Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Threatened Order

One’s orderliness of life is dependent upon the next person; and like the proverbial domino which stands precariously wedged between the one previous and the one subsequent, the universe of stability is dependent upon the static nature of the surrounding environment.

Thus, in the antiseptic neighborhoods around the country, the quietude of the next door neighbor ensures the peacefulness of one’s heart.  If a violent eruption or turmoil occurs next door, and the flashing lights of law enforcement blink through the closed blinds and curtains of your house, you feel violated.

The principle has been tested and verified, that one’s own order in a physical, as well as psychological sense, is only as secure or vulnerable as that maintained by the next person.  For, we do not view ourselves; we view the world around us, and especially our peers, neighbors, coworkers and extended families, and it is by judging the stability of our surrounding environment by which we determine the security of our own lives.  That is why when a person becomes disabled, it threatens the relative peace and security of supervisors and coworkers within the agency, and they react accordingly.

In advising Federal and Postal Workers throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question which is often asked is the timing of when to inform one’s Supervisor as to the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the time to inform should normally coincide with the actual event of filing, unless there is a valid reason to preemptively inform the agency.

The reaction of an agency is rarely different is substance from one’s neighbor or relative; the disruption of one’s antiseptic and ordered life is seen when a blemish occurs upon the landscape of a cosmetically airbrushed photograph.  When a slight rumble is heard, one looks immediately to the domino standing to the fore and the aft, in the known language of shipmates drifting rudderless in the vast sea of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Cold

“Cold” is a word with multiple meanings.  It can refer to the temperature of one’s environment; an infectious malady of common origins; or the emotional unresponsiveness of someone.  It can even be an adverb delineating the complete knowledge or mastery of a subject, as in, “He knew it cold”.

But temperatures can be countered; common colds have multiple remedies (though one wonders if any of them are effective, as opposed to bed rest and drinking fluids); and the adverb form is merely an informal allowance of language in a vernacular left for the younger generation.  We are thus left with the state of emotional paralysis — identified in one’s own being, or in another.

For the injured or ill Federal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such an appropriate identification of the concept and definition related to the emotional reaction (or lack thereof) by one’s own agency and one’s co-workers should be expected.

While it is a welcome and unexpected surprise if one’s agency and co-workers respond otherwise, it is simply the nature of human beings to respond with a herd mentality, and for the most part, once the Federal or Postal employee reveals the intention to depart from one’s agency, the common response is one which can only be characterized as “cold”.

Why must it be this way?

There is no adequate explanation.  But for the Federal and Postal employee under FERS or CSRS, who has had to endure the often unthinking bureaucracy of the Federal Sector, such lack of warmth merely exacerbates the dire situation of one who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is, indeed, a puzzle; for in the harshness of winter, where the cold winds blow, the emotional coldness of one’s workplace is somewhat akin the common cold — a nagging sense that something has gone awry, but most Federal and Postal employees know that cold, anyway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Tendencies and First Impressions

First impressions are funny animals; while potentially misguided and fraught with errors, they are difficult to shake off because of our natural inclination to form them.  Tendencies, on the other hand, are established over time, and tend (sic) to reliably reflect a routine of repetitive behavior.  In both cases, they are difficult traits to get rid of, sort of like a nagging cold or a hairball in one’s throat.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, both traits are important to recognize.

First impressions — and from knowledge gained over time:  one’s agency; how will one’s supervisor act or react; one’s treating doctor; the extent of support one will receive; they will be the initiating basis and foundation in determining whether to go forward or not.

Tendencies — one’s own; is procrastination a problem?  Is avoidance an issue, such that it is best to jump into the process, knowing that delay is an identified enemy of one’s own best interests?

One’s formed personality and characteristic traits are established early in life; it is the remainder of our lives where we work to understand them, and to undo, supplement, or learn from those early first impressions and tendencies molded into our very being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: A Human Odyssey

Kubrick’s classic movie involved space and the human challenges of technological interaction with an amoral intelligence of the highest order, within the context of time, space and the future of mankind.  But such challenges are met daily by ordinary human beings, in contexts not quite so lofty as space stations and artificial intelligence.

For the Federal and Postal employee, the coming year will encounter multiple challenges involving budgetary constraints and demands for streamlining, as the economy continues to struggle to revive and public funds become arenas for competing interests.

For the Federal and Postal employee who faces the further challenges of a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the contemplation of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, will be a continuing benefit to consider.

May 2014 bring prosperity and joy to all, and some semblance of security to those who require the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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

Puppies are special creatures.  They give their loyalty and love unconditionally, and only ask to explore the world we present within the constraints we define.  They are expected to grow old with us; and when they die young, it is a tragedy beyond comprehension.  To cease before one’s time is difficult to bear, precisely because one’s expectation is that the next generation will carry forth where the previous one left off; and so we view the world in this logical, sequential manner of linear progression.

The puppy grows; he may not live as long in terms of human dimensional existence, but we expect our companion to accompany our linear presence.

Careers are formed that way.  We expect incremental progression; for the Federal and Postal Worker, step increases and annual recognition through monetary incentives for the valuable work which is performed.  But life has a way of interrupting our expectations; and just as the life of a puppy may suddenly and without reason end through an accident or illness, so a career may be cut short because of reasons beyond one’s control.  When life’s harshness intersects with human expectations, a change of one’s linear thought processes must occur.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have met the minimum eligibility rules of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS) and 5 years (for CSRS employees).  It is that benefit which must be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for those whose expectations have been cut short because of a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

As the precious life of a puppy may unexpectedly encounter the harshness of the world in which we live, so the Federal or Postal employee may face the same hardships; however much we may try to cushion and protect, both for the Federal and Postal employee, as well as for that special creature.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Approaching a Reconsideration

The proverbial definition of insanity is to engage in the same repetitive activity with the expectation of receiving a different result.  While such a definition may not provide a clinically accurate or legally acceptable formulation, it does implicate the chaotic character and the futile act of responding in a particularly fruitless manner.

For Federal and Postal employees who have attempted to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, and have received an initial denial, the process of having OPM reconsider one’s case must be approached in a 2-tier manner:  First, one must meet the “deadline” of filing for Reconsideration with OPM within thirty (30) days of the denial, or upon receipt of the denial (although, to be on the safe side, it is best to use the former date as opposed to the latter);  next, with the box checked to indicate submission of additional medical documentation, to then gather, prepare, compile and submit additional medical evidence within thirty (30) days thereafter, unless a further extension is needed and requested.

However, one should also understand that in an OPM Reconsideration case, it will not be the same Case Worker who will review the case, but it will be reviewed thoroughly by someone else as if it had never been previously reviewed. As such, there is the confounding conundrum of a dual anomaly: The First Case Worker who issued the denial based the denial upon certain specific points; yet, what the First Case Worker denied the case upon, may have no bearing upon what the Second, Reconsideration Case Worker will evaluate the case upon.

What does one do? Whatever one’s answer is to this complex conundrum, do not engage in the proverbial act of insanity; better to get some legal guidance than to spin one’s wheels in an insane world of futility.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire