Do Multiple Conditions Count For Disability?

Dec 9, 2013

Federal employee with multiple conditions

Federal Disability Retirement is based on your ability to perform your job. An inability to complete all of the essential functions of your federal position must be based on a medical condition, or multiple conditions. It is important to understand that the medical conditions don’t have to be dramatic, big name problems. It could be as simple as allergic reactions to chemicals in the office. Of course serious, major conditions are also disabling, but a federal disability retirement can be a cumulative disability. Cumulative disability means that a number of medical conditions can add up to a disabled employee.

Understanding that the disability is not based on the diagnosed condition(s), but how they affect your ability to perform your job duties can help you understand if you meet the requirements. If you have a number of medical problems, and none of them would warrant a disability alone, make sure to evaluate your overall abilities, or disabilities, with your doctor.

The tricky part is that sometimes specialists only want to evaluate the one condition that they are involved with treating and don’t want to render an opinion about disability on your whole person. Here is an example:

You are suffering from a partially torn rotator cuff tendon, mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a disc bulge at L4-L5, and fibromyalgia. Secondary, you have developed depression and anxiety disorders. None of these conditions alone would disqualify you from completing your full duty job, but together; they are making it very difficult to maintain a full work schedule. The problem is that your psychiatrist isn’t comfortable commenting on your physical conditions, your neurologist doesn’t like talking about your orthopedic conditions, and your shoulder surgeon only wants to perform the operation.

This is where having a family medicine or primary care physician who is in charge of your overall health and coordinating your care can be very useful. Make sure to evaluate your ability to do your job and work with your doctor to be sure your work restrictions incorporate all of your medical conditions.

If you’re considering Federal Disability Retirement, please call us today to schedule a free consultation to see if you qualify.

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