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