In any endeavor, concern or current focus of attention, one can become embroiled in the morass of
complexities which comprise the peripheral penumbras of the issue, and disregard the fundamental
essence of the matter. In proverbial terms, it is to overlook the individual trees while viewing the
generality of the forest. So, back to basics. In a Federal Disability Retirement application, a person
who is under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System -- normally those who entered into the
Federal Workforce sometime after 1985, and who have a Thrift Savings Plan and contribute to Social
Security) or under CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System -- pre-1985, with no TSP) may become
eligible for Federal
Disability Retirement benefits, but must have the following minimum eligibility criteria met: under FERS, you must have at least
18 months of creditable service; under CSRS, you must have at least 5 years of creditable service.
There is a hybrid status applicable for some, called CSRS-Offset, also. Once that eligibility criteria is met,
then the Federal or Postal Worker can take the next step in determining whether one may want to
proceed, by asking the following questions: Do I have a medical condition? Does that medical condition
prevent me from performing one, if not more, of the essential elements of my position? What
are some of the essential elements of my position which I cannot perform? Do I have a treating doctor
who will be supportive of my case (remember, this is a medical disability retirement; as such, one
must be able to establish through proof of medical documentation, that the medical condition impacts
one or more of the essential elements of one's job)? These are some of the preliminary, basic questions which should be asked and answered, in order to
begin the process of determining whether Federal Disability Retirement is the best pathway for the
Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, in order to manage and maneuver one's
way through the thick forest of a bureaucracy known as the U.S. Office of Personnel
Management, which is the agency which ultimately receives and reviews all Federal Disability
Retirement applications, whether you are under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS-Offset.
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