Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Agencies and the Opium Den of Yore

They were dark caverns of gatherings; residual consequences of colonialism; and though denied in polite society, the lure of addictive aroma wafting ever pervasively brought men and women repeatedly to the doors which opened for the pleasurable moment of escape.  It was like going back, and staying, despite knowing the harm it did, would do, and could wrought, even with the knowledge of the harm portending.  But the residue of the sweet scent would remain, like an invisible thread tugging at the weakest corners of the soul, to return, return, return.

Life tends to do that; of drawing people back, and holding on despite knowing that it is not good for one; and perhaps that explains, in part, those who remain in abusive relationships and engage in self-harm and behavior of self-immolation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who remain with the same agency, in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, knowing that continuation in the same job inflicts harm and continuing, contributing deterioration of one’s medical condition, the agency itself and the U.S. Postal Service becomes like the opium den or yore.  One returns, knowing that the abusive behavior of the entity will only continue to pervade with a constancy of greater aggression.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to separate from the Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service — like the addict who requires the sheer determination and willpower to stay away from the opium den — often remains the only solution.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a planned escape route in order to (A) rehabilitate one’s medical condition and (B) secure an annuity in order to attain a semblance of financial security, both for now and for the future.  As such, any Federal or Postal employee who finds that a medical condition is impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, and who sees the sign of future adverse actions on the part of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, needs to consider the steps necessary to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

One need not be an addict of foregone years wandering through the streets searching for an opium den in order to engage in self-inflicting behavior; it may just be that one is merely a Federal or Postal employee engaging in similar behavior, and not fully realizing the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement (FERS & CSRS): Computational Intentionality

Presumptuous intentionality will lead to an assumption which ultimately undermines one’s own argument; and in every endeavor, a computational approach based upon a general algorithm of life’s experiences will often leave out key factors and essential elements.

The problem with one’s own medical condition is that the person who experiences it is one and the same as the person who must convey the experiential factor to others.  That is what is often termed an “epistemological privilege“, in that the subjectivity of the medical condition, the pain, the psychiatric disorder, the cognitive dysfunction, one’s inability to focus or concentrate, etc., is ultimately reserved to the confinement of the person relating the factors.

There are, of course, objective methodologies in determining the subjective experience, by testing, diagnostic applications, manifested physical symptoms, etc.; but pain and other self-experiential factors are, by their very definition, subjective in nature.  A computational intentionality will take the experience of one’s own pain, consider the length and volume of medical treatment and records amassed, and presume that the compendium of the whole will make for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

One hears it all the time: “Mine will not have a problem”; “I am sure you hear it all the time, but…”  What is heard “all the time” is not necessarily shouts from success; rather, the voices heard are more likely to be in response to dismay and disbelief, as it is a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application which evokes the loudest sounds of discordant trumpets.

The information which is placed into a computer determines the quality of conclusions arrived at when a computational intentionality is formulated; what one does not know, and fails to include and assimilate, may in fact be the harmful error which defeats.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the compendium of evidence to be culled and calculated, then disseminated as an effective and persuasive presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not what standard government forms account for.  But that “forms” were the primary foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement, then all Federal Disability Retirements would be easily passed through.  But then again, if that were the case, Federal Disability Retirement would not be a benefit to be proven, but a right to be asserted.

Yes, Standard Forms are a “part” of the process, and so for FERS employees, SF 3107 and their sequential series must be included; for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees, SF 2801 and their sequential series must accompany the Federal Disability Retirement packet; and for all Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D and SF 3112E must be filed as well.

But in the end, be fully cognizant that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely based upon a computational intentionality of a mechanical nature; the “human element” is always pervasive and ever present, precisely because a medical condition itself is the ultimate revelation of the human condition, wrapped within the context of questions involving human frailty, empathy, sympathy, and the evocation of humanity within a universe of cold and mechanistic deliberations of silent computers.

And for those movie buffs, remember to pay homage to the HAL 9000.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire