CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Proper Endpoint

Matching the proper pairs of life’s “things” likely begins at an early age; it is a tool and ability which is perhaps developed, as opposed to an innate characteristic naturally existent like breathing or sleeping.  Have you ever come across someone who wears two different-colored socks?  And when the issue is inquired about, the response is:  “What’s wrong with that?  They match perfectly!”

Logic, sequential production, and causal connections do not necessarily arise from an innate sense of life; and that is precisely why Hume’s argument concerning the lack of a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, despite repeated observation of the same or similar circumstances, fails to give rise to an absolute confirmation of causality.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, it is necessary to understanding the strategic and logistical causal connections in preparing, formulating and filing for such benefits.  Thus, questions such as:  What is the endpoint? — is a necessary and important one.  By such a question, one will be forced to encounter the obvious and the not-so-obvious: Success and approval is the obvious; how to get there; what are the necessary elements to prove, etc. — are some of the basic “not-so-obvious” issues.

Even the logistical ones concerning endpoints:  Who to send the packet to, when, and within what timeframe?  Endpoints require answers involving preceding beginning points.  The ultimate answer prompts the intermediate questions.  While public display of different-colored socks may be somewhat inconsequential, properly preparing, formulating and filing a OPM Disability Retirement application may require greater tools than the ability to make color differentiations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: How We Go about Preparing a Case

The end product of a case — how it reads; the coordination of the facts, statements, allegations, and citation of law, etc. — reflects the process in which one has undertaken in order to arrive at that endpoint.  

Some cases present themselves like a compilation of bumps and potholes; others, as if a roadmap was never consulted and the wide expanse of the universe became a meandering and directionless compass.  Maps and compasses serve a purpose; they provide the traveler with a focused direction and purpose, and a sense that there is a straight line between two points — where to start, and where to go.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to have a sense of direction — a purposive roadmap in which the preparer of the application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits knows, understands, and implements a plan to reach the stated goal:  an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Yet, even the best of such preparers can never guarantee the successful outcome sought.  

What the “best of them” can do, however, is to take the terrain of the road, put forth a plan for the best route, then guide the “traveler” in the most efficient and effective manner possible.  One must work with the facts, and even if the facts are not always favorable, to give the best chance by avoiding dangerous pitfalls, and to present the safest route to the destination, all of which will provide the greatest opportunity for success.

How one gets from point A to destination B is the key to a successful Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Disparate Information in a Disability Retirement Application

The difference between success and an almost-successful endeavor is normally not based upon the information available, but rather, the effective use of the available information.  Just as most “secrets” are neither hidden nor unknown, but rather depend upon who knows it, how it is used, and when it is acquired; similarly, the availability of information disseminated throughout our lives — via the internet, through publications, through media outlets, etc. — is generally not the basis for success.  Disparate information compiled in a bulk bound conglomeration is normally not an effective way of presenting something.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to go beyond mere compiling of information and data in presenting one’s case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Remember that Federal Disability Retirement is not an entitlement; rather, it is a benefit which is available upon proving one’s case.  Proof of a case depends upon multiple factors: indeed, the Office of Personnel Management will often state the following in denying a Federal Disability Retirement application:  “The mere fact that you have a medical condition does not mean that you are eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.”

The existence of a medical condition is a necessary requirement; facts supporting one’s case can be persuasive; the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement and the eligibility criteria should be cited; the nexus between one’s Federal and Postal position and the medical condition should be established; then, beyond each of the disparate informational islands, a coordination of the information is necessary. For that, an approach which involves a paradigm of how one should win a case is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Measure of Success

Gratitude is often the measure of success, but such a measure is fleeting, at best, and only as relevant as the next person who may express disappointment.  In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the ultimate measure of success is whether or not the Federal or Postal employee obtains an approval from OPM; there is no “relative success” in such an administrative process, and indeed, it is an “either-or” bifurcation with no middle ground.

Furthermore, much of the process can appear strangely subjective —  in one case, a fairly skimpy file of medical records can warrant an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, while in another, a large compendium of medical documentation can result in multiple denials, despite every good effort of providing medical narrative reports, treatment notes, etc.

Because individuals comprise the universe of determinations in a Federal Disability Retirement application, and therefore the encounter between individuals necessarily results in differing perspectives, opinions and approaches, there never can be a “science” of applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The best that can be accomplished is to put together as effective a Federal Disability Retirement packet as one can — of medical records and reports; of legal citations; of a persuasive argument; and a tight nexus between one’s medical conditions and the type of positional duties one must perform.

Beyond that, the measure of success must await for a positive outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Experience & Secrets

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are no “secrets” to the pathway of success (“success” being narrowly defined as receiving an approval from the Office of Personnel Management); rather, there is only the experience of knowing the law, applying the law, stating the facts, creating the nexus between the medical condition and the positional duties which one occupies with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and understanding the few but important issues which can defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application.

The latter portion, of course, is just as important as the former issues — of knowing the negative consequences of entering certain arenas of issues, despite every temptation to do so. Thus, as have been more thoroughly discussed in previous articles and blogs, focusing upon collateral work-place issues of harassment, discrimination, subsequent EEOC complaints, etc.; of characterization of one’s medical conditions which comes perilously close to being described as “situational”; and some questions concerning accommodations, and especially at the first two stages of the administrative process, where the Office of Personnel Management will often fail to understand the legal distinction between temporary modified duties, and what constitutes a legally viable accommodation — all of these are able to be dealt with through experience and application of that experience.

Very few “secrets” are truly that; rather, the secret to a successful outcome turns out to be rather mundane:  experience, tempered by careful preparation, formulation, and timely filing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Key to a Case

Often, when dignitaries or celebrities visit a particular city, they are recognized, applauded and sometimes “given the keys” to a city — metaphorically meaning that they are provided with certain benefits and access to such benefits.  It would be nice if, in every circumstance involving the necessity of identifying a key to an access, that we could figure out which key fits, in order to open the door to that previously-inaccessible entranceway.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to identify, recognize, and implement the “keys” to a successful outcome.  If one metaphorically views a Federal Disability Retirement application, then the application itself would be the key; the doorway which prevents access is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and the opening of the door is the successful approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

The “key”, then, is that which opens the doorway, and leads to eligibility of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The focus of the Federal and Postal employee must be upon choosing the right key; crafting the proper implement; then ensuring that the instrument fits properly the lock which bars the entrance to the gateway of success.

Such formulation and compilation of the proper key in order to obtain access, is — to put it in trite form — the key to one’s success.  As such, it is important to put one’s effort in the timeline just before putting the key into the lock — i.e., in the formulation and preparation, of compiling the right data, arguments and documents, in order to possess and apply an effective application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire