| Read Time: 3 minutes |

As a federal employee attorney who deals with reasonable accommodations and OPM disability retirement, I am often frustrated when OPM denies an employee’s application for OPM disability retirement on the ground that, “there is no evidence that the disability resulted in any deficiencies of performance, conduct, and/or attendance at work.” Unfortunately, despite a requirement that OPM consider other factors in rendering its decision, OPM will often issue a denial only on that one basis. In actual fact, when processing a disability retirement application, OPM must also consider whether the employee has performed well in his or her job despite the disability. Thus, one pertinent question OPM must ask is whether the employee’s medical condition is incompatible with useful and efficient service or retention in the worker’s former position.

A failure by the OPM to consider these two elements, may constitute grounds to appeal OPM’s decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). However, to succeed before the Merit Systems Protection Board, you will need to show evidence of a disability, which is not as simple as it may appear at first glance. Although the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides federal employees with protection from disability discrimination by federal agencies, it is actually the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act that set forth the standards for determining whether an individual is disabled.

Thus, a federal employee is disabled if the employee can demonstrate one or more of the following applies to him/her:

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;’
  • A record of such an impairment; or
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment. 42 USC 12102 (1).

There are many factors to consider when contemplating whether OPM disability retirement is right for you: you should consider the financial consequences (how OPM disability will affect your income, your benefits, and your retirement planning), and you should also consider the life consequences (how your daily routine will change and whether you will be able to work in a fulfilling position while receiving OPM disability retirement. Helping disabled federal employees has been my passion for almost 20 years. Whether you need help applying for OPM disability, obtaining a reasonable accommodation for your disability, or seeking remuneration for discrimination you have suffered as a result of your disability, my firm and I will be here with you every step of the way. We will work closely with you and your healthcare provider to collect all of the necessary records and information to help you in preparing your case. Please feel free to contact me directly at 832-533-3242 or at eric@pinesfederal.com.


Pines Federal represents US Federal Employees before the EEOC, MSPB, FLRA, OSC and Union Grievances as well as assisting them with obtaining their disability benefits claims from OPM and the MSPB. Pines Federal represents federal employees nationwide and wherever else they may be stationed.

Mr. Pines has a unique and special interest in assisting disabled federal employees in obtaining reasonable accommodations, freedom from discriminatory treatment and OPM Disability Benefits if necessary. Mr. Pines and his firm have experience drafting over 70 EEO Final Agency Decisions as well as representing 100’s of employees in navigating the EEO Reasonable Accommodation and OPM Disability landscape.

If you are a Federal Employee or former Federal Employee we believe it is very important that you consider hiring an attorney with specific experience handling such claims in the federal employee landscape. The federal legal system is unique and unlike any other legal system as it has many procedural and legal differences from non-federal employment law. The time and money it takes to hire an attorney who does not have federal sector experience and have them get up to speed in the federal sector legal environment can often waste valuable time and financial resources for the unknowing federal employee. It is often a much better value and much less frustrating to hire someone who solely practices in the federal employee labor and employment field. Attorney Eric L. Pines has practiced solely in the federal employee field for over 17 years. For a review of recent successful case decisions please see the following link.

No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice.

The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case.

It is very important that the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC notes that each and every Federal Employee’s claim is different. Just because the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC was able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Federal Employee does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you. In some cases, the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC may not be able to secure any financial compensation or past-due benefits due to the facts or law of your particular case.

Author Photo

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.

Rate this Post
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars