As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal employees to “obtain” Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is important to make distinctions within the process of securing the Federal benefit: while it is important to solicit and secure the medical opinion of the treating doctor, the resistance from such doctors — if in fact there is any resistance at all — most often comes about because the doctor doesn’t understand the “process”.
Doctors are medical providers. They are in the practice of medicine because they believe in applying the science of medicine to help their patients get better. Helping someone obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is not part of “practicing medicine”. Yet, in many ways, it is. It is part of practicing medicine because, to allow the patient to continue to work in a job which he or she cannot perform, will only exacerbate and worsen the medical condition.
Further, doctors never like to “disable” their patients. To counter this medical opinion, it is important to clearly inform the doctor what the process of Federal disability retirement is and is not. It is the job of the attorney hired to represent a Federal or Postal worker to obtain disability retirement benefits, to clearly and cogently explain the entire process to the treating doctor. That is what I do, at the very start, in representing my clients.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire