Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Qualifying Standard

What if a group of individuals gathered to compete in a race, of sorts, and trained, engaged in strenuous preparatory work and did all of the things necessary in order to “qualify”? They all gather on the agreed-upon date and, in customary athletic clothing, run a predetermined distance where 3 individuals out of ten cross a white line in sequential fashion. There is no doubt as to who the 3 “front runners” were. Yet, when the prizes are handed out, they are given to the 10th, 7th and 5th place runners. There is an understandable uproar. A protest is filed.

Umpires and referees gather (are there such people, or is that just in baseball, football, soccer and basketball?) and discuss the situation at length. Small, hand-held rule books are consulted and the audience sits in anguished silence as the outcome is debated in a deliberative fashion. Furrowed eyebrows are mashed in faces of concerned silence; the crowd that had gathered to witness the sporting event argue vociferously over the unfairness of it all; television crews have arrived, having been tipped off that a major scandal has been scented and the sharks have gathered for the afternoon kill.

No one notices that a little old man who has stood watching the entire spectacle with a peaceful, quiet calm has slowly made his way onto the platform where a microphone has been set up. He approaches the podium, adjusts the contraption and begins thus: “Ahem”. He pauses, waiting for everyone at the event to recognize the point from where the clearing of his throat originated, and continues on: “I am Mr. X; I organized this event. If you look at the last paragraph of the rules-book, it specifically states the following: ‘Mr. X is the sole determiner of the qualifying standard’. I am, as I said, Mr. X, and I determined that runners 5, 7 and 10 are the winners. End of story”. The little old man then turns around and walks back down, and away from the event.

Now, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition leads the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this story may appear to parallel the manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acts: As a law unto itself.

Fortunately, they are not the sole arbiter of the qualifying standard and, instead, there is such a thing as “The Law”. In order to apply the law and force OPM to follow the true and only qualifying standard, however, it is necessary to “know” the law; and, in order to do that, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. Otherwise, you might be subject to the same standard (or lack thereof) as the little old man who does what he wants on any given day depending on how he feels on that day, or in that moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Preparation subverting the moment

“Seize the moment” (or the day) – isn’t that the mantra of modernity?  Never let consequences or the hurt of others delay the enigmatic pleasures of bodily delights.  Forget results; ignore preparatory steps, as that would waste valuable time otherwise left for delectable dalliances.  If modernity has translated “worth” and “value” in terms of present moments of existential delights, then the greater heightening of each event of ecstasy experienced in the “now” of every life should be exponentially enhanced at every opportunity available and presented.

Technology has only further advanced the aversion to planning and foresight; for, the conversation quieted when memory once required of reflection and racking of remembrances is now quickly replaced by a button push that Google immediately answers.  “Now” is ever more the gratification never to be delayed.  Modernity and  youth have been its unfortunate byproduct, where any notion of  preparation constitutes a delay of that instant gratification.

But life has a tendency to create tumult and intervene with a dose of reality, and medical conditions exponentially show us that the moment left without delay requires greater reflection and contemplation – and this is especially so with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

“Seizing the moment” and quickly putting together a Federal Disability Retirement packet when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s position, is likely not the best approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  Not in all cases does preparation subvert the moment; often, in life, the “moment” requires preparation, as well as a thoughtful course of planning and reflective methodology of formulating a strategy for the future.

Modernity has invented some great contraptions; technology has saved time (or so they keep saying) and replaced human capacity with easing of burdens.  In the end, however, it is up to the planner to plan, and the Federal or Postal employee to seize that “moment” and project it into a plan for a better tomorrow, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Clueless

We are, for the most part, clueless in most things.  Those very limited subjects of which we are deemed an “expert” or having some partial knowledge about, are merely one in a million, and so we walk around thinking highly of ourselves, yet clueless in 99.9% of everything else.

Fortunately, there is no criminal statute that can be imposed upon being clueless.  Life is complex enough without having to acknowledge that we walk about without any real idea as to how to tackle the problems; but as braggadocio wins the day for most people, most of the time, so long as the next guy believes that we know what we are doing, it counts for much of life’s conundrums.

Most people aren’t even barely competent in their chosen fields until they have been engulfed in the technicalities presented for 20 – 30 years; then, just when competence is assured, we are fired or otherwise dismissed summarily.  Knowledge and wisdom in this country is never valued; rather, the cult of youth, plastic surgery to extend the appearance of it, and the irrelevance reflected in casting aside those who have passed the halfway mark reveals much about this society.

That’s the problem with Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service; they believe that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are essentially fungible goods, replaceable with youth or some other inexperienced and clueless individual.  Look at the entire issue of “accommodations” and Federal Disability Retirement law; agencies rarely put in the effort, other than a simple computer search to try and do a “match” between skill-sets and position descriptions (sort of like a corollary to internet dating sites), and the entire process and procedure reveals much about the value that Federal agencies and U.S. Postal workers place upon experience and wisdom.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the questions surrounding SF 3112D and the Agency’s efforts to reassign or otherwise “accommodate” the Federal or Postal employee’s medical disabilities, is a rather complex issue to explain in full.

Suffice it to say, however, that a truly viable, legally-acceptable accommodation rarely, if ever, happens, and therefore is almost never a roadblock to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is just another indication of how clueless even the Federal Agencies are, as well as the U.S. Postal Service; and as we all step into the general cauldron of cluelessness within the confines of a clueless universe, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can serve to be an escape into the next phase of a clueless process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Civil Service Disability Retirement: The value of properly preparing

Each and every stage of a Federal Disability Retirement process is important to view in the preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  You cannot take any stage of the process in a vacuum; for example, answering SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in and of itself forces one to consider stages beyond the Initial Stage of the process.

Questions to ask:  Are you bound by your answers without the possibility of further amendments to the narrative delineation you submit?  Can changes, amendments, additions be made even after a CSA/Case number is assigned by Boyers, Pennsylvania and sent on its way to Washington, D.C. for an initial assessment and determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  What if, in the meantime, a “new diagnosis” is provided, one which has not been included in the original Statement of Disability?

Should the language used in describing one’s medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties and inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job be elastic enough to allow for greater content at a later date, or should it be concise, precise and without room for maneuver or wiggle?  To what extent will prioritizing of diagnosed descriptions be used, either for or against, one’s Federal Disability Retirement, and are there consequences in submitting a non-sequential order of non-prioritized conditions, whether in terms of a spectrum from severity of pain or relevance based upon conditions recognized to be “serious” as opposed to secondary, more exacerbated-based symptoms that are considered corollaries more than central conditions?

To view the world from a perspective of bifurcated and compartmentalized episodes, where each circumstance of life has no impact or connection to any other, results from the insularity of lives we lead.  But reality forces upon us the realization (note the close connection of the two words – reality and realization) that our own mental insularity does not impose a compelling argumentation upon the objective world; instead, we continue to delude ourselves into thinking one way, while the universe goes on and exists with impervious fortitude until the two contradict and ultimately clash.

For Federal employees and U.S. Post workers who try and defy the universe by ignoring the reality of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and further, by attempting to sidestep the methodology of analytical determinations made by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the onus is on you:  take care that you consider preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application carefully and with full view as to the value of knowledge and information, lest it come back to haunt you with a denial because you did not foresee the burden of proof.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire