Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Explanation & Intelligibility

The goal of an explanation is to achieve greater intelligibility; otherwise, if the latter is not achieved, the former loses its purpose.  If the explanation fails to provide a basis for the goal, it would then undermine its own rational foundation.

Law often loses sight of this simple principle, and feeds upon itself to justify the complexity of its own existence. But if the purpose of the legal field is to maintain a civilized society and to simplify the conundrum of life’s entanglements, then much of law fails to achieve its justifying existence.

For Federal and Postal employees who must wade into the complex and often mystifying realm of Federal Disability Retirement law, the problematic and confusing aspects of standard forms, procedural hurdles and legal ramifications compounded by the debilitating effects of the medical conditions themselves, can be daunting and prohibitive.  Furthermore, while some explanations can be forthcoming, the problem with most is that they fail to correctly inform.

In this age of technological plenitude, where information is in abundance, but where verification of the sufficiency of information is often inadequate, it is important to seek intelligibility from sources which correctly explain.

Federal Disability Retirement is an important step for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who finds that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector.

Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, taking the affirmative step to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits begins first with an acceptance of the administrative process; next, one must seek an explanation in order to reach an understanding of the bureaucratic procedures; and, finally, one must achieve a sense of confidence in the process, which can only come about through reaching the goal of intelligibility, through explanation, and thereby reaching that plateau of understanding.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Immediate Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Complex Simplicity

Often enough in life, the most complex of conceptual constructs is constituted by its very simple nature; and, conversely, the seemingly simplest of tasks is characterized by its concealed complexity, only to be revealed upon an attempted unraveling of its internal mechanisms.

Consider the games of basketball or golf; the concept begins with placing a round object into a similarly-shaped chasm.  From a spectator’s perspective, nothing could be simpler; for the one who has practiced the identical motion to succeed, nothing could be more frustrating.  Conversely, witness the passage of a simple law, or of the original amendments to the U.S. Constitution; words of limited complexity; yet, it is the very simplicity of the underlying principles which conceal their complex conceptual underpinnings.

For Federal and Postal employees who first encounter the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one might be tempted to “go it alone” because of the seemingly simple construct of the necessary nexus: of the connective bridge which must be established between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

But it should become abundantly (and quickly) clear that it is not the foundational precept of the entire process which makes for complexity, but the ancillary issues, including the required medical documentation, the agency’s attempt to accommodate, or the elements which constitute the essential duties of a position and how they are impacted by a medical condition, etc.  No, it is the coordination of all of the arms and legs which go into preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet, which makes for its very complexity.

Like the boy who is “all arms and legs” when first he attempts to play the game of basketball, so the nascent encounter with a complex administrative process which has been around for many years, will require some trial and error for the Federal or Postal employee who attempts the feat without assistance.

Trials are fine; it is the errors which become of concern.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Reason for the Law’s Complexity

The growing complexity of any body of law often reflects the unintended consequences of a poorly-written statute which first created the access to a right, a benefit, or a legal assertion.  Complications and expansion of issues, clarifications of previously-obfuscated matters of law, evolve over time and begin to take on a life of its own.  

For Federal Disability Retirement law, there is the appearance of a simple process:  one only has to look at the Standard Forms which are made available to all Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, to recognize that, at least on the surface, the administrative process seems simple enough.  

The SF 3107 series (for FERS Federal and Postal employees) and SF 2801 series (for CSRS Federal and Postal employees) requests basic information of a factual nature.  The “other” series of Standard Forms — the SF 3112 series (both for FERS and CSRS Federal and Postal employees) requests information directly impacting one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  

The questions asked are quite simple, and appear somewhat innocuous; the body of law which has grown behind each question is comprised by years and decades of litigation, questioning, judicial decisions and case-law.  It is like the proverbial stranger who discovers what appears to be a tuft of hair (perhaps a mouse?) sticking out from behind a bush, reaches down and pulls, only to hear the roar of a lion for having yanked its tail.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire