“Stress” is always the “problem child” in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS. If a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job because of an intolerance to a certain level of stress, then certainly it should be considered as a basis for preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, either under FERS or CSRS. However, treatment modalities must be engaged — normally, via a psychiatrist or psychotherapy.
Further, there are always issues which will come about in basing the primary medical condition as “stress” — aside from the fact that it is a generic designation which will often have corollary designations, such as Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc. For example, can one define “tolerance to stress” as an essential element of one’s job? It is certainly an inherent element, implicit in many multi-tasking jobs and ones which require a high level of responsibilities or is subject to timeliness in quotas and work production. But when issues concerning stresses which arise as a result of “personnel issues” (i.e., interaction with supervisors, coworkers, etc.), then it becomes a “problem-child” which is best avoided, for numerous reasons, including the possibility and danger of having one’s Federal Disability Retirement application denied based upon a “situational disability“. Concepts and thoughts to ponder, when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire