Early Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Of spare things left in the world

We don’t seem to have a capacity to share of those things which we have no need, anymore.  Does scarcity of resources result in “doubling down” in ways formerly described as miserly in deed?  Does the free market principle of supply and demand explain the loss of social grace in responding to need?  What ever happened to the spare tire, the jingle of spare change, and the ephemeral absence of spare time?  Has society come to a criss-cross of contending forces, where the explosion of population growth, the rise of the middle class in developing nations around the globe, coupled with the exponential depletion of finite resources, have cumulatively coalesced to an incandescent compromise of character crisis?  Does the lack of everything mean that we can spare no more for others, or provide assistance in the event of need?

As for the spare tire issue, the fact is that modern technology has extended the wear of tires, and many people have lost the knowledge or skill to use a jack or a lug wrench.  This, combined with fear of scams and roadside robberies, in conjunction with the durability of today’s tires, has resulted in the widespread consequence of calls for help defined as a cellphone dial for professional roadside assistance.  Further, society has deemed that any caricature of a ‘damsel in distress’ is tainted with a misogynist attitude; and we certainly would never want to be charged with an ‘ism’ at the cost of helping another.  And of spare change?

Homelessness has been relegated to either a non-existent phenomenon until a different political tide rolls in, or has otherwise been linguistically redefined as an alternative lifestyle.  What remains, then, is our spare time — which we have no more of, despite the constant drumbeat to the contrary that the aggregate of modern technology is always supposed to ‘save us time’.  Isn’t that what we are told each time a new gadget is foisted upon us?  That it will save time so that we have more time for greater and more important things — like politicians who suddenly leave office or fail to seek another term in order to spend “more time” with family.  Right.

The fact is that we are left with very little of anything, anymore, other than to stare vacuously into the fluorescent chambers of computer screens and smartphone apps.  Yet, spare time, spare tires and spare change — while apparently mere arbitrary anachronisms of antiquity, alas, fading into the dim light of change itself — reflects a community of sharing now lost as art was once a defined form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the idea of sparing a person a break, has gone the way of other spare things.  Neither the Federal agency nor the U.S. Postal Service has any spare time to spare anything, anymore, and certainly no more than the rest of society can spare.

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, can be likened to the spare tire in the back of the trunk, which is always there but forgotten but for the time of crisis or need.  When the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to OPM is like getting out that spare tire.

The problem is, as most people have lost the skill to use the ‘other’ implements hidden beside the spare tire — like the jack and the lug wrench — so the proverbial roadside assistance may be required.  As for spare change and spare time?  Pockets are a requirement for the former, and future fashion will determine the necessity of an antiquated design, as will inflation and online banking for the need of coins or paper money at all; and as for the latter, we are told that we have more of that than ever before; just not enough to spare for others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Divide between Words and Reality

The problem with the linguistic universe is that they create a parallel universe which can be completely devoid of any connection or correspondence to the reality of the world which we occupy; thus the span of genres of imaginary creations, including fiction, science fiction, fantasy; as well as the virtual world of video games (which encompasses language because of the imaginary conversations which act “as if” the events occurring in the game itself are real).

The danger of language is that it may well communicate far more than what the objective world represents; and, conversely, it can also convey far less than what one may intend.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the point of language is to describe and delineate the reality of one’s situation; the severity of one’s medical condition; the logical nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must engage; and the reasoning, based upon medical evidence, of why the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

The wide chasm between the world of language and the world of objectivity is the test of success; for, it is the one who can close that gap, and represent the reality of one’s universe by the correspondence of language, who will achieve a successful outcome.

The great divide between language and reality is a challenge which must be approached with care and trepidation; for, in the end, if language fails to correspond to reality, what would be the point of civilization in its endeavor to maintain the historicity of its existence?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Independence of Each Program

The disparate nature of each Federal program, with little to no intersecting coordination amongst them (with the exception of SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement benefits in the coordination of payments upon approval of each) betrays the unplanned, thoughtless creation of each program, as well as a sense that each agency wants to maintain its feudal control and assertion of independent power.

That perhaps explains, in part, why each program ignores the extent of persuasive authority the approval of another program should logically have, upon an approval and acceptance by the “other” program.  Does it make sense that being granted “unemployability” status under the Department of Veterans Affairs ascription of percentage disability ratings would only have a nominal impact upon a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Or that an SSDI approval would have, at best, a persuasive effect upon a FERS Disability Retirement?

It is somewhat more understandable that a case accepted by OWCP/Department of Labor would have minimal impact upon a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement application, precisely because the former is set up as a program of rehabilitation in an effort to return the Federal or Postal employee back to his or her job.

The only true “coordination” of benefits occurs between SSDI and FERS — and that, only if both are approved, and payments are received concurrently; but even then, there are often overpayment problems, lack of the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing, etc.

Thus Coordination and intersection between departments, agencies and various programs rarely occurs.  Agencies tend to want to remain independent.

Such lack of coordination, however, does not mean that the FERS or CSRS Federal or Postal employee should not force a legal argument upon OPM when a significant finding is made by another agency or program.  For, in the end, it may not be the U.S. Office of Personnel Management which listens, but an administrative judge at the MSPB, or a 3-judge panel on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals; in which case, a precedent will have been set, for all to (hopefully) follow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Termination

Termination for the Federal or Postal employee should generate an administrative personnel action reflected in an SF 50 or PS Form 50, showing the date of the action, the nature of the issuance and the reason for the administrative process which is initiated and culminated.  Without it, technically no such action occurred.  However, there are cases where such a form has not been produced.

Further, such a personnel initiation is rarely issued in a vacuum; for a Federal employee to be terminated, there are certain procedural hurdles which are normally provided — an issuance first of a proposed termination, and the basis for such a personnel action, and one to which the addressee has a right to respond to within a specified period of days or weeks.  Thereafter, consideration must be given by the Agency in the response, whether verbal, written or both, given by the Federal or Postal employee.

Subsequently, when a termination is effectuated, an SF 50 or a PS Form 50 will be generated.  From that date of termination, the Federal or Postal employee has up to one year to file for disability benefits.

If such filing occurs after 31 days of the official termination date, then the application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must be submitted directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

If prior to 31 days, it can be processed through one’s former agency — although, such a filing should be carefully monitored, as one’s former agency may not process it with any urgency, and in the event that it is not forwarded to OPM within the other 11 months and some-odd days left, there will be a question as to whether it was timely filed at all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Anonymity

The state of being nameless or faceless, of being unknown and yet surrounded by the greater populous, is a condition known as anonymity.  But being unknown or unidentified does not necessarily imply irrelevance or unimportance; for, often the state of anonymity is itself something which famous people seek and deliberately embrace.

Stories abound of the wealthy Howard Hughes who, in his eccentric later years, sought such a state of being; or of presidents past who attempted to become part of the crowd, until the Secret Service became overly dictatorial.  But for those who seek the opposite of anonymity, there is perhaps a partial explanation for the desire to plaster every personal detail on Facebook pages or to send texting images of that which should remain private and confidential.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who is seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the journey to seek an approval from a morass of thousands of similar applications, is tantamount to discovering a means of escaping anonymity.  For, one’s own Federal Disability Retirement application, lost in a stack of multiple similar such applications, must be properly identified, reviewed, evaluated, and hopefully approved.

Ultimately, if and when OPM finally gets to one’s particular case, the most effective way of avoiding anonymity is to have prepared, formulated, and compiled the best Federal Disability Retirement application possible.  That is when anonymity meets successful identification, and out of the faceless and nameless population, yours will be identified and presented with a return sought after:  an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Ignorance and Coping

Within the complex world of information technology, modernity has reached a level of overload which few from past generations could have ever imagined. One needs only to peruse a Tom Swift novel to compare how far we have come; and even the old greats like Asimov and Bradbury could not have foreseen, in the height of their intellectual and creative powers, much of the technological gadgetry of the present age.

Then, of course, there is the “human side” of the equation of modern technology — of how individuals cope with such information overload.  Many have theorized that the exponential explosion of Major Depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and the societal impact of increased psychiatric disorders, stems from a response in terms of coping mechanisms; and we counter the response with advanced pharmaceutical admixtures.  The more common means employed to cope with the deluge of constant informational dissemination, is to limit the exposure to the volume of encounters.

Thus, the age-old adage of ignorance being a “blissful state” retains some semblance of truth.  But for those facing issues of legal limitations and filing deadlines, it is best to “be in the know”.

For Federal and Postal Workers intending upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the 1-year Statute of Limitations for filing applies from the time of separation from Federal Service.  Being on OWCP does not forestall or extend the 1-year rule. As such, once an SF 50 or a PS Form 50 is issued or, for Postal Workers, when those 0-balance pay stubs stop coming in the mail, it is well to be aware that the clock has begun to tick.

Ignorance can indeed be blissful, and being the gatekeeper of information overload may be a means of coping; but in the end, the inquisitiveness of Tom Swift must always prevail.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Detracting Deviations

Multi-tasking is a glorified term for describing an ability to competently engage and perform more than one task at a time.  It was once encapsulated in the query:  “Can he walk and chew gum at the same time”?

In the modern age of technology, it has become accepted as a given that such variations of task-tackling is a necessity and conveys evidence of competence.  For, in a world beset with smart phones, computers, laptops, iPads, etc., where the implosion and delivery of information at an instant’s request and access through the push of a button is commonplace, the capacity to respond quickly and sufficiently are considered marks of competent survivability in today’s world.  But there is a growing body of medical evidence that undisciplined response to texting and other forms of technological communication stunts that part of the brain activity which is essential for judgment, focus, attention-span, etc.  The ability to stay focused and not deviate from a singular course of action is also an important tool — even in this day of multi-tasking necessity.

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 a necessary component in compiling a successful disability retirement application, to convey an effective case of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that nexus between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Undisciplined deviation may accomplish a thousand tasks, but if the primary pipeline bursts because a main line was overlooked, such deviation from the primary purpose will have been for nothing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire