Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Social Security Requirement

There is often confusion.  In fact, some Federal and Postal employees think that the “Prerequisite requirement” of filing for Social Security Disability benefits means that you have to wait to get it approved before you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The unforeseen consequences resulting from such a misunderstanding is that some Federal or Postal employees wait, and wait, and become separated, and continue to wait and allow for the 1-year rule (of having to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service) to expire, then try and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Or, others confuse the two and somehow believe that filing for Social Security Disability benefits is the same as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such confusion is often based upon either misinformation or misinterpretation; either way, the consequences of acting upon, or failing to act as a result of, can result in irreversible damage.

If you are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law before trying to maneuver through the maze of confusing requirements, prerequisites and bureaucratic language.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit earned; to obtain it, however, it must be fought for and granted, and in order to do that, representation by an experienced attorney is often the best in making your way through the legal maze of confusion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: The Percentage Game

We all play it; whether in calculating the chances of success (most of us are not knowledgeable enough to be statisticians, not having paid close enough attention in high school or college to that mathematics course regarding the numerical analysis of a numbers-based algorithm), or in merely keeping an eye on interest rates in the housing market, or perhaps taking note of how likely it is to be attacked by a shark before we step into the polluted waters of the Atlantic.

OPM certainly plays the game — one needs only to look at a Denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to realize that, the manner in which the Denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is written, there will be a certain percentage of people who will read it and say, “Gee, I never stood a chance.  I might as well not even go any further.”

The Denials are often written in unequivocal terms, stating with a tone of certainty that there was never any basis for filing, and that any further efforts would be fruitless and futile.  And from that language of certainty, a certain percentage of Federal Disability Retirement applicants will simply give up and walk away.  That is what the percentage game is based upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have received a Denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to perform an objective-based evaluation of a Federal Disability Retirement claim.  Better, yet, consult with such an attorney even before you begin the process, to ensure the best chances in this “percentage game” which OPM plays.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Future Dreaded

We often avoid the subject; of futures yet to be contemplated and images triggered by fears; of questions pertaining to old age, retirements, early onset of dementia and the fearful “A” word — Alzheimer’s.

Are such fates certainties?  Or, do we just shrug them off with a flippant side-step, like the partner dancing with a clumsy other who is nimble enough to avoid being stepped on, making dancing with the stars seemingly like a cakewalk.  “We can always get hit by a truck tomorrow, so why worry about the day after?”  Is that a philosophy of life which can long endure, or a truism which guarantees our fated dread, anyway?

Medical conditions of any form and type remind us of the future dreaded; it points to our mortality, our vulnerabilities and our lack of security in this world where communities are non-existent, empathy remains in short supply and families break apart as easily as the crumbling crust upon an overcooked apple pie.

Future dreaded — it is a feeling felt at the pit of one’s stomach, and nightmares which shake one from the slumber of midnight terrors; and, in the end, we feel sorrow for ourselves in an echo of soliloquies where a singular voice calls for help and no one is there to listen.  The bleakest of ends does not need to be one where the worst fears are realized.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the future dreaded is the one around the corner, triggered by the increasing hostility of an agency or the postal facility which sees no future in your contribution or membership in that community of workers which once provided a sense of security.

When your medical condition has come to a point where you can no longer perform all of the essential elements of your job, call a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the future dreaded is often one based upon lack of understanding, and it is knowledge of the process of Federal Disability Retirement which can feed the information necessary to prepare for a future brightened, and not a future dreaded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Picture We Want to See

Most of us think that we are the opposite of the designated, “Photogenic Individual”.  Setting aside those who crave to be in every picture (including the egomaniacal and perversely pervasive “selfies” which are posted daily and minute-by-minute), the picture we want to see, the photograph we would care to share and the image we would want to be presented to friends, family, third parties and others — they are rarely captured accurately, or at least to our satisfaction of how we see ourselves compared with “what” or “who” we see captured within the confined borders of an image depicted.

Similarly, we all hold an image of who we are within the framework of our own egos — whether of a successful individual or a failure; of self-confidence or lacking in great measure thereof; and of the little boy or girl we remember, before entering into the harsh reality of the world at large, with a past and background of security or insecurity, with loving parents or of cold, dispassionate and distant fathers and mothers; in the end, the picture we want to see is often at odds with the ones we actually hold on to.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, perhaps filing for disability retirement benefits under FERS is not the picture “we want to see”, but rather, is the picture depicted and represents the reality of what we must see.

No one wants to see the picture — and least of all the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition necessitating Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  However, it is often the picture which we least want to see that represents the reality which we must see, and that is what consulting with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Employee Disability Retirement Law is there for: To paint an objective picture which depicts as accurately as possible whether you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Case Development

Are all cases at the same stage of the process?  Isn’t this the same question as: Are all people at the parallel stage of maturity?

As life reflects reality in varying aspects of their sliced proportions, so every case is not at the same stage of the process.  Many Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers find themselves at a critical juncture in their careers, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits has become a necessity and a step which can no longer be delayed.

Is every case ready for filing?  Likely not.  Should every case be filed, ready or not?  Only if the Statute of Limitations looms and necessitates it.  Is there anything nefarious in “developing” a case?  No.  However, there can be a slight distinction, subtle as it may be, in engaging a trail of medical documentation expressly for the singular purpose of establishing a Federal Disability Retirement claim, as opposed to doing it in order to seek medical attention.

Taking care of one’s medical condition, going to doctor’s appointments and establishing a consistency of compliance with a treatment regimen — these should all, first and foremost, be engaged in with the primary purpose of obtaining the proper medical care.

From that consistency of care, case development will follow; and for Federal and Postal employees seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, the proper time for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will come naturally as the case develops, which often needs the guidance and counsel of a FERS attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Qualifying Standard

What if a group of individuals gathered to compete in a race, of sorts, and trained, engaged in strenuous preparatory work and did all of the things necessary in order to “qualify”? They all gather on the agreed-upon date and, in customary athletic clothing, run a predetermined distance where 3 individuals out of ten cross a white line in sequential fashion. There is no doubt as to who the 3 “front runners” were. Yet, when the prizes are handed out, they are given to the 10th, 7th and 5th place runners. There is an understandable uproar. A protest is filed.

Umpires and referees gather (are there such people, or is that just in baseball, football, soccer and basketball?) and discuss the situation at length. Small, hand-held rule books are consulted and the audience sits in anguished silence as the outcome is debated in a deliberative fashion. Furrowed eyebrows are mashed in faces of concerned silence; the crowd that had gathered to witness the sporting event argue vociferously over the unfairness of it all; television crews have arrived, having been tipped off that a major scandal has been scented and the sharks have gathered for the afternoon kill.

No one notices that a little old man who has stood watching the entire spectacle with a peaceful, quiet calm has slowly made his way onto the platform where a microphone has been set up. He approaches the podium, adjusts the contraption and begins thus: “Ahem”. He pauses, waiting for everyone at the event to recognize the point from where the clearing of his throat originated, and continues on: “I am Mr. X; I organized this event. If you look at the last paragraph of the rules-book, it specifically states the following: ‘Mr. X is the sole determiner of the qualifying standard’. I am, as I said, Mr. X, and I determined that runners 5, 7 and 10 are the winners. End of story”. The little old man then turns around and walks back down, and away from the event.

Now, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition leads the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this story may appear to parallel the manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acts: As a law unto itself.

Fortunately, they are not the sole arbiter of the qualifying standard and, instead, there is such a thing as “The Law”. In order to apply the law and force OPM to follow the true and only qualifying standard, however, it is necessary to “know” the law; and, in order to do that, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. Otherwise, you might be subject to the same standard (or lack thereof) as the little old man who does what he wants on any given day depending on how he feels on that day, or in that moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS: Performance, Conduct or Attendance

Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”.  There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.

Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.

These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined.  Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.

When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?”  Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?

Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire