Work & get care at VA Hospital & Disability worsening, & possible termination Started by buddysmom1 , Oct 17 2013 01:09 PM Please log in to reply 1 reply to this topic 1 posts Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:09 PM I didn't know where to post this topic. If I am wrong for placing it here, I apologize. Also, for me to explain my story, this post will be long. Anyone who will take the time to read it and offer any advice from anyone would be helpful and appreciated. First I am a Veteran, who has a service-connected disability (for a mental health disorder). I work and receive medical care at the same VA Medical Center (Northeastern PA). After working at my job for about 1 year 8 months, I started having difficulties with the job functions and my disability. I eventually applied for a medical re-assignment, and it has turned into quite a nightmare for me. The process in my case has taken a very long time (I am not sure if this is typical). I was given a temporary job accommodation to another area, until they me permanent found suitable work. I think part of my problem has been working at and using that same hospital for my mental health care treatment. Anyways, I eventually was given a temporary assignment to a position my employer deemed suitable work or a reasonable accommodation for me. I was to work there for 30 days, be trained and see how I could handle the position during that time. After maybe 20 days of working in this position, I began to make phone calls and send emails to what I thought were the right people explaining that I really could not handle this assignment and explained the reasons why. One email I sent was to the agency EEO manager and was very detailed. I don't know why, but it did not matter what I explained to anyone, or that the position was not even completely compliant with the medical restrictions my doctor wrote out for me. Human Resources called me in and said told me that is the only position I can be assigned to, and that was my reasonable accommodation. They said I had 2 choices (which were outlined on the paperwork I had to sign). http://socallawsupport.com/ I can sign and accept the position or sign and decline the position (declining meant I can also be terminated). So I had no choice but to decline it, since I can't medically handle it. Signing I decline to accept that position also prevents me from another benefit I would have been able to apply for, Immediate Medical Disability Retirement. I can't apply for this now because I declined this take this job offer. One of the guidelines (at least I think anyways) for immediate Medical Disability Retirement is that you can't decline an offer of what the VA considers to be a reasonable accommodation for another job. I do not consider the job offer to be a "reasonable accommodation" if I can't medically handle it, can't function at all after working 8 hours in that position, can't (and did not do once during the temporary 30 day assignment - do certain functions of the job - which are very extremely important), and think it made me get worse with my mental health problems. So I am fighting a losing battle here now. I don't know if I can do anything to get this paperwork voided somehow so I can apply for the Immediate Disability Retirement. Applying for this and receiving benefits would not pay my bills anyways. I am at the point now that it is so hard for me to function everyday.
57,899 posts Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:21 PM Seems to me that you need to confer with an attorney who is familiar with civil service regs (I don't know of any who visit this board).
Ultimately, I'm unclear that federal civil service guidelines require the agency to reassign you to another job if you're unable to do your own, regardless of whether that's due to a disability. (In private employer situations, the employer would have no obligation to put you in a holding pattern if you will until it finds you a different job.)
You say the disability involves a mental health disorder, but don't indicate what limitations that puts on you in terms of working in a given position. The reference to medical disability retirement would indicate that you believe you are medically incapable of doing ANY job there. As such, I'm not clear how they could make a reasonable accommodation. See the conundrum?
Unclear why you wouldn't just take FMLA if a medical condition prevented you from doing the assigned job, to give you breathing room. "I am at the point now that it is so hard for me to function everyday." It seems to me that the primary focus for the moment would be to address the medical situation, both within and without the VA system, no? I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics. If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable. Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/227909-work-get-care-at-va-hospital-disability-worsening-possible-termination/