Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Non-Existence of Life’s Linear Line

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 often a valid concern that the Case Worker at the Office of Personnel Management will review a Federal Disability Retirement application for internal “consistency” of the application.  

By “consistency” is meant the comparative analysis and evaluation of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as described and narrated on SF 3112A and its continuation attachment, and the medical records and reports and the substantive content of what the treating medical providers are stating.  

Such comparison and comparative analysis may involve the level and extent of treatment; whether there are any notations concerning non-compliance with medication regimens; whether the findings of clinical examinations may contradict the ultimate conclusions of the treating doctors, etc.  

The unfortunate part of such an approach is that life normally does not travel in such a consistent, linear line of events.  On some days when a patient visits the doctor, it may well be that he or she is in the “best health” of one’s slice of life, and it may be reflected as such in the mental status examination, or in the physical examination given by the doctor.  Or, conversely, on any particular day, the treating doctor may not be as “aware” or attentive to the patient, and may simply mechanically jot down notes without putting much thought into it.  Whatever the case, such linear consistency rarely reflects the reality of life.  

To counter such non-existence of the linear line of expectation, it is often a good idea to provide, if possible, a history of the medical condition, treatment regimens and modalities, in order to show that a day’s slice of life is not reflective of the greater medical history one has suffered from, and is currently suffering from.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Knowing the Law

When an OPM Disability Attorney cites the law as a supporting, authoritative basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application (in part) should be approved, one hopes that the proper and relevant legal authorities are “matched” with the factual and medical issues which are presented.  When a lay, non-attorney applicant for Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS attempts to refer to, cite, or otherwise “tie in” legal authorities as supporting authority, it is more often the case that the law is inappropriately used, referred to, and misquoted.  This is not necessarily because the law is so esoteric a discipline that non-attorneys cannot “use” the law for one’s advantage; rather, what is often the case is that too much “cutting and pasting” occurs, as opposed to actually reading the cases, statutes, and regulatory references, and attempting to first understand the import, relevance and significance of the laws, statutes, legal opinions and regulations surrounding, supporting, and directly impacting upon Federal Disability Retirement issues.  On the other hand, if you are going to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, and you decide to cite the law as supportive authority, take a word of wisdom from an ancient adage:  An individual who represents himself more often than not has a fool for a client.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Knowing your own Case

In preparing and submitting an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, it is important to know your own case.  This will often take some time and effort, but it is worthwhile, for many reasons:  Knowing and understanding the extent to which your doctor will support you; understanding fully the medical terminology which your doctor has used; knowing that what you say in your Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) does not contradict or otherwise invalidate what your doctor states in his or her medical report — these are all important aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Often, doctors use medical terminology which, read in the context in which it is written, can be misunderstood and mininterpreted.  Such misreading then leads to a misstatement by the applicant in his or her Applicant’s Statement of Disability, thinking that it is supported by the medical documentation which is submitted. Even if it is an honest error, such a self-contained contradiction can harm a case, as when the Office of Personnel Management is able to point to a doctor’s report and is able to state:  While you claim X, your own doctor states Y…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire