In a previous post, we outlined “5 Steps to Prove Eligibility for FERS Disability Retirement.”
We outlined the 5 basic steps: Eligibility, Disability, Continuity, Reassignment, and Appeal.
This post will discuss Step 4: Reassignment.
Before counseling an employee to seek disability retirement or supporting an employee’s application for disability retirement, an Agency must make every reasonable attempt to accommodate the employee.
To do this, the Agency should review all vacant positions under in the Agency, at the same grade and pay, in the commuting area and determine if the employee meets the minimum qualifications. If the vacant position is available, the employee will not be approved for disability retirement.
Now, what if the Agency makes an offer of accommodation to an employee and they refuse it? It depends.
If the position is in the same commuting area, the same grade/pay, and the employee can meet the minimum qualifications, then the employee will not be eligible for disability retirement benefits if they refuse the offer. However, the employee must be able to meet the minimum qualifications – so if the offer is for a position that the employee cannot do because of the disease or injury, then the Agency’s offer is not reasonable.
Before rejecting any offer of reasonable accommodation, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney experienced in laws governing Federal Employment. Rejecting an offer of an accommodation can having detrimental and conflicting results on an employee’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehab Act, any pending OWCP claims, and the employee’s eligibility for disability retirement benefits.
No post on this website is legal advice, is meant to be legal advice, and certainly does not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the federal employee, with some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Federal Employees.
The Law Office of Eric Pines represents Federal employees under FERS or CSRS in their applications for disability retirement to OPM. If an application for disability retirement is denied, the Firm represents Federal employees under both FERS and CSRS in their MSPB appeals of denials of disability retirement applications by OPM.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about disability retirement under FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney at the Law Office of Eric Pines to schedule a telephone consultation.