Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: How and What

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, “how” one states something is often just as important as the “what” one says.

The latter is relevant for obvious reasons:  the subject of the statement is the “identifier” for purposes of directing the reader (in this case, the person who is handling your Federal Disability Retirement benefit application at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) to focus upon a particular matter; but just as importantly, “how” it is said — i.e., the tone, tenor and context of the “what”.

How a medical report is stated will often determine the success of a Federal Disability Retirement application, more than what is expected to be said.  For, from the perspective of the Office of Personnel Management, the generic “what” (the subject matter of the application) will almost always contain the obvious:  that there is a medical condition; that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; that the Federal or Postal worker will make statements and claims of an inability to perform certain key elements of one’s job because of one’s medical conditions, etc.

On the other hand, how it is stated:  Is it persuasive?  Does the doctor follow from a reasonable explanation to an unequivocal conclusion?  Is the doctor convincing?  While the “what” of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, may be a necessary condition of a Federal Disability Retirement application, it may not be sufficient; sufficiency may be determined by how a Federal Disability Retirement application is prepared, formulated, and ultimately filed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Effective Repetition

Repetition is an effective tool in any writing forum, if the audience to whom such repetitive tools are directed, is taken into account.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the repetitive restatement of specific medical conditions, the symptoms exhibited and manifested over the years, the impact upon certain elements of both one’s positional duties and daily living activities from the medical conditions themselves, etc. — all can be effectively stated throughout the Federal Disability Retirement application itself.

For, repetition can also produce the appearance of consistency; and when the same or similar phrase or concept is repeated in different documents — in the applicant’s statement of disability; in the doctor’s narrative reports; in the Supervisor’s Statement; in the medical office notes and progress notes; such repetition reveals a consistency of terms, which reflects a reality of chronicity as to the state, severity, and nature of the medical condition and its impact upon one’s ability or inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, which is what must be proven in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That is why the order and sequence of what to write, when to write it, and what to wait for before writing one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Left and Right Hands

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, part of the successful process of preparation and formulation is the ability to coordinate everything for the sake of consistency.  Indeed, “consistency” — or the lack thereof — is precisely the issue which often defeats a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Whether it is the inconsistency of a medical report submitted and the office/doctors’ notes attached; whether how the Agency views the employee and what the Federal or Postal employee claims as to one’s ability or inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job; or at a macro-level, a settlement agreement between the Agency and the Federal employee to determine the nature of a removal or resignation, and how cooperatively the Agency will complete SF 3112B and SF 3112D.

Such inconsistencies are the “fodder” of a denial for the Office of Personnel Management, who takes great effort in comparatively analyzing all aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Further, if the medical conditions noted on one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) are not supported by the medical documentation attached, or perhaps the treating doctor focuses upon medical conditions X & Y while the applicant/patient thinks it is C & D, such internal incompatibilities can impact the outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Content & Substance

Form, Content & Substance.  Form is the appearance and the general approach & methodology of a Federal Disability Retirement packet; Content is the essence of that which makes up the materials in the packet; and Substance (hopefully) is the “meat” of the packet itself.  Make sure that what is stated is substantive.  

OPM Representatives have multiple cases.  From the perspective of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, it is a singular case, because it is one’s own case, and the personal nature of such a case makes it of paramount importance.  From the perspective of the OPM Representative, however, it is one of multiple cases, and it is part of his or her job.  If one has to wade through a generous amount of fluff before getting to the content of the Federal Disability Retirement application, the energy expended may be a distraction from a serious review of the substantive content.  A descriptive narrative bridging the medical condition with the type of job one performs is a necessary component; but as between a concise short story and a novella, the former is to be preferred in preparing and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Form & Content

Ultimately, “forms” are just that — the skeletal underpinning which holds the “body” in a certainly recognizable structure; the “skin” of something which holds the substance underlying everything, into a workable whole.  In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is imperative that certain forms be completed (SF 3112 series for both FERS & CSRS; additionally, SF 2801 forms for CSRS & SF 3107 forms for FERS), but one must concurrently always recognize that it is the content which is placed into the forms which is of paramount importance.  The coordination of all of the content and information; the substantive basis for justifying and persuading that one is eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS — these are the mainstay of the entire process, and while one can get “caught up” in the “proper” manner of filling out the forms, it is always the content and the coordination with all aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application which must be the focus of the potential applicant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire