Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Guidance and the Void

Questions in life always abound; those who ask few, if any, questions, either retain an abundance of knowledge, are wanting of care, or merely meander through life in a muddle of marginality.

In enduring the administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, questions concerning the entire bureaucratic process are never fully answered at any stage of the process.  The void of clear, concise and definitive answers are often deferred — whether because of OPM’s actions, one’s own agency actions, or because the context and timing of the question must betray the patience of an immediate answer.

Guidance throughout the process is invaluable.  Remember — ultimately, Federal Disability Retirement is a legal process; yes, it is the filing of government standard forms; yes, it is “administrative” in nature, inasmuch as the benefit applied for must be submitted through an administrative agency — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  But whenever there are rights to have a “case” reconsidered; whenever that administrative “filing” may require an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; whenever “anything” of such a nature is or may be required — it constitutes a legal process and procedure.

For a legal process, one normally requires legal guidance.  The void of legal guidance of those who have tried it without an attorney, is palpable.  Of course, guidance is separate from wisdom; and wisdom is differentiated from the mere providing of information — often of error.  Seek the proper guidance, and keep out of the void.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Understanding & Application

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 both “understand” the administrative process — the compendium of the entirety of the process and procedures itself, including the relevant statutory and case-law criteria which is relied upon, the methodological approach of the Office of Personnel Management, etc. — as well as have the ability to apply such knowledge in an effective manner.  The former constitutes the preparation:  i.e., the study of one’s enemy is necessary in the ultimate prevailing of an endeavor.  The latter — the application of such obtained and accrued knowledge — is the initiation of the former.

The distinction between the two, and the effective use of both, is important in reaching a successful conclusion to the whole point of the process.  Understanding of a subject, person, group, entity, or Federal Agency, is important in the initial, preparatory stages of the administrative process, and as there is much information “out there”, one ultimately has little excuse in not taking the time to reading, self-informing, and compiling the available facts and informative advice provided.  The chasm between understanding and “application”, however, is one which differentiates between knowledge and wisdom; and it is the latter which one is attempting to achieve.  Once the information is compiled, the key is to apply it in an effective, impacting manner.

The difference is likened to the person who has read upon on how to fly an airplane (i.e., the language game may be memorized), but would you ever step onto a plane being flown by a pilot who has never flown previously, but who assures you that he has studied all available resources?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Choices

One immediately hears it in the voice — of the frustration and desire to simply give up.  But “giving up” is simply not a choice, if one refuses to acknowledge such an option and fails to place it on the roster of listed alternatives.  Part of the human factor in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the chasm of the unknown.

No, there is never a guarantee that one’s Federal Disability Retirement application will be approved, just as there is never a certainty that one’s treating doctor will support the patient’s need to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  It is the unknown — from whether the application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is sufficient to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, to whether the doctor’s report is “strong enough”; from what steps the agency will take to try and undermine a Federal Disability Retirement case, to the long and seemingly endless wait while one’s case simply sits on the desk of some Case worker at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — the aggregate of all of these constitute and comprise the “unknown”.

There are cases where a thin sliver of medical documents result in a quick and uncomplicated approval; others, where a voluminous binding of reports, diagnostic tests and medical records result in scant attention and a denial. Often, it seems somewhat arbitrary.

It is the “unknown” and “unknowable” factors which heighten the time of anxiety.  But through the entire administrative process, the singular choice should always be clear:  to move forward.  And sometimes, to do so is to merely wait, and disregard the unknown or unknowable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Discretionary Selectivity

Having the discretion to do X can have two possible meanings:  One has the power or authority to choose to make decisions; or, alternatively, one has the ability to do X, as in having the judgment and talent to discern in order to selectively choose, refrain to act upon, etc.  The two are not necessarily possessed by one and the same; i.e., the fact that a person has the power or authority to do X does not mean that such a person should, or competently could, assert such power or authority to act.

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 for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to recognize that while he/she as the potential applicant, has the “discretion” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is often unwise to be both the subject of the application, concurrently with being the object of the application, and as such, the highest recognition of discretionary selectivity is to recognize the inability to assert sound discretionary judgment, and to delegate the (applying second meaning of the concept of “discretion”) act to someone else; or, at the very least, to ask for assistance in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In most issues of life, to be both the subject (the applicant filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits) as well as the object (the person of whom the application itself is the primary focus of discussion in a Federal Disability Retirement application) presents a difficulty and obstacle, if only because the one suffering from a medical condition is hardly the most objective person to be describing and communicating the essence of the medical condition and its impact upon the subject of the object.

Discretionary selectivity requires the ability to approach issues in an objective manner; but when the subject (the pervasive “I”) becomes inseparable from the central focus of discussion (the “thou” or “him/her”), it is often a good idea to delegate the vehicle of communication.  This is not a matter of split personalities; it is a practical approach in order to “how” best be effective in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Reluctance through Negation

Making mistakes is part of the entire process of going through life; receiving advice and proper counsel helps to mitigate such mistakes; the distinction between “advice” and “information” is not merely a conceptual difference, but a pragmatic one which impacts one’s actions, thoughts, and application of thoughts to actions.  

“Going it alone” in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is no longer the only viable option; there is much information “out there” on the internet, and other publication resources are available; but as has been written about previously, there is a conceptual distinction to be made between “information” and “knowledge”, where the former is merely a compilation of facts and perspectives upon those facts, whereas the latter is a filtered compendium of the latter based upon experience, reflection, and considered logical analysis.  

The Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement, who encounters the morass of information and hesitates because of the reluctance to engage in an administrative process, complex though it may be, is making a crucial mistake.  

Most “mistakes” which result in a denial from the Office of Personnel Management in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS are correctable.  Such mistakes, however, must be identified, recognized, and addressed in any subsequent appeal, either at the Reconsideration Stage of the process, or in the appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.  

Reluctance to begin or continue the process of preparing, formulating, and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management, because of the potential negation through mistakes, while understandable, should not result in failing to file.  

The medical condition should be the determinative factor, as well as the quality of life for the Federal or Postal Worker contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire