For a federal employee with this concern, here are two illustrative examples to consider:
- The federal employee is in a position that requires onsite presence, and has a severely disabling medical condition that prevents them from coming to work at all; or perhaps their disability leads to unacceptable communication in an interaction-heavy position description. The employee is 100% positive that there are no remedies that will allow them to continue to provide useful and efficient service in their current position, and is thus not obligated to actually verbalize such an inquiry to any member of their agency. If reality agrees with their assessment, the agency will then simply confirm this information when completing the required documentation for OPM and provide evidence to the OPM Disability Retirement eligibility criterion “accommodation of the disabling condition in the position held must be unreasonable”.
- The federal employee’s treating physician only allows them to return to work if the agency will permit telework 3 days a week. Based the agency’s typical manner of operations, the employee is fairly certain that such an accommodation will not be granted. Additionally, he/she is hesitant to reveal details of their medical condition if such disclosure is unnecessary and will not ultimately achieve the constructive goal of reasonable accommodation. An employee in such a situation would generally be advised to pursue reasonable accommodation regardless, since OPM will not look kindly at an application that demonstrates the willingness of the agency to engage in the reasonable accommodation process while the employee is disinclined. In a de-facto circumstance, this does not mean that the employee is guaranteed a denial. A law firm experienced in OPM Disability Retirement, such as The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC, will likely be able to present the situation in a favorable light.
It is advisable to discuss your specific situation with an experienced attorney, since various factors can greatly impact the recommended route of action. Contact The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC at 800-801-0598 for skilled guidance in all areas of the OPM Disability Retirement application process.