In preparing an application for Federal Disability Retirement, multiple standard government forms must be completed. As most Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are under the “FERS” system (an acronym for “Federal Employees Retirement System”) as opposed to the older system of CSRS (standing for, “Civil Service Retirement System”), the applicable forms are comprised of two (2) “sets”: The SF 3107 Series (encompassing the basic forms needed to apply for “immediate retirement”, which is part of the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement) and the SF 3112 Series (which includes the Applicant’s Statement of Disability – SF 3112A; the Supervisor’s Statement – SF 3112B ; and the Agency’s efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form – SF 3112D).
Both sets of forms must be completed, and it is essential that the applicant understands the complexity, involvement and onerous nature of each form, before engaging in the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application. All such forms – once completed – need to be “filed” with the appropriate agency, and this becomes somewhat tricky.
To understand the administrative process of the entire procedural phenomenon, we need to begin with the oversight of some statutory principles. First, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management within one (1) year of being separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service. But there are “sub-parts” to such a Statute of Limitations (so named because it limits the ability of a Federal or Postal employee from filing a Federal Disability Retirement application if one goes past the 1-year deadline).
The first “subpart” concerns the initial 31 days after separation from Federal Service. If you, as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal employee, have been separated, but not for more than thirty one (31) days, then you should still file through your agency’s Human Resource Office or the H.R. Shared Service Office of the U.S. Postal Service, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a practical matter, if the time of separation is approaching the 31st day, you should probably just wait until after the 31-day period, and instead file directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania – which brings us to the second “subpart” concerning separation from Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service: If you have been separated for over 31 days from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then you are required to file your Federal Disability Retirement application directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania.
Likely, if you have been separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania will request your SF 50 or PS Form 50, which is evidence of the actual separation from your Federal Agency (now former) or the U.S. Postal Service; but even if your former Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has not yet issued you such a form, indicating the formal separation from Federal Service, you should always make sure that you file your Federal Disability Retirement application before the 1-year Statute of Limitations has expired.
Beyond these “fundamentals” of when and what to file, are substantive and procedural issues which are too complex to extrapolate in a limited forum. To further understand the intricacies, you as a Federal or Postal employee, if considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, should either exhaustively research the statutory or case-law background in preparing your Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application, or consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about issues concering the proper preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire