Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS is essentially “connecting the dots” between one’s medical conditions (whether singular or multiple) and the impact of the medical condition(s) upon one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job. The treatment records, also, are helpful in the matter of connecting the dots, as the Office of Personnel Management will often request a copy of the medical records — evidence of treatment over the years — in order to ascertain the extent of the medical conditions claimed.
This can sometimes present a problem, when a Federal or Postal employee has switched doctors, has quietly endured the pain of the medical condition with little or no treatment over the years, or where the doctor fails to annotate any legible or detailed notes in his or her treatment notes. Normally, however, there is a consistency of evidence between treatment/office notes and the medical narrative which the doctor prepared; or, between the diagnostic results and the clinical findings and conclusions of the treating doctor. Where there is a lack of medical records “backing up” the narrative report of the doctor, often a Functional Capacity Evaluation or an “independent medical evaluation” by a referral doctor will help a case. As always, there are ways to counter the problems which arise, in order to meet the eligibility criteria as proposed by the Office of Personnel Management in a Federal Disability Retirement case.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire