In preparing, compiling, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, one must prove by a preponderance of the evidence (a legal standard which has been set by statute) that a Federal or Postal worker who has a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (under FERS) or 5 years (under CSRS) suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s particular kind of job.
The concept of “essential elements” is variously defined and expanded upon by court cases, but one way to identify the “core elements” of a particular job is to review the position description, and to extrapolate from the official description of the job. Another place, of course, is the Agency’s performance review, which will often identify the core elements.
One should never overlook the obvious, in addition to that which is identified in the position description — the fact that one is required according to the position to work full time; to be “on site” for many jobs (thereby precluding tele-commuting as a viable permanent accommodation); and certain other inherently obvious elements which are often mentioned in passing — such as sitting for long periods of time (a sedentary position); being required to stand or walk for extended periods of time; and other such “essential elements” which make up a position, and are inherently required by the very nature of the job. Those “obvious” but often unmentioned essential elements are notable for the fundamental requirements of being able to successfully perform a job. They should not be overlooked.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire