Reviewing the SF 3112E Checklist for Disability Retirement

federal workers - Aubrey Lovegrove

The SF 3112E checklist must be filled out if you are filing for disability retirement under FERS, or else the Office of Personnel Management might not approve your application. Therefore, it is important to go through this checklist and make sure that it is completed properly and filed away correctly.

FERS Disability Retirement, or FDR, is mainly made up of three parts that need to be completed in order for you to be approved. One part is for the SF 3112C form, which is for your doctor to fill out corroborating your claim. The SF 3112B, SF 3112D, and SF 3112E are for the agency to fill out and process themselves. But the final piece of the pie, the SF 3112A is for you to fill out, and it’s where you put your own claim and plead your case. The three parts should all be in agreement as to what the disability is, and you are asking for, thus helping to prove to the OPM that you should be collecting benefits from your FDR.

The checklist, form SF 3112E, is the table of contents when it comes to your claim, providing all the information at a glance, and showing what applications and paperwork should be included in your FDR packet.

The best practice is to obtain a copy yourself of the SF 3112E before you start preparing for your FDR, that way you can make sure you have all the forms need, and paperwork filed, as you get ready to submit your applications.

A significant problem that can occur though, when approaching the SF 3112E checklist happens when you’ve been out of federal service for over a month, 31 days. That is because you alone are then responsible for making sure that you get the SF 3112B, SF 3112D and SF 3112E forms the agency so you can fill them out and give them to the OPM yourself. And while the agency usually has no issues with getting you the SF 3112B and SF 3112D forms, they are often reluctant, and at times flat out refuse, to give you the SF 3112E form. It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation because the SF 3112E form is supposed to come from the agency that has verified your application and all the requisite paperwork therein is filled out. However, if there is a separation preceding your appeal for an FDR, then you become responsible for submitting those forms, not the agency (as they would do if you were currently working), and since the agency isn’t submitting the forms, they don’t have a way to verify that they’re all completed and intact, which is what the SF 3112E is supposed to do. It can be a real headache for people looking to retire on disability.

The thing is, they are required by law to give you that form, so if your agency is refusing to release it you, you can remind them of this fact, which can be found on form SF 3112-2. They can also be reminded that they can fill out most of SF 3112E without actually needing to verify anything, Items 1 through 7, and Items 12, 13, and 14, specifically. If the agency is still not complying, just put an copy of the SF 3112E that hasn’t been filled out in with your application along with a letter explaining your situation and why it is not finished, including any emails you may have exchanged with the agency where they still denied you this form and a number for the department in your agency that should have been responsible for filling out that form. The OPM will take it from there.

If, at any point, the process discussed is not working, or if the OPM itself is not being helpful along with your agency, then I would suggest contacting a lawyer or your worker’s union, someone who has the legal knowledge to file a claim on your behalf and can help fight for you and your FDR.

FERS OPM federal disability checklist

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