You might find this amazing, but getting fired for misconduct will not necessarily stop you from winning Disability Retirement. Delceg v. OPM is very clear on this:
“Removal for misconduct, however, does not preclude an appellant’s receipt…
Everyone who calls me knows they are sick or injured. But the question is, does their sickness or injury qualify them for OPM Disability Retirement?
How the Government Defines Disability for OPM Disability Retirement
To write the very best Applicant's Statement, it is crucial to keep a daily journal of your medical condition and how it is impacting your work. This will help you tell a story and back up that story with dates and experiences.
Podcast #3: A Good Doctor is the Real Key to Winning:
Transcript edited for clarity:
How do you know if you are eligible for Disability Retirement?
There is a legal standard, but you probably would have a difficult time figuring out if you…
Transcript edited for clarity:
How come you retired?
I’m old! I’m 77! When I turned 75, I said, “OK, that’s enough, time to play!”
Then how come you are still doing this blog?
Because I can’t retire. I unplugged…
Summary: Your Chance Of Winning OPM Disability Retirement Can Be Dramatically Increased If You Are Fired By Your Agency Because Your Medical Condition Precludes you from Performing Your Job.
It may or may not surprise you but a Federal employee can b…
AT OPM, WINNING OR LOSING DISABILITY RETIREMENT HAS ALMOST NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LAW AND ALMOST EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WHICH SIDE OF THE BED THE OPM ADJUDICATOR GOT UP ON.
The law provides one single way to decide whether or not you are entitled to d…
We have a real problem with Physician’s Statements from doctors who are too busy to spend time writing them and unwilling to go out on a limb to say it like it really is. So you have to work around this.
When it comes to doctors, you have to…
Following up on my earlier post about getting fired for misconduct:
If you are fired for misconduct, that does not mean your agency can wash its hands of you and not cooperate with your claim for Disability Retirement. Your agency is still required…
How long must the disability be likely to last before I am eligible for disability retirement?
ANSWER: Just as the disability need not be total, it also need not last forever. You are entitled to disability retirement if your disabling symptoms are likely to last for at least one year. While no less than one year's duration is sufficient, no more than one year's duration is required.
Example: Barbara's job description required her to travel by airplane, at least one time each month, to the agency's field office. She developed an uncontrollable phobia of flying and could no longer attend the monthly meetings. Accommodation was not possible, such as by conference telephone call, since effective meetings required her physical presence. Barbara's psychiatrist corroborated her claim with a "reasoned medical opinion," which included a prognosis that her symptoms would not abate for at least one year. Barbara is disabled because she is unable to render "useful and efficient service" for at least one year. She is entitled to disability retirement if she meets the other requirements.
What's the biggest difference between disability retirement and workers' compensation?
ANSWER: The biggest difference is this: the workers' compensation program, run by the Department of Labor, compensates employees for disabling diseases or injuries that are caused exclusively by or on the job. OPM's disability retirement program, on the other hand, compensates government employees for disability from disease or injury irrespective of how or where they were caused. Thus, if your disease or injury is job-related, you may be eligible for both programs.
Will OPM check up on me to see if I am still disabled or if I have been restored to earning capacity? If so, how, and how often?
ANSWER: Yes, they will check up on you, but the experience of most of my clients is that they will not harass you to get you off disability retirement. This policy, by the way, is different from that of the Department of Labor, which has a reputation for unrelentingly harassing employees in an effort to get them off workers' compensation. The disability retirement law requires OPM to check on your medical condition at least once a year and also permits them to check up on you whenever they so desire. The results are uneven and sporadic. Some employees are contacted within a few months of going on disability retirement while others are not contacted for years. Although OPM has the power to send annuitants to government-appointed physicians, it usually requires you to have your own physician answer a series of questions, which may be the same or similar to those previously asked on the "Physician's Statement." As to monitoring for restoration of earning capacity, that is done on an annual basis through a questionnaire, and you may, in addition, be required to provide copies of your tax returns.
Which diseases and injuries qualify for disability retirement?
ANSWER: All diseases and all injuries qualify for disability retirement, including phobias, depression, chronic pain, allergies, chemical sensitivities, drug addiction, and alcoholism.
I have represented Federal government employees and Postal workers seeking OPM Disability Retirement for a long time. I also represent them in agency leave problems such as AWOL, FMLA, LWOP, etc. Leave problems often come along with being sick and disabled. I have stuck to this area of the law for more than 30 years of the 50 years I have been a lawyer.