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  • Qualifying for OPM Disability Retirement

    “ While employed in a position subject to FERS, the employee must have become disabled because of a medical condition , resulting in a deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance” So says OPM in listing the five absolute requirements for Disability Retirement eligibility. This condition seems to be quite simple to meet, and it is – if your doctor penning the Physician’s Statement is ...
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  • Denied OPM Disability Retirement? Here's What You Should Do

    You’ve received your initial decision from OPM Disability Retirement , and you’ve been denied. Now What? Many federal employees who receive a negative decision are cowed by the jargon that is the explanation of the decision and don’t stop to consider that they may actually have a tremendous amount of arsenal to give their reconsideration appeal a shot of potency. Factors Considered in OPM ...
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  • EEOC's Fiscal Year 2016 Performance Report

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) secured over $482.1 million for workers who have experienced discrimination in the private, state and local government, and federal workplaces during the fiscal year 2016, which ended on September 30. The following is a breakdown of the total awards: $347.9 million for employment discrimination plaintiffs in private sector, as well as state ...
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  • Mental Disorders without Objective Medical Evidence

    A valid concern for federal employees with a mental disorder is fear that their application for OPM Disability Retirement is doomed from the start due to a dearth of objective medical evidence confirming the diagnosis. When Mental Health Affects Job Performance Take a woman who has been employed by the federal government for over twelve years and who has experienced increasing anxiety issues. Her ...
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  • Why You Should Include All of Your Diagnoses in the OPM Disability Retirement Application

    When completing the SF 3112A, one of the first questions requires you to list your diagnoses for which you are claiming disability. The instinctive response is generally to list only the diagnoses that your physician detailed in the statement provided in support of your OPM Disability Retirement application. At Pines Federal , our Houston federal employee attorneys check with our clients whether ...
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  • EEOC Defending Reasonable Accommodations in Drug Testing Policy

    On August 24th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC ) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against a car dealership (Bell Leasing, Inc.), alleging that its policy for drug testing did not possess exceptions for qualified individuals with disabilities. The EEOC claims that the employer made a job offer to an applicant. However, when she tested ...
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  • What is a "Qualified" Federal Employee for a Disability Reasonable Accommodation Request?

    The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that Federal Employees requesting reasonable accommodation be "Qualified" to do their jobs before entitlement to a reasonable accommodation. What does it mean to be a Qualified Employee under the ADA? Practically it means that an employee must be able to do the essential functions of their job with or without an accommodation. For example, we recently had a ...
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  • Reasonable Accommodation and the Federal Employee

    I enjoy representing Federal Employees with their requests for medical reasonable accommodations because this is an area of law where an attorney can make a real difference in someone’s life. Federal Employees who are suffering from a substantial impairment of their major life activities are entitled to receive an effective accommodation that allows them to perform the essential functions of their ...
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  • How Much Money Does my Federal Agency Have to Spend to Accommodate My Disability?

    As mentioned in a previous blog Federal Agencies need to go to quite an extent to take care of their disabled employees who need accommodation. One of the first cases I handled many years back involved a Center Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) employee who suffered from a debilitating medical condition that required him to stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. My client worked in a brand new ...
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  • When Applying for OPM Disability Retirement - Stress the Symptoms!

    It is not difficult for a federal employee to prove that they have been diagnosed with a particular medical condition - all it takes is for their doctor to provide a simple letter of certification and apply a signature to this assertion. Including medical evidence in the form of diagnostic testing reports is certainly helpful and sometimes necessary, but will will likely not be the key to securing ...
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  • More Medical Evidence=Better Chance for OPM Disability Acceptance. True or False?

    It seems to make perfect sense. A three-inch high stack of medical documentation should be more convincing to the OPM Disability Retirement examiner than just 20 pages of diagnostic testing and hospitalization discharge reports, right? The answer is, not necessarily. Picture the OPM examiner analyzing your OPM Disability Retirement package next to her 50 other applications due that month. When ...
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  • Stretching the Bruner Presumption

    A federal employee’s medical condition is often the direct cause of termination and removal from the job, however your federal agency just as often neglects to mention the real reason, and delineates the cause as “excessive absenteeism” or other such justification. The best-case scenario would, of course, be for the agency to state the real underlying cause, which would entitle the employee to ...
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  • How Will Accepting a Light Duty Offer Affect My OPM Disability Retirement Application?

    You may wonder if it is in your best interest to accept an offer by your Agency for a light duty assignment. You plan on applying for OPM Disability Retirement, or may actually be in the process of doing so, and are concerned that OPM may view your acceptance of light duty as effectively being accommodated or reassigned. The truth is that generally it is perfectly fine to go ahead and accept the ...
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  • Can I work in a private sector job while I am on OPM Disability?

    You definitely can be open to supplementing your FERS annuities with a job in the private sector, as long as you keep two important points in mind: 1) Your annual income from the job must be less than 80% of the current rate of basic pay for the position from which you retired. If your income exceeds this amount, OPM would understand that you have been reinstated to earning capacity, and this ...
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  • Leave Without Pay and Back Pay: What to Know About This Dynamic

    Financial stress most often presses a federal employee who is disabled for his/her position description to scramble for some sort of income during the application process for OPM Federal Employee Disability Retirement. It is certainly difficult to survive without a steady source of income, but refusing the opportunity may just be your best bet. Once you are approved for OPM Disability Retirement, ...
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