In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is important to focus upon the first of the three — preparing. Preparation often involves thought, reflection, and contemplation. Formulation requires action; and filing and the time thereafter requires patience.
In preparing, one must address the issue of how best to survive the lengthy process — does one have sufficient accrued sick leave? Can one survive without pay and take LWOP during the (potentially) 8 – 10 month process? Will one be allowed to continue to work, even in a light-duty capacity? If the latter, then it should be kept in mind that when a Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, such an approval will provide for back pay all the way back to the last time a Federal or Postal employee was paid by the agency — whether it is a dollar, a hundred dollars, or a full paycheck.
Thus, while acceptance and receipt of donated leave is often desirable, the time of having taken LWOP for any period of time will be negated with the last day of pay. For example, if a Federal or Postal employee takes several months of LWOP, then accepts a pittance of donated leave, that time of LWOP is lost — for, again, back pay is paid only to the “last day of pay”. Considerations to be reflected upon when preparing to formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire