Federal Medical Retirement: The X Factor

In algebraic equations, it is that unknown variable which remains elusive and concealed, and which must be figured out in order to arrive at the conclusion.  We love those teachers who inform us that “credit” will be “given” for work shown, and that it is not so important to come up with the answer as opposed to the methodology manifested in reaching it.

And so we devised a complex network of signs and symbols, hoping that they concealed the ignorance of our unlearned lack of wisdom.  But the fact remains that leaving the factor unexplained and unfulfilled is like turning one’s back upon a helpless puppy abandoned in the middle of a busy freeway; somehow, the hollowness of leaving behind haunts one with a sense of incompleteness, like the puzzle with a missing piece.

These vestiges of psychological appendages, like damaging mollusks on the underbelly of a drifting boat, remain long after the effort to solve the equation is abandoned; for, in life, we think that all variables have an answer, if only we had listened carefully in the classes we skipped or during which we daydreamed and slept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to seriously impact one’s ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements (or “essential elements”) described, the thought of abandonment through resignation or termination leaves that same taste of dismay and fear, like the residue of pine-goo on the palm of one’s hand.

The “other” option — which constitutes the solution of the X-factor — is to file 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.   While not widely advertised, OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is offered when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to, because of a medical condition, perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, instead of remaining static in a state of utter frustration, attempting like those childhood years of yore when scratching one’s head, peeking over surreptitiously at the blank paper on the next desk, or looking with wonderment at the ceiling above as if the gods of information will reveal the answer through the illuminating fluorescence of those linear tubes, the Federal or Postal employee has the ultimate solution for the X-factor within grasp:  preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Office of Personnel Management

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency which reviews, approves or denies all Federal Disability Retirement applications for those who are under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), is taking an extraordinary amount of time in reviewing disability retirement applications.  This is true across the board — whether at the initial stage of the process, or at the Reconsideration Stage of the process. 

While certain individual appeals to “personal emergencies” can sometimes move an application ahead of others, the simple fact is that OPM is understaffed and overworked.  Patience is simply the only remedy, and the OPM representative will eventually get to a particular case in the order that it was received.  Now, the question as to whether a particular case is properly prepared such that it will get approved at the first review, is a separate question.  That is why it is important to prepare a disability retirement application properly, and well, at the first stage.  Because OPM is taking a long time before it is even reviewed, it is important to try and make your best case at the first stage.  However, by “best” does not necessarily mean a volume of medical records.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Reconsiderations

The Office of Personnel Management does not give a decision over the telephone.  At least, that is their stated policy.  They ask that you instead wait for their written decision, which will be “sent in the mail shortly”.  Sometimes, of course, either by the tone of the conversation or by some slip of the tongue, one can discern whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement application has been approved or denied.  But such “guessing” can be a dangerous endeavor to engage in, and as such, I follow the very policy of OPM and will not convey to my client any “internal thoughts” following upon any discussions with an OPM representative. 

First of all, I find that calling an OPM representative too often is counter-productive; they are overworked as it is, and repeatedly inquiring about the “status” of one of my cases only irritates them further, and there is always the danger of having it denied simply to get rid of it (aghast — can this possible ever happen?).  Second, I made the mistake many, many years ago of once telling my client that his/her case had been approved, when in fact it had been denied.  I learn from my mistakes.  Hopefully, my experiences gained from such mistakes have made me wiser today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire