Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 27, 2015 - Rules and regulations relating to what constitutes total disability under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are confusing. What is the clear definition of total disability, or is there one?
Total disability is close to being an open-ended definition to some managers who feel that an individual must be completely disabled 100 percent of the time. This is not the case. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in order to become eligible for FERS disability retirement.
Those requirements include, but are not necessarily limited to:
* The disability in question must be expected to endure for at least one year
* The applicant must have served a minimum of 18-months in the Federal civil service to be creditable under FERS
* The applicant must have become disabled and unable to perform their designated duties in their current position due to disease/injury
* An application for separation from service must be applied for within one year, unless the applicant is deemed mentally incompetent, invoking a waiver
* The applicant must have applied for social security benefits and not have withdrawn it
* The employer must certify it cannot accommodate applicant’s disability in a current position and show it contemplated any other vacant position in the same area, agency and pay level for which the applicant is qualified
“Based on the stated requirements, the standard is not total disability. It is clearly a disability preventing a worker from performing their duties in a ‘useful and efficient’ manner and their employer cannot accommodate that worker’s disability,” said noted Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey. The law of FERS does not mean a worker must necessarily prove they have a total disability.
Disability law and how it may apply to various individuals is complex. In order to get a good understanding of one’s legal rights, contact an experienced employment attorney.
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654