568 Management–Initiated Disability Retirement Procedures


Reference Note:

For additional material concerning the subject matter found in 568 through 568.24, refer to:

568.1 General

There are certain limited situations under which an employing office may initiate a disability retirement application on behalf of an employee. OPM will not accept an application filed by an employing office unless the conditions in 568.11 are met. OPM will not act on the application until it receives the appropriate documentation of the separation action.

568.11 Basis for Filing

An employing office may file an application for disability retirement on behalf of an employee who has 5 years of federal civilian service under the following conditions:

  1. The employing office has issued a decision to remove the employee; and
  2. The employing office concludes, after its review of medical documentation, that cause for the unacceptable performance, conduct, or attendance is due to disease or injury; and
  3. The employee is institutionalized or, based on review of medical and other information, it concludes that the employee is incapable of making a decision to file an application for disability retirement; and
  4. The employee has no personal representative or guardian (individual who would act and care for the employee); and
  5. There is no immediate family member who is willing to file the application on behalf of the employee.
568.12 Medical Examination
568.121 Notifying the Employee

If it becomes necessary to order a medical examination under these provisions, the employee must be notified in writing to report for the examination. The notice must include the following:

  1. A statement of the general scope and character of the examination.
  2. The reasons for ordering the examination.
  3. The consequence of failure to comply with the request.
  4. The employee’s right to be represented. The employee’s representative must be provided with a copy of the notification.
568.122 Designating a Physician

Management shall designate the examining physician. The employee, however, is offered an opportunity to submit medical documentation from his or her personal physician for review and consideration.

568.123 Information Provided Examining Physician

The examining physician must be provided with a copy of all relevant medical information in the Postal Service’s possession, the applicable standards and requirements of the position, and a detailed description of the duties of the position (job description), including the critical and essential elements of the job, physical demands, and environmental factors.

568.124 Psychiatric Evaluation

The following procedures must be followed when ordering a psychiatric examination:

  1. Basis for Requesting a Psychiatric Evaluation. A psychiatric evaluation may be ordered only after the employee provides results of a general medical or psychiatric examination or a nonpsychiatric fitness–for–duty examination has been conducted, and, after review of the documentation or examination report, the medical officer concludes that a psychiatric evaluation is warranted for medical reasons.
  2. Employee Names Representative. Appointment of a representative of the employee is required. Employees may name their own representative at any time.
  3. Employee Refuses to Name Representative. If the employee does not name a representative voluntarily, a management official urges the employee to do so before a fitness–for–duty psychiatric examination is ordered by the medical officer.
  4. Management Appoints Representative. If the employee persists in not naming a representative, management appoints one to receive copies of all notices, determinations, decisions, and other written communication issued to the employee under these procedures. Management may choose a member of the employee’s family, union officer, veteran’s service officer, or an employee not under the supervision of the affected employee’s supervisor.
  5. Employee’s Objection to Named Psychiatrist. An employee or representative who objects to the psychiatrist named by the medical officer is requested to submit the names of three to five medical board–certified psychiatrists of his or her choice. The medical officer then selects a psychiatrist from the list, and management arranges for the examination.
568.125 Cost of Medical Examination

Any costs incurred as a result of a medical examination taken at the direction of the Postal Service and by a Postal Service appointed physician selected pursuant to 568.124e above shall be the responsibility of the Postal Service. The employee, however, is responsible for all costs incurred as a result of any medical examination conducted by a private physician selected by the employee.

568.126 Management Decision

To support a disability retirement under these provisions, management must conclude, after its review of the medical documentation, and in the opinion of the medical officer, that the cause for the unacceptable performance, conduct, or attendance is due to the employee’s medical condition or illness. If the employee is not institutionalized, management must also conclude that the employee is incapable of making a decision to file a disability retirement application. This conclusion must be based on a medical assessment by a Postal Service medical officer.

568.13 Filing Application
568.131 Employing Office Action

If all of the conditions in 568.11 have been satisfied, the employing office can proceed in filing a disability application on behalf of the employee.

568.132 Notice to Employee

The employing office must inform the employee, in writing, at the same time that it informs the employee of its removal decision that (a) a disability retirement application has been submitted to OPM on the employee’s behalf, (b) the employee may review any medical information and obtain copies of any records at no expense, and (c) that the action does not affect the employee’s right to submit a voluntary application for disability retirement.

568.133 Notice to OPM

When submitting an application for disability retirement to OPM under these procedures, the employing office must provide OPM with copies of the decision to remove the employee, the medical documentation, and any other documents required to show that the cause for removal is due to a medical condition. Following separation, OPM must be provided with a copy of the documentation of the separation.

568.2 OPM Action

568.21 Processing by OPM

OPM will not act on an application for disability retirement initiated by management until it receives the appropriate documentation of the separation. When OPM receives a complete application for disability retirement, it will notify the former employee that it has received the application. OPM will also provide the employee with an opportunity to submit additional medical documentation.

568.22 Decision

OPM will issue its decision, in writing, to the employee and to the employing office, through the Retirement Branch, Eagan ASC. The decision will include a statement of findings and conclusions, and an explanation of the right to request a reconsideration of OPM’s decision.

568.23 Cancellation of Retirement

OPM will cancel any disability retirement when a final decision of an administrative authority or court reverses the removal action and orders the reinstatement of the employee.

568.24 Employee’s Status Pending OPM’s Decision

The employee will remain on the Postal Service’s rolls pending the final disposition of an adverse action through the appropriate appeal procedures. The employee will not be retained on the rolls pending OPM’s decision on the disability application once all appeal procedures have been exhausted.