Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Why we endure

Why, indeed?  We have all come to a point where we have just had it, and want to “chuck it all” in – into what, we often only have an obscure sense, or none at all, but it is the feeling of having reached a pinnacle of despair and those proverbial depths of despondency.  There is, fortunately or unfortunately, no hidden corner or secret room to which we can scurry away to, never to be seen again, remain unnoticed and left without the troubles of the day.

Why do we endure? Because others depend upon us; because to do otherwise would disappoint those we care for; by duty and obligations which compel our actions and form our thoughts; to avoid a sense of guilt; because life isn’t all those doldrums we sometimes complain of, but can sometimes have a spark of sunshine that makes it worthwhile; and for a host of multiple other reasons that we may not think of at this moment, but know to exist because we have continued to endure in the face of challenges and tumults of life that, for some, would constitute that breaking point, but for those still “in the race” and fighting “in the thick” of things (whatever those pithy and inane sayings of trite trollops really mean), we just continue to trudge along.

For some, perhaps the question of “why” never comes up – and like dullards who are happy to remain in the sullenness of life’s garbage pits, ignorant bliss is the best state to be in, while those who constantly complain about the minor irritants of life’s misgivings never stop to smell the roses along the way (there, we have managed to state the penultimate triteness of linguistic pithiness).

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who ask the same question in the face of medical conditions experienced and suffered, it takes on a new meaning when workplace harassment begins to intensify, especially because the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is there precisely in those circumstances such that the “why” is answered when a Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  It is precisely so that the Federal or Postal employee would not have to endure the pain, suffering or the cognitive decline in direct connection and nexus to the essential elements of a Federal or Postal employee’s official position in the Federal or Postal sector, that OPM Disability Retirement benefits are offered and able to be secured.

While filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a long and arduous bureaucratic process, nevertheless, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is that avenue and course of action that answers the very question we sometimes must ponder and posit: Why we endure?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those Fall Leaves

The time of change and spectrums of colors beyond mere rainbows of solitude; it is often poetically described as the season of deterioration, of old age before the winter of mortality.  Fall brings about a freshness of cooler winds, a precursor of foretelling that those dog days of summer have come to an end.  Ever look at the fallen leaves and mistake them for something else — an animal, perhaps, or a figure of caustic imagination?

Such projections erupting from our own fears and hesitancy reveal the true state of our being.  The leaves bring color to an otherwise dreary existence; once fallen, they can take on whatever hopes, dreams and fears we wish to accentuate.  Looked upon from a distance, shapes of crinkling leaves can take on forms enhanced through our imaginations.  It is only when we deliberate, walk up closer, and verify, that we can ascertain with a semblance of certitude that it was not what we thought, or that it constituted nothing more than our fears gone awry.

Fear and imagination tends to do that; until we take affirmative steps to ascertain, verify and concretize, what is left in a muddle remains so.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sit and fret over one’s future because of a medical condition which has begun to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the fear of future forebodings becomes an exponentially-enhanced subject of terror and trembling, so long as pragmatic steps of self-affirmation are avoided and neglected.

Filing 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, may seem like a small step, or perhaps a too-large one in supposing an end to an otherwise successful career.  But sitting in fear and loathing is never a solution; one must, by affirmative steps and bounds, break the isolation of fear and move forward with life.

As the fallen leaves of Fall are merely a season of change, and the colors which surround the spectrum of life’s spector, to remain as a spectator to the vastness of change is to allow for the vicissitudes of misgivings to shake the essence of purpose.

Like the crinkled leaf which sits afar and takes on a gargoyle-like appearance, it is only when those first steps are embraced towards ascertaining, verifying and establishing that the very fears we once took comfort in, are but mere wisps of whispers dissipating into oblivion, once we take those initial steps in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, in order to defy the foreboding of the winter season yet to come, but where our future lies not in fear but in securing a semblance of stability through a benefit available but for want of hesitation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Carpet Bombing

It is an approach meant to saturate an identified area of enemy territory especially recognized as any and all potentialities related to the central target.  The antonym of such an approach is one of targeted precision, such as drone strikes represented by guided missiles upon a specific individual or area of identified combatants.

In either case, collateral damage can be expected; the difference is that in the former methodology, the invading forces remain unconcerned and unperturbed, as it is fully expected; in the latter, the term “precision” has its narrow focus, but with the real-world recognition that general public consumption likes to think that when a targeted focus is declared dead, the rubble of destruction didn’t extend to the entire block surrounding the individual’s living area, when in fact it did and almost always does.  The concepts thus have differing distinctions; in linguistic and semantical disputes, the issue often has to do with the methodological approach of effectiveness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing 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, the former approach of “carpet bombing” is often the preferred choice, as opposed to the latter perspective of “precision bombing”.  That is exactly why Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who prepare an OPM Disability Retirement application often attach a massive volume and compendium of medical reports and records, hoping to “hit the target” just by sheer coverage of length and width of evidence.

But the old proverb referring to the depth of a body of water, as opposed to the appearance of naked body surface, remains applicable and instructive.  And while the skin may be the largest organ of the human body, covering some 22 square feet in space, the loss of a great portion of it still allows for survival, whereas the heart of a man must remain generally intact, lest the flow of the essence of life becomes restricted or cease altogether.

Precision in every approach and methodological conveyance is almost always the preferred mode; and while systematic formulations in an OPM Disability Retirement case may involve greater input, expansive time and attention in properly preparing the effective Federal Disability Retirement case, the preparation spent in fine-tuning every Federal Disability Retirement application and its compendium of attachments will result in limited collateral damage, with the consequence of allowing others to survive another day despite living within the vicinity of the targeted point of attack.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Causal Contingency

If X, then Y; but the problem is that most of us want to skip over the predicated contingency, and move directly to the conclusion without the necessary and sufficient satisfaction of attending to the prerequisite of X.  The consequences of such inaction, or impatience in order to achieve the end-goal, is that when the subversive act of avoidance and disregard results in the inevitable and disastrous compulsion of causal catastrophe, we then attempt to “make up” for “lost time”, and quickly engage in band-aid devices to try and rectify the original misdeed.

Some things in life just don’t work that way; in fact, despite the insistence by millennials that longterm foundations don’t matter (either because the gods are dead, life is absurd, or self-centeredness will get us through the day), it is the artisan and the craftsman who, when the technological innovations and newfangled fads whisper into the fading glow of yesterday’s moonshine, retains the longevity of sustenance and substantive accord.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the inclination is to panic, to rush around like a chicken with its head lopped off by a prowling owl of the dawn skies, and to quickly formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it through one’s own Human Resource Office (if still with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service or, if separated but not more than 31 days thereafter) or directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (if separated for more than 31 days but not more than 1 year after the separation or termination date).  But the operative word in such a scenario is ensconced in the term, “prepare”.

To achieve an effective Federal Disability Retirement application outcome, one must prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits.  To jump over the “preparation” part, and to merely formulate and file, results in the disastrous outcome foreseeable and foreseen.  Just ask Jack, who still reels from the burn marks as he tried to jump over the candlestick.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire