In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to always distinguish between two conceptual paradigms: priority of an issue, and the importance of an issue.
While gathering the proper evidence and substantiating medical documentation is of importance, it should not be the priority. The priority — that which should precede another — should be to take care of the medical condition itself (i.e., to get the proper treatment modalities, to undergo the necessary diagnostic tests, to follow the treatment regimen of the doctor, etc.).
At some point, of course, the question will arise: Is it time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS? Can I continue to work at my job? Is my job performance suffering? At that critical juncture, then the issue of importance may arise. While priority has to do with that which is first in a series of issues, the concept of “importance” can entail multiple issues all at once.
Once the question of “whether” is answered in the affirmative, then one must begin to approach the doctor for his or her support; to begin to annotate how the medical condition is impacting one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, etc. All throughout, of course, the priority of getting the proper medical care is paramount. Everything else is secondary, but other things can concurrently be of importance.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire