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Why the Accommodations Issue is Unlikely to Pose a Problem If You Are Filing for Federal Disability Retirement Benefits

If you are a federal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the issue of accommodations has to be considered.As one of the eligibility requirements your agency “must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency, at the same grade or pay level, and within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment,” states the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.It may sound complex and daunting but in reality it’s something of a non-issue for applicants for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. That’s because the agency is unlikely to be able to reassign you to another position at the same grade or pay level or provide an accommodation that will allow you to perform the essential elements of the positional job requirements.

Put simply, most federal employees who file for Federal Disability Retirement have a non-accommodatable medical condition. If your disability renders you unable to do your present federal job, chances are you won’t be able to do another.

There is also a wealth of case-law that should reassure any employee considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, that the accommodation issue is unlikely to pose a problem.

The filling in of a form — SF 3112D, by the Human Resources Department of the agency, should effectively deal with the accommodation issue. If you are in doubt you should consult an experienced federal employee attorney.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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