FERS Disability Retirement: The Meaning of Incompatibility

We hear the word often — used in conjunction with “irreconcilable differences” (in a divorce proceeding), or perhaps in an electrical engineering context where voltages and circuitry are “incompatible” with this or that mainframe, or some similar language game involving technical issues which don’t work well together.

It is a peculiar word; stated in a certain way or tone of voice, it is a declaration of finality, as in, “Nope!  These two [blanks] are incompatible!”  And ascribed to human beings?  How about: “Jane and Joe were married for 20 years.  They have separated and are going to get a divorce because they are no longer compatible”.  Does the phrase, “no longer compatible” mean the same thing as being “incompatible”?  Can two people, like two components of some mechanical processes, become “incompatible” when previously they were not?  Are people like widgets where parts can be irreplaceable in one instance, but are no longer so in the next?

It is, as well, a legal term.  In the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law, incompatibility is the “fourth” criteria that can be met if the first three (deficiency in performance, conduct or attendance) cannot be satisfied in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Some medical conditions cannot so easily be described in terms of a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal job that cannot be met.

In their aggregate and totality, the compendium of medical conditions may have come to a critical juncture where they are no longer compatible (i.e., incompatible) with continuation or retention in the Federal Service, and that is when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a necessary function of one’s future goals and plans.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Law: The Chasm between Reality and The Law

Non-lawyers will often read “The Law” and expect that reality will conform to the language as it is stated.  That is actually a good sign, in that the expectation of the layperson is that respect for the law will necessarily result in compliance with its dictates.  But language is malleable.  It is subject to interpretation, and that is the field of play which allows for elasticity and the chasm which develops between Reality and The Law.

There are, first and foremost, “The Facts” — and whether or not “The Law” applies to a particular set of facts.  Then, from that application of facts-to-law is the further problem of deciding its significance and relevance, and whether or not there are other contravening facts or opposing case-law or statutory citations which may also impact the direct argument of sound legal analysis.  Then, of course, there can be the further difficulty of people, companies, entities and agencies which completely ignore the law and, more recently, of creating one’s own set of “alternative facts”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has begun to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to apply “The Law” precisely, relevantly and comprehensively.

More recent cases of a precedent-setting nature may have altered the meaning of statutory interpretation in a subtle, more favorable manner, and thus is it important to consult with an an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to obtain the greater benefit in evaluating your case, lest the chasm between Reality and The Law be so great as to defeat one’s own attempt within a greater pool of lacking the proper knowledge in applying the law to your particular set of facts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Similar Lives

Dissimilarity is what threatens us; similarity — the notion that there are shared, common characteristics between you and I — provides for an acceptable level of comfort and security.

When we learn about the lives of the “rich and famous”, other than feeling some sense of envy, we can still imagine enough similarity of living such that we can “relate” to them.  We might say, “Yeah, but he still has to put on his pants one leg at a time” or some such similarity of response.  It is the dissimilar which tends to threaten — of behavior, looks or origins so alien that we fear that the strangeness of the unknown will somehow harm our very existence.

Modernity has tried to ameliorate that with a sense of living in a “global village”, where images of other cultures, other lives and different countries are transmitted into our living rooms via cable and other outlets; and social media allows for interaction with others no matter where a person resides.  Rumors of wars are no longer apt; we bring it live right into our recreational living spaces, and no longer are cultures alien, nor other lives strange; the strangeness now is of the person who cannot relate to the universal similarity of all lives lived in modernity.

Yet, there are still instances of dissimilarity which threatens — such as a medical condition suffered by a Federal or Postal worker who then begins to feel isolated and treated as a pariah.  Perhaps the response by others is likened to that “tribal” sense that people have: No one wants to be like the outsider, and so we shun them like those colonies of eons ago to which lepers were banished.

For Federal and Postal employees who believe that a medical condition now prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and who are beginning to be treated in a dissimilar fashion, it may be time to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and do it before the dissimilar turns into a familiar case of similarity — that of fear turning into cruelty by the Federal Agency initiating adverse actions and ultimate termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire