Are You a Dummy? Don't Be.
You're a dummy if you quit your job and think your supervisor will just write you the best Supervisor's Statement ever when you're no longer around.
You're a smarty if you sweet-talk your supervisor into firing you for a medical reason - and make sure your medical condition is listed in both the Proposal to Remove and the Notice of Removal!
Example: Linda Lemon worked at the department of agriculture. She had multiple back surgeries and needed to lie down about half the day. Her job required sitting at a desk as well as travel, so she was about to quit because she knew she wouldn't be able to do her job. Linda was a great employee, but she was a dummy!
Solution: Luckily for Linda Lemon, she didn't quit. Instead, she checked out Harvey's OPM Disability Retirement Blog the night before. She called Harvey, who advised her to get her boss to fire her - for the right reason. Linda's boss was Amanda Apple, and the two had been working together for years. Amanda knew Linda was in terrible pain and used to do great work before the surgeries. So Amanda wrote a beautiful "Proposal to To Remove" outlining how Linda Lemon couldn't do her job due to her back problem, and even showed the letter to Harvey to make sure it would help Linda get disability retirement! After taking a few months LWOP, Linda was fired on the grounds that were laid out in the proposal.
Harvey says: People who have been removed for their medical condition (as opposed to staying in their job, quitting, or being fired for another reason) are statistically much more likely to be awarded Disability Retirement.
Read More: Getting Fired Can Be A Blessing
Hiring A Lawyer
You're a dummy if you think you're an expert on getting OPM Disability Retirement and don't want to pay a lawyer to help you.
You're a smarty if you realize that Disability Retirement can end up being one of the best financial investments in your life. That's because the several thousand dollars you will pay a lawyer will net you a yearly income of roughly half your salary until age 62. Plus, you can go out and work at another job for which you are not disabled (your new job can't pay more than 79.9999% of your old job's rate of basic pay).
Example: Wilbur Wiseguy needed Disability Retirement for a progressive nerve disease. He thought, "I'm a smart cookie, I'll just read Harvey's blog and do it all myself." Wilbur did a great job getting fired, filled out all his forms, got his medical records and a statement from his doctor, and filed for Disability Retirement. But he was denied! OPM said his condition wasn't so severe that he couldn't be accommodated. OPM also told him he had the right to reconsideration.
Solution: Wilbur Wiseguy finally smartened up and got a lawyer, and lucky for him. The lawyer looked at his application and said, "That's a useless physician's statement. If we don't fix this, you won't win." Wilbur Wiseguy was confused, he thought a doctor's letter could only be written by a doctor. How could that be fixed? Well, if he was a smarty, he'd know that lawyers always have their tricks. Mr. Wiseguy should have known that his lawyer was going to sweet talk the physician and help write the letter with him, to make sure it was perfect.
But lawyers have their fees, and Wilbur was out of money. Lucky for him, there are lawyers who will take contingency fees based on a percentage of any back annuity owed them by OPM when they win, and not charge a fee up front.
You're a dummy if you think you can just ask a doctor to write a Physician's Statement without giving them any guidance on how to craft it. You're an even bigger dummy if you think you can help them craft it.
You're a smarty if you recognize there is more to a Physician's Statement than medical gobbledygook.
Example: The runaway doctor writes: "The client has hypertension with a blood pressure of 180/2,000,000 and he has run out of white blood cells." This means zilch to an OPM adjudicator. They need to know if you can take medicine to treat the condition, the reason the blood pressure will prevent you from working, and much more. The problem is that the doctor doesn't know how to help you! He doesn't know what the OPM adjudicators want to hear. How would he? He may be a great doctor, but he's definitely not a lawyer who knows his way around OPM Disability Retirement.
Solution: Get someone who has done enough cases at OPM that they know what OPM adjudicators want to hear from a doctor. Your doctor doesn't know, and neither do you, your know-it-all husband (or wife), or even less-experienced lawyers. OPM Disability Retirement is all about knowing what OPM adjudicators want to hear.
Harvey says: You want a lawyer who has done scads and scads of cases!