When considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, the natural inclination is to ask the seemingly primary question of: Does medical condition-X qualify as a disability? But such a question is in actuality secondary; it is the reverse-order and counterintuitive process which is often confusing for the Federal and Postal Worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
The primary question, making the previously-stated questions secondary, is to ask: Does medical condition-X prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job? By inverting the primary-secondary sequence, one can then attain a better level of understanding as to the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Further, such a switch in sequence of questions-to-answers allows for an important paradigm shift. For, in the very asking of the proper question, one can reach a level of understanding to such a stage of comprehension that the question almost answers itself.
Medical conditions in and of themselves do not necessarily qualify the Federal or Postal Worker who is otherwise age or service-eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; it is the nexus which must be established between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from. It is the crossing of that bridge which will reveal the extent of success or failure in attempting to go down this path; but first, the Federal or Postal Worker must correctly identify which bridge to cross, before even starting the long and arduous trek of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire