Federal Disability Retirement: Inconsistencies

Selective extrapolation is the preferred method by which they justify a denial; a notation taken out of context from this particular day, or an offhand comment in response to a nurse’s question on a differentiated day where you may be feeling slightly better, etc.

Inconsistencies remain the harbinger of a denial of a FERS Medical Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Yet, life is full of inconsistencies, and one can even argue that inconsistencies are the stamp of reality — that sincerity of life’s events are replete with contradictions and spectrums of bumps; that perfection is often a greater indication of artifice, instead of life’s reality that is actually lived.

That is the anomaly and the inconsistency itself: Perfection of circumstances is the real artifice; lack of perfection, the reality of living life.  Yet, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application in the very opposite way; they search out the inconsistencies, then allege that those inconsistencies somehow rise to the level of artifice, when all along they merely reflect the reality of life itself, replete with inconsistencies that betray the lack of perfection which truth itself brings.

Thus, beware when the doctor or nurse writes in a note, “Feeling much better today” — for, although you still hobble about because of a broken body or are unable to focus or concentrate because of a psychiatric condition, the inconsistency between a singular notation and the reality reflected in one’s medical condition is the weaponized methodology of a Federal Agency which seeks out such inconsistencies as a basis for a denial.

As such, a Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who seeks to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should turn for advice and counsel to an experienced Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law to make sure that the inconsistencies may be minimized in the impact upon a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Effective Repetition

Repetition is an effective tool in any writing forum, if the audience to whom such repetitive tools are directed, is taken into account.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the repetitive restatement of specific medical conditions, the symptoms exhibited and manifested over the years, the impact upon certain elements of both one’s positional duties and daily living activities from the medical conditions themselves, etc. — all can be effectively stated throughout the Federal Disability Retirement application itself.

For, repetition can also produce the appearance of consistency; and when the same or similar phrase or concept is repeated in different documents — in the applicant’s statement of disability; in the doctor’s narrative reports; in the Supervisor’s Statement; in the medical office notes and progress notes; such repetition reveals a consistency of terms, which reflects a reality of chronicity as to the state, severity, and nature of the medical condition and its impact upon one’s ability or inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, which is what must be proven in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That is why the order and sequence of what to write, when to write it, and what to wait for before writing one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Connections

It is the logical and sequential connections between independent facts, which provide the foundational basis in “proving” a thing.  One can infer or imply; it is indeed possible to extrapolate; but to leave such cognitively-arduous exercise to someone at the Office of Personnel Management is merely to cast it to a chance occurrence.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to expressly state the obvious — and not just the facts themselves, but the very connections which bind the independent conceptual constructs, and which lead to unmistakable and irrefutable conclusions.

Thus, while it might be obvious to some that if X medical conditions impact Y essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is nevertheless important to emphasize the “why” as well as the “how”.

From a treating doctor’s perspective, such a connection may be so obvious that it need not be emphasized — precisely because of the intimate knowledge which the treating doctor has accumulated over the years and years of reviewing diagnostic test results, through repeated clinical examinations, etc.  But from a case-worker’s perspective at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, who is reviewing one’s application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the first (and possible only) time, repetition of connections is vital to a successful outcome.

How does one metaphorically gain the attention of someone at OPM?  By repetition and making explicit that which may otherwise be implicit and hidden.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Legal Standard & Persuasion

There is a distinction between the existence of a legal standard and the citing of such legal standard — to include statutory references, case-law citations, etc. — and the art of persuasion.  In reviewing Federal and Postal Disability Retirement applications which have been previously prepared, formulated and submitted by unrepresented Federal and Postal employees, which have been denied, it is often refreshing to see how laymen (i.e., “non-lawyers”) have utilized cases and case-law citations (often straight from some of my articles and blogs) in arguing his or her case. 

The problem with such an approach, however, is that the unrepresented Federal or Postal employee will often refer to such legal standards without engaging in the necessary art of persuasion.  Legal standards are certainly there to be used; however, there is a proper way and methodology of utilizing legal standards, and an improper way.  The improper way is to use the legal standard as a hammer — of stating:  X exists and states Y, therefore you must conclude Z.  The proper methodology in utilizing a legal standard is to engage in the art of persuasion:  X exists, and X determines why Y must come about, and therefore Z should be the logical conclusion, and here are the reasons why. 

Normally, I advise against non-lawyers using the law precisely because of the potential mis-application of the methodology.  Leave the law to lawyers; that is why lawyers are hired.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Keeping it Simple

In almost all instances, stating the obvious when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS is the rule to follow.  Another simple rule to follow:  Keep it Simple.  Except in special circumstances (e.g., where there is a nebulous diagnosis and one must interweave multiple symptmatologies in order to bypass the possibility that you may be later precluded from “adding” a “new” medical condition, etc.), it is best to stick to a paradigm of a 1-to-1 ratio or correspondence of medical conditions, symptoms, impact upon work, etc.  

Such a template can be dangerous to follow, however, because any Applicant’s Statement of one’s disability should never appear mechanical or stilted in its tone and tenor.  Emotionalism should not be stripped from an applicant’s statement of one’s disability in a Federal Disability Retirement application and, indeed, sterility should not be a goal to be sought.  

That goal should be from the treating doctor, where technical medical terms present a sense of diagnostic objectivity and scientific validity.  But such simple rules as presenting the correspondence between specific physical conditions with the physical requirements of one’s job, and similarly, between specific psychiatric symptoms with the cognitive requirements of one’s job, is an important “rule” to follow.  Remember, however, that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is not a “perfect science”; in fact, it is not a science at all, but a mix between law, personal input, and medical facts, with the creative force of persuasion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Stating the Obvious

Sometimes, stating the obvious is necessary.  In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, and in dealing with the Office of Personnel Management, “stating the obvious” becomes not only a necessity, but a truism encapsulated in profundity surrounded by a simple rule:  the greater the obviousness, the more effective the Federal Disability Retirement application.  

For the applicant under FERS or CSRS who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, who is unrepresented, it is best not to act as a lawyer.  While case-law and statutes abound as free information on the internet (and such information and discussion is certainly available on my website at http://www.federaldisabilitylawyer.com/ and in various articles I have written on the subject), misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or mis-citation of cases, statutes, rules or regulations can easily be engaged in.  

While generally harmless, and further, since many at the Office of Personnel Management are not even aware of the laws and case-laws governing the very subject which they are supposed to rule upon, what is the point (one might ask)?  The obvious point is for the future — to always predicate a case upon the simple truism that one stage in the process may not be enough, and so building a foundation for the next stage, and the stage after that, by preserving the legal and factual arguments for an eventual appeal, is always a necessary evil one must perform.  State the obvious — and state it multiple times.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire