Federal and USPS Disability Retirement: First Impressions

The older generation often refers to the importance of “first impressions” — of the firmness of one’s handshake; of whether eye contact is made to betray secretiveness; the clothes one wears; tattoos and the number of body piercings; all are evidence of first impressions left for future judgment.

While such initial encounters may not reveal the true “inner” person, they nevertheless leave an indelible and lasting imprimatur upon those who rely upon such an approach.  Whether one likes it or not is besides the point; first impressions are psychological realities which one must deal with in this harsh world.

For those who prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal applicant must understanding that one’s formulation of one’s case is merely one of thousands, and the Case Worker who is assigned to the case, upon an initial review and analysis, will be left with such a first impression.

The methodology of evidentiary presentation; the conciseness of the Statement of Disability; the coordination and support of the medical evidence; all will depend upon the manner and content of the presentation.  Too many tattoos, and the grandmother-characteristic in the Case Worker may turn up a nose; not a firm enough handshake, and the old-man sense in another Case Worker may pause with concern.

First impressions; it is how one approaches a case, as much as the presentation of the evidence, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Explanations

Much of what constitutes a “proper” and “complete” Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is discretionary in nature, and based upon experience in what has worked in the past, and what presently works.  

The law itself is never constant, precisely because the individual case-workers at the Office of Personnel Management are systematically replaced.  There are certain case-workers who tend to approach each Federal Disability Retirement application from a particularly narrow perspective, and view each case through that specific set of lens.  But for the individual Federal or Postal employee who has prepared, formulated and filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, he or she would never recognize any pattern of behavior from a case-worker at the Office of Personnel Management, precisely because this would be the singular, isolated event of encountering a particular case worker at OPM.  

One problem which Federal and Postal applicants for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have, is a tendency to over-explain a particular situation or issue.  Explanations are meant to be given for one central purpose — to clarify.  If an explanation further complicates and muddles an issue, then the explanation has failed.  Or, conversely, if the explanation brings up more questions than answers, then further explanations will not normally satisfy the OPM Case Worker.  Explaining an X should be condensed into simple components of y and z; otherwise, if an explanation further complicates the issue, perhaps it should be left alone until and unless there is a question which arises from the issue itself.  

Sometimes, discretion requires one to “let sleeping dogs alone”.  Don’t complicate an issue by over-explaining; better yet, keep it simple, and not offer an explanation unless called for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire