Perhaps it is an inevitability. When a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the reaction of the agency for whom he or she works (or the U.S. Postal Service), is often one of lack of supportive behaviors, to propose an understatement. Reacting to a reactionary response, however, is not always the intelligent thing to do.
When the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service recognizes a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the natural and instinctive thing to do is to reference the hostile work environment in one’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), thinking that statements about, and references to, an agency which has further exacerbated the severity and extent of one’s medical condition, will help to further the cause of attaining an approval for a Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Such a strategy, however, may well backfire, and one needs to be cautious in approaching the formulation of one’s Statement of Disability when consideration is given to including information concerning circumstances which may constitute a hostile work environment.
Relevant facts are always helpful; helpful facts are often necessary; and sufficiency of facts is always necessary. However, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, discretion is the better part of valor, and that is especially true when submitting a Federal or Postal Medical Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire