Federal Medical Retirement: The X Factor

In algebraic equations, it is that unknown variable which remains elusive and concealed, and which must be figured out in order to arrive at the conclusion.  We love those teachers who inform us that “credit” will be “given” for work shown, and that it is not so important to come up with the answer as opposed to the methodology manifested in reaching it.

And so we devised a complex network of signs and symbols, hoping that they concealed the ignorance of our unlearned lack of wisdom.  But the fact remains that leaving the factor unexplained and unfulfilled is like turning one’s back upon a helpless puppy abandoned in the middle of a busy freeway; somehow, the hollowness of leaving behind haunts one with a sense of incompleteness, like the puzzle with a missing piece.

These vestiges of psychological appendages, like damaging mollusks on the underbelly of a drifting boat, remain long after the effort to solve the equation is abandoned; for, in life, we think that all variables have an answer, if only we had listened carefully in the classes we skipped or during which we daydreamed and slept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to seriously impact one’s ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements (or “essential elements”) described, the thought of abandonment through resignation or termination leaves that same taste of dismay and fear, like the residue of pine-goo on the palm of one’s hand.

The “other” option — which constitutes the solution of the X-factor — is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.   While not widely advertised, OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is offered when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to, because of a medical condition, perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, instead of remaining static in a state of utter frustration, attempting like those childhood years of yore when scratching one’s head, peeking over surreptitiously at the blank paper on the next desk, or looking with wonderment at the ceiling above as if the gods of information will reveal the answer through the illuminating fluorescence of those linear tubes, the Federal or Postal employee has the ultimate solution for the X-factor within grasp:  preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: OPM & the Problem of Templates

The problem with the use of templates is that they are, over time and overusage, predictable; being predictable, they become ineffective.  Now, from the perspective of the Office of Personnel Management, applying a template to a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, whether predictable or not, is somewhat irrelevant, to the extent that a denial is still a denial, and an approval is simply an approval. 

It is only if and when a case is appealed (after an initial denial and a denial at the Second Stage, at the Request for Reconsideration Stage) to the Merit Systems Protection Board, that the template has to be “defended” if the Administrative Judge asks for clarification of the issues by referring to the template-based denial.  Moreover, what is predictable is the combination of medical condition/denial rationale.  For instance:  for Fibromyalgia:  “The condition waxes and wanes”; for Major Depression:  “Not enough time has been allowed for the efficacy of a medication regimen“; for anxiety & panic attacks:  “There is insufficient objective medical evidence”; for Chronic pain:  “Physical therapy has not been sufficiently given a chance to…”   These are some examples of templates used by the Office of Personnel Management, each of which can easily be refutted in any particular case.  The methodology of refutation, obviously, is where a federal disability attorney can be of greatest counsel and representation.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire