Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Use of Collateral Sources

Context is important.  Identifying the relevance of importance, however, is discretionary, and requires some insight into the impact which a differentiated distinction might require.

Allow for some expansive explanation:  In attempting to obtain OWCP/DOL benefits, one may want to argue against the validity of a medical evaluation — i.e., by attacking the claimed “independence” of the medical evaluation (argument:  the doctor is being compensated by the Department of Labor; 25% of his practice is devoted to such evaluations, and out of that, 95% of his evaluations are found to be in favor of the Department of Labor, etc.).  But the fact that one may want to attack the relevance and validity of an  independent medical examination within the context of the Office of Worker’s Compensation, does not mean that when one files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, that one should necessarily and unequivocally discard the received report from OWCP.

There may well be statements contained in such a report which may be useful in arguing to OPM that one’s Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved.  Can one argue positively that it is an “independent” medical examination?  Absolutely.  In fact, the contrary argument should be made:  that because the doctor was selected by another government agency (Department of Labor), it is all the more so that the medical opinions of the particular doctor are relevant and of significant impact.  One must be careful, of course, in using such collateral sources for support of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, but so long as the proper context is identified and understood, one should always consider the use of such “other” sources of support — but never to replace the primary importance of one’s treating doctor.  Context, properly understood, can result in substantive argumentation of relevant and significant import.

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