FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Subtraction

The principle of abundance implicates progressive and unending addition, resulting in the exponential explosion of accumulation; and in a society which preaches acquisition as the hallmark of success, the reversal of that idea — of subtraction — is anathema and constitutes a failed life.  Subtraction is to do without; and the reduction of acquisitions is considered tantamount to failure, where success is measured in terms of the quantity one possesses.

The young man begins life with little more than change in his pocket; and from there, the trajectory of what is considered a qualitative life means that there is always addition, as opposed to subtraction.  That is why it is difficult to accept stoppage, or negation, and lessening; because the normative value we accept from the beginning is tied to accumulation.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to progress in one’s career, it becomes a difficult time because sacrifices must always be made, and the negation of progressive accumulation becomes a fact of life.

But one must always look upon such events in their proper perspective, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal Worker is under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often the first positive step.  It is the stoppage to the trajectory of decline, and allows for the Federal or Postal Worker to stabilize a chaotic situation, and to move forward with some semblance of financial security, and the hope that a new career or vocation may be entered and engaged down the road.  For, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the annuitant to earn income up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays, in addition to the receipt of one’s OPM Disability Retirement annuity.

Subtraction for the Federal or Postal employee need not be forever; to live without is merely a temporary situation, and the trajectory of the modern success principle may be reinvigorated yet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Preexisting Conditions

The concept of a “preexisting condition” necessarily entails a date before which something was in existence; thus, that condition X preexisted date-certain Y, such that X preexisted Y.  Such a condition — whatever the nature of “it” — is normally ascertainable by doctor’s notes, treatment records, etc.

The relevance of whether a certain medical condition “preexisted” a certain date, however, depends upon the issue and the forum.  For Federal OWCP cases administered under the Department of Labor, such an issue is often relevant in determining coverage, precisely because an on-the-job injury will entail causation not only regarding “how” and “where” the injury occurred, but further, encompassing whether a Federal or Postal Worker is making a claim based upon a new and heretofore unknown injury or medical condition, or is merely suffering from a condition which “preexisted” a particular date — either the date of employment, the date of claimed injury, etc.

In a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether under FERS or CSRS, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the issue of a “preexisting medical condition” is rarely of any relevance, either on the issue of “when” or certainly not on the “how” or “where”.  OPM will often attempt to make an argument on the basis that one’s medical condition “preexisted” one’s inception date of Federal employment, but presumably the Federal or Postal employee who may have suffered from the condition was able to adequately perform the essential elements of one’s job anyway, but at some point the preexisting medical condition came to a point of progressive deterioration such that it began to impact one’s ability to perform one’s job — in which case it matters not anyway.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, one should never be fearful of divulging the history of one’s medical condition; rather, it is the here and now which is of relevance: How the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements here in one’s present job, and how it now impacts such job performance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Is the Concept of “Preexisting Condition” Ever an Issue?

Sometimes, the Office of Personnel Management will refer to a medical condition which “preexisted” — and it is often confusing as to what they are referring to.  The term “preexisting medical condition” must necessarily imply the question, “Preexisting to what”?  

For health insurance coverage, the issue is obviously one of a medical condition which existed prior to the start of medical coverage, and thus the question becomes whether or not the insurance company has an obligation to pay for medical bills incurred for treatment which existed and began prior to the terms of the policy.  

For purposes of Federal Disability Retirement, however, the question of a preexisting medical condition often encapsulates an admixture of multiple issues, based upon confusing a variety of concepts.  In a denial issued by the Office of Personnel Management, some cases will be denied based upon the assertion that a particular medical condition upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is based, preexisted the time of Federal Service, and the Federal or Postal employee — despite the existence of the medical condition — was able to perform the essential elements of the duties of the Federal or Postal position.

Thus, a person with a confirmed Veteran’s Administration rating enters into the Federal government and is able to perform the job duties as required (for example).  Such an argument (or lack thereof) by the Office of Personnel Management is thus mixing a couple of issues, and conceptually identifying it as “preexisting condition”:  that the Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition which was identified prior to entering the Federal Service; that he or she was able to successfully perform the essential elements of the job; that the same medical condition is now the basis (or at least one of them) for a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the issue is not really one of “preexisting condition” — for, whether the medical condition existed prior to or during one’s Federal Service is really an irrelevant issue — but rather, whether or not the medical condition as such became worse such that it now prevents a Federal or Postal employee to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  

Sometimes, people get the notion that by utilizing certain language, shouting certain sophisticated-sounding catch-phrases, or referring to concepts which seem intelligible, that it actually “means” something.  The concept of “preexisting conditions” is without meaning in a Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because the law is neutral concerning that issue.  It may sound serious, but this is not OWCP or some other legal forum which applies a criteria regarding “preexisting conditions”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire