OPM Claims Process Lawyer
If you become disabled from service in your federal employment due to injury or disease, you may be able to access OPM disability retirement, which pays you a percentage of your income through age 62. The process required to prove your eligibility and qualify for benefits can be confusing and time-consuming, and if you try to apply for benefits on your own or without the help of a skilled legal professional, you may find that months and years go by without you ever getting any closer to actually receiving your benefits. At the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz, we know that you don’t have that time to wait, and we know how important it is that you ultimately be successful on your claim. Steve Barszcz has spent many years successfully securing OPM disability retirement for federal employees nationwide. Learn more about the OPM claims process below, and contact OPM claims process lawyer Stephen Barszcz if you are applying for benefits or having trouble with your claim.
Required forms for OPM Disability Retirement
Initially, you’ll need to file both the SF 3107 Application for Immediate Retirement and associated forms, as well as SF 3112 Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement and accompanying schedules. This initial package of forms and documentation will also need to include documentation that you’ve applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as well. OPM disability retirement and SSD work hand in hand, and your receipt of benefits from one system can impact the benefits you receive from the other system. Most SSD applications are denied by Social Security the first time around. Nevertheless, OPM requires that you apply for SSD in order to receive disability retirement through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Attorney Steve Barszcz regularly secures OPM disability retirement and Social Security disability for federal employees suffering from disease or off the job injuries. He also obtains OPM disability retirement and Social Security disability for federal employees who have sustained injuries on the job. Those federal employees may also wish to contact Steve with Federal Workers’ Compensation questions.
Timeline of OPM Process
You have one year from the date of disability to submit the required forms. If you are still employed or if it has been 31 days or less since you separated from service, you can complete the forms with your employing agency, and they’ll forward the documents to OPM on your behalf. If it has been more than 31 days since you separated from service, you’ll need to fill out the forms and gather all the required information yourself and submit this documentation directly to OPM. There will likely be many forms to request from the employer which can take time and draw out the process of reviewing your application.
Once your paperwork has been submitted, you should receive an Acknowledgment Letter from OPM containing information and a CSA claim number. This acknowledgment lets you know your application has been received and will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible for disability retirement. All future documentation, communication and correspondence should include the CSA claim number assigned to your case.
Once in receipt of your application package, OPM examines the application and supporting documentation. OPM may contact you or your employing agency for additional information during this period.
OPM may also require periodic medical updates on your condition during this period as well as while you are receiving benefits. These exams are at your expense, and benefits can be denied or suspended if you don’t comply and establish continuing eligibility for disability retirement.
You and your employing agency will be notified if your application is approved or disallowed. If your claim is allowed, it is possible to get interim payments during the period after your pay has been stopped and while OPM is calculating your annuity amount.
Steps after a Denial
If your application is disallowed, you’ll receive a denial letter from OPM informing you that your application was insufficient to prove you are eligible for federal disability retirement. Although the denial letter may seem to conclusively state that you are not eligible for disability retirement, don’t be discouraged. There are still many steps you can take to pursue your claim and ultimately receive benefits. Steps after a denial include:
Request for Reconsideration – You have 30 days to request OPM to reconsider your application. You’ll also have the opportunity to provide additional medical documentation or other supplemental information that may strengthen your application.
Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board – If your application is still denied after reconsideration, you can appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board and present your case to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Petition for Full Review – A petition for full review is an appeal that is based on errors made at the hearing by the ALJ. This step is much more technical and based on legal grounds, rather than a review of the sufficiency of your application which was the main thrust of your arguments at the earlier stages of appeal.
Federal Circuit Court – It is possible to further have your case heard in federal court, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, based on errors made at lower stages involving significant questions of federal law. Hopefully, your case will be resolved without ever reaching this stage, but it’s important to know that a case can be pursued this far if necessary and appropriate.
Get the Help You Need from a Dedicated and Successful OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz, our goal is your approval of your OPM disability retirement claim. We work with a network of doctors and specialists throughout the country to ensure an extraordinarily high degree of success for our clients. If you are applying for OPM disability retirement or if you have been denied, please call us for a free consultation or complete the form below.