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 from OPM: A Lifetime

Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t it be?  Or, do we feel obligated to append a dependent clause, as in, “A lifetime of achievements,” “…of having accomplished X, Y and Z”, or even: “A Lifetime devoted to…”.  Must there always be the subsequent appendage, or isn’t living a lifetime enough in and of itself?

Was Aristotle right in depicting human beings (and everything else in the universe) as possessing a purposive reason for existence; or, as the French Existentialist had declared, does existence precede essence, and instead of being fated with a predetermined destiny and an inherent basis for being born, we can simply “make up” the reason for our essence and thrive in whichever direction we choose, in whatever endeavor we decide upon?

Is simply having a “lifetime” not enough?  Must we always have a reason and rationale for our existence?  Or, is it enough to have an ending, like Yasujiro Ozu’s tombstone which simply has the characters of “Mu” — “nothingness”?  Ozu certainly “accomplished” much; as a director, he is recognized for his quiet brilliance and insightful dialogues, as well as depicted scenes of serenity and human conflict.  In the end, it was merely a lifetime, and nothingness followed except in the minds of those whom he left behind.

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 his or her job, the “thing” that often compels the Federal or Postal worker into working beyond what the medical condition allows — i.e., of “working one’s self to death” — is a sense that having a lifetime is not quite enough.

There is the “mission” to accomplish, or the work that needs to be completed, etc.  But when it comes to the critical point of choosing between one’s health and such a perspective of accomplishments, there should be no indecision: Life itself is precious, and one’s health is the foundation for a life.

At that point, filing for FERS Disability Retirement makes sense, and consulting with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be the next step after realizing that a lifetime is, indeed, sufficient.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sufficiency Test

Sufficiency” is a funny word; like other subjective experiences, one often doesn’t know when it has been satisfied, but one nevertheless knows when it has not.  Like spectrums which reveal a range, sufficiency is a point of satisfaction which is recognized to have been met only after the point of sufficiency has been passed.

What constitutes “passing” the sufficiency test?  If someone has been kidnapped and a ransom note has been received, demanding payment for the safe return of the individual, is there an amount less than the demanded amount which would be “sufficient” to satisfy the kidnapper’s demands?  Can a platoon be “sufficiently” prepared for a combat mission, although not completely combat-ready?  Can percentages be applied which establishes meeting the criteria for sufficiency, at all times and in all instances, which can be applied as having met the sufficiency test?

Say a person says, “It is 80% done — sufficient for the purposes?”  Would this apply in painting a room, building a house or constructing a bridge?  Say that a bridge has been built 80%, and the last 20% is the part of the end where there remains a gap where suddenly the bridge ends with a missing piece where the gap exists such that a vehicle traveling would crash down a 100-foot drop to a tragic end — do we still say that the bridge was sufficiently built?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the issue of sufficiency takes on an important role: What constitutes sufficient medical evidence and how is the unspoken sufficiency test met?

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to make sure that the Sufficiency Test will be met. In doing so, you may prevent a leisurely drive over a bridge only 80% finished, and be provided an alternative route in order to help you arrive at your destination in a sufficiently safe and efficient manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Seeking

Isn’t that the condition for life?  That we continually engage in the very human act of seeking, whether for personal growth or professional aptitude; but it is always that constant need to know, to expand, to cross borders and extend beyond the invisible ceiling or barrier that is placed from our birthright to explore and to seek.

Seeking is a hallmark of human behavior; it is the constant seeking that keeps us reinvigorated, alive, instilled with hope and painted with the colors of future dreams. Without seeking, we become staid, unadventurous, static and timid; the world becomes threatening because we have stopped and stunted our own growth potential.  Seeking is always coupled with hope; hope, often seen with future aspirations; and when the seeking stops, it is normally a symptom of a disease which destroys hopes and aspirations.

Medical conditions often undermine the human desire to seek; for, the disease that destroys and disrupts is the same which diminishes one’s hopes and aspirations.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes an important next step in order to regain that human desire for seeking — for one’s future and one’s hopes and aspirations.

Contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to move beyond the morass of struggling daily to maintain a Federal position when it has become clear that one’s future is no longer compatible with the Federal or Postal job one holds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Confronting Reality

When are the times we try and avoid it?  Is that the line between sanity and the “darker world”?  If we avoid it more than we embrace it, does it constitute a step beyond eccentricity and fall into the category of bizarre behavior?  If that were the case, how many of us would meet that definition?  Does engaging in entertainment — whether of the couch potato type or of the active one — constitute avoidance?

Say a person binge-watches a certain television series for 72-hours straight, then sleeps for another 72 hours; such a person has certainly “avoided” the reality of life’s responsibilities, duties, obligations, etc.  But would we deem such a person to be insane?  If he were a bachelor who has no commitments or responsibilities, and acted in such a manner during “vacation time” or during a period of unemployment, we would perhaps not give it a second thought.  But say the same person had a toddler whom he neglected for those 100-plus hours — then, of course, we would consider it as irresponsible behavior, if not criminal neglect.

“Confronting reality” is often deemed the antonym of “avoiding reality”; it is something we all do — both confronting and avoiding — and crosses the diving line between “responsible” and “irresponsible” behavior.  Of course, the latter is sometimes necessary in order to refresh one’s self in order to engage in the former, and so we embrace entertainment and leisure activities in order to adequately prepare ourselves to cross over from one to the other.

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 his or her position, confronting reality is often delayed in order to try and extend one’s career with the Federal government.  Often, early on in suffering from a medical condition, it becomes quite clear whether or not the Federal or Postal worker can continue in his or her chosen career.  This is the point where “confronting reality”, however, clashes with the desire to avoid it and to instead embrace the make-believe universe of “What ifs” — What if things improve?  What if the Agency or Postal Service is willing to be patient?  What if they can accommodate me?

Consult with an attorney experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for as difficult as it may be in confronting reality, it is the reality of the law that will help you avoid the pitfalls which you will surely want to avoid in the days to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Employees: Incompatibility

The proof that must be shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, is that the Federal or Postal worker has a deficiency with respect to performance, conduct or attendance, or in the absence of any actual service deficiency, a showing that the medical condition is incompatible with either useful service or retention in the position held.

In recent months, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has been ignoring the part about the “incompatibility” provision, and instead has been unfairly focusing upon whether or not a supervisor has deemed an individual’s past performance as having shown any deficiencies in performance, attendance or conduct.

The system of “performance reviews” favors passing most employees through without any deficiencies, and the reason for this is that it is often too much of a headache to give an employee a “less than fully successful” rating, lest there be grievances filed and appeals noted, creating a greater workload for the supervising authorities.

But even when there are noted and substantiated deficiencies in one’s performance, conduct or attendance, OPM will often dismiss such deficiencies as not being supported by the medical documentation, anyway, and so the basis for a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a compendium of circular arguments posited by OPM without any adherence to the law or acknowledgment of the facts.

More cases appear to be denied by OPM in recent months; ignoring the law and asserting unfounded reasons for such denials, and so it is important to fight against the trend that seems to be asserted by OPM: Ignoring well-established precedents in law and ignoring the facts by selectively extrapolating what OPM wants to focus upon.

If you have been denied, or want to put forth the best First-Stage OPM Disability Retirement application possible, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire