“Light duty” is a term often associated with Worker’s Compensation cases, and rarely has significant relevance in a Federal Disability Retirement case. It can, however, be a temporary form of an “accommodation” — but one which still does not prevent a Federal Employee or Postal worker from obtaining and becoming qualified for FERS Disability Retirement benefits.
Light duty can range anywhere from the physical to the administrative — of allowing for work without performing some or many of t he essential elements of one’s positional requirements. Thus, in the “physical” area: Of allowing a person not to have to stand, walk, lift heavy parcels, etc. Or, to limit travel. In the “administrative” area: Perhaps a limited and reduced time on the computer; allowing for more frequent breaks during extended periods of sedentary work; of working half-days and allowing for use of SL, AL or LWOP.
These are all generic examples of what may constitute “light duty”. A Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service may allow for such light duty even on a permanent basis. However, understand that even if the Federal agency or Postal Service allows for “permanent light duty” (which, in conceptual terms, is somewhat of an oxymoron), such an allowance does not preclude a Federal or Postal employee from being eligible throughout for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire