It often happens that Federal employees and postal workers applying for federal disability retirement will mention only their most severe condition to OPM in the application process.
While the condition that forms the basis of a Federal employees application for federal disability retirement may be the most severe, and may in its own right support federal disability retirement benefits, it is always better to provide to OPM, in the application process, evidence of any medical condition which affects the federal employee or postal workers ability to work in their current position.
To clarify – consider a postal carrier with three hypothetical medical conditions: major depressive disorder, back pain related to a degenerative disc disease and knee pain related to the strain of hauling around heavy mailbags on a walking route. Let’s say that the postal worker does not reference the back pain or knee pain in his application for federal disability retirement, focusing instead on the major depressive disorder.
Why would the postal worker do this? Sometimes, applicants for disability retirement feel that if they have been living with pain and performing the functions of their job for years with the pain, they shouldn’t now claim that it is affecting their ability to perform the essential functions of their job. This is not the approach that federal employees or postal workers applying for federal disability retirement should take.
There are two reasons for this:
First, neither OPM nor the MSPB Administrative Judge may consider, during an appeal to the MSPB, may consider evidence related to a medical condition that was not included in the Federal employee’s original application for federal disability retirement. What does this mean? If you don’t reference a medical condition to OPM, providing OPM with medical evidence of how that condition prevents you from rendering useful and efficient government service, then the MSPB Administrative Judge will not consider that other condition, and OPM will no withdraw its decision based on that medical condition.
Second, the MSPB Administrative Judge can consider not only how individual medical conditions affect a federal employee or postal workers ability to work. The MSPB Administrative Judge can also consider how several medical conditions operate collectively to prevent the federal employee from providing useful and efficient government service. In other words, using our hypothetical example, above, even if none of the conditions could by themselves, qualify the applicant for federal disability retirement benefits, it is possible that all of the conditions, working together, could operate to render the federal employee or postal worker unable to render useful and efficient service in the government position.
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 CSRSin their applications for federal disability retirement to OPM. If an application for federal disability retirement is denied, the Firm represents Federal employees under both FERS and CSRS in their MSPB appeals of denials of federal disability retirement applications by OPM.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and federal disability retirement appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about federal disability retirementunder FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney or a Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer at the Law Office of Eric Pines to schedule a telephone consultation.