I am attempting to address the issue of Psychiatric medical disabilities in the context of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, by addressing the issue from various perspectives and angles, in an effort to inform the reader in different ways. Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder — each possess unique traits, characteristics, and symptomatologies and manifestations exhibited in ways specific to the psychiatric condition.
What is often the case is that, while the Psychiatrist is the medical doctor who is the “expert” on the Psychiatric condition, it is often the psychologist (the “Ph.D”), the Therapist, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker, etc. who has the “personalized” knowledge of the patient, who can provide the descriptive emotional impact, and the specific adjectives which can properly be formulated to reveal and “prove” the impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.
Often, the Psychiatrist is merely the “medication manager” — the prescriber of the psychotropic medications. Thus, in proving a Federal Disability Retirement case by a preponderance of the evidence, it is often necessary to have both the Therapist, as well as the Psychiatrist, in a joint effort to meet the standard of proof. Is there a higher standard of proof in a Psychiatric medical condition? To some extent, the answer is yes — but this is only natural, inasmuch as it requires “more” to have people fully understand the nature, extent, and impact of what it means to have a psychiatric medical condition. For, at its very essence, who among us can truly understand what it means to be overwhelmed by a psychiatric medical condition? Only words — descriptive adjectives and emotive-concepts, can draw us closer to having at least some rudimentary understanding.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire