Featuring Harvey Friedman, Produced by Jeremy Neff.
Harvey Friedman gives you the inside scoop on what disability retirement is all about. It is based on his over 30 years of experience representing federal employees seeking disability retirement from OPM. The Do's, The Don'ts, The Why's, Wherefore's, the What Not To's and the How To's.
Podcast #3: A Good Doctor is the REAL Key To Winning: What makes someone eligible for Disability Retirement, and how do they prove it? Find out why getting a supportive doctor is the most important step in pursuing Disability Retirement. Transcript.
Podcast #2: Don't Worry So Much About The Fee - You're Gonna Make Out Like A Bandit: Hear how to find a good lawyer - other than Harvey (he's retired!). Harvey covers how you can make out like a bandit with disability retirement and whether a lawyer's fee is worth it. Transcript.
Podcast #1: Harvey's First Disability Retirement Client (1985!): Our first attempt at a podcast. It is about Harvey's first client in the Disability Retirement field, who taught him what Disability Retirement even was! And it is a strange story indeed. Hope you enjoy.
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…
Can I continue to carry my government life and health insurance?
ANSWER: Yes. You can continue to carry the same group health insurance that you carried on your last day of employment with the government if: (1) you retire on an immediate annuity, and either (2) you were covered for the five years of government service directly before going onto disability retirement, or (3) if you were covered for less than that five years, you obtained your coverage at the first opportunity you could do so after entering government service. Thereafter, should you for any reason lose your disability retirement, you cannot continue to carry the group policy but are required, if you wish to keep the insurance, to carry the non-group conversion policy then available. An exception: if your disability retirement annuity is later reinstated, you can have the group policy reinstated. Of course, the group policy is always better than the private policy.
As to life insurance, you can continue to carry the same amount of basic life insurance coverage (or less, but not more) than you carried on your last day of federal employment, under rules somewhat similar to those noted above for health insurance.
Special elections and conditions may apply in different circumstances as to both types of insurance, and you should not proceed without careful inquiry. As well, be sure to take the actions within the time limits required to preserve these valuable rights to coverage.
If I withdraw all of the money from my retirement fund after separation from government service, am I still eligible for disability retirement?
ANSWER: Probably, but the answer is not clear-cut. Depending on the circumstances, withdrawal of your retirement fund does not necessarily extinguish your right to disability retirement. However, since the law is somewhat unclear, you certainly should not withdraw your retirement fund at separation if you think there is any chance that you may seek disability retirement within the next year.
If I'm eligible for both disability retirement and workers' compensation, can I collect from both?
ANSWER: No. Government employees who are eligible for both disability retirement and workers' compensation cannot collect from both, except in very special circumstances. Since there are a multitude of other differences between the two programs, you should definitely seek legal assistance if you are confronted with a choice. Be aware, however, that you will probably not be able to find a lawyer who will represent you in a government workers' compensation case, given the government's shenanigans with legal fees in such cases.
Can my agency influence whether or not I get disability retirement?
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.