Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Next Steps

It is always the next steps which determine the relevance and efficacy of the prior ones; a misstep can extinguish the progress made from the ones before; a stumble can irrevocably diminish the gains already made; and a fall can destroy the foundation of past steps already taken.

What to do next? We can stumble through; brashly forge forward despite unmapped territories that can harm and destroy; and we can even try and “manage” things by taking small, incremental steps, with trepidation and lacking of confidence, hoping for good things to occur despite our best wishes and hopeful optimism.  Or, we can consult with experts and specialists in order to gain a roadmap, or even hire a guide who has been down this mountain path before, and allow for the gains already garnered to account for something, instead of blindly destroying all that we worked for by forging ahead thoughtlessly like the proverbial bull in a china shop.

That is the problem with Federal and Postal employees who try and prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application without expert legal assistance: every case prepared by the person suffering from the medical condition believes his or her’s to be a “slam dunk” case — for, if the one who suffers from the medical condition prepares and submits his or her case, it is the same person “one and all” of the person experiencing the medical condition and the one who describes the very experience, such that no amount of objectivity can maintain the necessary distance between the two.

Consulting and hiring an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may not necessarily guarantee a “win”; but it does help to ensure that the next steps do not extinguish the prior years of investing in your Federal or Postal career, by making sure that the next steps mean something beyond the stumble, hesitation, or sudden fall.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Presumptuous Act

What would we say about a person who, having bought a lottery ticket, goes out and spends lavishly, quits his job and becomes indebted far beyond his means — all prior to the day when the “winning numbers” are declared?  We would consider that he or she is: Crazy; irresponsible; or, perhaps, has some “insider knowledge” that we are not privy to.

Most acts lack a presumptuous intent; many, merely of thoughtless motivations; and rarely but some, of such egregiously bold-faced assault upon common decency that we disbelieve and attempt to substitute some rationally-based justification to explain away the presumptuousness of such an act.  Would our opinion of such a person — the one who buys a lottery ticket, then quits his or her job and proceeds to spend lavishly while abandoning all “reasonable” displays of conventional wisdom — change if additional facts were to be posited?

How about: The doctor has given him 30 days to live, and when we ask the person about the lottery ticket, the response is: “Oh, I don’t expect to win; it is just a metaphor for my life’s prognosis”.  Would such a response change our opinion; for, no longer is the person “crazy”; perhaps somewhat “irresponsible” in that the debts left behind will still have to be paid by someone; but yes, we would likely lean towards the third option in our thought processes: that the “insider knowledge” was the very private knowledge held close to his or her heart: Mortality suddenly betrays careful living, and abandonment of conventional lifestyles is a natural consequence of having nothing left to lose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer a similar (but perhaps not quite as devastating a scenario) situation like that of the hypothetical individual noted above, the “presumptuous act” that others may deem so may not be so outlandish as one may first assume.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not quite like the example above, but often, some see it as such; for, to “give up” a well-paying job, a reliable career or a secure position in the Federal System is certainly a drastic situation; and the alternative may not allow for much of a choice: To remain and suffer, and continue to deteriorate until one’s body or emotional state has been so damaged as to suffer through life for the rest of one’s allotted time on earth; to ignore that is indeed the height of presumptuousness — of taking things for granted.

Health should be a priority, and preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not a presumptuous act; rather, its opposite is what presumes too much — that your health will continue to withstand the deteriorating condition that you have all along experienced for these many years.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Ignoring the details

What is a lawyer’s response to the allegation: “You are playing with words and using technicalities to win!”

Some might, of course, become defensive and deny such allegations, countering to the accuser that the substance of the law allows for such word-games and the laws themselves allow for such technicalities; or, as the more appropriate, honest and forthright answer might be (yes, yes, for those with such humor against lawyers, such a string of descriptive adjectives may appear to create an oxymoron), “Well, yes, law is the word-craftsman’s tool with which we play, and technicalities are those very details which allow us to prevail.”

It is, in the end, words which win out in any legal forum, and it is the delivery of those words that persuade, debunk, analyze and cross-examine the truth or falsity of claims made, defenses proffered and allegations refuted.

And this is no different in the forum of play known as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.  For, always remember that a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether prepared for a Federal or Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and as such, is based upon words, words, words — and details contained within and amidst those words.

By ignoring the “details”, one does so with much peril; for, in the end, the old adage that declared the “devil to be in the details” was merely a recognition that details matter, and it is those very details which win or lose a case, and that is no different when presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Factors to consider

The universe of thoughtful decision-making shrinks exponentially and in direct correlation with the pertinent and relevant information gathered, and it is too often the case that factors not considered are the very ones which lead to a non-decision or, more importantly, to a wrong conclusion.

What factors should be considered when a Federal or Postal employee is going to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Certainly, age can be a factor — for, if OPM engages in a recalculation of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at age 62, and you are fast approaching that age, the factor of “how long it takes” to get an OPM Disability Retirement approved (about a year, give or take a few months on either side of the equation); whether you get any backpay once it is approved (back to the last day your Agency or the Postal Service has paid you anything); and whether the time you are on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards your total number of years accrued until the recalculation age at 62 (it does) — should all be factors to consider.

Further, even if you are still relatively young, should those same factors be considered?  The short answer is an unequivocal “yes” — and probably many others, besides, including: Do I intend on working at another job in the private sector while on Federal Disability Retirement?  Do I have Service-Connected disabilities that can play a factor [sic] in the factors to be considered?

The universe of factors to consider in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, are innumerable; and then, there are likely factors that you have not even considered, but which may be prompted by consulting with an attorney who has already considered multiple factors besides, and who may be able to guide you in this complex process called “OPM Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Whole is greater than the sum

The “full” adage, of course, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and connotes the idea that the interaction of the various components or elements constitute, in their entirety, a greater effect and impact than the efficacy of quantifying the singular components in their individual capacities added merely together.  It is the working in tandem of individual components that creates a greater whole than the sum of its independent parts, and this can be true whether in a negative or positive sense.

One has only to witness a crowd of individuals working together, whether in riot control or as a military unit, to witness an active, positive impact or, in a negative sense, a pack of wild dogs attacking their prey — working in coordination, circling, attacking in conjunction with one another, etc.  Medical conditions have a similar negative impact; we tend to be able to “handle” a single health crisis, but when they come in bunches, we often fall apart at the seeming enormity of the impact and the dire perspective it engulfs us with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of being overwhelmed, where the medical conditions seem to take on a whole greater than the sum of their individual components, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, it is necessary to recognize the dominance of the greater whole in order to focus upon the elements which have taken on a lesser role — like taking care of one’s health.  Prioritizing matters is important, and when one’s health has taken on a secondary status and where the compendium of medical problems have taken on an exponential effect deleterious to one’s well-being, the Federal or Postal employee should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such a consultation may prove Aristotle’s wisdom to be correct — that the whole of such a consultation is greater than the sum of their individual words combined, or something close to that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Relating negative events

Bad things come in pairs, or is it triplets?  Is there a tendency to relate and categorize in terms of color, logical sequence, similarities and characteristics?  Is the Kantian model of imposing categories upon an otherwise orderless universe the reason why we relate negative events in bunches, like grapes growing upon vines waiting to be picked?  Or do bad things happen in combinations naturally, as a law that cannot be avoided?

When we learn that others have been speaking ill of us, or of unkind statements and gossiping rumors spread about, do we not then consider the look of those around us and begin to suspect that the facial frown was directed at us, the distracted individual is not merely lost in his or her own thoughts, but is deliberately ignoring and shunning us, and even the dog that was once friendly is heard to emit a low-growling sound of unfriendly disposition?

Relating negative events is a natural response to a world that is orderless, and one that can be cruel — a perspective that is easily and readily confirmed by the uncaring attitude not just from an impervious universe, but from those who pretend to be out best friend, as well.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the Universal Law that dictates relating negative events becomes unavoidable: Suddenly, because you have taken too much SL and have requested FMLA, you are no longer the “golden boy” (or girl) who can be relied upon, and next comes the leave restrictions; the “Memorandum of Warning”, and then even a PIP; and what next?

Termination is the target for the future.

All the while, the “negative event” was the deterioration of one’s health, which then set into motion all of the other negative events which became related one to the other.

Bad things, unfortunately, happen in bunches, and it is important to initiate a “positive” element and infuse a “good” thing into the middle of those bunches of negative events, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that positive step one can take for one’s self in the morass of relating all of those negative events that seem to have occurred without your consent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire