FERS Disability Retirement: Choices and Regrets

The two go hand-in-hand, although we may not necessarily see them as unalterable couplets forever ensconced and inseparable. Instead, we often make choices, then afterwards, express our regrets without having learned from the process of “choice-making”.

Choices available are often unanalyzed and nebulous; left to appear, remain inert and ignored; the “active” part of a “choice” is when we engage in the act of “choice-making” — of engaging our minds with an inactive but available “something” — a choice there, but lifeless until the activation of our choosing invigorates the inertia of indecision.

Regrets, on the other hand, are comprised by the dust of past choices made. Once settled, they remain in the hidden caverns of forgotten memories until, one day or hour, or moment of quietude when we have the time to reflect back, the unsettling of the dust collected is stirred and rises from the ashes, like the mythological Phoenix that appears with wings spread and ready for flight into our imagination and stabbing at the vulnerabilities of our inner soul.

We regret that which we have chosen; and like the past that haunts, such regrets are ever so painful when once we recall the choices available and the ones we made.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job and position, the next steps taken — of choices being made in whether and how to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits — are important in determining whether regrets will follow.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the choices to be made will result in regrets later recalled; for in the end, it is the choices that determine the future course of success, and not the regrets that harken back the past of lost opportunities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: Tranquility times turmoil equals?

Alliterations often require deliberate disentanglement; for, the focus is often upon the consonant being repeated, as opposed to the coherence of the alliterated sequence of words.  Both can be attained, however – of coherence and of repetition without incomprehensible aggregation, and in this instance, the multiplying effect of the calm of one’s life by events beyond one’s control can easily result in turmoil that was never requested, never desired and remained always unasked and unrequested.

Tranquility x turmoil is the idea that we fail to enjoy the relative calm in our lives because of the anxiousness of knowing that all good things cannot last for long, and must come to an inevitable end, no matter how hard we try to remain the solitary stoic in life, regardless of the hermitage we seek and irrespective of the complications we shed in order to attain a Zen-monk-like livelihood.

That is when, for instance, a medical condition hits us and the complexities of the life we attempted to avoid come to the fore and become all the more magnified, times 10 in an exponential ferocity that we simply cannot ignore.  True tranquility, however, requires the ability and capacity to keep all things in perspective, and to resist the temptation to allow for the turmoil to overwhelm us.  Keeping in mind that the concept itself can never be reduced to a mere mathematical equation, the question then becomes: What is the multiplicand, the multiplier, and finally, the product?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, it is when the monotony of daily living (tranquility) becomes interrupted by the medical condition itself (turmoil), that the product of decision-making is forced upon one’s life.

There are multiple options, and none of them are very satisfying: The Federal or Postal employee may just endure and continue on “as if”; the Federal or Postal employee may get terminated or sanctioned because of excessive usage of leave, whether of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP, or a combination of all three; the Federal or Postal employee may ultimately believe that resignation from Federal employment is the only option left; or, the Federal or Postal employee may recognize that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the most viable conclusion to a mathematical equation that one never expected to have to calculate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Which Forms, How to Fill Them Out, and What to Put

Filling out forms is a part of life.  At some stage in our lives, we are required to complete forms.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal employee (which encompasses the full spectrum of positions, from secretaries, administrative assistants, to scientists, Information Technology Specialists, 1811 Law Enforcement Officers, etc.) or a U.S. Postal worker (including Craft employees, Managers, Postmasters, Supervisors, etc.), preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.

Thus, the act of “form filling” must be confronted.  On computers, of course, if you have been completing online queries, the “autofill” option may be presented.  But the limitation of such an option, and the unavailability of that choice, should become readily apparent when attempting to complete the various “Standard Forms” required of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For any remaining CSRS employees intending to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, the series embodied under the designation of SF 2801 must be completed, along with the SF 3112 series.  For all of the rest of the Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who came into Federal or Postal Service after around 1985, and who are under FERS, the SF 3107 series must be completed, and as well, the SF 3112 series of standard forms.

Thus has the question, “Which Forms?” been answered.  As for the remaining two questions:  How to fill them out and What to put —  the “how” is, to put it mildly, with care and trepidation; the “what to put” is too complex to elucidate in this forum.  The series of “informational” forms — SF 2801 series for CSRS employees and SF 3107 for FERS employees — are fairly straightforward (e.g., full name, date of birth, Social Security number, agency name and location, military service, etc.).

It all comes back to the SF 3112 series which becomes problematic — for that is where the Federal and Postal employee must “prove” the nexus between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions by which one is prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  For that, the Federal and Postal employee must go “outside” of the boundaries of the forms themselves, and consult documentation obtained from the doctor, and make legal arguments based upon wise counsel and advice.

As with much of life, it is never as easy as a bureaucracy promises; indeed, the complexity of life is in the very bureaucratization of administrative forums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Afterwards

There is often a sense of deflated incompleteness; of a sense that what comes next is not as fulfilling as the expectation of that which has already passed.  The sense of “let-down” is a phenomena which exists only in a culture which prepares for much, allows for little, and demands of everything.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who expected that a career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service meant a lifetime of dedicated service, and that loyalty would include a bilateral venue where, if you became ill, had a prolonged period of absenteeism, or otherwise suffered from a medical condition such that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of your job — that, despite such circumstances as described, the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service would nevertheless “stick by you”, your disappointment at the reality of the situation must by now be palpable.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or even CSRS-Offset, is the next best step if the Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition which impacts and prevents one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Such an application must be prepared with a view towards effective persuasion, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and should include multiple elements including a clear citation of the legal basis upon which one meets the eligibility criteria.

Afterwards, there is merely the empty wrappings and the residue of the joyous occasion from the previous night; but it is the tomorrow and the next day, and the days thereafter, which will determine whether happiness and fulfillment are still the byproducts of a promised culture, especially for the Federal and Postal employee who gave much, demanded little, and finally gained insight into the broken promises spoken by the Leviathan of a bureaucratic morass.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire