OPM Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement & Essential Elements

Last Updated on November 18, 2022 by Federal Disability Lawyer

When an applicant for FERS Disability Retirement benefits begins to craft his or her Applicant’s Statement of Disability, certain foundational questions must be considered before composing the historical, emotional, substantive and impact-descriptive narrative.  For instance, to the legal criteria, to be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, one must show that one’s medical conditions prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the initial and most foundational question obviously is:  What are the “essential elements” of one’s job?

Now, that may seem like a simple — even simplistic — question.  One needs only to look at the official position description and pick out the major factors of the position.

If only it were that easy.  For, there are many “implicit” essential elements which are not explicitly stated, and it is often those unspoken, “un – described” elements, which are directly impacted by one’s medical conditions and disabilities, which must be creatively woven into the narrative of one’s written statement.  Always remember to take care of the “foundational” issues first; thereafter, the narrative can extrapolate from the major factors of the position description.


Robert R. McGill
OPM Disability Lawyer


One thought on “OPM Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement & Essential Elements

  1. I am a 58yr female currently employed with the Department of the Navy, San Diego. I currently have 29yrs 4mos as a federal employee. I am under the FERS program. I have been off work since 10-23-2014 with an accepted Department Of Labor OWCP traumatic work related injury claim.

    I requested disability retirement forms to my agency for my disability retirement because it appears I’ll remain off work for an undetermined lengthy timeframe.

    I am searching and requesting assistance from a lawyer like yourself that specializes in federal disability cases and who would be willing to collect payment if my case is adjudicated in my favor.

    Request to please respond to the email address listed if you would be interested in talking further on my request.

    Zsaslyn Wilson

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