Reg Jones Expert's View

First let me provide a definition. A short-term disability is a physical or mental condition that causes you to be unable to perform your job for any period of time that is less than one year. If you have a disability that is expected to last a year or longer and have five years of service (CSRS) or 18 months (FERS), you can file for disability retirement.

So, if you are unfortunate enough to have a short-term disability, you’ll have to fall back on the bits and pieces of legislation that currently exist. All of them are available to you regardless of the amount of time you’ve been on employed by the government. I’ll give you a brief description of four of them now, and fill in some of the details in subsequent articles.

Paid leave

Leave without pay

Leave transfer program

Workers’ compensation

: If your disability was due to a personal injury or disease sustained while you were performing your job, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. Workers’ comp payments begin when you first experience wage loss; in other words, when your leave runs out. : Employees may donate annual leave to you to ease your financial hardship if you are forced to take extended leave without pay. If you receive such donations, you will be paid at your usual rate until the medical emergency ends or the donated leave runs out.: Agencies are allowed to grant periods of LWOP even if you still have some unused sick or annual leave. The granting of such leave is up to your supervisor and may be limited by agency policy. : All federal employees earn sick and annual leave. So, the first thing you are expected to do if you experience a short-term disability is use any sick leave you have accumulated; if that runs out, you can begin using any accumulated annual leave. Your supervisor may have also been given authority from higher up to grant you advance annual leave.