Federal Disability Retirement: The Medical Condition and Fear

Fear is an emotion which is often overwhelming, uncontrollable, and yet an innate, inherent necessity for survival.  It possesses a purposeful essence — it warns the human condition, alerts the person, and heightens the senses to become aware of one’s surroundings and potential foreboding of events.  But fear can also have a negative, deleterious effect:  one which paralyzes and overtakes the rational side of a person.

In this day and age, fear in the context of a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to survive in an economy which is becoming less and less empathetic, is itself something which feeds upon itself.  When a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee, and the effects of the medical condition upon one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job begins to manifest itself, a growing sense of fear begins to arise, precisely because the medical condition is not only attacking one’s physical well-being, but also one’s ability to provide for one’s family.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the length of time it takes to undergo the administrative process, from beginning to end, must be taken into account, then multiplied by a “reality factor”.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is oblivious to the fear factor, and proceeds in its bureaucratic fashion without regard to the human condition.

Starting early, planning early, and filing as soon as possible is the pragmatic solution, if at all possible.  But, above all, it is important to do it well, properly, and effectively.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Explanations

Much of what constitutes a “proper” and “complete” Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is discretionary in nature, and based upon experience in what has worked in the past, and what presently works.  

The law itself is never constant, precisely because the individual case-workers at the Office of Personnel Management are systematically replaced.  There are certain case-workers who tend to approach each Federal Disability Retirement application from a particularly narrow perspective, and view each case through that specific set of lens.  But for the individual Federal or Postal employee who has prepared, formulated and filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, he or she would never recognize any pattern of behavior from a case-worker at the Office of Personnel Management, precisely because this would be the singular, isolated event of encountering a particular case worker at OPM.  

One problem which Federal and Postal applicants for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have, is a tendency to over-explain a particular situation or issue.  Explanations are meant to be given for one central purpose — to clarify.  If an explanation further complicates and muddles an issue, then the explanation has failed.  Or, conversely, if the explanation brings up more questions than answers, then further explanations will not normally satisfy the OPM Case Worker.  Explaining an X should be condensed into simple components of y and z; otherwise, if an explanation further complicates the issue, perhaps it should be left alone until and unless there is a question which arises from the issue itself.  

Sometimes, discretion requires one to “let sleeping dogs alone”.  Don’t complicate an issue by over-explaining; better yet, keep it simple, and not offer an explanation unless called for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire