FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Those Nagging Questions

“What if” questions constantly haunt, and persistently undermine.  They are the questions which people repetitively ask of themselves; and yet, like questions in Philosophy spanning multiple millenniums, they defy answers, and merely trouble the mind.  Or, as Bertrand Russell once quipped, If such questions continue to bother, it is probably a problem of indigestion.

“What if I had done X?”  “What if I go in today and tell the Supervisor Y?”  “What if I ask for an accommodations by doing Z?”  “What if…”  The game of “what if” serves to delay and obfuscate; it kicks the proverbial can down the dusty road of oblivion, and rarely solves the concrete problem facing the individual engaged in the meaningless query.  Almost always, the solution is instead to take affirmative steps towards reaching a goal.

Experience serves to defy repetition of questions left unanswered, and the best way to satisfy the linguistic hypothetical is to act in accordance with one’s need.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the questions of “What if” may abound:  “What if I am able to recover in 6 months?”  “What if my agency fires me?”  “What if the doctor will not support me?”

Some such questions are valid; others, emanating from fear and lack of knowledge.  As gathering information is the key to satisfying questions unanswered, it is well to make inquiries and obtain facts as opposed to opinions and conjectures.

Filing 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, is a major step in the Federal or Postal employee’s life; but the alternatives are often untenable and leaves one with an empty hand to continue asking those unanswerable questions which leave the stomach churning with fears, doubts and unresolved issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM as a concrete step in taking an affirmative hold of one’s life, future and undiminished aspirations.  And like grabbing a handful of sand in the dry desert of questions, to ask and query without a rudder to direct one’s efforts, is to meander through life with a blindfold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Workers: “Why?”


The ability to question is perhaps the highest form of consciousness.  Without it, the next level of any narrative form would cease, and no prompting of a search for an answer will develop.

That is why effective trial work — from persuasive direct examinations to devastating cross-examinations, guided by pointedly-prepared questioning — requires thoughtfulness and contemplated direction.  Some questions, however, become avenues for paralysis.  They may, for a time, help to ease the troubles of one’s soul, but they are ultimately unanswerable ones which cannot be comprehended in the limited universe of one’s mind.

Thus, when a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition asks the question,”Why?” — it is legitimate, but one which may not have an adequate answer.  One must instead progress to a more pragmatic question: What to do about it. Where to go from here.  The “why” may need to be left aside, for another time, during a more contemplative period of recuperation.

For Federal and Postal workers, time itself can be a critical factor, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, because the bureaucratic process itself is a long and complicated one, it may be of benefit to set aside some questions, and instead focus upon the pragmatic questions which set one upon a path of purposive direction.

The height of man’s consciousness may be the result of evolutionary factors, but the most fundamental of questions should begin with that primitive foundation of all: self-preservation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Where to Begin

One is often asked the question, “Where do I begin”?  It is the question of pervasive immediacy, combining both exasperation at a process too complicated to comprehend and requiring a sense of urgency because of the importance attached to the successful outcome, precisely because it may well determine one’s future financial security, and the present ability to continue to attend to one’s medical conditions.  Such a question, however, often needs to be reordered in order to prepare a case properly, in retrospective fashion.

Thus, to reorganize the priority of questions:  Where do I want to end up? (With an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management)  Who approves a Federal Disability Retirement application?  (Not one’s agency, but the Office of Personnel Management and, as such, be careful of promises made and statements asserted by one’s own agency)  How does one obtain an approval from OPM (By satisfying the legal criteria as applied by OPM)  What does one need to do to obtain such an approval?  (Two-part answer:  File the proper forms; complete the forms effectively)  When should I begin the process?  (Since filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits can be a long, arduous process, it is wise to file as soon as one has the support of one’s doctor)  Where does the application need to be filed?  (If one is still with one’s agency, then it must be filed through one’s agency; if one has been separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service for more than 31 days, then it must be filed directly with the Office of Personnel Management).

The question of “why”, of course, need not be asked or answered, because it is a self-evident one.  It is the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “how” which require one’s attention.  For, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee already knows the “why” of filing.  The medical condition itself provides that answer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: How Long Before…

When a Federal or Postal employee begins to contemplate — or initiate — the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the questions which begin to accompany the process are multiple, complex, non-sequential, and often wedded to legitimate concerns surrounding the actions and reactions of one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

The facts and circumstances of each Federal Disability Retirement case are unique and person-specific.  However, Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are entities which are fairly predictable, if only because they are comprised by an aggregate of human beings whose natures are fairly set in their ways.

How long before an Agency begins its process of separating me?  How long will they let me stay on LWOP?  How long before they send me home?  How long before…

Often, the length of time in which an Agency responds or fails to respond, depends upon who has been apprised of the issue.  It is interesting how an Agency will be silent on a matter, and allow things to continue for an extended period of time — then, one day, the “right” person takes notice of the fact that a Federal employee has been on LWOP for 5 months, and that there is a pending Federal Disability Retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management.  Suddenly, it is an emergency — an urgency which cannot wait any longer, and a Letter of Proposed Removal is issued that same day.

It is the same with being on Worker’s Comp — How long will they let me stay on OWCP before they try to move me off?  It often depends upon “who” has your OWCP file, as opposed to the legitimacy of one’s chronic medical condition.

In both instances (the issue of the Federal Agency and the one concerning OWCP), it is best to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management sooner, rather than later, if only to have a “back-up system” in place in the event that either the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to react, or that OWCP decides that you have been on their compensation payroll for too long.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Shifting Paradigms

Inquiries concerning Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether a Federal or Postal worker is eligible, the eligibility criteria which is applied; the process itself; questions concerning the lengthiness of the process; leave issues; agency actions pending or already initiated; these are all legitimate questions which should be asked and answered.  

In approaching Federal Disability Retirement issues, however, and inquiring about the potential benefits and resolution of issues, often the Federal or Postal employee begins with a paradigm of understanding, and it is often difficult for the inquiring Federal or Postal employee to “shift off” of the original paradigm in order to understand the paradigm which forms the basis of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  

Whether it is because the information previously gathered is about the Office of Worker’s Compensation, Department of Labor benefits; or whether it is the confusion of having to file, at some point in the process, for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits; or, as more often than not, the underlying reason is based upon mis-information gathered and received from other sources which are inherently unreliable, it often takes several different answers to the same question before a paradigm shift occurs.  

The best way to approach Federal Disability Retirement questions is to first engage in some initial research.  Get on various websites which discuss the issues.  Read some of the reader’s comments and input.  Compare the information with other information from multiple sources.  Then, begin to formulate and construct a “paradigm” of facts, and make the telephone call to the source which provides the most reliable information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire