If a person is separated from Federal Service pursuant to a Reduction-in-Force, can he file an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS? As with all such questions, “It Depends”. If a person has a medical disability prior to the separation from service, and the doctor will state that prior to the separation, the Federal or Postal employee could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the job, then the answer is that he has a Federal Disability Retirement case. Whether from a RIF or for some other reasons is ultimately irrelevant; the point is that one must ultimately show that prior to separation from Federal Service — any type of separation — the connection between the medical condition and the type of job one has, must be made. Remember, further, that during the time of Federal Employment, if a person was receiving OWCP partial disability payments for an hour, two hours, three hours, per week or per day, that is further evidence that the Federal or Postal employee was unable to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job. For, as with any full-time Federal sector job, being able to work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, is part of the essential element of such a job.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire