If you are a federal employee struggling with your mental health, you may be apprehensive about telling your agency. We understand how scary it can be to realize you have a mental health condition or be diagnosed with a mental health condition. It can affect everything you do, especially your job. As a special provisions employee who may carry a firearm or have special security clearances, the possibility of losing those aspects of your job can be even scarier.
So, can you continue to carry a firearm if you are considered disabled, or will your security clearances be revoked because of your diagnosis? These are sensitive topics that have been up for debate for many years, and there may be no correct answer when it comes to disability rights.
Ultimately, the answers to these questions will be dependent on your specific case and up to your agency. Keep reading or schedule a free consultation to learn more.
Can I Carry a Firearm if I Have a Mental Health Condition?
Carrying a firearm comes with many responsibilities. There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow and a lot of training that you must go through as a federal employee who must carry a weapon. Because of this, having a mental health condition could affect your abilities and increase safety risks.
Federal law prohibits anyone “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition, unless granted relief under a federally approved program. Each state has their own laws pertaining to carrying a weapon with a mental illness, but the rules differ for each situation.
In order to carry a firearm while in your federal position, you will have to be certified mentally competent by a qualified medical professional. No one should be penalized for seeking mental health care, but the ethics of the situation often make it difficult for people to understand their rights.
In retirement, the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act determines who is eligible for the carrying of concealed firearms and being on disability may disqualify you.
At this current time, the SSA has no law in effect that prevents an individual from owning a firearm while collecting disability benefits. So, if you are able to continue to carry a firearm according to your agency, then an acceptance for SSDI benefits will not affect your ability.
Can My Security Clearance Be Revoked?
According to the US Army Intelligence and Security Command, security clearances are not denied for seeking mental health help but instead can be seen as a positive indicator that one is taking control of their health, which can mitigate security concerns.
A mental health diagnosis, in and of itself, is not a reason to revoke a security clearance and there are no conditions that would automatically disqualify you from receiving security clearances.
Check out this helpful fact sheet on Mental Health and Security Clearances.
Does Being On Medication Change Anything?
Many federal employees are required to carry a firearm while on the job and therefore are afraid to seek the professional help they need out of fear of losing their job.
If you have a mental health condition and are receiving effective treatment, then you should be able to continue to carry a firearm but ultimately this decision is left up to the discretion of your agency. Certain medications are dangerous to take while carrying a firearm and that should be taken into consideration when looking at the future of your employment.
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you simply because of your mental health condition or necessary medication. However, you may not be able to perform the essential functions of a job due to your condition or your medication, which could affect your employment.
What Is Federal Disability Retirement?
The best option for a lot of disabled federal employees who are struggling in their job is Federal Disability Retirement. This benefit is a part of your FERS retirement package, and will allow you to retire early, while receiving a secure monthly annuity, creditable years of service, the ability to work in the private sector, and the ability to maintain your health and life insurance.
Mental health conditions can qualify for this benefit as long as they are affecting your ability to perform at least one of the essential functions of your job.
This benefit requires you to be separated from service which could affect your ability to carry and potentially, your security clearances could be revoked.
Once approved, you will be able to remain on the benefit until age 62, without ever returning to federal service. Federal Disability Retirement can ease the stress of working through a mental health condition and help prevent it from getting worse due to stressors at work.
We have seen thousands of federal employees’ lives changed due to this benefit, and we look forward to helping even more apply. Contact us today to see how we can help you.