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…
If I have sick leave left, should I exhaust it before I go on disability retirement? What about annual leave?
ANSWER: It is probably best to exhaust your sick leave before going onto disability retirement. There are at least two ways to do this. First, you can use up your sick leave once you have been awarded disability retirement, holding your retirement annuity in abeyance until you have exhausted your sick leave. Second, you can use all of your accumulated sick leave in advance, beyond the amount necessary for OPM to approve your application. You can do this by leaving just enough sick leave to get you through the process. The problem here is that no one can guess how much time OPM will take to come to a decision.
The advantage of using up your sick leave, no matter how you do it, is that you will be paid at your full salary for your time on sick leave instead of being paid at the lesser rate of the disability retirement annuity. While the unused sick leave of CSRS employees is credited to time in service and may have potential value for retirement purposes (this is not so for FERS employees), it's still usually much more profitable to exhaust sick leave first, thereby recouping it in the form of dollars.
Annual leave is different. You should exhaust any "use or lose" annual leave before going onto disability retirement. However, there is no special reason (except perhaps for tax purposes) to exhaust any other accrued annual leave, since you will be paid a lump sum for any annual leave remaining in your leave account when you go onto disability retirement.
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.
If the agency won't grant LWOP, can I quit and still apply for disability retirement?
ANSWER: Yes. Even if you resign from your job, you can still apply for disability retirement. You must, however, have already filed your application with OPM at the time of your resignation or do so within a period of one year from your separation date.
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.