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

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Happiness Principle

A society’s trending obsession is often reflected by the backdrop of books written, published and popularized in culture corridors of mass media; and so the Oprah of timeless celebration never loses its luster for belated works attempting to keep pace with the commercialization of principles which once may have been considered seriously.

Plato and Aristotle addressed the issue; Existentialism arose from the ashes of war, and sidestepped it by considering the bleakness of the human condition; but in the age of technology and the optimism blanketed through mass dissemination of information, the focus has shifted from essence to residual results, where the natural consequences of X becomes the focal obsession of Y.  Happiness was once, in a time of yesteryear, an afterthought to survival, secondary to ethical conduct, and tertiary to a productive life.

Today, it seems that the principle is the primary goal of living, as organisms and amoebas naturally tend towards food sources.  Beyond the happiness principle, however, is the undeniable fact that it cannot be attained when certain interrupting forces blockade and obstruct; and pain, psychiatric conditions and medical disabilities certainly fall into that category.

There is, then, the condition itself (the medical condition) which impedes the happiness principle; and administrative processes (such as Federal Disability Retirement, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) which constitute a bureaucratic obstacle to corollary life principles.

Obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM does not and should not pretend to resolve medical issues; but it does allow for the Federal or Postal employee to attend to the primary concern underlying one’s life — the medical condition itself. Often, we confuse the essence of a thing with the appearance of that which presents itself to us.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker, it is important to understand that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not the “end all and be all” of attaining the ultimate goal, but rather part and parcel of multiple components which, like pieces of a puzzle, need to be gathered, sorted and organized in order to create that collage of life called contentment.

Thus the “happiness principle”:  perhaps not the destination to be confused, but the quality of the ride to get there.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire