FERS Medical Retirement: Psychiatric Disabilities

Last Updated on September 2, 2022 by Federal Disability Lawyer

I am often asked, on an initial interview/consultation of a potential client, whether or not psychiatric medical disabilities (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, panic attacks, Bi-polar disorder, etc.) are “more difficult” to prove than physical disabilities. This question is similar, of course, to the question often asked of certain other kinds of disabilities, like Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and other similar (often designated as “auto-immune” disabilities) medical conditions.

In my experience, there is no single generic answer to the question of whether or not a particular medical disability is “more difficult” to prove than another. In my experience, I have gotten approved an application for Major Depression based upon a single-page note from a Psychiatrist; on the converse/inverse experience, I have had cases rejected at the First Stage of the process (but, fortunately, had the same cases approved at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) showing chronic, failed-back syndrome cases where prior surgical discectomies, multiple diagnostic MRIs showing incontrovertible basis for severe and radiating pain, and multiple specialists verifying the client’s clear and irrefutable inability to perform the essential elements of his/her job.

In preparing a Federal disability retirement retirement application, my many years of experience has taught me a number of elementary & foundational lessons: First, a clear and concise presentation of providing a direct nexus between the particular medical condition and the type of job that the Federal/Postal employeee performs, is very important; Second, it is very rarely the volume of records which is convincing; rather, it is the quality of the medical report which is paramount; and Third, it often depends upon which OPM Disability Specialist it is assigned to, which sometimes “makes the difference” between approval and denial.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


One thought on “FERS Medical Retirement: Psychiatric Disabilities

  1. Good afternoon,

    My name is Jennifer, and I am a Rural Carrier at the United States Postal Service. I have worked for approximately 20 years and have been a great employee until 2015 when I started to get harassed by management. I filed an EEO back in 2015, 2019, and have a current one now, I have been under stress leave for over a year and compiled numerous doctors’ appointments for my treatments. I have had no income coming in for over a year and a half because USPS denied my worker’s comp case and put a gag order on my co-workers. I am now not protected by FMLA because I haven’t worked for over a year and so I am literary at mercy with either Disability Retirement or work accommodation if there are any due to my medical conditions. Can you help me or give me assistance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *