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Anonymous33  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 2:28:06 PM(UTC)
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I have a chronic illness that causes episodic difficulties and I am trying to manage it without impacting my career at all but it is not easy. For example there are days that I get home from work and can do nothing but go to bed, and have to crawl to get there. Energy levels can be challenging beyond the norm for my age range. I have read that you should request accommodations before your performance suffers. So far I've given 100% to my job, but there are days that no other area of life gets anything, and my effort to suck it up has probably made my illness worse.

So basically I am starting the process of requesting accommodations to split travel when possible into more than one day, and to have occasional ad hoc telework for a day or less. I outlined how I can accomplish essential functions in spite of the change in work environment. I submitted physician documentation regarding my symptoms. I don't want to hurt my career. How do I sustain career growth even as I am asking for a relatively minor intermittent accommodation? My disability is invisible which I feel makes it even harder. I don't want to slack off, I want to be able to work in a more efficient way so that I can work harder and longer.
Anonymous33  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 3:00:05 PM(UTC)
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And how do I avoid retaliation? My immediate supervisor and all people familiar with my work are happy with my performance. How do I keep it that way?
FS0201  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 6:50:41 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
And how do I avoid retaliation? My immediate supervisor and all people familiar with my work are happy with my performance. How do I keep it that way?


I advise on requests for RA. While management often denies, or more often offers an alternative accommodation that will reasonably and effectively allow the individual to perform the essential functions, I haven’t seen retaliation.

Edited by user Thursday, March 28, 2019 6:32:07 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

The excuse of, "I read it on FederalSoup..." won't work. Please do your due diligence.
Endless Summer  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:49:11 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
And how do I avoid retaliation? My immediate supervisor and all people familiar with my work are happy with my performance. How do I keep it that way?


Have you tried explaining the situation to your supervisor? That would be my starting point, they may be able to make things right for you without undue drama.

You'll always have the option of an RA request if that fails, and your sup would not feel that they were blindsided.

good luck.
Anonymous33  
#5 Posted : Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:12:58 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Endless Summer Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
And how do I avoid retaliation? My immediate supervisor and all people familiar with my work are happy with my performance. How do I keep it that way?


Have you tried explaining the situation to your supervisor? That would be my starting point, they may be able to make things right for you without undue drama.

You'll always have the option of an RA request if that fails, and your sup would not feel that they were blindsided.

good luck.


I did tell my immediate supervisor and he has family with similar conditions so he has a frame of reference. At the time I was trying to manage it without any special support but my treatments can sometimes take an entire day.

But the finance office refused to approve a request to split travel to attend a work function and I asked if their policy dictates an exception for disability reasons. I was told in the email I have to give more information about the nature of the disability because my request to travel the night before instead of there and back the same day would be a significant cost to the government. (It would be about $100.)

There were many people in that email chain. I did some research and replied requesting the POC for accommodations because the finance officer is not supposed to have information about the nature of my disability.

So I have tried to avoid going the formal route but at the same time the symptoms are getting bad enough sometimes that i may eventually need some advice hoc modifications. And I did not anticipate that I would be given a hard time with my travel request when the supervisor had approved it and it would only cost them about $100.
Endless Summer  
#6 Posted : Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:43:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
...
So I have tried to avoid going the formal route but at the same time the symptoms are getting bad enough sometimes that i may eventually need some advice hoc modifications. And I did not anticipate that I would be given a hard time with my travel request when the supervisor had approved it and it would only cost them about $100.


Understandable, I'll say up front that I'm not an expert in this but "Reasonable Accommodations" are usually interpreted to mean just that. What you are asking for must be reasonable. If your job description demands that you travel for business and you are unable to meet that requirement "reasonably" then you may not have much room for negotiation.

I'm sure that every one of your coworkers could come up with a compelling reason that they needed an additional day or two while traveling.

Your only choice seems to be going the formal route and letting the chips fall where they may.

good luck
FrankJr  
#7 Posted : Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:50:56 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
I have a chronic illness that causes episodic difficulties and I am trying to manage it without impacting my career at all but it is not easy. For example there are days that I get home from work and can do nothing but go to bed, and have to crawl to get there. Energy levels can be challenging beyond the norm for my age range. I have read that you should request accommodations before your performance suffers. So far I've given 100% to my job, but there are days that no other area of life gets anything, and my effort to suck it up has probably made my illness worse.

So basically I am starting the process of requesting accommodations to split travel when possible into more than one day, and to have occasional ad hoc telework for a day or less. I outlined how I can accomplish essential functions in spite of the change in work environment. I submitted physician documentation regarding my symptoms. I don't want to hurt my career. How do I sustain career growth even as I am asking for a relatively minor intermittent accommodation? My disability is invisible which I feel makes it even harder. I don't want to slack off, I want to be able to work in a more efficient way so that I can work harder and longer.


https://www.opm.gov/poli...easonable-accommodation/

Too much information.

The agency does have a process. Follow the process. Answer the questions asked and only the questions asked. The medical specifics should be distributed to an extremely limited audience as determined by the agency process.

frankgonzalez  
#8 Posted : Friday, March 29, 2019 3:07:24 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Anonymous33 Go to Quoted Post
I have a chronic illness that causes episodic difficulties and I am trying to manage it without impacting my career at all but it is not easy. For example there are days that I get home from work and can do nothing but go to bed, and have to crawl to get there. Energy levels can be challenging beyond the norm for my age range. I have read that you should request accommodations before your performance suffers. So far I've given 100% to my job, but there are days that no other area of life gets anything, and my effort to suck it up has probably made my illness worse.

So basically I am starting the process of requesting accommodations to split travel when possible into more than one day, and to have occasional ad hoc telework for a day or less. I outlined how I can accomplish essential functions in spite of the change in work environment. I submitted physician documentation regarding my symptoms. I don't want to hurt my career. How do I sustain career growth even as I am asking for a relatively minor intermittent accommodation? My disability is invisible which I feel makes it even harder. I don't want to slack off, I want to be able to work in a more efficient way so that I can work harder and longer.
This is an area I am very familiar with, both as a person with a disability who needs accommodations and as the person who ran the RA program for my area.

The biggest tip is to explain what you need to do the essential elements of the job (without decreasing productivity. ie if you are required to process 20 cases a month, then the accommodation should allow you to do that. A request to decrease that amount would be denied as an undue hardship for the agency). And explain how the accommodations will allow you to meet the essential elements of the job.

For example, at my previous agency, the facility was so big, I ended up requesting a mobility scooter to get around the building (USCG HQ...looks pretty, but not designed for actual people to work there, IMO!). Actually, I asked for four non-rates to carry me around like a roman nobility, but my supervisor denied that request and said call our procurement person to order me a scooter. I also had (and still do at my current agency), ad hoc telework for the days mobility is so painful that I would be worthless if I came to the office. Walking to my home office is just a few steps in my house, and I can do much of my job from home.

I have requested dictation software (got Dragon Legal Edition from www.cap.mil as that made more sense in my position than the basic version of Dragon) when I was in a position where I had to type long reports. Allowed me to be way more productive as I only needed to use my hands for minor edits (names misspelled, etc). I also have a trackball I use vs a mouse. Both of these are accommodations.

Things get more complicated when someone asks for things unrelated to the job or their disability. Such as wanting to telework from a location outside the US because they prefer to be there, but their job is an intel analyst and they work in a SCIF all day handling classified material.

Or they want their productivity requirements lowered or they want a new supervisor or not have poor behavior addressed.

The key is to not talk yourself out of your job. This means if you show you cannot do the job with or without an accommodation, then you are not a "qualified individual with a disability" and then the agency has no need to accommodate you (though they may offer to move you to another position you qualify for....but it may or may not be at your current grade and it has to be an actual open position. Not required to create a position for you). If they offer something other than what you requested...try it. If it doesn't work, you can explain exactly how it is not an accommodation. Remember, you are entitled to an accommodation which allows you to do your job...you are not entitled to your preferred accommodation (though many times, the two are one and the same if you are reasonable in your request).

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
thanks 1 user thanked frankgonzalez for this useful post.
Anonymous33 on 3/29/2019(UTC)
Tic3  
#9 Posted : Friday, March 29, 2019 8:06:00 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Actually, I asked for four non-rates to carry me around like a roman nobility, but my supervisor denied that request


I have to admit, that made me laugh out loud!

Frank, for the original poster, would it also be helpful to - instead of providing a "list of symptoms" to his supervisor - to bring his PD in to his doctor and have his doctor review the PD and provide a listing of recommended accommodations that would help the employee do his job?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure that just a list of symptoms by itself would be very helpful, no matter who it came from.
frankgonzalez  
#10 Posted : Friday, March 29, 2019 9:04:44 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Tic3 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Actually, I asked for four non-rates to carry me around like a roman nobility, but my supervisor denied that request


I have to admit, that made me laugh out loud!

Frank, for the original poster, would it also be helpful to - instead of providing a "list of symptoms" to his supervisor - to bring his PD in to his doctor and have his doctor review the PD and provide a listing of recommended accommodations that would help the employee do his job?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure that just a list of symptoms by itself would be very helpful, no matter who it came from.
I actually made my request on purpose to use as an example of you don't always get what you want...you get what you need (to paraphrase the Stones!). It would have been cool though...and provided me with extra bodies to take care of admin stuff when I wasn't going to meetings, etc!

If the agency wants something from a doctor (not all need it...in fact, if someone asks for an ergo keyboard and/or trackball, I tell supervisors to just provide it as the cost is so cheap, and anything obvious...missing limbs, blind, etc...medical documentation should only be needed for extreme requests), the agency should provide a letter to give the doctor with the essential elements of the position, and asking what can the employee do, and what accommodations they may need. They are likely to also ask if there is an end to the need, etc (this is for things like accommodations for treatment like chemotherapy, which will have a huge impact on the employee but will end in the near foreseeable future, or flexibility is needed in start time as the employee gets used to new medication). I also recommend the supervisor not be the one to collect the medical info if it is needed! (storage requirements for that include it cannot be kept in the same location as any of the employee's personnel file, etc!) Use the RA coordinator or the Employee Relations folks to do that.

Forgot to add another great resource: https://askjan.org/info-by-role.cfm#for-employers

Edited by user Friday, March 29, 2019 9:06:14 AM(UTC)  | Reason: added link

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
monty87ls  
#11 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2019 5:58:24 AM(UTC)
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I came across this looking into info my own situation. Maybe someone can offer some advice.
I am a Postal worker. I carrier mail and have a mix of diving and sometimes walking routes. I have been hurt on the job twice. First time hurt back and hip. Labral tear in the hip and my back has some disc issues that still give me pain. After 2nad half years finally approved that injury but just for the back! still wonting on the hip.

More recently I hurt my knee. Still having issues almost 5 months later. case approved and going to PT during work hours which they are not happy about.

Now I also have FMLA case for RA that I was diagnosed with shortly after my first fall that hurt my back and hip. My RA has been rough trying to find the right medicine and also continue working at the pace I was. I would like to stay at my job as long as possible.

Lately I have been having more issues with my hands and feet which is what the RA does to me. At my office they do not have a lot of parking for employees just clerks, supervisors and a few carriers who sneek in.

Ever since I got a ticket on the street I started pulling in the lot and made sure to put my handicap placard in the window and nothing was said to me until a few days ago. As I was loading my truck and the guy next to me were talking and he was saying they should have to accommodate me on the parking since I have the pass the Postmaster came out screaming saying he doesnt have to acomadate me and I’m not to park in the lot anymore, he also said if I can walk for my job I can walk from where I park. I had already moved it but hone because at the morning meeting he threatened to tow cars...

I spoke to the union about getting accommodation to park in the lot and he said he would try work it to with the postmaster otherwise we can do a Reasonable accommodation meeting BUT It would be best to leave it alone since the USPS can try use it against me in terms of my job and saying the same as the Postmaster basically If I cant walk from the street from where I park how can I do my job...

I was also considering talking to the union about seeing what can be done about maybe switching to a all driving route. but now Ian having second thoughts... that would most likely involve a transfer to another office because there are no routes available in my office.

In terms of parking i was just trying to make my end of day walk to the car a little easier since thats when my feet hurt the most.

Am I right to let these things go? Someone also said they may try force me to do disability retirement by saying I can’t do my job or need to many accommodations. Can they do that? or just try make my work life miserable so I leave and they don’t have to accommodate me anymore. My husband thinks maybe I should do it and find another job thats part time or just less demanding on my body but I actually like my job and would like to continue, But I don’t want backlash If I try to get some accommodations.

I did have a meeting before about it and they stated all they would do is abide by the 8 hour restriction but I didnt ask for driving route or closer parking at that time.

sorry thats a lot to read thank you for any advice.
frankgonzalez  
#12 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2019 8:32:29 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: monty87ls Go to Quoted Post
In terms of parking i was just trying to make my end of day walk to the car a little easier since thats when my feet hurt the most.

Am I right to let these things go? Someone also said they may try force me to do disability retirement by saying I can’t do my job or need to many accommodations. Can they do that? or just try make my work life miserable so I leave and they don’t have to accommodate me anymore. My husband thinks maybe I should do it and find another job thats part time or just less demanding on my body but I actually like my job and would like to continue, But I don’t want backlash If I try to get some accommodations.

I did have a meeting before about it and they stated all they would do is abide by the 8 hour restriction but I didnt ask for driving route or closer parking at that time.

sorry thats a lot to read thank you for any advice.
Request parking in the PO lot as an accommodation for your medical issues, stating that at the end of the ability to walk far is diminished. By parking in the lot at the PO facility, this decreases your walking prior to starting work, thereby decreasing your overall walking distance during the day and therefore increasing your ability to complete your essential duties daily while decreasing your need to be out for medical treatment as often.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
monty87ls  
#13 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2019 12:18:53 PM(UTC)
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Request parking in the PO lot as an accommodation for your medical issues, stating that at the end of the ability to walk far is diminished. By parking in the lot at the PO facility, this decreases your walking prior to starting work, thereby decreasing your overall walking distance during the day and therefore increasing your ability to complete your essential duties daily while decreasing your need to be out for medical treatment as often.


Well said, and my husband said basically the same thing so i may not tell him I got the same advice elsewhere! haha He feels I should fight for it just to make my day a bit easier.

Do you think they would try come after me in terms of saying i can’t do my job or whatever else? Or as the union put it open can of worms? Can they force me to do disability retirement? or push for it? I’m 29 not sure I’m ready to do that even though my husband thinks I should consider it and try find something less demanding on my body or he even suggested just to stay at home if I wanted to but I defianlty don’t wanna do that!
frankgonzalez  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:16:09 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: monty87ls Go to Quoted Post

Quote:
Request parking in the PO lot as an accommodation for your medical issues, stating that at the end of the ability to walk far is diminished. By parking in the lot at the PO facility, this decreases your walking prior to starting work, thereby decreasing your overall walking distance during the day and therefore increasing your ability to complete your essential duties daily while decreasing your need to be out for medical treatment as often.


Well said, and my husband said basically the same thing so i may not tell him I got the same advice elsewhere! haha He feels I should fight for it just to make my day a bit easier.

Do you think they would try come after me in terms of saying i can’t do my job or whatever else? Or as the union put it open can of worms? Can they force me to do disability retirement? or push for it? I’m 29 not sure I’m ready to do that even though my husband thinks I should consider it and try find something less demanding on my body or he even suggested just to stay at home if I wanted to but I defianlty don’t wanna do that!
Well, they could do lots of things. That said, your health and well being are paramount.

And the other thing to consider is the accommodation of last resort is to place you in an open position you qualify for which is no higher than your current grade. So, this could result in you getting an office job (less walking) vs carrying mail. Something to consider.

I would also suggest applying to other federal positions, as if you are a full time USPS employee, you can apply for internal (ie those that are only open to federal employees) announcements and thereby have less competition than the ones open to any and everyone.

Edited by user Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:16:56 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
monty87ls  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:00:40 AM(UTC)
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Well, they could do lots of things. That said, your health and well being are paramount.

And the other thing to consider is the accommodation of last resort is to place you in an open position you qualify for which is no higher than your current grade. So, this could result in you getting an office job (less walking) vs carrying mail. Something to consider.

I would also suggest applying to other federal positions, as if you are a full time USPS employee, you can apply for internal (ie those that are only open to federal employees) announcements and thereby have less competition than the ones open to any and everyone.



Again sam e thing my husband says.. He really wants to consider applying for the disability retirement and work less or not at all or at least until I figure out which medicine is going to work for my RA. Still having trouble finding the right one. I keep telling him I don’t need or want to do that but maybe he’s right... It seems very complicated though. Says I have to apply for SSDI and the federal one and the amounts charge depending on what I get from one or whatever else. Diesnt seem worth it.

I considered trying to switch to a different craft inside the post office but to switch to a clerk but its a different union and current union says a lot of things will change and I will still be on my feet most of the day. I also considered trying to become a supervisor but after really thinking it over and talking with my husband its not the right choice for me. i will lose union protection could can be fired at any moment for anything. My office alone is a revolving door for supervisors and postmasters.

Risk no matter what road I take. I have looked into other federal jobs of course only things around me are at the air force base or the va and nothing I can do. My husband found some in NC which is where we were gonna move until I kinda changed my mind and decided didnt want to.. To many things fr me to thing about right now while just trying to feel better!

Thank you for all your input.
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