I was a DOD civil service employee from 2005 till 2011. I injured my back in April of 2009 which required surgery in June 2009. My back injury caused permanent nerve damage in my left leg; numbness, pain, hyper-sensitivity and so on. I returned to light duty work in Sept 2009 and then full duty in Dec 2009. Things seemed well for a while and in the summer of 2010 the back pain started again and in Oct 2010 I was off work. I got a MRI in Dec 2010 and it showed I had five more herniated discs and I needed surgery again. DOL took too long to approve my surgery and though I had an approved case and was getting paid by OWCP I received a letter saying I was to be removed from my position. I was let go in Aug 2011 and right after my surgery was approved. After the second back injury I have nerve damage in my right leg that the doctor said will not improve. My two questions are: can DOD legally fire me while on a workmans comp and what is the best way to go about a schedule award? Do I absolutely need an attorney or is it simple enough to save the money a lawyer would charge and file the paperwork myself? Thank you for your time.