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Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Importance of a Coherent and Consistent Application

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Importance of a Coherent and Consistent Application

Federal and postal employees are in one of two possible retirement systems: FERS (an acronym for Federal Employee Retirement System) or CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System). Whichever system the federal or postal employee is in, the federal disability retirement benefit is an option that is available, in the event that a federal government worker is no longer able to perform at least one of the items. essentials of their work. Remember that to qualify for federal disability retirement benefits, the medical condition or injury does not have to be work related. In fact, one could have suffered a career-ending spinal injury during a ski trip and still qualify for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

The Agency that determines that a Federal or Postal Employee is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). They are empowered by the legal authority to examine each application for approval or disapproval. To be eligible for the Federal Disability Retirement benefit, one must prove, by preponderance of the evidence, three basic components:

(A) a federal or postal employee under FERS or CSRS has a medical condition;

(B) the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job; and

(C) that the Agency is unable to accommodate the individual or, alternatively, reassign the individual to a position in the same salary or grade.

To successfully prepare and submit an application for federal disability retirement benefits, two general elements should always be considered: consistency and consistency. “Consistency” has to do with the form of the application, while “consistency” has to do with the content or background of the application. Both elements are important in preparing an effective federal disability retirement application. Therefore, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will make logical sense and will “fit” with everything (consistency), as well as having an internal structure of information that is consistent with each other (consistency).

How do you prove that you are eligible for federal disability retirement benefits? Is there a chart or schedule of accepted medical conditions? Regarding the last question, the general answer is “No”. Qualifying medical conditions have more to do with the symptoms of a medical condition than a formal diagnosis. Therefore, physical conditions can range from cervical and lumbar diseases, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, ankylosing spondylitis, failed back syndrome, chronic pain; Fibromyalgia; to total hip replacements that limit and restrict flexion and mobility; Heart problems; migraines; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Chemical sensitivity problems; Asthma; Hypothyroidism; Plantar fasciitis; Carpal tunnel syndrome; shoulder problems, often called bursitis or shoulder impingement syndrome; trochanteric bursitis; lupus, multiple sclerosis, as well as many other conditions that are not mentioned here and that are too numerous to list. When it comes to psychiatric conditions, the list can be as long: major depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, ADD and ADHD; Paranoia; Schizophrenia; Asperger syndrome; and many other psychiatric conditions. Whether you are trying to apply for federal disability retirement benefits based on a physical medical condition or a psychiatric medical condition, it is important to show that one is eligible for the benefit.

Which brings us to the first question: How do you prove you are eligible for federal disability retirement benefits, either under FERS or CSRS? In any application for federal or postal disability retirement benefits, one must ensure that the application is consistent and consistent. The consistency of an application results when all the various components of the application “fit” together. Thus, for example, when preparing the Applicant’s Declaration of Disability (SF 3112A), block 4 asks the applicant to “Fully describe your illness or injury.” If the illness or injury is physical, then the focus of the narrative should be to describe the pain, physical restraints and limitations, etc. Then, when one reaches Block 5, where he asks how his illness or injury interferes with the performance of “his duties, his attendance or his conduct”, the approach must be consistent with the previous answer, that is, if the narrative describes problems physical, the impact on one’s work should, therefore, focus on the physical aspect of the job. Thus, as an example, saying that you “cannot concentrate or focus” on a certain aspect of the job would only be consistent if (A) the job required intensive cognitive work and the severity of the pain impacted one’s cognitive awareness. . faculties, or (B) medications prescribed to alleviate physical condition affect focus or concentration. On the contrary, if the narrative about one’s medical condition primarily involves psychiatric problems, then the impact on one’s work must encapsulate the cognitive problems (i.e. focus, concentration, ability to analyze, evaluate, etc.). As you can see, consistency in an application for federal disability retirement benefits is an important component.

Additionally, an effective application for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS must be consistent. Each element of the application should “match”, whenever possible, with all other components. When inconsistencies occur, for example, between what the treating physician says and what the applicant states in their explanation in SF 3112A, a red flag may arise, providing an opportunity for a denial from the Office of Personnel Management. Therefore, do not try to “exaggerate” the description of the medical condition. Remember how, when you were seriously ill but your voice sounded perfectly normal on the phone? You had to report that you were ill and “sound like” if you were ill, even though you were actually very ill. When preparing an application for federal disability retirement, this is not the time to “sound like” more than what the treating physician says.

Ultimately, the success or failure of a federal disability retirement application under FERS or CSRS, as submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, will depend on the consistency and consistency of the application. Preparation is the key to success, and it is important to always remember that consistency and consistency are two elements that should always guide the formulation, preparation, and submission of a successful federal disability retirement application.

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