It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary. After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.
What should be included? How far back? What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job? Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job? What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job? Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?
These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.
Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind. If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain. Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is. However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.
How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire