Beginning the Federal Disability Retirement Process

The Chinese proverb, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, is meant to remind us that looking at a process in its entirety can result in self-defeat even before starting, and every daunting journey must begin with the small, almost insignificant, effort of initiation.

Facing a bureaucracy and an administrative process can feel like that metaphorical journey of a thousand miles.  The multiple and complex standard forms to complete; the legal criteria to meet; the need to gather, compile and consolidate the medical documentation into a linear, coherent whole; and all of this, in the face of voluntarily reducing one’s income by applying for an annuity and having to deal with the debilitating medical condition from which one suffers.

But the successful way to approach the entire administrative process known as Federal Disability Retirement, is to bifurcate it into workable portions. The SF 3107 series (reissued in May, 2014, where previous editions are now outdated) is merely informational in nature.  It is is the SF 3112 series of forms which one must take care in preparing and formulating, and especially SF 3112A, which requests for detailed information concerning one’s medical conditions, the impact of the medical conditions upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job; and other pertinent information needed to convey compliance with a legal criteria established through many years via legal opinions issued by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Yes, it is a difficult process, and one which can be eased by legal advice and expertise. But as with all journeys, to look upon the landscape and obstacles as mere hindrances to overcome, will serve one better, than to stand at the foothills and refuse to begin the journey at all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Transfinite Cardinals

It is a concept invented in order to avoid the inherently problematic implications of the “infinite”; yet, it clearly means that it is “not finite”. It is meant to avoid a type of exclusive disjunctive and attempts to equivocate and obfuscate, implying that it somehow goes beyond the finite but refuses to become embroiled in the complexities of the infinite, thereby allowing for a compromise by remaining forever in the limbo of mathematical purgatory.

Such conceptual word-games save us for a time; and, sometimes, time is what is needed. Thus, for universes of pure theoretical constructs, where application has little or no impact upon the reality of life, conceptual language games can be daily engaged and walked away from, without any practical consequences. It is, however, when theory intersects with reality, that qualitative reverberations become felt, as in the application of theoretical physics upon the pragmatic application of nuclear fusion.

Advancing from Thought to Action

Advancing from Thought to Action

For the everyday Federal and Postal Worker, the theoretical existence of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is likened to transfinite cardinals: until the intersection between thought and action occurs, it remains safely in the universe of theory, mind, and limbo; but when the reality of a medical condition hits upon the physical universe of the real, and impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability/inability to maneuver through the employment sector because of physical limitations or psychiatric obstacles imposed by the medical condition, then one must reach beyond the theoretical and take pragmatic steps of prudent applicability.

Like boilerplate legalese in multi-paginated contractual agreements, theoretical constructs exist for potential applications in the real universe.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits remain in existence for all Federal and Postal employees, and must be accessed by submitting an application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is like the Platonic Ideas of Greek philosophy “out there” in the ethereal universe, but of no consequence but for ivory tower constituents. And like transfinite cardinals, Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits remain in a parallel universe of theoretical constructs, until that time when a particular Federal or Postal employee accesses the need to ignite the fuse of pragmatic intentions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Government & USPS Disability Retirement: Self-Perception

The ability of Man to not only have a consciousness of the detached, objective world of phenomena, is shared with all other species; rather, it is the further capacity to have an awareness of self, and step outside of one’s self and be able to view the person who occupies the “I” as one among others, which makes for a higher level of awareness.

Whether other animals share that sense of self-identity in addition to the basic level of consciousness by which we respond and react to the stimuli around us, is always an interesting intellectual debate and discussion to engage.  The problem for the vast human population is not whether we share such second-level consciousness with other species, but rather, how accurate is our self-perception, and to what extend does it do more harm than good.

The capacity of self-awareness is likely tied to the evolutionary process for survivability; yet, such a level of consciousness must be an accurate one, lest it distort one’s reality and the ability to respond appropriately to one’s environment and surroundings.  This is the conundrum for the person who suffers from a medical condition: Are decisions able to be made objectively?  And for the compounding complexity of a psychiatric condition, can one make sound judgements concerning one’s future?

For the Federal and Postal Worker whose medical conditions are impacting one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, there is the telltale sign of job performance; but as the vast majority of agencies simply pass people along, such a criteria often lacks in objective measurements.

Ultimately, one “knows” whether one can continue in the same vein as before. For the Federal and Postal Worker, the option to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one which should always be considered.  The benefit itself is available as part of one’s employment compensation package, and in this day and age where the constant barrage of stresses in the workplace take their toll upon one’s health, it is a benefit worth considering to preserve one’s survivability in this vast chaos called civilization.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Body

It is a mechanically extraordinary creation, whether by means of transcendental creation or evolutionary process — the bipedaling human body. The ability and capacity of balance and coordination; the acuity of the human mind and its quickness in information processing; the amazing functionality of dexterous hands and adaptability to quickly changing environments.

It is perhaps because of the success of that which is given, that we take for granted what we possess, and in the very taking for granted of something, allowing for the abuse of that which we never earned, has been one of the greatest calamities for human beings.  To test the extent of endurance, strength and limitation of capacity is one thing; to abuse beyond what a thing was meant for, is quite another.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition has arrived at a crisis point of deterioration, incapacity and intractability, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, precisely because one does not wish to cross the line into “abuse” of one’s body.

It is all well and good to come to the point of testing the extent of one’s human capacity; but once the limit is met, the need for restorative recuperation must be embraced.

Federal and Postal workers have a reputation for hard work and endurance, including patience beyond being a virtue; but there is another component beyond the human body which one is gifted with — that of one’s brain.  It is a functional component which should be used in consonance with the body, but it requires thoughtful quiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Futility of Waiting

The waiting game is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of any endeavor; for, in the end, dependence upon a third party to act, when the other person, entity or agency, may in fact never act, merely increases the sense of frustration.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System) or CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System — that grand old system which some were fortunate enough to squeeze into before the mid-80s when abolition and transition to FERS occurred), Federal and Postal employees will often think that they must “wait” for their agency to act, to perform some duty, to respond, to do something… when in fact waiting normally results in further non-action.

Since the preponderance of the evidence in proving a Federal Disability Retirement case is solely upon the Federal or Postal worker who applies, it is rare that waiting for anything from one’s agency will bear any substantive fruit of any kind.  While medical conditions continue to progressively worsen, one is left waiting; while time continues to march on, one is left waiting; and while resources get depleted, and more and more SL & AL is used up, the Federal and Postal worker is left with the proverbial empty bag.

No, there is ultimately nothing that needs to be waited upon in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  While dreams of the future are made with the stuff of patience, it rarely includes waiting upon an agency of the Federal Government to prepare one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Better to go chase a cloud in the sky than to expect anything helpful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Those Important First Steps

It is often the period of initial preparation of a process which is important in setting a solid foundation for the insurmountable security and solidity of a case. That truism is arrived at through retrospective reflection; but when one is frantically attempting to reach the end-goal, the frenzy of trying to get there is the very problem which derails a case.

When the Federal or Postal employee finds that a medical condition impacts and prevents one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and further, that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is beginning to voice “grumblings” about one’s performance, to include excessive use of SL or LWOP; or, worse, one finds that a PIP has been issued, and one is thus subjected to the microscopic assessment of one’s work, including the number of times you use the restroom — panic sets in.

But quickly compiling a volume of medical records and hastily submitting a Federal Disability Retirement packet through one’s Human Resources office is the wrong approach.  For, ultimately, it is not one’s own agency which has anything to do with a Federal Disability Retirement application; rather, it is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a completely separate agency, which renders a decision on all Federal Disability Retirement applications, whether under FERS or CSRS.

That is why preparing the initial steps in compiling a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application is crucial; it will determine the later consequences of success or failure.  Thus the age-old adage:  Penny wise but pound foolish; or more aptly, get your ducks in a row early.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Coordinated Steps

When a toddler first learns to walk, what is apparent in the awkward initial attempts is the lack of muscular control, coupled with an innate awareness of potential failure; and that compound look of surprise, fear and lack of comprehension when the first fall of failure occurs.  It is, in a sense, a “failure”; not for lack of trying, or of applying the elementary mechanics of “how to”.  Rather, it is precisely because the various elements must coalesce to create a tripartite approach which has not yet come to fruition:  muscle strength and control; a sense of balance; a coordination of mind and body.

Similarly, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal employee who first attempts to enter into the universe of administrative law, and specifically into the world of bureaucracy culminating in an encounter with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must contend with the following:  coordination of efforts.  For, in the end, the tripartite elements in a Federal Disability Retirement application must also come together:  The medical condition; one’s positional duties in the Federal sector; the nexus between the two, with a legal argument as to the impact of one upon the other.

The requirement of coordination does not cease merely because one learns to walk; it is a life-long endeavor which only becomes more sophisticated, with greater demands and requirements, upon those very members of society who continue to grow, mature, and become adults.  Those first baby steps only represented the beginning; once mastered, the universe of man, which includes all forms of technological absurdities and complex human behaviors, must be understood, incorporated, and ultimately engaged, in order to begin the process of mastering the coordination of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire