Medical Retirement under FERS: The Memory of Time

Ogawa’s novel, The Memory Police, is a dystopian narrative with an interesting theme: How long do memories last upon the disappearance of a person or thing?

In the novel itself, of course, the memory is somehow erased concurrently with the disappearance of the entity; but in real life, how long are we able to hold onto a cherished memory — of a person whom we were fond of; of an event or occurrence which was significant in our lives; of an object no longer in use?

Who remembers, for instance, those “bag phones” that we plugged into the cigarette lighter of our car?  Or of days when a horse was the only mode of transportation?  Is the art of knitting quickly vanishing because people no longer have the time to engage in an activity which not only takes time, but requires patience and sustained sedentary focus?  And even of days — if all calendars and indicia of days marked and months delineated segments were to vanish, how long would we be able to retain a memory of “time”?

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, the memory of time is often a vanishing of that time before the medical condition began to have its impact upon you.  There was a time before the medical condition; now and for the immediate future, it is the focus upon that medical condition which seems to dominate everything.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law and begin to consider a time before, when the Memory of Time was of a time when your Federal or Postal career was not dominated by a memory of constant harassment by your agency or the Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Retirement: The chronic life

The chronic life is the one that burdens; and, yet, does not all of life present a challenge of burdensome trials and persistent provocations?  Or, are there elements within one’s life that makes it feel as if we are merely the donkey for others to place their weight upon, like those pack animals of yesteryears that always looked forlorn and ready to collapse?

Why do some appear “as if” they have not a care in the world, and flit about like in some ballet skipping and hopping, twirling and dancing from one scene into the next, never allowing for the concerns weighing upon like the rest of us?  Is it merely born of attitude, or having a “positive” thought process; or, are some blocked by the concerns of life such that we are always infected with the chronicity of angst and worry?

The democratic manner of a medical condition seems always to be the one factor that is the exception. Medical conditions do not discriminate; they impact everyone in the same manner.  Whether one is a carefree person, a worrier, a person who is serious, or who flits about life without a thought for consequences, the impact of a medical condition cannot be avoided.

There are those who live the chronic life – always meeting one’s obligations; always fulfilling promises; forever planning for the future; and then there are those “others” who seem to care not a twit about such matters.  And yet, whether of the chronic life or of other-hood, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s health, the treatment and response is all the same: and, all the more so, when the medical condition becomes one that is termed “chronic”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has been deemed “chronic” in the sense that it will remain with the Federal or Postal worker for a minimum of 12 months, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset.

It may well be that you have lived the chronic life, and that it is “unfair” given the seriousness of how you have lived your life.  Nevertheless, it is the chronic nature of things in general, including the medical condition that now must be attended to, that will have to be dealt with.

But the advantage is this: those who have lived the chronic life often “deal” with the chronic matters of life with greater success, and perhaps that is the reason the Federal or Postal employee who has dedicated his or her service to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service has been well-prepared for this newest fight – against the medical condition – in this chronic of all matters: the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire