Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Coordinating the Various Elements

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to coordinate the various elements necessary in its core formulation and preparation, to the extent possible.

Aside from simply declaring that there is “insufficient medical documentation” to warrant an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application, such that one’s case does not provide “compelling medical evidence”, the Office of Personnel Management will often cite various inconsistencies between the medical documents, including comparing what Doctor X stated as opposed to Doctor Y, or by noting internal inconsistencies where a particular medical note states “improvement” on a specific date, and contrasting that singular note with the body of the narrative report which the doctor has submitted for purposes of Federal Disability Retirement; or with the lack of performance deficiencies, or in comparison with what the Supervisor stated, etc.  

The problem with attempting to correct all inconsistencies, whether apparent, minor, or substantive, is that most issues in life contain inconsistencies.  Think about it — in normal situations of everyday life, do people act and speak in perfect narratives, where everything and everybody is coordinated in speech, action and motive?  Or are there always some inexplicable inconsistencies where one simply throws up one’s hands and says, Nevertheless, that is what happened?  Yet, the Office of Personnel Management will focus upon such inconsistencies and attempt to compare, contrast, and form the basis for a substantive denial.  

At the Reconsideration Level, of course, the Federal or Postal employee is given the opportunity to explain or to unravel such inconsistencies; but to the extent possible, the effort to coordinate between all of the various elements should be engaged in at the outset.  However, such coordination should be real, and one should never force an artificial coordination of efforts.  

Truth must always be the guide; but that the Office of Personnel Management, in reviewing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, would also be guided by the same criteria, as well as by a balanced approach of fairness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Approach

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management, one should always make the conceptual distinction between an “entitlement” and an “eligible benefit”.  

Federal Disability Retirement benefits fall into the latter category.  However, because the technical distinction between an “entitlement” and an “eligible benefit” is often not made, or not thought of, the approach in preparing and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes problematic and fraught with defects.  

In speaking with various Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, one often hears the case that his or her particular disability retirement application is “a sure thing,” or that the “medical evidence shows that it’ll sail through.” 

While self-confidence is an admirable quality, approaching a Federal Disability Retirement application with the idea that the benefit is tantamount to an entitlement because of the strength of meeting the applicable burden of proof, is what is popularly referred to as, “A recipe for disaster”.

When a Federal Disability Retirement application is reviewed by the Office of Personnel Management, it is never a sure thing.  It must be carefully prepared and presented, and any amount of taking an issue or element of the application for granted is a foolhardy perspective.  

Self-confidence should arise after a good piece of work has been accomplished; and, even then, one should always be prepared to engage in a protracted battle.  After all, the eligible benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is worth fighting for, in order to secure one’s physical, mental, and financial future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Awareness after a Respite

Memorial Day weekend, like other extended weekends, provide for a temporary respite, where an interval and delay from returning to work provides for some relief in order to recuperate.  Yet, for those Federal and Postal employees contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the temporary nature of the respite becomes apparent as there is an increasingly shortened period of return, such that the ratio between “rest” and “benefits of rest” become increasingly and progressively disproportionate.  

As one’s chronic and intractable medical conditions require a greater amount of rest, the benefits returned as a result of such rest become less and less apparent.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available to all Federal and Postal employees who prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  

One must prove one’s eligibility, and to that extent, it is not an “entitlement” but a benefit that must be accessed.  If the benefit and rate of return through rest on weekends and evenings becomes disproportionately and exponentially overshadowed by the need for such times of respite because of one’s medical conditions, then it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  

It is precisely why the benefit is available — in order for the Federal or Postal employee to obtain the benefit which will be most beneficial of all:  an extended period of time for recuperation, commonly known as “rest”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire