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Disability Retirement

The federal government allows employees who are unable to work to retire under a disability retirement. It is in the best interest of both employees and the federal government for employees to remain gainfully employed in their current grade or pay level, as long as they can provide useful and efficient service without endangering themselves, others or government property.
Disability retirement should be the very last option and should be used only when attempts have been made to preserve an individual's employment, and those attempts have failed.

Order our Disability Retirement guide to educate yourself on the rules and regulations concerning disability retirement for federal employees.

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#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 9, 2019 4:22:18 AM(UTC)

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Hoping to get your thoughts on a situation that I am dealing with....

I hired an attorney this past May and worked with his office to submit an application for Disability Retirement. I have been struggling with attendance as a result of health issues for the last four years. Although my attendance has been much better the last couple of months, I have been struggling with performing several of the duties required by my position. I decided to request an accommodation and had my doctors complete all the necessary forms to support my request. I had my accommodation hearing in mid-July. At the conclusion of the hearing I was told that I have a response to my request in 14 days. Well, the 14 days came and went with no response whatsoever. I waited another week and then sent a message to the RA committee and copied HR inquiring about the status of my request? I was told, by the RA committee chair, that at the end of the following week that I would receive a certified email to my home with the answer to my RA request. This would be now mid-August. Well, the following week came and went with no certified letter. I waited two more weeks and sent another message to the RA committee and HR asking where the certified letter was? The RA committee chair responded that it was in the hands of the law department and that he hoped to get it back from then and sent to me by September 13th. AS of 10/9, still no answer to my RA request.

My question is...is it possible that they cannot accommodate me and are going to support my request for disability retirement? If that's the case then I would be fine with that as I can probably show up to work and perform well enough in my role to keep working until my DR application is decided upon. Just want to add that although I haven't been given an accommodation, my current manager has adjusted my work responsibilities, including offloading some of my regular responsibilities to others, so it's kind of like I have an accommodation but it's not official nor is there any sort of paperwork to support calling what I do an "accommodation. My manager hates this situation and would surely separate me if she could but I don't believe she has a case to do so. I now show up to work pretty much every day and do exactly what I am asked to do.

Anyway, I was just wondering if any of you had any experiences with Reasonable Accommodation that were similar to mine? Thanks in advance!

Edited by user Wednesday, October 9, 2019 4:25:22 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Info change

#2 Posted : Wednesday, October 9, 2019 5:11:07 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: PostalGuy66 Go to Quoted Post
Anyway, I was just wondering if any of you had any experiences with Reasonable Accommodation that were similar to mine? Thanks in advance!


Short answer... Oh God, yes... and worse. RA's were meant to be between the employee and their supervisor. Asking your boss is the first step. So I did. It is supposed to be an informal process and nothing needs to be in writing. There is a time frame in which a response is required. So what do you do when weeks have gone by? You put it in writing so you can document it. More weeks go by while you research the agency policy on RA's and discover that there is actually a form your agency requires. In that policy, you learn that the agency has a Reasonable Accommodation manager... and they don't know their job. They also have a committee consisting of a HR rep, EO rep, and legal rep who review all requests. They also have a timeline for response. So you jump all the hurdles and follow all the procedures and wait. Weeks more go by and you finally ask for a status only to be told that your doctor did not request any accommodations for you. Not his job... So, you email the agency head and ask why his people don't understand the process. You decided to start throwing out words they are familiar with... like constructive discharge. All of a sudden, the supervisor realizes that he can approve RA's since those people "down there" don't know what they are doing. But he won't put it in writing.

OK... but after a year your condition is getting worse. All you wanted was to work thru the RA process to meet the requirements for FERS DR. So you ask to review the RA's and modify. Begin the same process all over again. Weeks go by. Contact the RA team again and get told they don't have you on record of receiving accommodations. What? Pull up old emails, send them off. Repeat every conversation you had the last time. Until... new accommodations granted. Repeat once more two years later and your supervisor decides that the RA's aren't working for him and he is going to recommend FERS DR. When you are least prepared for it. 4 years ago yes... but now? Now you aren't so friendly. Now you decide fine... but all I ask is that the agency keeps me on rolls until the FERS DR is approved. Especially since I have all these outstanding performance appraisals while working under RA's.

LOL... yep. You are definitely not alone. It took me 8 months I think to get that first set of RA's approved. It was just a simple telework two days a week. My agency was pushing telework via policy. My supervisor didn't like telework so he said that everyone could only do their job if they were present. Our work relationship was never the same after that. Yes, if you asked for those adjustments to your workload, they are RA's. But only if you and your boss agree to them. It isn't one-sided.

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