Communication is the key to a successful outcome: such a trite truism is certainly applicable in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS. The primary focus when a Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition which is impacting his or her ability to perform all of the essential elements of his or her job, is to take care of the medical condition — i.e., to have the necessary treatments, to undergo the proper prescriptive treatment modalities, including surgery, medication regimens, pain management treatments, psychotherapeutic intervention, etc.
Beyond such treatment modalities, however, there may come a point in the life of a Federal or Postal employee when it is becoming apparent that the medical condition is simply “incompatible” with the useful and efficient retention in the Federal or Postal Service. Such a determination is best made by the Federal or Postal employee, if possible, as opposed to having the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service suddenly and unceremoniously make such a determination — in the form of a proposed removal based upon one’s failure to maintain a regular work schedule; or because of taking “excessive leave“; or putting a Federal or Postal employee upon a Performance Improvement Plan. Such a determination may best be made by the Federal or Postal employee by communicating one’s concerns to the treating doctor, and asking some incisive questions. Another trite truism: The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire