Federal Disability Retirement: Inconsistencies

Selective extrapolation is the preferred method by which they justify a denial; a notation taken out of context from this particular day, or an offhand comment in response to a nurse’s question on a differentiated day where you may be feeling slightly better, etc.

Inconsistencies remain the harbinger of a denial of a FERS Medical Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Yet, life is full of inconsistencies, and one can even argue that inconsistencies are the stamp of reality — that sincerity of life’s events are replete with contradictions and spectrums of bumps; that perfection is often a greater indication of artifice, instead of life’s reality that is actually lived.

That is the anomaly and the inconsistency itself: Perfection of circumstances is the real artifice; lack of perfection, the reality of living life.  Yet, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application in the very opposite way; they search out the inconsistencies, then allege that those inconsistencies somehow rise to the level of artifice, when all along they merely reflect the reality of life itself, replete with inconsistencies that betray the lack of perfection which truth itself brings.

Thus, beware when the doctor or nurse writes in a note, “Feeling much better today” — for, although you still hobble about because of a broken body or are unable to focus or concentrate because of a psychiatric condition, the inconsistency between a singular notation and the reality reflected in one’s medical condition is the weaponized methodology of a Federal Agency which seeks out such inconsistencies as a basis for a denial.

As such, a Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who seeks to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should turn for advice and counsel to an experienced Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law to make sure that the inconsistencies may be minimized in the impact upon a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Entrenchment versus Fidelity to a Promise

People often have a general sense of obligations and duties, and remain steadfast in fidelity to promises made.  Ultimately, it is actions which confirm the sincerity of words, and not an abundance of additional verbiage.  But fidelity to a course of action can constitute an entrenchment of actions without regard to changing circumstances or the vicissitudes which accompany a career or a course of events.  Intersecting issues will often require a changing response; a change in plans does not necessarily constitute a violation of a promise; rather, it may in fact be the very fulfillment of a promise.

And so it is with Federal and Postal employees who confront and must deal with a medical issue; those projects which were spearheaded by a particular person; those mission statements and goals intended — suddenly, multi-tasking must be pared down to a single duty; time must be taken to attend to one’s medical conditions; the course of action intended must be altered, modified, and sometimes abandoned.

If the essence of X becomes damaged, do its attributes remain untouched, also?  Or must the dependencies be transformed in order to preserve the essence? Staying on a course when the context has encountered dramatic alterations, can be viewed as either foolhardy, stubborn, or valiant.

When a Federal or Postal Worker who is suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is time to evaluate and review the course of one’s career.  Opting to preserve one’s health and to prepare and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not an abandonment of purpose; rather, it is a recognition that life’s unexpected turn has forced a change of course — honorable in intent, and necessary in preservation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Words, Actions and Comparative Analysis in Federal Disability Retirement

The test of sincerity is determined by the actions which follow upon words.  Words themselves are merely malleable vehicles, subject to linguistic gymnastics, and can have interpretive chameleon-like characteristics.  Thus, a declarative statement issued by an individual, in the form of, “I will take care of it!” seemingly solves a problem — immediately, by the mere force of the statement, and in the very usage of the words chosen.

Indeed, in this world of Facebook, websites and technology-based apparatus of endless statements without the need to act, but merely to speak it; where words constitute the substance of an entity; and where a person can appear to be X merely by declaring X; a comparative analysis of sincerity is necessary.  It is ultimately the action which follows, which determines the sincerity of the words stated.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important that the documentary evidence provided to OPM in support of the Federal Disability Retirement application, reveals a comparative consistency with the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as declaratively issued in response to Standard Form 3112A.  For, that is the primary basis of a denial by the case worker at OPM in evaluating and reviewing a Federal Disability Retirement application — by comparing the statements made, and the medical reports, records, office notes, etc., which are provided.  That is why merely having the doctor send the records to one’s Agency, then forwarded to OPM, without first having an opportunity to see what is being sent, is tantamount to malpractice.

Words and actions — the test of sincerity, and the comparative basis for an approval in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

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

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: A Distinction to Be Made

Lawyers are taught — whether at Law School, through observation as a young associate or “apprentice” under the wings of a seasoned attorney — to ask questions in a persistent, methodological manner.  Whether in “direct examination” or “cross examination”, the question asked is meant to be goal-oriented.

We often make the mistake, however, in concluding that the question asked constitutes something more than a question — that it contains some substantive value, intrinsic in the very intonation and deliverance of the question itself.  The question asked, must be distinguished from the answer given.  Thus, the mere fact that a question is asked, does not in and of itself contain any relevant evidence or substantive import.  It is in the answer given which must determine the content and context of relevance.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, applied through one’s agency and ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, multiple and varied questions will be posed, indicated and conveyed to the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for the Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Such questions must be answered — and answered truthfully.  The questions themselves, however — whether posed in the Standard Forms which must be completed (SF 3107 & SF 3112 series for the FERS employee; SF 2801 and SF 3112 series for the CSRS employee); or in correspondence form from the Agency or the Office of Personnel Management; or by the Administrative Judge or the OPM Representative at an MSPB Hearing — should have a stream of consistency throughout the process.

This is normally a simple matter — but always remember that “truth” is distinguishable from “consistency”; and it is often the latter which creates some doubt as to the former.  Unfortunately, life is very rarely consistent. That is why a coordination and comprehensive outlook upon the entire administrative process, from beginning to end, must always be kept in mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: A Fair Hearing

It is a common complaint against the Office of Personnel Management that the particular Claims Representative who reviewed the file and issued a denial in a Federal Disability Retirement application failed to look at, or review, the medical evidence; that the denial letter was merely a restatement or regurgitation of a template referring to a 7-part criteria, and makes statements which could easily have been “cut and paste” from a thousand other such denials.  

Indeed, there have been times when references to a denial were clearly (and mistakenly) extracted from another file, where the names of doctors and medical documents are referred to which have no relation to the particular individual, and are clearly mixed in from another case.  

To be fair, a counter-argument to such criticism is that there is no bureaucracy, with so many cases to review and properly evaluate, and with so few personnel and staff to undertake the massive workload, that could or should “reinvent the wheel” each time a case is set to be reviewed.  Obviously, certain language that is applicable in all (or most) cases will be re-stated, and templates used where such have been standard language used in the past.  Applicable language and statements which merely reiterate the legal and statutory criteria; introductory remarks; conclusory statements — they are all part of a paradigm and template which any administrative bureaucracy may apply.  

But the criticism goes much deeper than that:  It is often the case that, clearly, the Claims Representative who wrote the denial did not even read his or her own denial.  Proofreading is an essential part of reviewing, writing, and issuing a decision.  OPM must ultimately realize that each decision is an important, crucial, and often critical point of importance in the life of the applicant.  It is a Federal or Postal worker who has previously dedicated many years of his or her life to a career with the Federal Sector, and the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits deserves a fair hearing.  A fair hearing is defined by a careful evaluation of the particular case.  That is not too much to ask for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire