Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS: Performance, Conduct or Attendance

Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”.  There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.

Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.

These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined.  Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.

When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?”  Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?

Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: That promising future

One doesn’t have to have been that “golden boy” to have an inkling of a promising future; there just needed to be some hope, and a taste of success.  Perhaps you came from a background where expectations were low; where higher education was a mere afterthought and nothing beyond an exclamation of gibberish and fantasy.

Was success defined by negation?  That if you didn’t do X, avoided Y and prevented Z, you were considered an anomaly and deemed as one of those who “made it”?

Yet, you exceeded; perhaps night school; whatever the cost, of however the pathway, that promising future that was never guaranteed, rarely spoken of and deliberately left silent but in the fertile imagination of a seeming dream; and the expectation of negation was met and exceeded, precisely because the goal post was never set within sight of grasping, but a mere filament that failed to light any hope of a promising future.

Yet, reality has a tendency to quash the daydreams of even butterflies, and a medical condition can alter forever the course of time and tenacity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once thought that a career under FERS meant a promising future for the duration of one’s life, and who never expected to be saddled with a medical condition that created a circumstance of negation, consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions tend to become that negation of hope, when in fact it may merely be an alteration of course.  Perhaps that promising future was too narrow a vision.  Maybe a change of mindset is all that is required.

Federal Disability Retirement is merely a recognition that there is an incompatibility between the medical condition suffered and the type of job one is in.  It does not mean that you cannot work; in fact, you are allowed to make up to 80% of what your former Federal position (“former” because, upon winning an approval of a FERS Disability Retirement claim from OPM, you are then separated from Federal Service) currently pays, and still continue to receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Just remember that the “promising career” was never defined by naysayers or those who lacked belief; it was always defined by your own drive, and for Federal and Postal employees whose once-promising career became curtailed by a medical condition, the “promising” part of conjunction can still be in the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: The Traveling Show

Remember those amazing traveling shows?  Whether for a circus, an amusement park, of various booths and exotic people doing tricks, talents otherwise unappreciated; or, as in foreign countries, with a monkey (or two), a bear or some other intelligent species ready to perform for the gathering audience.

In modernity, they are, for the most part, erasures of history; forgotten, if barely remembered; shows that foretold of an earlier era, of a time when entertainment was scarce and anomalies fewer.  Of course, we are more sensitive to quirks of nature, as well — and find it repulsive to pay in order to stare at people with mishaps and disfigurements; and so that is perhaps a good thing, as we have a deeper collective consciousness for the feelings of others.

In a way, however, aren’t each of us somewhat of a “traveling” show?  We enter into the lives of others, “travel” through, then disappear, leaving behind memories positive or negative, departing for other destinations while separating from the sequestered lives of those we encountered, touched for a day or embraced for a fortnight.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often likened to those antiquated “freak shows” — everyone is interested; the crowd gathers; the gossiping reverberates throughout the trembling audience in anticipation of the story’s end.  What will they say about you?  How will they remember you?

The spectacle of the uneventful; that is what so many of us now live for but for the boredom of something different.  Or, perhaps, it is likened to the Roman Coliseum where the tigers and lions were about the devour for the entertainment of the masses.

Regardless of how it is viewed, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who needs to “travel” away from the crowd of curious onlookers, it is important to prepare well and formulate accurately an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, lest the “Roman centurions” over at OPM ready their swords to slash and destroy one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, looking upon it as nothing more than another traveling show making its way through the discourse of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Childhood wishes

We had them; some of us still remember and harbor them like sacrosanct relics of priceless value; and still others know of them and recollect some general idea long forgotten, once delighted in, but now rotting in the vestiges of abandoned buildings hollow but for the frame that haunts in the midnight moon.

Wishes remain throughout one’s life, whether in the stage of adulthood or old age; but it is the childhood wishes one remembers that reveal the empty soul of what one has become, may still be, but struggles to abandon with a hope for tomorrow.  Some of them may be set aside as silly thoughts of an immature time; others, a revelatory insight into who we were, what made us become what we are today, and a telling hint of our present-day bitterness of embattled constitution.

Perhaps it was a love thwarted; a Dickensian tale of another Scrooge who foolishly wanted to pursue one pathway at the cost of another; or, maybe the childhood wishes were merely promises of correcting the sorrow of yesteryears, where neglectful parents and inattentive love left one yearning to promise corrective action when one became a parent yourself, but somehow such commitments were waylaid by daily life – of money troubles, relationship squabbles and expectation bubbles bursting by fits and starts.

It used to be that, before the age of Facebook and obsessive hounding for revelatory information about past friends and acquaintances, people would try to “better themselves” when they went away in order to come back and “show them” how successful one had become upon the glorious return and reentry at gatherings such as high school and college reunions – much like the Tom Sawyer effect of coming back from the dead – but not anymore, as everyone already knows everything to know about everyone else before such a re-gathering is effectuated.

At some point in one’s life, the comparison between childhood wishes and the reality of a daunting world magnifies the contrast that leads to an inevitable conclusion: the naïve innocence of those former times either worked as a detriment, in which case cynicism prevailed; or, those childhood dreams allowed for an expansive, healthy and positive outlook such that they provided a foundation for growth and potential for happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with 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 job, perhaps contemplating 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, is the next step beyond for one’s future and security, and thought to be the “end” of something.

The difference between the two approaches may be nominal, or momentous, depending upon how one looks at it.  Is it like the proverbial attitude of the “cup half full” or “half empty”?  Or, is it because childhood wishes were never resolved, and that lonely and unhappy child one remembers never quite grew up, and the debilitating medical conditions now recall the dreams never realized, the hopes barely reached, and the potentiality not quite cultivated to fruition?

Look at it this way: Medical conditions are a part of life and daily struggle; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should not be viewed as either the end-all or the be-all, but a necessary next step with a view towards advancing beyond the childhood wishes one still awaits to fulfill.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The informed paradigm shift

Often, in ages older and generations beyond, it somehow becomes more difficult to be malleable and bend with the times, circumstances and turmoil of the day.  Does staid decay by refusal to adapt become a law of sorts for the aged?  Is it only youth that can change, or bring about pliable lives, or can the irrelevancy of old men and women be altered with an informed paradigm shift?

There is always a tautness and tension between generational divides; youth believes in beginning over again, to invigorate all plans and prospects of accomplishments – even of reinventing the wheel by trial and error.  And of the old, whose wisdom is never accessed, whether because of pride of youth of an arrogance fraught with silliness, it matters little.  The pendulum that swings between the two extremes, must by law of gravitational pull come to rest somewhere in the middle.

Paradigm shifts come about so infrequently, but there is often an underlying reason:  Just as wholesale genetic overhauls rarely strengthen a Darwinian foundation for survival, so the principles upon which one lives one’s life should not be abandoned after a lifetime of experiences in learned cynicism.  The fact is, it is always difficult to change when circumstances dictate.

Somehow, we believe ourselves to be the masters of our own destinies; and whether the fate of a generation is collectively overpowered by a consciousness of unfathomable mysteries, or each of us must singularly carry the burden of our future lives as isolated pockets without friendship or love, we like to think that we can control our future.  But there are events and circumstances beyond our control, transcending fault or personal responsibility; and the social contract of good citizenry – of abiding by the laws, following the normative constructs of societal acceptability, etc. – follows upon that path of accomplishment.

That is true of a medical condition – for, when a medical condition begins to impact major life activities of a person, an informed paradigm shift must by necessity occur.  It is not a matter of bad fate or unfortunate luck; it simply is, and the sooner one becomes “informed”, the better the paradigm shift for one’s future.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from just such a medical condition, where the medical condition or event begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is may well be time to consider a paradigm shift.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, often requires just such a paradigm shift – a pliability in one’s thinking, and an alteration based upon the information (i.e., being “informed”) presented; and the next step once a cognitive paradigm shift has occurred, is to reach out in order to begin the administrative process of engaging the expertise needed in order to weather the trials of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from USPS or other Federal Agencies: Solomon’s choice

Even in this age of millennial ignorance of ancients, literary or biblical references to arcane metaphors (while taking delight in such useless information as the minutiae of Sanskrit grammar), the general view that King Solomon’s judgment was profoundly wise, is accepted without argument.  Yet, were his assumptions correct, and do they apply today?  Is it presumptively reasonable that love of child would rise above the other emotions felt – of jealousy, perhaps, or envy of the other mother – and declare the truth of the hidden motive?  Is there a priority or order of sequence that necessarily mandates truth to manifest itself, when the choice is one of death, loss, sacrifice and the horror of splitting a baby into two?

Of course, beyond the significance of the epic story itself, is the metaphor we are left with in living our daily lives – of making a choice between honor and its opposite, or of Truth and Falsity; of enduring for the sake of X as opposed to sacrificing in the light of Y.  To embrace a Solomon’s choice is to accept that there is a binary presentation in life’s offerings, and while that is often the appearance of a case, it is the stark reality of the limitations of alternatives available, that makes a decision to be made difficult and unenviable.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must endure and “deal with” a medical condition, such that the medical condition has come to a point of interference with many of life’s major activities, including employment and performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the options presented are often binary, and sometimes adding another to create a trinity of choices.

The Federal or Postal employee can remain and endure; or, if the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements (18 months of creditable Federal Service and an evidentiary basis of showing that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “other” choice, of course, is to walk away and do nothing; but that is, in effect, no choice at all, for the time invested and accrued in one’s Federal or Postal career should never be discarded and forgotten, especially when the second option is there to be accessed.

In the end, perhaps Solomon’s choice was, likewise, parallel to that “third” option which resulted in the decisions made, and as a consequence, bore the fruits for the future Trinity.  To split the baby in half could never have been a serious consideration, just like walking away without trying should rarely be considered by a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition which prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Solomon’s offer was, of course, a wise one; for, in the end, he knew that such a choice was an untenable one, just as the Federal or Postal employee knows that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the one which will ultimately be the wise one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The wrong target

What if you are involved in the highest levels of competitive marksmanship – say, target shooting by a rifle, or crossbow, or bow and arrow, or even by a pistol.  You shot throughout the morning, and hit the bulls eye every time; your opponents try to keep up with you, but at each level of competition, there is a slight deviation here, a centimeter there, and systematically, the competition is “eliminated”, and you are left standing at the podium of the “winner”.

As the trophy is brought out, the Chief Judge who is about to present the awards and ceremonial crown, pauses, reflects for a moment, and declares:  “Sorry, but it turns out that you were shooting at the wrong target each time.”  They then present the accolades to the “runner up”, who was shooting on the same range, aiming at each turn at the target set up in his or her respective lane of sightings, and seemed to follow the protocol as set up by the competition and the committee of judges.

You go and question the judgment of the judges, and especially address the Chief Judge, protesting:  “What do you mean?  I shot at the target that was set up.”  “But you shot at the wrong target.  Your target was the one in the lane next to you.  You shot in Lane A; you were supposed to be in Lane B”.  And you argue:  “But that is irrelevant.  Lane A is the same as Lane B, and there is no difference between the two.”  And the Chief Judge says:  “Look at your designated Card Assignment:  It states without question, ‘Assigned to Lane A’.  Yet, you shot all targets in Lane B”.  You persist in arguing:  “But what difference does it make?  It is the same target whether I am in Lane A or Lane B?”  And the kicker from the Chief Judge:  “In life, you can’t just do what you want; you have to obey the rules.”

Who is right?  Would it matter which lane one is assigned to, and whether obedience to the protocol and adherence to the “letter of the law” is followed, when the substantive point of the whole process – hitting the target – is clearly accomplished beyond the competence of all others?  We often encounter that anomaly in life – of the seeming conflict between the technicality of the issue (the “minutiae” otherwise unnoticed by the rest of the population) and the general adherence based upon common knowledge and boredom of repetitive protocol.  It may well be a trite redundancy, but when a “technicality” is involved, then a technician is the one to call.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of the “wrong target” and the “technical violation” of the rules is appropriate to recognize and consider:  For, in Federal Disability Retirement Law, as in many other facets of legal wrangling, making sure that the larger compass of hitting the “right” target, as well as keeping within the proper lane of technical legal issues, are both equally important in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “wrong target” is the agency; the “right target” is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The “technicalities” encompass the statutes, laws, regulations and legal opinions as rendered by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Courts on issues pertaining to Federal Disability Laws litigated as precedents.  And, who is the proper “technician” to call?  An attorney who is experienced in fighting the cause for Federal and Postal employees, to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire