In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is first and foremost important to have the support of one’s treating doctor. By “support” is meant that the treating doctor must be willing to spend the time and effort needed to prepare and present a medical narrative which will not only narrate and delineate the diagnoses and symptoms — but beyond that, to take the time to explain the “why” of the nexus between the patient’s medical conditions and the essential elements of one’s job.
To this extent, of course, the Federal or Postal Worker’s attorney should be of the utmost assistance — to guide the doctor in order to meet the legal criteria for qualifying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. It is never an issue of telling the doctor “what to say” — the integrity of the medical opinion of the doctor should never be violated. Rather, it is an issue of explaining the elements and legal criteria which need to be addressed.
In ascertaining the level of support which a doctor is willing to provide, it is simply not enough to establish the factual foundation that the doctor is very “nice”. Nice doctors aside — whether in conversation, table manners or a general sense that he or she is genuinely an all-around nice person — the question is, Will the doctor spend the time and effort (and yes, it is proper for the doctor to be reasonably compensated for his time and effort) in preparing a narrative report which addresses the legal elements in order to present a case of medical disability to the Office of Personnel Management?
It is nice to have a nice doctor; it is even nicer to have a nice doctor who will support one’s Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire