Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”. There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.
“Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.
These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined. Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.
When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?” Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?
Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire