OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Attorney

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Leaving behind the Corybantic Dance Hall

Employment which fails to accommodate one’s disabling conditions is inherently and obviously detrimental to one’s health; when it exacerbates and further deteriorates, it is all the more time to consider parting ways.

Dancing is a medium of enjoyment and entertainment which is a passing cultural phenomena. The rhythm of two people in a constancy of coordinated steps and movements; the self-centered, egoistic age of the modern era denies the ability or capacity to engage in such in-tune embracing of efforts.

Ugliness, in contrast to the beauty of graceful dancing, is characterized by lack of coordination, stumbling, singularly separated movements lacking in attention to other motions; a self-centered continuum of disjointed gyrations. Agencies are like dance halls. Some are replete with coordinated rhythms of bodies moving, graceful in efficiency of stylistic constancy. Others reveal an ugliness and uncaring attitude, like two drunkards lost in worlds of self-pity and attending only to one’s selfish needs.

Federal employees, early in their careers, are invited to various dance halls, and the choices made may have changed over the years.  Perhaps the music has changed; there is a new DJ at the helm; or maybe the frenzied lack of gracefulness was less bothersome in one’s youth.  But at some point the dance hall itself, and the participants of such ugliness, have come to the fore, and it may just be time to leave it all behind.

Chronically ill Federal employees or injured U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, must sometimes leave behind the dance hall, the music, and the partners with whom one once danced.  Federal Disability Retirement is an option open at the exit door of the corybantic dance hall. It is an administrative process which is submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS.

As time passes by, the frenzied antics of one’s youth may need to be left behind, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may be a necessity in order to attain a level of calm and quietude, away from the dance hall which contributes, exacerbates, or exponentially quantifies one’s medical conditions which need attending to in order to consider any future at all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire