Tag Archives: how to qualify for fers disability retirement

FERS Medical Retirement from OPM: Back to Basics

Aristotle always refers back to foundational principles — back to ‘first principles’, or to the basics of life.   And so we must always keep that in mind too, even in — or especially when — filing a Disability Retirement application under the FERS retirement system with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Yes, there are always a multiplicity of ancillary issues involved — of Agency efforts for accommodating the employee, of the character of a proposed separation of the Federal or Postal employee, and the subsequent invocation of the Bruner Presumption.  But in the end, it goes back to the first principles — the medical condition itself.  What are the symptoms; what is it about the condition itself which makes it inherently incompatible with the essential duties of the position; what is it about the incompatible nature of the condition that OPM fails to appreciate?

The health condition itself — that devastating failure of the body and/or the mind which profoundly alters one’s chosen career, character, and life.  How much more ‘basic’ can it get?

One’s career is often inseparable from one’s self-identity and consumes a greater proportion of time than most any other activity.  Yes, yes, we give lip service, to ‘family-time’ and ‘leisure time’, etc. but the reality is that we expend most of our own energies in pursuing our careers, and that is why when an injury, illness, or disability hits us, it has devastating consequences.  And so it must begin with the foundation of the first principle — of the basic medical condition, and from there — to build from it.

Of course those issues which OPM takes advantage of — the ancillary concepts of Agency accommodations, of applying relevant case law and preemptively addressing those pitfalls which OPM seems to take pleasure in forming the basis of a denial, but that all begins with the basic understanding of those first principles — the originating medical condition itself.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, those overlooked first principles must be the originating source in compiling an effective FERS Disability Retirement application.

Contact a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, and consider whether beginning from the “basics” may be in fact the best way to start.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Voglio vivere una favola

“I want to live a fable” — A quote at the front of Annie Ernaux’s novel, “Getting Lost”, apparently from an anonymous inscription on the steps of the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence.  Ernaux was just awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year — 2022.  No doubt Bibliophiles around the world have focused their attention upon this little-know French author; but that she would choose such an inscription to begin her novel, says much.  For — do we not, all?  Do we not all want to live a fable?

The fox and the grapes — the fable which is the origin of the phrase “sour grapes.”  A fox spies a bunch of grapes high up on a branch and wants them badly.  The lion and the mouse — A lion catches a mouse, who begs to be let go.  The tortoise and the hare — who wins, in the end, and what does it teach us?  And many others — of fables we learned as children, and the one’s we have learned from the lesson of hard knocks.

If not a fable, then at least a fairytale.  We read fables and fairytales, and expect that life must — or should — reflect the life we are about to lead.  How about — the fable about the ants and the grasshopper?  The former, busy about getting ready for the winter; the latter, playing the violin and living a riotous life; and in the end, what is the lesson?

For Federal Government employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, you have no doubt been like those busy ants, and that is why your health has deteriorated.  Contact a FERS Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and make sure that the fable you want to live is the one with the ending you desire.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Medical Retirement Under the FERS System: Mistakes

We all make them.  Some, because of complicated issues, can never admit to them.  Perhaps you were shamed at one time in making them, and will do everything to cover up any mistakes, hide them, act as if you never made any, or otherwise avoid any indicia of being less than perfect.  Perfection as a self-image is never a healthy state of affairs; for, to err is to be human, and we are never anything less than the graven images we create for the mantle of worshipping.

Some mistakes, of course, are harmless and without any consequences; others, of greater impact, whether limited to the one having made them, or beyond to third parties; and still others, of an irreversible, permanent stain.

Admissions often need to be clothed with euphemisms: “Oh, it was a youthful indiscretion” (What? Even though the mistake was made while he was 40-some years old?); “It was not on purpose”; “It was a momentary lapse of judgment”; etc.  Then, there is the haunting shadow of an overbearing parent who never softened the blow: Instead of, “It’s okay; everyone makes mistakes every now and again”, but of — silence, heavy with judging eyes.  How we handled such responses from an early age heavily influences our ability to admit to them later on.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are seeking to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to keep the mistakes at a minimum, for the mistake which leads to a denial from OPM of a Federal Disability Retirement application can be one mistake too far, like the bridge which needn’t have been fought over.

While most mistakes are correctible, the one mistake which cannot be amended is to put blinders on OPM once they have seen something.  Like a Lockjaw who will never let it go, the clamp of OPM upon a mistake revealed is one which is difficult to pry loose.  To prevent this, contact a Federal/Postal Lawyer who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and thus minimize the mistakes from the outset through competent and effective legal representation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Postal and Federal Employee Disability Benefits: Trying Out New Things

Or approaches.  Or new ideas.  Is there ever anything wrong with that?

This is America — or so we like to say — the land of pioneers and the breed of explorers and entrepreneurs who reflect the “New World” approach to everything: stamp out the old, bring in the new.  But at what cost?

That is, of course, the essence of the debate:  Of whether there is justification, moral or otherwise, to allow for the “new” to replace the “old”.  And, what if the “new” is merely a short-term fancy which has never been tried and tested?

We are doing much of that these days — of subjecting everyone to Smartphones and Internet-based learning, without any data regarding the long-term effects of such approaches; of non-judgmental therapeutic methods which fail to hold people accountable for their actions; and, somehow, we have bought into the idea that “new” is a synonym for “good”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, trying out the “new thing” called Federal Disability Retirement is not really anything new; rather, it may be a newly-acquired consideration prompted by your medical condition and the need for change, but the reality is that there is a long and tested body of law which will determine whether or not you are eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is “old” in the sense that it has been around for a long time, but “new” to you because you may not have needed to consider it until lately.

Contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of trying out this “new” thing, which is actually an “old” thing, but in trying it out, has become entirely new to you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Permanent Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Post-Separation Evidence

OPM ignores the law.  Despite over a decade since the opinion expressed in Reilly v. OPM, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 571 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2009), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management continues to dismiss the relevance of post-separation medical evidence in a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application.

OPM will systematically deny cases with the following type of statement: “You doctor stated X.  However, the medical report was dated after your separation from Federal Service.  Therefore, you did not establish that you were medically disabled from performing your job while a Federal employee.”  Huh?

Three things stand out, of course: First, most medical conditions are progressive and degenerative in nature and do not appear on the very day a doctor examines a patient.

Second, the clear logical error of OPM’s argument is so blatant: X exists. X exists after Time-Y. Therefore, because X exists after Time-Y, X did not exist prior to Time-Y.  Or: I saw a man named Tom. I saw Tom today and did not see him yesterday.  Therefore, Tom was not born before I saw him today.  Absurd.

And third: OPM ignores the law as stated in Reilly, where post-separation medical evidence is clearly relevant if a proper nexus is established to a pre-separation time-frame.

Don’t let OPM’s illogical interpretation of the law defeat you.  Contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, and beat them back in order to obtain the benefits you are entitled to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Workers: The Messes We Make

We make many of them.  By “make”, too often implies that it is our fault; and yet, some greater number of messes we make are merely the consequence of unknown factors, thoughtless actions and unintended reservoirs of youthful behavior.  Our parents often clean up after the messes we make; and, for a time, at least, such parental love allows for the children to mature and grow up until the messes become less and the successes replace them.

Some parents take the harsher road: “You have to clean up your own mess”; while others take too lenient a role and never allow their children to learn from their mistakes.  Most parents take a middle-of-the-road approach and try and guide their children through life’s learning process of making messes.  Some messes, like acquiring a medical condition, simply come upon us and we have no control over them.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beset with the “mess” of a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the “cleaning up” of the mess we have acquired.

Contact a FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Whole is greater than the sum

The “full” adage, of course, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and connotes the idea that the interaction of the various components or elements constitute, in their entirety, a greater effect and impact than the efficacy of quantifying the singular components in their individual capacities added merely together.  It is the working in tandem of individual components that creates a greater whole than the sum of its independent parts, and this can be true whether in a negative or positive sense.

One has only to witness a crowd of individuals working together, whether in riot control or as a military unit, to witness an active, positive impact or, in a negative sense, a pack of wild dogs attacking their prey — working in coordination, circling, attacking in conjunction with one another, etc.  Medical conditions have a similar negative impact; we tend to be able to “handle” a single health crisis, but when they come in bunches, we often fall apart at the seeming enormity of the impact and the dire perspective it engulfs us with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of being overwhelmed, where the medical conditions seem to take on a whole greater than the sum of their individual components, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, it is necessary to recognize the dominance of the greater whole in order to focus upon the elements which have taken on a lesser role — like taking care of one’s health.  Prioritizing matters is important, and when one’s health has taken on a secondary status and where the compendium of medical problems have taken on an exponential effect deleterious to one’s well-being, the Federal or Postal employee should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such a consultation may prove Aristotle’s wisdom to be correct — that the whole of such a consultation is greater than the sum of their individual words combined, or something close to that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The unread novel

Is it as irrelevant as the one that is read but quickly forgotten?

Writers are a funny breed; their very existence, significance and existential relevance depends upon the interests of others.  Isolation is inherent in the vocation itself; for every writer is a singular and lonely depiction of an inner battle of cognitive construction, the soliloquy upon a blank slate endeavoring to create, to master, to show and to imagine; and of what nightmares and horrors the writer must endure in order to transfer self-doubt upon the paper, or the virtual existence that spans the spectrum from despair unto public acknowledgment.

The unread novel exists in drawers and cubbyholes forgotten and unopened; and like Bruno Schulz’ lost novel, The Messiah, the shot that killed before the fruition of greatness came to be may reverberate with a nothingness that no one knew, precisely because, to not know something is to not experience that which cannot be grasped, where ignorance is merely the negation of an emptiness never experienced.  Which is worse — to be never read, or to be read and forgotten, or to be read, remembered, then slowly dissipate from the minds of appreciation over an anguished length of time?

The unread novel sits like the individual who once was recognized — a solitary figure who was once appreciated, known, recognized and even sometimes applauded; then the starkness of anonymity reminds us all that such recognition is fleeting, temporal, like the winds of history that grant accolades to rising stars only while the smile lasts and the last salute is given to the parade that slowly fades.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, the feeling that the Federal or Postal worker undergoes is often likened to the unread novel that sits in the drawers of anonymity.

Perhaps you were once recognized and appreciated; now, it is as if the medical condition itself has become an infectious disease that everyone else is loathe to catch.  The Federal Agency or the Postal Service is beginning to treat you like The Plague.  You fear that your career — like the Great American Novel that was once thought to be a success — is coming to an end, and the harassment and furtive looks have become emboldened in a way you previously could not have imagined.

It is then time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you as a Federal or Postal employee are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, like the unread novel, the drawer within which you sit in solitary despair will not make the unfamiliarity of it become a great success; that, in the end, is a decision only you can make, as to a future where the unread novel remains so, or a step forward to change the course of human destiny.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire