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…
ANSWER: You will be paid that monthly annuity for as long as you remain disabled from your government job, even if you are able to work in another job outside of government and in fact do so. Your monthly annuity will stop only if: (1) you die (unless you provided for a survivor's annuity); (2) you are reemployed by the federal government; (3) you voluntarily give it up; (4) you recover from your disability; or (4) you are "restored to earning capacity."
Can I work in another job after I retire from my government job on disability?
ANSWER: Yes. Although you may be unable to render "useful and efficient service" in your government job and are therefore disabled from it, you may be able to perform in a non-government job, and if you can, you are perfectly free to do so.
Example: Fern, an accountant, suffers from continuing bouts of clinical depression in part as a result of government job duties and long hours. Her symptoms include early morning crying spells, which often make her late for the daily staff meetings which are an integral part of one of the critical elements of her job. After she is awarded disability retirement, Fern finds a new job as an accountant in private business with duties and hours that she can handle. Fern is disabled from her government employment, and if she meets the other requirements, the fact that she can perform the private sector job does not prevent her from receiving disability retirement.
What can I do to best assure that OPM takes my claim seriously?
ANSWER: Apart from the formal steps necessary to get disability retirement, there is one particularly effective informal step that I take in some cases. I flood OPM with evidence of disability by introducing letters and affidavits from family and friends on the home front, and co-workers and colleagues on the work front, all testifying to my client's credibility and disability. I never worry that the formal process has no place for such letters and affidavits. I go on the assumption that it's hard to ignore someone with a horde of witnesses out there just itching to testify.
If I lose my disability annuity by earning too much, can I ever get it back?
ANSWER: Yes. Although you will lose your disability retirement annuity if you are "restored to earning capacity," you may reapply. On reapplication, you will have to demonstrate not only that your earnings have diminished for an entire calendar year below the 80% ceiling, but also that you are still disabled from your old government job (and not some other job) by the same disability (and not some other disability) that disabled you before. This can be very tricky. The best advice: make sure that you keep your earnings under the 80% ceiling.
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.