Federal Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Living

The imperfect medical science and taking the option of Federal Disability Retirement

Art is the unleashing of a creative mind, unconcealed to flourish without constraints of physical laws; science, in contrast, must follow the dictates of an objective universe, attempting to understand that which is concealed, unrevealed, and within the mysterious imprint of hidden codes.

Whether medical science is that far removed from latter days of sorcerers and shamans, people can debate; it is, however, the success of modern science and medicine, which establishes credibility with the populace.  But while disciplines rise or fall based upon the pragmatic considerations of success of the last procedure performed, people must go on living — in the face of disciplines yet imperfect.

Bloodletting was believed for centuries to maintain the balance of a person: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile, constituted the necessary elements, and when any single element dominated the others, releasing the over-accumulation required bleeding of the body to regain that equity of humors.  If, in any singular instance of bloodletting, the patient became well thereafter and recovered from the malady, the “success” of the bloodletting would only have reinforced the underlying foundational principle behind the physical act and medical belief.

Living a life is often more akin to bloodletting than to the cold halls of science; for it is within the subjective confines of perspectives which predetermine the actions we often engage.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, the years and decades of attempting to “get better” by seeking medical treatment result in an inescapable reality:   If the science of medicine had reached a pinnacle of perfection, filing for Federal Disability Retirement would not be necessary; for, perfection in medicine would equal a cure. But as science is not a perfect principle, and neither is the art of living, so the practical truth is that one must resort to a metaphorical engagement of bloodletting: something in life has to give, and the imbalance of humors of yore is often the stresses of modernity.

Federal Disability Retirement, offered to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not the perfect option, but it is a recognition that the humors of life are out of balance, and need some bloodletting.

Work is the element which has become “over-accumulated”, and that is why Federal Disability Retirement is like the placing of leeches upon the sickened body:  it may not be the best option, but where art of living is concerned, the balancing of humors is often preferable to the crumbling halls of an ivory tower once thought to hold the key to the mysteries of life’s misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Disparate Information in a Disability Retirement Application

The difference between success and an almost-successful endeavor is normally not based upon the information available, but rather, the effective use of the available information.  Just as most “secrets” are neither hidden nor unknown, but rather depend upon who knows it, how it is used, and when it is acquired; similarly, the availability of information disseminated throughout our lives — via the internet, through publications, through media outlets, etc. — is generally not the basis for success.  Disparate information compiled in a bulk bound conglomeration is normally not an effective way of presenting something.

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 go beyond mere compiling of information and data in presenting one’s case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Remember that Federal Disability Retirement is not an entitlement; rather, it is a benefit which is available upon proving one’s case.  Proof of a case depends upon multiple factors: indeed, the Office of Personnel Management will often state the following in denying a Federal Disability Retirement application:  “The mere fact that you have a medical condition does not mean that you are eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.”

The existence of a medical condition is a necessary requirement; facts supporting one’s case can be persuasive; the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement and the eligibility criteria should be cited; the nexus between one’s Federal and Postal position and the medical condition should be established; then, beyond each of the disparate informational islands, a coordination of the information is necessary. For that, an approach which involves a paradigm of how one should win a case is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Measure of Success

Gratitude is often the measure of success, but such a measure is fleeting, at best, and only as relevant as the next person who may express disappointment.  In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the ultimate measure of success is whether or not the Federal or Postal employee obtains an approval from OPM; there is no “relative success” in such an administrative process, and indeed, it is an “either-or” bifurcation with no middle ground.

Furthermore, much of the process can appear strangely subjective —  in one case, a fairly skimpy file of medical records can warrant an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, while in another, a large compendium of medical documentation can result in multiple denials, despite every good effort of providing medical narrative reports, treatment notes, etc.

Because individuals comprise the universe of determinations in a Federal Disability Retirement application, and therefore the encounter between individuals necessarily results in differing perspectives, opinions and approaches, there never can be a “science” of applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The best that can be accomplished is to put together as effective a Federal Disability Retirement packet as one can — of medical records and reports; of legal citations; of a persuasive argument; and a tight nexus between one’s medical conditions and the type of positional duties one must perform.

Beyond that, the measure of success must await for a positive outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Key to a Case

Often, when dignitaries or celebrities visit a particular city, they are recognized, applauded and sometimes “given the keys” to a city — metaphorically meaning that they are provided with certain benefits and access to such benefits.  It would be nice if, in every circumstance involving the necessity of identifying a key to an access, that we could figure out which key fits, in order to open the door to that previously-inaccessible entranceway.

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 identify, recognize, and implement the “keys” to a successful outcome.  If one metaphorically views a Federal Disability Retirement application, then the application itself would be the key; the doorway which prevents access is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and the opening of the door is the successful approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

The “key”, then, is that which opens the doorway, and leads to eligibility of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The focus of the Federal and Postal employee must be upon choosing the right key; crafting the proper implement; then ensuring that the instrument fits properly the lock which bars the entrance to the gateway of success.

Such formulation and compilation of the proper key in order to obtain access, is — to put it in trite form — the key to one’s success.  As such, it is important to put one’s effort in the timeline just before putting the key into the lock — i.e., in the formulation and preparation, of compiling the right data, arguments and documents, in order to possess and apply an effective application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Necessary Doctor

Ultimately, the doctor who is necessary is the one who will be supportive.  Whenever the question is asked of me whether it is “necessary” to have the support of this or that doctor, my answer is generic in nature:  It is better to have one excellent narrative report in support of one’s Disability Retirement Application, than to have 5 mediocre or lukewarm reports.  Excellence in a Federal Disability Retirement application is encapsulated by the level of passion and support by the treating doctor.  The character and texture of a medical report is not just a set of factual listings of medical conditions and a dry statement of an opinion; rather, the underlying sense of a doctor’s firm and passionate belief in a patient is often evident in the intangible underpinnings of a good report.  There are simply some reports written by a doctor where one knows that it is improbable that the Office of Personnel Management will want to entangle themselves in; the unequivocal voice, tone and tenor of such a report can make the difference between getting an initial approval of an Application for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, or a denial, resulting in the necessity of going to another stage of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire