Tag Archives: why some medical conditions can not be accommodated in the federal workplace

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Non-issue of Accommodations

As has been previously written about on multiple occasions, the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, will encounter and confront the issue of “accommodations” in the course of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For most Federal and Postal employees, the issue itself is a “non-issue”, in that the agency will neither be able to either reassign the employee to another position at the same pay or grade, nor provide for an accommodation which is legally sufficient such that the Federal or Postal employee will be able to continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional job requirements.

Further, most Federal or Postal workers who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM have what the undersigned attorney terms as a “non-accommodatable” medical condition — i.e., the particular type of medical condition is simply inconsistent with the individual type of job which the Federal or Postal employee is slotted in.  Thus, it is really a non-issue. This non-issue is, for the most part, taken care of and disposed of by the completion of a single form — SF 3112D, which is completed by the Human Resources Department of the agency, or at the H.R. Shared Services office in Greensboro, N.C. for the Postal employee.

While an important and complex issue, the case-law has effectively de-fanged any concerns about accommodations, such that the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits need not be overly concerned with such a non-issue.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Compounding Medical Condition

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, the concern often revolves around the compounding effect of a medical condition, when a Federal or Postal employee continues to persevere in performing duties which clearly exacerbate and exponentially magnify the originating medical condition and the manifesting symptomatologies.

Whether as secondary depressive symptoms, or as increasing anxiety, uncontrollable panic attacks; chest pains; radiculopathy; sedation which occurs from medication or lack of sleep over weeks and weeks, resulting in profound and overwhelming fatigue; the problems of unmitigated and unaccommodated medical conditions become worse, and begin to attain a “hump-back” effect, where the Federal or Postal worker attempts to increase the productivity output by working that much harder, ignoring the originating medical condition yet, concurrently, becoming more and more suspicious that the Supervisor, the coworker, the “others” in the Agency, are recognizing and quietly commenting upon the deteriorating work ethic of the Federal or Postal employee.  

Most medical conditions, precisely because of the inherent nature of the medical condition itself, cannot be accommodated.  What medical conditions need most are the self-evident and obvious, but which society lacks the patience for:  treatment, time for recuperation, and space away from the daily stresses of the multi-tasking workplace.  

Disability Retirement criteria under FERS & CSRS requires that a medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months.  Such a requirement is rarely difficult to meet.  For, in this world of stress-work-productivity-result-orientation, one rarely has time to pause for a medical condition.  Such lack of pause, however, only increases the likelihood of the compounding effect of a once-singular medical condition, which over a short period of time, progressively deteriorates into a “hump-back” of multiple conditions, exacerbated by stress, magnified by an environment which has little or no time for such blips as the sorrow of the human condition.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire