Case Law: The Bracey Decision

The Bracey Decision
Legal Analysis of Non-Statutory Laws

5 C.F.R. Sec. 831.1203 (a)(4), states that in order for a person to be qualified for disability retirement, the “employing agency must be unable to accommodate the disabling medical condition in the position held or in an existing vacant position.” This definition was further clarified in the case of Bracey v. Office of Personnel Management, 236 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2001), where the Court therein stated that an agency cannot stop a disability retirement application “by assigning an injured employee to an ad hoc set of light duties as long as it continues to pay the employee at the same level as before.” (Page 1362) This means that your Agency cannot stop you from obtaining disability retirement benefits by giving you temporary, light duty, or menial jobs outside of your position description. The term “accommodation” is a narrow one, and an applicant needs to know this when going up against governmental agencies who are often opposed to a disability retirement application.

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