OPM Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement & Essential Elements

When an applicant for FERS & CSRS Federal Disability Retirement benefits begins to craft his or her Applicant’s Statement of Disability, certain foundational questions must be considered before composing the historical, emotional, substantive and impact-descriptive narrative.  For instance, to the legal criteria, To be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement Benefits, one must show that one’s medical conditions prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the initial and most foundational question obviously is:  What are the “essential elements” of one’s job? 

Now, that may seem like a simple — even simplistic — question.  One needs only to look at the official position description and pick out the major factors of the position.  If only it were that easy.  For, there are many “implicit” essential elements which are not explicitly stated, and it is often those unspoken, “un – described” elements, which are directly impacted by one’s medical conditions and disabilities, which must be creatively woven into the narrative of one’s disability statement.  Always remember to take care of the “foundational” issues first; thereafter, the narrative can extrapolate from the major factors of the position description.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

1 thought on “OPM Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement & Essential Elements


    The Post Office offered me a modified job offer of the same job I had when I got hurt. It’s the same job I had for 8-9 years. There is nothing modified about it. The wording is just different. I have 30 days to respond or they will cut off my OWCP benefits. They keep sending me more and more forms to fill out. I can not do this job for several reasons and they know that. I thought of filing for FERS Disability and SSI Disability. I’m 61 yrs. old.
    I fell at work in 2005 and arthroscopy on both of my knees and returned to work after I recovered. My got worse. I’m a Supervisor and they threw me around from one job to another until I finally got a job in hell. The Postmaster thought it was her job was to get rid of me because I couldn’t walk or keep up with the job. Her theory was that if I couldn’t do all the walking part of my job then I would have to do all her job too. She harrassed me and tried to have me fired within two weeks. One day I just walked off the job and went to my Physchiatrist and she she put me out on Disability which was approved. Soon after I had bilateral knee replacement. I’m stil being treated for C-7 herniation, pain radiating down down down my shoulder,arm,shoulder blade,pins & needles in hand. Herniation & bulging disc in Lumbar disc.

    My question is should I apply for FERS & SSI Disability Retirement? I don’t have the money for a long lapse in time with no income coming in while these filings are approved or disapproved.

    Thank you.

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