I am often asked the question: How many medical conditions or disabilities should I list in my Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A)? This question is often preceded by another question and answer: What are your medical disabilities (me to the caller)? Answer: I have about ten of them (caller to me). Let me start out by giving some free advice: Don’t list ten medical conditions. Don’t list nine. Don’t list eight.
When the Office of Personnel Management reviews a Federal Disability Retirement submission under FERS or CSRS, the OPM Representative will review your disability retirement packet until it is approved — and no further. Approval comes about upon a finding that one of your listed medical conditions disables you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job. Now, sometimes OPM will find that a combination of 2 or 3 medical conditions disables you together: meaning that OPM perhaps found that while a single one did not disable you under their criteria, a combination of two or three did.
Furthermore, it is important to understand that, because the medical conditions and disabilities upon which OPM makes their decision on will be the basis for future continuation of your disability retirement annuity (in the event that you receive a Medical Questionnaire in the future), it is important to limit the listing of one’s medical disabilities on the SF 3112A to those conditions which will likely last for more than 12 months.
Conclusion: It is important to sequentially prioritize the medical disabilities, in the order of severity, chronicity and duration. Further, it is important to NOT list the minor medical conditions which, while they may be aggravating, and have impacting symptoms, may not necessarily prevent one from performing the essential elements of your job.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire