Medical Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees: Stupid Mistakes

Our first reaction may be that such a phrase is in fact a tautology; for, to make a “mistake” is by definition to do something “stupid”, and so it is merely a redundancy to use and place both terms together.  But surely we can conceive of circumstances in which “making a mistake” turns out to be the very opposite of having done something “stupid”?

Perhaps some earth-shattering mistake in science resulted in a new discovery — of having made a mistake in combining two or more elements but resulting in a new, composite element beneficial to society?  Or of having made an accounting error which accrued to one’s personal financial benefit?  But even then, one may argue that the mistake itself was a stupid one; the consequences merely turned out to be beneficial, but that doesn’t necessarily impact the character of the mistake itself.

And what of follies in our youth?  Does age and greater experience, retrospectively reflecting back into the series of life’s mistakes and actions thoughtlessly taken, lead us to conclude that we have made multiple “stupid mistakes”?  What, then, constitutes a “mistake” such that it was stupid?

Often, a glimpse into what we did in the past — of having forged ahead without a plan, thoughtlessly, and without due diligence in considering all of the factors; these, and many more actions taken without an inkling of preparatory counsel, constitute what most people consider as a “stupid mistake”.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be necessary to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.  In doing so, it is necessary to have a full and comprehensive understanding of the laws which govern FERS Disability Retirement and the administrative process and procedures abounding.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law, lest you come to regret it as one more “stupid mistake” that was made — as one of many that we all make throughout our lifetimes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The festering mistake

There are mistakes; then, there is the compounding one where we fail to identify X for what it is, and continue to make excuses by deflecting with Y, excusing with Z or replacing it with XX.  This is called the “festering mistake” – that mistake which, like a wound that could easily have been attended to, is allowed to become infected, then spread, then become so serious as to require further and drastic means to save a life.

Think about it: it may have begun with a minor cut; it is dismissed and ignored; and from there it can develop into a spreading infection, sepsis, incurable and incalculable damage.  That is what often results from ignoring a mistake; failing to recognize the mistake and attending to it; refusing to identify the mistake and attend to the symptoms; avoiding the direct confrontation and culpability of it with unintended consequences of greater reverberations beyond that which was originally the core of it.

We all make mistakes; it is the festering mistake that leaves us devastated – not only for the mistake itself and the growing complexity of trying to make up for lost time in failing to attend to the mistake itself, but further, for the failure of identification.  Just as the seat of wisdom is the recognition of one’s own ignorance, so the engine of success is the identification of mistakes early on.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to file 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, the key to a successful outcome – no matter how long the process, and regardless of the difficulties to be faced – is to recognize the mistakes potentially there to be made, identify the pitfalls to be avoided, and realize that you cannot put “blinders” on OPM once they have seen that which was neither necessary nor any of their business to review or entertain, and to never allow a festering mistake to occur in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: The Mistakes People Make

The greatest mistake of all is to “assume” X or to “presume” Y; and this is not uncommon, precisely because the wording of the Standard Forms as presented on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), which is the central basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is formulated (both for FERS as well as for CSRS employees), makes it appear as if obtaining an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely a pro forma activity.  

And, indeed, many have informed the undersigned attorney that Human Resources’ personnel at various agencies will understate the scrutiny which OPM will apply in reviewing and evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application.  

The problem with H.R. Personnel dismissing the arduous and meticulously scrutinizing administrative process as applied by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is that such underestimation is barely acknowledged when a denial is received from OPM on a Federal Disability Retirement case.  All of a sudden, the Human Resources personnel put up their hands and state, “It’s not our responsibility”, when all along they had been insisting as to the ease of the process.

No, it is true — it is not the ultimate responsibility of the Agency or its Human Resources Department.  Yes, it is also true that any application for a Federal Disability Retirement is the responsibility of the individual applicant.  As such, because responsibility falls squarely (why, by the way, is it “squarely“, as opposed to “triangularly” or “circularly”?) upon the Federal or Postal Worker, it behooves one to take the entire process seriously, and to invest the proper time, attention, and expenses needed, to do it right “the first time”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Common Mistakes

There is of course the old adage (and old “sayings” are neatly formulated, refined over time, and revised and updated for applicability and relevance to the significance of the current times), stated in its variety of forms, that those who fail to study history, are condemned to repeat it.  But what if the historical repetition of such foolhardiness results because of the disparate nature of history, scattered among thousands, and never based upon a common essence from which all can draw?

A corollary of the previous words of wisdom is the following (made up by this author):  Historical mistakes repeat themselves because everyone believes that he or she is smarter than the ones before.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, common mistakes abound, and repetitively reveal themselves throughout the process.  Writing to preempt what one thinks a Supervisor will state or not state; listing every medical condition without prioritizing the impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job; writing long, meandering narratives; including “red flag” concepts such as “hostile work environment“; simply giving to the doctor the 3112C with the return address of one’s Human Resources Department at one’s agency; and multiple other such follies.  Yet, such mistakes are not only common; they are to be expected.

The administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement is constructed to appear “simple”.  The questions asked on the standard forms appear straightforward, if not cleverly uncomplicated in their very formulation.  Yet, the laws which govern the benefit identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” is amassed in a compendium of statutes, regulations and case-law, all of which have evolved in interpretive significance over many years.

History does repeat itself; for Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating or have initiated the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, the age-old adage concerning history not only confirms the truth of such a saying, but reinforces it daily.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire