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

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: Drawers and Other Hideaways

Whether cabinets and chests were created for neatness of housekeeping, or to bifurcate the clutter of consciousness, should be left up to anthropologists and social commentators.  Facebook, too, and Social Media, the inability to resist adding to the clatter and superficiality of what we say, what we collect, and how we amass, both information and items we choose to gather; does it all reveal the historical backdrop of the Mesozoic era, from whence we all originate?

We are all, ultimately, left to the devices of our own unmaking and insufficiencies; and that which we neatly hide in drawers of convenience, and close, become tantamount to sealing our fate when once we conceal that which needs to be maintained.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which Federal and Postal workers seek to obtain, when a medical need arises and the medical condition, injury or trauma begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Once obtained, the Letter of Approval received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, often declares to the (now former) Federal or Postal employee, that a linear process from start to finish has now been concluded.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Like cars and children, maintaining the sufficiency and viability of an ongoing Federal Disability Retirement benefit is as important as the effort expended to win an approval.  And, like the car which needs a periodic oil change in order to extend the life of the internal mechanical apparatus by an exponential multiple, so the quality of effort needed to retain and maintain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is minimal and uncomplicated; but necessary.

For Federal employees and Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the cost of continuing care of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit, once achieved, should never be cast out of mind and consciousness; and rather than neatly setting it aside in some drawer or other hideaway, it should remain on full display in the centrality of one’s livelihood, lest the mice, goblins and other unwelcome creatures begin to gnaw at the ripeness of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire