I'm happy to say that I resigned from my position at the TSA on Wednesday. It might not be that easy, but we'll see. I may have to go back.
Dave found the DOL rules that they have to play by; essentially my claims examiner's guide book. It says that "job abandonment" for a better paying job is acceptable. This means that if I left my employing agency for a better paying job that is specifically within my medical work restrictions, then it should be okay. However, my claims examiner is the boss of this game and she might continue to play hardball. We will appeal, though, if she doesn't accept my job offer.
Yes, job offer! The new job is perfect and provides a lot of solutions to the problems posed by the TSA. The TSA job is very problematic, not just financially but medically. When my doctor wrote my permanent work restrictions he had to go by the AMA rules and guidelines. There is no way he can write an official clothing restriction that would be acceptable to the DOL. With the RSD it is difficult and painful for me to wear most sleeves. Sure, I've found a few items of clothing with sleeves that don't hurt so bad as long as I don't move my arm much and I only wear the sleeve for limited periods of time. The job at the TSA is a uniform position and though Ms. G. promised she wouldn't make me wear the uniform when I signed the offer, she told me that she could place me anywhere she wanted and that she was intending to eventually place me in uniform at the airport.
Yes, she knows about my issues with sleeves. Dr. R. puts it in many of his reports. So have all the other doctors and nurses I've seen over the last 6 years. The DOL knows of this issue, too, and they have argued that it is not a real medical restriction and that if I get a job that requires sleeved clothing, I have to wear sleeved clothing. Most office jobs, including the office work discussed at the TSA require full sleeved clothing, though Ms. G. allowed me to wear my clothes that went up to the neck but didn't have sleeves, provided I wore a scarf and/or wrap to cover my shoulders. In the week I was there my arm pain got a lot worse, partly from having the fabric constantly touching my arm and partly because they kept the temperature in the room I was in set at a cold 62 degrees. One night I came home and my arm was so stiff and painful, I couldn't change the babies' diapers without a great deal of pain.
The 60 day rule is also a farce. It's a "minimum" of 60 days. There is no guarantee that I'd be allowed to leave the job after 60 days without repercussions, or even 100 days, or even a year or two or more. This rule leaves it up to the claims examiner to decide when to close that part of my claim.
The new job is perfect and it has taken an awful long time to find it. If I waited until my "at least 60 days" sentence at the TSA was over, the job wouldn't be there for me anymore. I can't write much about this new job. I'm sure you all understand my reasons.
My claims examiner strongly discouraged me from looking for or accepting any other work for "at least 60 days" but kept pulling a "Palin" whenever I asked her specifically if I was barred from looking for or accepting other work, meaning that she evaded the question by saying her well-rehearsed lines that were neither here nor there.
Now we wait to see what happens in this very complex game of chess.