OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Conceptual Relationships

Word associations are revealing.  When once a word is uttered, the immediate association of another concept provides a prelude to the cognitive perspective of an individual.  Conceptual relationships are forged through upbringing, personal experiences, and memories fulfilled through impact, trauma, significance of meaning, and attribution of value.  The thinking “I” within the subjective realm of a personal universe, is made up of ghosts of the past, goblins of present fears, and gadflies yet to swarm.

Medical conditions, and terms associated with diagnoses and disabilities, whether physical or psychiatric, tend to engender fear and loathing, precisely because of the limitations they impose, the havoc they wreak, and the problems they present.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the option of choice to resolve the impending problems of unbalance — of the growing and magnified inability to juggle work, medical care, and physical/cognitive/emotional health — is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

No, it is not a perfect solution.  Yes, it is an option which is final, in the sense that one is retired from the Federal System.  But when alternative courses of actions are delimited within the purview of pragmatic choices, conceptual associations must be tempered within the objective realm of reality.

The moon may well be made of blue cheese, and such conceptual associations can be wrought within the realm of Platonic Forms and cognitive gymnastics; but in the real world, conceptual relationships must by necessity be forged within the iron ore of a witch’s cauldron brewing the germinations for future discourse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire