In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS and CSRS, it is often thought that medical documentation obtained for one venue of eligible benefits (e.g., Worker’s Compensation or SSDI, or VA benefits) can be utilized in the pursuit of FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits. However, because the applicable criteria which each Federal program or benefit is different, one should always take care before submitting the same, or similar, medical documentation, for multiple and varied applications.
It is not so much that such documentation cannot be deemed relevant for multiple purposes; rather, relevance is a relative concept, and while X can be relevant for A & B, it may only meet the statutory criteria for A but not for B.
Further, every answer to a question depends upon what the question is. For FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement, the question always involves whether or not a Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition(s) prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job. The question involving SSDI, VA Benefits or OWCP is a completely different one.
However, a particular medical document may in fact cross the boundaries of relevance and address a specific issue or aspect of a question, and for that limited purposes, may in fact be “relevant enough” to be submitted. Such submissions crossing boundaries, however, must be done with care and deliberation; for, while it may answer one aspect of a Federal Disability Retirement application, it could potentially raise multiple other questions which might have been best to leave alone.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire