Federal Agencies and OPM have created a new obstacle to obtaining approval of your application for FERS disability retirement.
To have your application approved, OPM must not only determine that you, the employee, are disabled to perform the job you are assigned to and that said disability will last more than a year, but also must determine that you did not decline an offer of reassignment by your Agency to another job that you can perform. In the past, this rarely came up because Agencies rarely made such an offer.
However, recently, Agencies have been sending forms to employees who they know are out sick, which asks employees a variation of these two questions:
- Do you want to apply for FERS disability retirement OR do you want the Agency to search for a possible job reassignment?; or
- Do you want to apply for FERS disability retirement and have your Agency search for a possible job reassignment OR do you want to apply for FERS disability retirement and not have your Agency search for a job reassignment?
In these situations, Agencies aren’t notifying employees of the consequences if they choose to have their Agency not search for a job reassignment.
If employees choose to not ask the Agency to search for a job reassignment, OPM has used that fact to find that the employee has declined reassignment to a job at the same grade and pay level and in the same commuting area. OPM has then dismissed the employee’s application for disability retirement for this reason.
We believe that it is grossly unfair for OPM to dismiss or deny your application for disability retirement under these circumstances – ie, where Agencies aren’t properly framing the available options for their employees and aren’t informing employees of the consequences of their choices. Andalman & Flynn will appeal those dismissals and denials for employees. But don’t put yourself in that position! Make sure that you do not decline your Agency’s offer to find another position for you.
The best way to avoid receiving a denial decision on your application is to have experienced counsel assisting you from the beginning of the application process. Take advantage of the free consultations that we offer.
If you would like to arrange a free consultation to discuss your federal disability retirement matter, please contact me or call 301.563.6685.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Andalman & Flynn, P.C. serves clients throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, offering compassionate, quality service and winning representation across a broad range of legal areas. With a concentration on disability benefits law and family law, the firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and they are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit https://andalmanflynn.com, or call 301.563.6685.