Often, a potential applicant for Federal Disability Retirement will insist that the origin of the medical condition or injury is important to annotate, for one reason or another. Unlike OWCP issues, origin and causation is usually of little or no significance in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS. Thus, for OWCP Disability, it may be of importance to show that X injury was caused by occupational hazard Y; or that, while on the job on a certain date, the applicant slipped and fell, etc. In proving OWCP Disability, such “incident-specific” facts are important in establishing causation, in order to determine eligibility and entitlement to OWCP Disability benefits.
For purposes of OPM Disability, however, the Federal or Postal worker who is seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, does not have to establish such incident-specific facts. Rather, the focus shifts upon the medical condition, the symptoms, and the impact upon those medical medical conditions and symptoms upon one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, within the last year. While it may be that some factual context is significant by way of showing a sequence of events from the past, in order to show how the medical condition worsened over time, OPM normally does not care about such historical facts. While the history of X is interesting, what occurs in the recent-to-present timeframe is what interests OPM.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire