There is often, and inevitably (it would appear), collateral work issues which appear in parallel form, along with the impact of a medical condition upon a Federal or Postal worker. Such issues can take multiple and varied forms — from actions on the part of the Federal or Postal employee which impact upon the performance of the job itself; to behavioral issues at work; to issues concerning actions by the Federal or Postal employee outside of the workplace, but which leads to legal issues which are brought to the attention of the agency. Whether such collateral issues directly influence or have a peripheral reverberation upon a Federal Disability Retirement application is anyone’s guess.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, it is best to assume that (A) the Office of Personnel Management will know, or will somehow find out, about the collateral issues, via being informed by the agency or through some non-pertinent document which mentions or otherwise touches upon the issue, and (B) that OPM will use it as a basis for an argument that there was an underlying motive for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, aside from the medical issue itself.
There are ways to counter such selective attempts by OPM to use a collateral issue to defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is best to have both a paper-trail as well as a clear time-line of events, to show that the collateral issue existed in a parallel, but separate, universe than the central issue of one’s medical condition. OPM searches to defeat; it is the job of the Federal or Postal employee to rebut the search, and to destroy the effort in order to force the issue, and obtain an approval from the Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire