If you find yourself on this web page right now, you probably already know a bit about the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
Under the FERS retirement disability program, workers who find themselves injured or otherwise disabled receive employment security benefits if they are unable to work due to their condition.
Sometimes the benefits are temporary, but sometimes they are permanent. Furthermore, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of disability.
Some of the most common disability-related questions we get from our clients at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing have to do with what the FERS and ADA consider a disability.
Those questions include things like:
- Is cancer considered a disability under FERS?
- Is cancer a disability under the ADA?
- Where can I find a full list of covered disabilities and injuries?
If you have any of these or other related questions, you’re in the right place. We put together this page specifically to help you assess whether your injury qualifies you for disability benefits.
What’s Considered a Disability?
There are quite a few different medical conditions that FERS considers disabilities.
In fact, there are too many to cover here. You can, however, find an exemplary list that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses in its entirety right here.
While FERS doesn’t use the exact same list, the two are very similar. After all, they both come from the federal government and serve near-identical functions.
In all, the SSA’s list contains 14 categories of impairments:
- Musculoskeletal disorders,
- Special senses and speech disorders,
- Respiratory disorders,
- Cardiovascular diseases,
- Digestive system disorders,
- Genitourinary disorders,
- Hematological disorders,
- Skin disorders,
- Endocrine disorders,
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems,
- Neurological disorders,
- Mental disorders,
- Cancer, and
- Immune system disorders.
This list encompasses a very broad range of different medical conditions and disabilities. At the end of the day, the most important element in qualifying for disability is demonstrating your inability to function at work as you would without the disorder.
Notes on Some of the More Common Disorders in the List
Injuries to hands, feet, and other extremities can qualify you for disability benefits if you are unable to work.
For example, it’s possible you can get disability for plantar fasciitis, arthritis, or tendon damage. It all depends on the circumstances of the injury and your job duties.
If you injure yourself enough to warrant an amputation, chances are you qualify for disability. The federal government considers thumb amputation a disability.
In fact, the federal government considers any finger amputation a disability. While losing a finger may not seem as extreme a disability as a terminal illness, losing a digit can significantly impede one’s ability to work.
If you’re wondering whether cancer is a disability, the answer is a resounding yes. FERS, the SSA, and the federal government as a whole all consider cancer a disability, as does the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
In fact, you may have noticed that cancer warrants its own category in the SSA’s full list of medical conditions. Cancer itself, and many of the treatments associated with it, take a significant toll on patients’ bodies.
As a result, working is often entirely out of the question for individuals with cancer. Excluding cancer in any form from the list of disabilities would be entirely inappropriate.
Need Help with Your Disability Claim?
More often than not, the most difficult part of getting disability benefits is proving that your condition is sufficient to render you unable to work in your position of record.
The problem is that there is a subjective element in determining whether someone can work or not. The best thing you can do to ensure this process moves forward is with the help of a FERS disability attorney.
They can help you gather evidence that proves your disability’s impact on your life. At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, federal disability benefits are one of our primary focus areas.