply for is challenging for even the savviest federal employees. The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC is here to help if you have questions about federal employees and social security benefits. We focus exclusively on federal employment issues and can guide you through applying for the benefits you need.  What Is Federal Disability Retirement? Federal employees covered by FERS may qualify for federal disability retirement. You apply for federal disability benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  To qualify, you must have worked at least 18 months in a covered federal job, have become disabled, and apply while still employed by a federal agency or within one year of separation.  To be disabled for FERS purposes, you must be unable to: Applying for federal disability retirement requires the assistance of several other people. In particular, you will need your supervisor, the agency, and a doctor to assist you. If you are not employed with the agency, particularly if you have been separated for more than one month, you may need to submit your application directly to OPM. You should include contact information for the individuals who need to corroborate the information. What Is Social Security Disability? The Social Security Administration (SSA) operates two programs allowing disabled individuals to collect regular monthly payments. These programs include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. SSI and SSDI have some differences, but both rely on the same definition of disability.  Qualifying for SSI or SSDI requires you to prove you meet the SSA’s definition of disability. If you are blind, you typically qualify. Otherwise, you are disabled if:  Activities must involve significant physical or mental tasks to be substantial. Gainful activities may include work: In addition, to qualify for SSI disability, you must have limited income and resources. For SSDI, you must have worked enough years in a covered job. You can qualify for both SSI and SSDI at the same time.  Can You Get FERS Disability and Social Security? If you are a current or former federal employee with a disability, you may qualify for both OPM FERS disability retirement and Social Security disability. You are required to apply for Social Security disability when you apply for FERS disability. Because the SSA uses a stricter definition, you may qualify for FERS disability without qualifying for SSI or SSDI. Your benefits may be offset if you qualify for more than one program. Generally, the government offsets part of the disability benefits you receive based on the years you worked in employment not covered by FERS. The exact offset depends on many factors and can change yearly. Comparing OPM Federal Disability and Social Security Disability If you are a current or former federal employee who is disabled, you may qualify for OPM federal disability, Social Security disability, or both. Under Social Security, your disability must impact your ability to work. Additionally, the programs are run by different federal agencies.   Whether you qualify for either program, both, or neither depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your work history and disability. The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing can help you understand the unique relationship between federal employees and social security benefits. We can identify which program or programs work best for you and guide you through the application process. Contact us today to discuss the situation with our experienced, knowledgeable staff and attorneys. 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Federal Employment Law

What is Federal Sick Leave Abuse

Federal employees may at times face the temptation to call in sick so they can have an unscheduled day off. Abuse of sick leave in the federal workplace is a serious issue that all federal employees should try to avoid. Sick leave abuse laws exist which can carry significant penalties for those who misuse their sick leave. There are also a few ways that supervisors can spot and investigate sick leave abuse by federal employees. If your supervisor has accused you of being a federal employee who’s committed sick leave abuse, contact a federal employee sick leave abuse lawyer right away.  When Is It Okay to Use Sick Leave? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), a federal agency that regulates the employment policies of most other federal agencies, states that federal employees may use sick leave when they need to:  OPM does not define what constitutes an abuse of sick leave. That said, it’s reasonable to assume that any use of sick leave for reasons other than those listed above could constitute “sick leave abuse,” especially if done repeatedly and within a short period of time.  Common signs of sick leave abuse are: If an agency discovers that an employee is committing OPM sick leave abuse, the employee can face discipline. An employee can even face removal from federal service.  What Employers Can Do About Sick Leave Abuse While OPM does not define sick leave abuse, it does establish procedures for employers to require evidence from employees who request sick leave. Specifically, an agency may require “administratively acceptable evidence” before granting sick leave. The definition of “administratively acceptable evidence.” For example, if an employee requests sick leave to care for a family member, the agency may require that the employee provide proof of their relationship with the family member. If an employee claims sick leave to visit a doctor, the agency can request a doctor’s note that confirms the visit.  Do You Need a Federal Sick Leave Abuse Attorney? Accusations of sick leave abuse are no joke. If you have been accused of abusing sick leave, you could be counseled, reprimanded, suspended, or even removed from your job. So if your supervisor has accused you of sick leave abuse, you need to contact a sick leave abuse attorney immediately.  When looking for an attorney that can help you defend your rights, it’s absolutely essential that you select someone who has familiarity with your situation and the federal workplace.  At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing,  PLLC., we concentrate on representing federal employees and protecting their rights. Our firm has the experience needed to help federal employees who have been accused of misconduct. Even if you aren’t sure whether you need an attorney, it takes no time at all to contact us. Call today! You might also be interested in:

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal Disability

Disability Rights for Federal Employees: Understanding Your Rights

Our society is constantly changing. However, ensuring equitable rights and opportunities for everyone is still a top priority. This includes individuals with disabilities. If you are a federal employee with a disability, then you need to know about the full scope of your rights. Let’s explore the existing federal laws and how they protect you in the workplace.  Have more questions after reading this article? Contact an experienced federal employment attorney today.  What Are My Rights as a Disabled Employee? There are a significant number of disability rights for federal employees. Most of these rights stem from two laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law that was first enacted by Congress in 1990. It prohibits discrimination based on disability across various public and private sectors. Just a few examples are employment, transportation, and telecommunications. That means you cannot receive different treatment just because you have a disability. However, to receive protection under the ADA, an individual must have a disability. In the context of the ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. You are also considered disabled under the ADA if you: Title I of the ADA is particularly useful for federal employees. This section requires employers with more than 15 employees to provide equal employment opportunities to qualified disabled individuals. This includes non-discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other aspects of employment. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations for employees with known disabilities. The only exception is when accommodating the employee would cause undue hardship for the employer. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Although the ADA has broad applicability to all kinds of employers, the Rehabilitation Act explicitly targets federal sector activities. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits federal agencies from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. It also mandates federal agencies to take proactive steps in hiring, placing, and advancing individuals with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act’s legal standards for discrimination in the federal workplace are the same as those standards in the ADA. Of particular note for federal employees is Section 504. This section stipulates that no qualified individual with a disability shall suffer discrimination through any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Similarly, individuals with disabilities cannot be the target of discrimination under any program or activity conducted by any executive agency or the United States Postal Service.  Just like the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act calls for reasonable accommodation for known physical or mental limitations unless such accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operations of the recipient’s program. Interplay Between the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act As you may have already noticed, the Rehabilitation Act and ADA complement each other very well. Although the ADA does not cover federal agencies in the executive branch, the Rehabilitation Act fills this gap. In doing so, it extends protections to federal employees similar to the disability rights for employees under the ADA. Federal employees can lodge any discrimination complaint with their agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 days of the discriminatory action. It’s also worth noting that Congress significantly broadened the ADA’s definition of disability under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) in 2008. Part of the reason for the ADAAA was to align the ADA more closely with the Rehabilitation Act’s broader scope. This was a significant milestone in ensuring that the laws fully encompass those they were designed to protect. The Takeaway for Federal Employees In essence, federal employees with disabilities receive protection from two robust laws – the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. Both laws work toward ensuring equal opportunities, inclusivity, and fair treatment inside and outside the federal workplace. However, the path to justice starts with awareness. Knowing your rights under these laws is the first step in maintaining a fair and equitable workplace. Whether it’s about seeking a reasonable accommodation or combating discriminatory practices, don’t hesitate to assert your rights. A disability does not define your potential or your worth, and the law is here to uphold your right to equal treatment under the law. Get the Legal Help You Need Today At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, our outstanding legal team possesses a deep understanding of disability rights for federal employees. We can also help you determine whether you are eligible for federal employee disability retirement benefits. Whatever the exact issue, we are deeply committed to supporting federal employees with disabilities. Our highest priority is to ensure they receive the rights given to them by the law. During your consultation, our lawyers will work to hear your concerns and outline your legal options. Stand up and defend your legal rights today. Schedule your consultation by calling us at 866-612-5956 or visiting our website.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Federal Disability

Am I Eligible for Federal Disability Retirement with Mental Health Conditions?

If you are a federal employee with mental health conditions, you’re probably thinking about your financial future. What if your condition worsens? What if you’re not able to continue your work?  In our legal work, we find that many federal employees with mental health conditions are interested in federal disability retirement. Perhaps you are in the same situation.  We’ll discuss the federal laws and regulations surrounding disability retirement and mental health conditions. For more detailed questions, it’s best to contact a qualified federal employment attorney.   Am I Eligible for Federal Disability Retirement with Mental Health Conditions?  It’s possible. There are many mental health conditions that qualify for federal disability retirement. A few examples include:  Many other mental health conditions could also qualify. It all depends on whether you meet the general standards for disability retirement. The same standards apply to federal disabilities, regardless of whether you have a physical or mental disability.  How Do I Obtain FERS Disability Retirement? The first step is showing you have a disability. Second, you must prove your disability prevents you from doing your job. For both steps, you will need to furnish medical evidence supporting your claim. This evidence may include medical records, doctors’ opinions, and other documentation that reveal the severity and extent of your condition. You will probably have to explain how your disability affects your ability to perform your duties. It’s important to know that the federal government has specific criteria for what constitutes an eligible disability. These criteria include the following: Finally, you must apply for disability retirement within one year of being separated from your job and apply for social security benefits. Why You Should Contact a Federal Retirement Attorney for Your Disability Retirement Application As you can see, applying for federal disability retirement is complex. For that reason, you should seek legal assistance from a federal attorney experienced in handling disability retirement cases. An experienced federal disability retirement attorney can help you with several key tasks. Reason #1: An Attorney Can Help You Understand the Process An attorney can help you understand the steps involved in the application process. This includes what forms you need to fill out and what medical evidence you need to provide. They can also advise you on presenting your case to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). With their knowledge and experience, they can guide you through the process and ensure that your application is completed correctly and efficiently. Reason #2: An Attorney Can Maximize Your Chances of Approval Attorneys, especially those who specialize in disability retirement cases, know the common mistakes and pitfalls that can lead to application denials. Things like missing or incorrect information, typos, and bureaucratic demands from your agency can all lead to denials. They can identify and address those problems before submitting your application to OPM. This helps maximize your chances of approval and avoid unnecessary delays or appeals. Reason #3: An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights OPM sometimes mistakenly rejects a sound disability retirement application. Other times, your agency might torpedo or impede your application. You might even experience retaliation from your employer. In these situations, a disability retirement attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. Furthermore, they can represent you in all kinds of hearings, meditation sessions, and appeals. Due to their legal training, attorneys know how to put the legal system to work for you.  Disability for Mental Illness: A Legitimate Option for Federal Employees Am I eligible for federal disability retirement with mental health conditions? Asking this question is the beginning of your journey toward a successful federal disability retirement application. With the right support and legal assistance, you can receive the benefits you are entitled to under federal law. So if you have a mental health condition and are considering filing for federal disability retirement, get the help you deserve right away.  At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, our team of skilled attorneys understands the complex legal and medical issues involved in disability retirement cases. We apply that knowledge to provide effective legal representation to our clients. We are passionate about helping federal employees struggling with mental health conditions navigate the system and get the benefits they deserve. When you contact us for your consultation, we will take the time to listen to your concerns. We’ll answer your questions and explain your legal options. Our attorneys will be with you every step of the way to secure your future. Contact us today at 866-612-5956 or visit us online.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | FERS Disability

Is Federal Disability Retirement Income Taxable?

If you have been a federal employee and are seeking to receive disability retirement income, you might have to pay taxes on that income. This isn’t pleasant news, but the following article can help you prepare for what’s next.  If you’re still wondering, is federal disability retirement taxable? Or if you have other questions regarding federal disability retirement, contact us today. Common Kinds of Federal Disability Retirement Income The first step federal employees should take to understand their tax liabilities on federal disability retirement payments is to understand what kind of federal benefits they’re receiving. Common retirement benefits a federal employee might receive include:  The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) handles many matters related to FERS and CSRS payments.  Some of the above-listed benefits are taxable, and some aren’t. For payments and benefits that are taxable, they are taxable at different levels.   Is OPM Disability Retirement Taxable at the Federal Level? OPM oversees matters regarding FERS and CSRS disability retirement payments.  Is FERS Disability Retirement Taxable at the Federal Level? Is FERS taxable? Some FERS disability retirement is taxable.  Individuals can receive FERS disability retirement if they have certain characteristics, including: Recipients of a FERS disability retirement annuity do show these benefits as taxable income. Is CSRS Disability Retirement Federally Taxable? Some CSRS disability retirement is federally taxable. An eligible recipient of CSRS disability retirement must:  CSRS retirement disability recipients also must pay tax on their benefits.  Whether you are seeking CSRS or FERS retirement disability benefits, you have a limited amount of time to apply for them. You also have to follow specific rules to maintain them. This can be overwhelming when you are trying to handle a disability. An experienced federal employment disability lawyer can recover your benefits while you adjust to changes in your life.  Income Tax Rules from Your State Can Differ While some of your disability retirement benefits might not be federally taxable, your benefits could be subject to state income taxes.  Contact Our FERS Disability Attorney Today to Protect What Is Yours It’s stressful to determine how much vital income you can keep when you’re receiving benefits for a debilitating condition. But you don’t have to figure this out on your own. At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, we have helped hundreds of federal employees with their employment issues. We have substantial experience, and we are passionate about helping federal employees. Let us help you. Contact us online or call us at 866-508-2158. 

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | FERS Disability

Applying for OPM Disability Retirement

There are currently two retirement systems in the federal government. The first one is the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The other, more common system is the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).  Regardless of which system you fall under, you can receive disability benefits. To do so, you first need to submit a detailed retirement application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Applying for OPM disability retirement is a complex and arduous process. If you are a federal employee with a serious injury or disability, it is essential that you understand OPM’s disability retirement. If you don’t follow the process correctly, OPM may reject your application, placing your financial future in jeopardy. We’ll discuss the basics of the OPM disability retirement process here.   Prerequisites for FERS Disability Retirement  Given that FERS is the retirement system for the overwhelming majority of the federal workforce, it is worth discussing first. Eligibility for FERS disability benefits requires that you: In addition, you must show that your debilitating condition is expected to last at least one year. Short-term illnesses and injuries do not suffice. To meet the third requirement, your federal employer must first attempt to give you an accommodation that allows you to perform the essential functions of your job with your disability. Potential accommodations include things like telework, altered office arrangements, and a change in work schedule. If attempts to accommodate your condition with your position are unsuccessful, your employer must also search for a similar position that could meet your needs.  People typically have several misconceptions about what they need to show when they submit their application for OPM disability retirement. For one, they believe they need to show that their disability prevents them from doing all work. This is patently false. The employee needs to show only that their disability prevents them from executing the core duties of their position of record. In other words, if you are a welder, you do not need to show that your disability prevents you from sitting at a computer. People also commonly believe that their disability must stem from their federal work. This is also incorrect. You can apply for disability retirement regardless of the cause of your disability. Differences in CSRS Disability Retirement Application Applying for CSRS disability retirement is quite similar to applying for FERS disability retirement. The key difference is that you must complete at least five years of Federal civilian service before applying for CSRS disability retirement. FERS, on the other hand, requires only 18 months of federal civilian service.  Preparing Your OPM Disability Retirement Application You need to complete two forms to begin your FERS disability retirement application: If you are not yet 62 years old, you will also have to submit your application for social security disability benefits. Because there are only two or three items to submit, you may think that applying for disability retirement is straightforward. The unfortunate truth is that the process is quite complicated. To complete your application, you will need to collect a wide variety of medical information. Consequently, It is essential to act quickly when applying for disability retirement. In fact, the best time to begin working on your disability retirement application is before you receive your separation of service from the government. If you apply before or immediately after your separation from service, you can probably count on additional support from your employer. As more time passes, it will be more difficult to collect the evidence you need.  In any event, you have exactly one year to apply for OPM disability retirement. Waiting more than one year to apply for OPM disability retirement will cause you to forever lose out on disability benefits. Therefore, we cannot stress enough how important it is to take action and contact an employment attorney when you receive your separation for service. Would You Like Assistance Preparing Your OPM Disability Retirement Application?  Now you know the basics of applying for disability retirement. However, the process is complex, and many applicants experience needless delays or denial of benefits because of avoidable errors. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, contact one of our qualified attorneys at the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC. We strive to protect the futures of federal employees, especially those who have a disability. We know how difficult and overwhelming it can be to fill out paperwork and navigate the retirement application process, and we want to help you. Let us take care of your retirement application so you can focus on putting your life back together. Even if you aren’t sure you need an attorney for your application, let us review your case. Don’t wait. Call us today at (866) 612-5956, or reach out to us online.

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