OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Farmer’s Market

They have cropped up everywhere, and have become popular sites where suburbanites can sense a closer connection to the food they put on their tables.  But as with all seasonal exchanges, the level of interaction is based upon the changing environment, the availability of produce, and the trending nuances of health, life and manner of living.

In the wintertime, the abandoned stalls and the empty inventory tells of a change of seasons.  We walk, observe, pick and choose, and if the color of the tomato doesn’t quite seem right, we pass by with nary a nod, or word of silent question mark.  Which side of the Farmer’s market are we on, in any given day?  Are we the seller of produce, or the buyer of selective goods?  Do the seasons change, and the temperatures ebb and flow, and are we malleable like the sea breezes that touch upon a morning surf?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers often feel the interchangeable position, and the vulnerability on any given day, based upon the changing of seasons.  Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are likened to Farmer’s markets which come and go, and who set up stalls for selling of goods and produce, or were once like visitors looking for something different than the frozen foods at the chain supermarkets.

Once, the sense of being in control prevailed — whether in displaying one’s produce as the seller, or as the consumer choosing based upon the look of the fruit or vegetable.  Then, suddenly a medical condition comes into play, and options seem to diminish; whether from the perspective of the merchant, or of the buyer, you can’t seem to last the season in either role.

The option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something that becomes a necessity for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition which prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

Like the changing of seasons, it brings to the fore the availability of one’s “product”, and makes of one the onlooker who doesn’t purchase, as well as the weekend merchant who tenders at the local Farmer’s Market, only to get back to one’s “real job” of toil and turmoil, like the rest of society who must contend with the forces of nature’s changing seasons.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Being Persuasive

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management, there are certain “advantages” which a Federal or Postal employee/applicant may already possess from the outset, without having filed a single piece of paper with the Office of Personnel Management.  

These advantages may include:  an agency action removing the Federal or Postal employee from Federal Service based upon one’s medical inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; an Air Traffic Controller receiving a disqualification by the Flight Surgeon; an OWCP-accepted claim where a Second Opinion doctor writes a comprehensive report and answers definitively that the Federal or Postal employee has a permanent medical condition which will prevent him or her from ever returning to his or her former job; a Supervisor’s Statement which clearly delineates and describes the extent of the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition based upon observation and agency-impact; and multiple other “advantages”.  However, an advantage fails to become so, and remains only in a state of potentiality, unless it is actualized by being utilized effectively.  By “effective utilization” is meant that, just as one can be persuasive only by persuading, so one can effectively utilize an inherent advantage in a Federal Disability Retirement application only by persuasively arguing that the particular agency action has a legal basis in which the action itself is legally persuasive.  

In other words, the proper legal citations which have been mandated previously by a Judge in another case, must be cited and referred to, in order to use it as an argumentation basis to the Office of Personnel Management.  One cannot persuade unless one engages in persuasive conduct — and that means that one must not go out blindly into the field and use a scythe as a hammer, but be able to recognize the tool for what it is, then to use it accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Service Disability Retirement: How Many Should Be Listed (Part 2)?

The listing of the medical conditions in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as it is descriptively written on the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) for FERS & CSRS disability retirement, to be submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, is a separate issue from the creative description of the symptoms which the applicant experiences as a result of the identified listing of the medical conditions.  Thus, a distinction should be made between the “official” diagnosed medical conditions (which should be limited in number, for reasons previously delineated) and the multiple and varied “symptoms” which result from the listed medical conditions.  Thus, while one may suffer from the medical condition termed as “Fibromyalgia”, the symptoms can be multiple:  chronic and diffuse pain; impact upon cognitive abilities, inability to focus and concentrate, symptoms which are often termed as “fibro-fog”, etc. 

When the Office of Personnel Management approves a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS and identifies the specific medical condition by which it is approved, it will identify the medical condition, and not the symptoms.  This distinction is important because, when an applicant prepares the narrative to show the Office of Personnel Management what he or she suffers from, the differentiation between conditions and symptoms is important to recognize when creatively and descriptively writing the narrative of one’s medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Differing Perspectives

The old adage, “Walk in your fellow man’s shoes for a mile” is a saying which is meant essentially to teach a child (and many adults) to have a different perspective than one’s own, self-centered universe.  In practicing law, it is a good idea to attempt to obtain a perspective from the multitude of differing “shoes” — and this is especially important in putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS. 

The gathering of such differing and different perspectives — that of the treating doctor; that of the applicant; that of the Agency (the Supervisor and the Agency in its determination that accommodation or reassignment is not available or appropriate for a given employee, given the particular medical conditions and the type of positional duties of the specific job which the Applicant must perform, as well as taking into account what constitutes “efficiency” in the Federal Service, etc.); and further, that of the Office of Personnel Management. 

It is the job of the Attorney representing a Federal or Postal employee in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet under FERS or CSRS, to pull together the various perspectives; write up and prepare, and gather the information from the multiple and differing perspectives; to neutralize those perspectives which may impact negatively upon the Federal disability retirement application; then to present the fullness of the different perspectives such that it meets the legal criteria and “perspective” of the Representative from the Office of Personnel Management:  that “ultimate” perspective which determines a “yes” or “no” in determining the viability of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire