OPM Disability Retirement: The Treating Doctor versus “Others”

Obtaining the support of one’s treating doctor is an essential element in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS. The “treating doctor” is a unique animal, and one who possesses peculiar and particularized knowledge specifically relevant to a Federal Disability Retirement case.  

The treating doctor usually has a longstanding relationship with the potential Federal Disability Retirement applicant; through extensive and multiple clinical encounters, has formed a professional opinion about the overall health issues of his/her patient; has often spoken about other matters, including personal issues, and therefore has formed that puzzling emotional bond identified as a “relationship” with the potential Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant; has knowledge of the history of the Federal or Postal employee, including personal tidbits of information; and other important information.  

Aside from the fact that the Merit Systems Protection Board’s specific acknowledgement of the importance of the treating doctor (while not denigrating the ability of a referral doctor or disability specialist in also playing an important part in the determination of an OPM Disability Retirement application), it is precisely because of this knowledge that he/she possesses — based upon a thorough understanding grounded upon historical information gathered over a span of time; based upon intimate clinical encounters; based upon a professional observation of the chronicity, impact and progressive nature of a medical condition upon the abilities and capabilities of the Federal or Postal employee — that a special “place” of status and stature is granted to the Treating Doctor.  

This is important to know in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

1 thought on “OPM Disability Retirement: The Treating Doctor versus “Others”

  1. Cindy

    Hello, my name is Cindy Rodrigues. I will be contacting you to ask about OPM disability retirement. I have medical problems from my feet to my neck and then some.I am trying to hold out because I will have 30 years by the end of 2014. I work as a distribution clerk that is more then I can handle I have herniated discs in my neck that was from a fall in 2003 .I unfortunatley did not file but I fell again in 2007 ripped splenadis I filed ca1 was accepted. I am going to pain managment I was tested for corporal tunnel It was diagnosed severe in left moderate in right hand.I have no cartilage left in the bones on the top of my feet. I have the disabled sign for this in my car. I feel like I need to seek direction on where to start to get help. One thing Dr said is find out if filing disability will affect my retirement . I want to give you a simplified idea of my current situation before I call. Hope to hear from you Thank You CR.

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