FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: ICM versus ICBM

During the Cold War era, the latter acronym was familiar to most, as fears were magnified as to the intercontinental capacity of the U.S.S.R. (those who can still decipher this immediately reveals one’s age).  In those days, one did not need to know the Eastern European countries by name; they all fell under the satellite rubric of the “union” of those with “the Bear”.  ICBMs were counted and their capacity and efficacy were determined by the exponential powers of the number of “warheads” attached.

ICMs, on the other hand, are a fairly recent phenomenon. They show the extent, or the lack thereof, in what agencies and individuals with minor fiefdoms will perpetuate.  They can also be metaphorical antonyms of ICBMs, in that when one possesses an ICM, it can result in the prevention of an ICBM being launched across the barricades of time.

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, because of a medical condition which is impacting one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to utilize one’s hoard of ICMs.

Agencies often have no need or, rather, they will often disregard the need, to engage in utilizing impulsivity control mechanisms, because they have the power to hire, fire, reprimand, reassign or otherwise penalize the serfs of this world. But for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is important to apply the various impulsivity control mechanisms available, including resisting the urge to inform a supervisor until the proper time; the inclination to make derogatory references about the workplace in one’s Statement of Disability; and other impulses which may ultimately harm the goal of attainment sought: of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, granted through an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, in the end, the ICBMs remained in cold storage [sic], precisely because the greater instinct for humanity’s survival depended upon the evolutionary relevance of ICMs.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: The Rise

It is attributed to objects and people; the sun does it in the morning and the moon at night; tides rise and fall; employment rates, statistical variables; the careers of people; and for this coming week, the anticipation of religious significance and theological arguments over the historical occurrence of a matter specifying an Easter Event.

As a noun, it is used to describe great historical events of a period: The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire; the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, etc.  In entertainment circles, a variation of it is often applied, as in, “is X in or out?”, or “Is Y up or down?” Whether the bread rises sufficiently, or we miss witnessing the sun rise on any particular day, shows the vast array of elasticity in how we apply a particular concept in everyday usage.

Technically, of course, neither the sun nor the moon ever “rise”; rather, the rotational perspective from any given viewpoint provides an illusion of such a phenomena.  When it comes to describing the state of an object, such loose usage of language is harmless; but when applied to a person, one should remain vigilantly sensitive to such choice of descriptive language.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, such that their careers “rise or fall”, or their individual and professional status and stature go “up or down”, the impact upon such lives matter beyond everyday and common application of language.  The rising fortunes and falling health of Federal and Postal employees should matter to those beyond family and friends.

The options?  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is one option.  It is a benefit which is available to all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum number of years of service, but one which must be proven to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

And what of that event previously referred to for this coming week?  That is the one account where, by those who apply significance to the event, the second half of the description never came about: the rise occurred, but not the fall; or, another way to put it is that the rise conquered the fall.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Tenuous Thread of Life

In this, our desensitized, sanitized life; in a world of virtual reality and technological complexity, the modern man has little empathy for the tenuous thread of life.

We are conditioned and trained more to cry over a movie scene than the tragedy which befalls a real entity. A well-rehearsed scene which evokes a glandular response, perfected at the 50th take with artificial lighting and poll-tested under the directorship of professionals, will tug the sympathies of our fellow man, than the unseen damage done to the psyche of a puppy lost in a world of daily productivity.

That is the stark reality which the Federal and Postal Worker must face in seeking Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; of avoiding the land mines of adverse actions by one’s agency; of trying to contain the disdain of fellow Federal or Postal Employees who suddenly begin to shun those who are not part of “the team” and who cannot justify their existence because of lack of productivity.

It is the tenuous thread of life which becomes all the more real and revealing; for, it is ultimately not what we produce or how much; what we consume or which brand; rather, it is how we tend to the weakest and the flimsy which represents the soul of a person, a neighborhood, a community.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which preserves the dignity of the Federal and Postal Worker by providing for a base annuity, and then to allow that person to go out and try a new vocation and career without penalizing that person for again becoming a productive member of society.

That tenuous thread of life; it is well worth fighting for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Disjunctive between Words and Actions

In symbolic logic, there is the disjunctive which allows for a choice between two elements, and one must exhaustively pursue the symbolic “tree” in order to arrive at a logical conclusion.  At each fork in the road, there remains a choice; the pursuit of each road leads to the answer one searches for.

Similarly, in life, one is often confronted with such metaphorical “forks in the road“, and the choice which one embraces will determine whether the path taken leads to — if not a logically sound outcome — a reasonable judgment.

Throughout the career of the Federal or Postal employee, a sense of “loyalty” is stressed; that if one works hard, one will be rewarded; if the agency succeeds in its accomplishments, the individual worker who contributed will be acknowledged, praised, etc.  But the true test of sincerity is actions, not more words.

When the time comes when a Federal or Postal employee is overwhelmed by 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, then that is precisely the time to “cash in” on that loyalty which the agency had previously and so honorably declared to be of penultimate importance.

Don’t count on it.

If one’s agency indeed confirms the sincerity of its words, then that is an exponential benefit to the process of one’s life and career.  But short of that, one has reached a true “fork-in-the-road”, tripartite in character, and the choice is often one of walking away, being constantly harassed, or filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Federal Disability benefits were always part and parcel of a Federal or Postal employee’s total compensation package.  It was part of the reason why you “signed on” as a Federal or Postal worker.

When the appropriate time comes — when a medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — then it is time to go down that path, and pursue the tree of logic, and look out for one’s own best interest — and not merely be blinded by the words of an agency which somehow declares a state of amnesia when it comes to such vainglorious words like honor, loyalty, and the mission of the agency.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Power, Persuasion and the Legal Argument

FERS & CSRS Disability retirement is no different, in kind, than other areas of law which intersect with individuals and personalities.  As an area of administrative law, and specifically, where a government entity (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) is involved, the Federal or Postal worker must encounter an agency which is large, powerful, and often immovable (sort of like Aristotle’s Primum movens, or the Prime Mover).  

The singular Federal or Postal worker may find the encounter with the Federal government to be a daunting, almost insurmountable task.  It is the classic meeting of two unequal forces; and, as such, there is always a question as to who will prevail.  

Fortunately, however, there are some mechanisms in place which allow for persuasive argumentation.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied at the First Stage of the administrative process, then there is the Second, or Reconsideration Stage of the process, which places the disability retirement application in the hands of a different OPM case worker, in a different section.  If it gets rejected a second time, then it is taken entirely out of the hands of OPM, and will be placed before an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Throughout the entire process, however, the Federal or Postal worker may feel lonely, small and irrelevant.  That is why the Federal or Postal worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement must engage in substantive and persuasive legal argumentation.  Persuasion is the key where power is unavailable.  It is OPM which has the power; it is the Federal or Postal Worker who has the persuasive tools, and must use them to his or her advantage as the law allows.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Waiting to Get your Federal Disability Retirement Benefits?: Well Worth It

There are many stories out there.  Indeed, as many Federal and Postal Workers who live and work throughout the United States and in Europe, Japan, and across the spectrum of the world, there is a microcosmic, personal story to be told.  That is the point of Chekhov’s short story, “Grief”, in which the father needs to relate the narrative story of the tragedy of his son’s death.  

In the impersonal world within which we live our lives, as a cocoon untouched and untouchable, there are stories and tragedies which we know not about.  Then, there are the narratives of successful outcomes; of those Federal and Postal workers who have filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, who — years later — relate tidbits of starting second vocations, of having the opportunity to rehabilitate from their medical conditions, and to start “new” lives.  

The “present” and “now” is always a time of anguish, especially if one is suffering from a medical condition, or is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement case.  

Is it worth the wait?  To ask that in the present-tense is probably not the right question.  Rather, once a Federal or Postal worker has filed, has obtained an approval, and has taken some years to move on into another stage of life, the time to ask the question is probably in a retrospective manner:  Was it worth the wait?  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal employee who intends on filing must understand that it can be a long and frustrating administrative process.  Hopefully, however, the hope of the future is what makes the waiting worthwhile.  For, without the hope of the future, we would all be stuck in the drudgery of the present.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Reasons & Conclusions

In a denial letter from the Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement application filed under FERS or CSRS (which, if received, a Federal or Postal employee must file a Request for Reconsideration within 30 days of the date of the denial letter), the connection between the reasonings given, and the conclusions arrived at, will often be missing.  

Often, OPM will tangentially or in a cursory manner refer to various medical documents which were submitted with the original Federal Disability Retirement packet, or actually extrapolate a selective quote from a medical report or office note, and even make it appear as if a full and complete evaluation of the submission has been performed.  Thereafter, a conclusory statement will be proposed, often with a logical pretext of:  “Therefore, your application is denied.”

However, there is a vast difference between referring to various medical reports or statements, and evaluating such reports and statements in order to arrive at a proper legal conclusion based upon the evidence submitted.  It is rare that the Office of Personnel Management engages in the proper evaluative process in determining whether or not a Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application meets the applicable legal criteria.  That said, such lack of evaluative and analytical process is legally required, and there must be a logical connection between the reasons given, and the conclusions reached.  Such lack of engaging in the process must be pointed out, but it must be done in a “diplomatic” manner.  Diplomacy is best engaged in by diplomats; similarly, legal issues are best tackled by lawyers.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire