Federal Disability Retirement (FERS) FAQs

Answering Common Maryland Federal Disability Retirement Questions

What does it cost for Andalman & Flynn to represent me on my Disability Retirement Claim?
What is the definition of “disability”?
Where do I file my application and from what date do my benefits start?
What is the time limit for filing an application for federal disability retirement?
How long do I have to work to be eligible for disability retirement?
Can I go back to work and continue to receive federal disability retirement benefits?
When will my federal disability benefit stop and, if so, can my disability benefit be reinstated?
Can I concurrently receive federal disability retirement from the Office of Personnel Management and federal workers’ compensation benefits from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation?
If I become too disabled to perform my job, does the federal government provide for disability retirement benefits and health insurance?
Why should I hire Andalman & Flynn to represent me on my Federal Disability Retirement Benefits Claim?


 

Q: What does it cost for Andalman & Flynn to represent me on my disability retirement claim?

A: Andalman & Flynn typically provides a free consultation for our disability benefits clients nationwide. In addition, Andalman & Flynn handles many Federal Disability Retirement claims in Montgomery County primarily on a contingency fee basis; a contingency fee is not paid unless and until we are successful in obtaining an award of benefits for you. We also help workers with related employment disputes. We normally require a paid consultation and an hourly fee to work on disputes involving disciplinary action, termination, or discrimination.

You can contact our Silver Spring office for a free disability consultation by calling (301) 563-6685, or toll-free at 1-888-558-7871. You can also fill out our online contact form and one of our trained professionals will contact you to discuss your Federal Disability Retirement Claim.

Q: What is the definition of “disability”?

A: CSRS and FERS both use the same definition of disability. To prove disability, you must establish that you are medically unable to perform useful and efficient service and that your disability will last at least one year. You must prove that you are unable to do your job, even after being provided reasonable accommodations, and you must not turn down a suitable vacancy within your agency that is within your commuting area and at the same grade or pay level as your current position. Your medical disability can be the result of one condition or a combination of conditions, the result of illness, and/or the result of an injury on the job or off the job. You must be in treatment with a doctor, and you must be compliant with treatment.

Our disability lawyers in Maryland help people with physical and mental illnesses, as well as accidental injuries, and have won thousands of claims in over 25 years of practice. We have experience with a vast array of illnesses, including: multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, heart disease, diabetes, degenerative arthritis, herniated discs, lupus, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, dementia, TBI, lyme disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, depressionanxietypost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)bipolar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and more.

Q: Where do I file my application and from what date do my benefits start?

A: If you file an application more than thirty-one (31) days after your separation, it must be filed with OPM. Prior to that, it is filed with your agency. If you are awarded benefits, your annuity commences on the day after you separate, or the day after your last day in pay status, whichever is earlier. If you file a non-disability retirement application with OPM at any time before separation from your agency, OPM will consider this action to be a withdrawal of the disability application.

Have additional questions about filing a Federal Disability Retirement application in Maryland? Contact Andalman & Flynn for assistance with disability law.

Q: What is the time limit for filing an application for Federal Disability Retirement?

A: You must file an application for Federal Disability Retirement either before you separate from federal service or within one year of the date of your separation. The one year requirement may be waived only in cases of mental incompetence.

Q: How long do I have to work to be eligible for disability retirement?

A: CSRS requires you to have at least five years of creditable civilian service before you can qualify for disability benefits, and FERS requires 18 months of civilian service. You must have worked in a position covered by CSRS or FERS.

Q: Can I go back to work and continue to receive Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

A: Yes. You can work in the private sector and continue to receive Federal Disability Retirement benefits under both CSRS and FERS. However, if you decide to work again, your disability benefits may be affected. If your total income from work is more than 80% of the current salary of the position you retired from, your disability benefits will end. Your benefits will be affected or, most likely, end if you go back to work for the Federal Government.

Q: When will my federal disability benefit stop and, if so, can my disability benefit be reinstated?

If you are under age 60, your federal disability retirement benefits can be stopped if (1) you are found to be medically recovered from your disabling condition; (2) in any calendar year your income from wages and self-employment is at least eighty percent (80%) of the current rate of basic pay from the position you retired from, also known as a restoration to earning capacity; or, (3) you are reemployed in the Federal service in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement, which is called an administrative recovery. In all cases, your disability retirement benefits end at age 62 and you are transferred to regular retirement benefits at that time.

If your disability benefit stops because you were found recovered either medically or administratively, your benefit can be reinstated only if the disability recurs and you do not exceed the eighty percent (80%) earnings limitation. If your disability benefit stopped only because you exceeded the earnings limitation, your benefit can be reinstated effective the first of the year after you no longer exceed the eighty percent (80%) earnings limit.

Q: Can I concurrently receive federal disability retirement from the Office of Personnel Management and federal workers’ compensation benefits from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation?

A: Generally, you cannot receive both benefits. However, it may be in your best interest to apply for both. If you win both, you must elect which one to receive. If you decide you want to receive federal workers’ compensation payments from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP), then federal disability retirement payments from OPM will be suspended. If your OWCP benefits later stop, you can ask OPM to again pay your disability benefit. However, you can receive both an OWCP Scheduled Award and Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the same time.

Q: If I become too disabled to perform my job, does the federal government provide for disability retirement benefits and health insurance?

A: Yes. There are two main disability retirement programs which cover most federal employees, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). CSRS and FERS both provide disability as well as regular retirement benefits. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the agency that administers both programs and decides whether to award disability retirement benefits. If you are awarded disability retirement, you will be allowed to keep your federal health insurance if you have been enrolled in the program for the five years of federal service immediately preceding your retirement or, if less than five years, since your earliest opportunity to enroll. If you are considering filing for disability retirement, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney who will help you with the application process so you receive and continue receiving all benefits to which you are entitled.

Q: Why should I hire Andalman & Flynn to represent me on my Federal Disability Retirement Benefits Claim?

A: Andalman & Flynn’s experienced disability attorneys have a proven record of helping hundreds of disabled employees win disability benefits. We represent federal and postal workers throughout the country who, through illness or injury, are no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of their job. We represent federal workers throughout the claims process including: (1) preparing initial applications with supporting medical documentation; (2) reconsideration of initial denials by OPM, and, (3) appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which include hearings before Administrative Law Judges. We use our experience and understanding of the necessary legal proof to collect medical, vocational and other evidence to maximize your chances of winning. If you wish to discuss your case, please contact us to schedule a consultation.

Choose Andalman & Flynn for Disability Law in Montgomery County, Maryland

At Andalman & Flynn, we help you negotiate the complex process of applying for disability retirement, or fighting a denial of your application for disability retirement. We have experienced attorneys who can answer all your questions and represent you through the initial application process at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as well as any necessary appeals, including going to trial before an Administrative Judge of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Contact us today and we’ll do our best to make your life a little simpler with the disability benefits you deserve.

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