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: The Tie that Binds

Often, it is an intangible “other” which can never quite be located or defined.

In philosophy, and perhaps in life generally, one should always approach a subject with the view that, if one is unable to define it, then one has failed to understand it, or to purport to possess any knowledge about “it”.  To understand is to define it; to define it, is to circumscribe the parameters of the substantiality of an object, and to “possess” it by knowing its essence.

In formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it for approval with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important to not only have each of the details in their proper place — of the substantiating medical documentation which are relevant and compelling enough to awaken the senses (especially for that bored OPM caseworker who must sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of case files over the course of any given year); the statement of disability of the applicant; any legal citations and arguments to be made, etc. — but further, to have a comprehensive, overarching “theme” to accentuate the uniqueness of one’s case.

It is that invisible thread, that “tie that binds” a case, which must always be sought after in preparing, formulating, and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  Once that tie is recognized and identified, then the Federal or Postal Disability application is ready to be submitted.

Like an ending to any short story worthy of reading or publication, or that special “something” between a man and a woman, it is the ethereal tie that binds which makes all the difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Meticulous Preparation

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to take the time, effort and care to prepare each element of the application for Federal Disability Retirement with meticulousness.  The term and conceptual implication of the word, “being meticulous” involves precision and the imagery of a methodical approach, of attending to the details and formulating the various aspects of the packet with thoughtful thoroughness.  

As a watchmaker who must attend to the minute details of his masterpiece (yes, it is a deliberate pun on using the term “minute” to infer both the idea of size as well as a quantity of time, but pronounced in different ways), it is in the very details of a Federal Disability Retirement case where the battle for approval or denial must be fought. It is often pointed out that ease of effort distinguishes between the professional and the amateur; that the professional makes it all look so easy.  Yet, the amount of preparation and practice which the professional undergoes prior to going on stage, or showing his or her abilities before a watchful crowd, is what the audience does not see.  

Similarly, when the Office of Personnel Management reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application and sees how everything logically “fits” together and proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a Federal Disability Retirement application has met all of the legal criteria for an approval, it is the meticulous preparation which has gone into fitting all of the “pieces of the puzzle” together, which provided the foundation for such success.  

Like those automobile commercials where precision driving through difficult obstacles ends with the cautionary statement:  “Beware, do not try this on your own, as the drivers in this ad were all professionals”; so it is a similar statement to the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS:  it is not an easy matter, and meticulous preparation must be taken to formulate the medical, legal, narrative and multitudinous elements necessary to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Approvals & Disapprovals

The Office of Personnel Management seems to have recently issued a volume of decisions on Federal Disability Retirement applications on Federal and Postal employees under FERS & CSRS.

From the calls received from non-clients, and from clients, one sometimes wonders whether or not some sort of “quota-system” isn’t being imposed at the top levels.  Yet, statistically, the percentage of disapprovals v. approvals is not noticeably different than before; it is difficult to determine in any given period of time whether or not there is a higher rate of denials/disapprovals than approvals, in comparison to other periods.

What matters is not the general rate of approvals or disapprovals; rather, each individual case must be taken on its own merit, and responded to with the Office of Personnel Management (or, if the denial is at the Reconsideration Stage, then an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board) in a timely fashion, and in a tailored, appropriate manner.

Each case is indeed “different”.  One cannot compare one case with “war stories” about how X filed his or her application and got it approved “within a week”.  Such rumors can never be verified, and even if it could be verified, there are always individual and unique circumstances which must be taken into account.

Comparisons between different time periods, as well as between two or more independent cases, are never helpful; instead, the focus must be to take the uniqueness of any given case, and decide on the best course of action in order to obtain the one and only outcome which is acceptable for any given OPM Disability Retirement case under FERS or CSRS:  an ultimate approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: All Things Equal

Of course, in life, all things are NOT equal. Some cases get approved within a couple of weeks; others, seemingly for months sit on an OPM Representative’s desk, with not even a glance or a reason for the extensive delay. As night approaches, and this area gleams with the white of snow, a virtual dreamland of snow piled feet upon feet; whether Washington, D.C. will even open this week, or enter the week with the “liberal leave” policy; and, yes, of course there is tele-commuting, but the effectiveness of that is also based upon people ultimately coming in for files, additional information, etc. This week, all things are not equal; Washington, D.C. is frozen in time, in weather, and in a beauty of sheer whiteness; in the quietude of nightfall, only the dreams of children and the shrills and shrieks of sleds and snowballs matter; for those who have Federal Disability Retirement applications waiting to be approved by the Office of Personnel Management, patience must still remain a virtue to be sought after.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Discretionary Judgments

There are many things in the long process of getting a FERS Disability Retirement application approved, which are purely “discretionary”, based upon one’s experience, sense of a case, an ear to listening to a client, and based upon a compendium of factors, facts and circumstances, to come up with the “best” decision on a particular issue.  A person who tries to go through the process alone, without the ear, mind, experience or judgment of an attorney who knows the process governing Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, has to make such discretionary decisions without the benefit of past experiences. 

Such decisions can range from small issues of:  how and when a treating doctor should be approached in the request for a medical narrative; how much guidance the doctor would need or want in preparing a medical narrative report; when and how to inform the agency of the pending decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, etc.; to the larger decisions, such as which medical conditions and reports to include in the final packet to be submitted to the Office of Personnel Management; and many other such discretionary decisions.  Yet, when grouped together, the complex interactions of the multiple “discretionary judgments” can often make or break a case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire