Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS constitutes a “Federal” issue, and not a “State” issue. What this means is that an attorney representing a Federal or Postal employee in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is not restricted from representing that particular Federal or Postal employee because of the specific state in which a person resides.
Every now and then, it is clear that there is some confusion on this matter. It is the Office of Personnel Management — a Federal Agency located in Washington, D.C. — which makes a determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application, for the first two (2) stages of the process. Thus, whether a person lives in California, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, etc., is irrelevant with respect to legal representation by an attorney who has his or her license to practice law from a state other than the one in which the prospective client resides.
As a Federal issue, and not a State issue, the jurisdictional ability of an attorney who specializes in practicing administrative law in assisting Federal and Postal employees obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS crosses any and all state boundaries. What should thus be the focus in determining which attorney is the appropriate one to hire should be based upon experience, competence, reputation and “comfort level” — those criteria which should always be taken into consideration when hiring an OPM Disability Retirement attorney.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire