Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

It is both informative and interesting to observe various personalities in the thought-process of decision-making.

Some will merely be silent and ponder for hours, days, and weeks (or longer), as if time alone with resolve an issue; others will be proactive and aggressively inquire, gather further facts; still others will make a quick and decisive stand, with little thought or reflection.

Then, of course, there are those who rely upon “gut instinct”; others who apply a methodological paradigm where each criteria must be satisfied and checked off before a decision is made; and some who “hedge their bets” and make a contingent decision, which is often no decision at all.

For Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the luxury of time often works against them.

Time is the great decider of fate; for, whether because of financial reasons, Statute of Limitations, or impending adverse actions proposed by the agency, time constraints must always be factored into the process of decision-making. Wait too long, and it may be too late; wait not long enough, and an opportunity presently unforeseen may have manifested itself.

Time, in its essence, is both the outside influence and the internal trigger, and the time one takes in pondering the proper decision is often the indicator of whether it is the right or wrong decision.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Will to Proceed

Human will is a peculiar element of the entirety one’s being; it is influenced by desire, often forced by the intellect, and goaded and persuaded by one’s perspective of the world.  How one perceives one’s condition; how the world is perceived; how the treatment of one by those around us — can all play a significant role in the will to proceed, how to proceed, when to proceed, etc.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is often the clash of influences upon the human will which determines the course of action which the Federal or Postal employee may decide to take.  

Thus, the accurate and proper perception of one’s medical conditions, based upon information gathered from the medical community; the ability to prognosticate the present impact, and future potential limitations, of that information concerning one’s medical condition, upon one’s ability to continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job in the Federal sector, or with the U.S. Postal Service; and further, the perception, whether real, skewed or imagined, of the Agency, including one’s supervisor and coworkers, in determining the value, contribution, and capability to perform and accomplish the goals of the department or agency; all of these combined provide the foundation to determine the will to proceed, in what direction, and whether the will — often at a point of fatigue from the constant fight against the medical condition, depleted in energy and diminished in power — should be forced in order to continue to perform in a job clearly impacted by one’s medical conditions, or to will to proceed to prepare, formulate, and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Yes, it is merely a matter of “willing” — but willing to do what?

Proper perception, based upon good advice and counsel, will determine the will to proceed, in what direction, for what cause, and for what purpose.  It may be time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, and to continue to expend one’s reserve of energy is a price which may not be worth taking, at the expense of one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Feel of a Treadmill

The analogy of a treadmill is an apt one; each of us have been on one, and know the “feel” of one which is set at too slow a pace, or too fast a pace.  It is also a metaphor for life itself; that on some days, one feels that the energy level is in perfect consonance with one’s self; at other times, one wonders whether the treadmill will push us off because we are not able to keep pace with it.  Federal and Postal workers who are suffering from a medical condition because it impacts the daily performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, often feel the threat of the treadmill.  

With Supervisor’s threatening less-than-satisfactory performance evaluations, to placing a worker on a PIP; to the chronic and daily symptoms which impact one’s productivity at a job; the measure of whether one can keep pace with the treadmill, or if one is in danger of being pushed off, is a valuable self-appraisal in determining whether it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Often, what stops the Federal or Postal Worker is doubt and fear about the process.  Yet, despite the complexity of the process, the treadmill at work never stops, and whether or not one can continue on it until retirement, is a question which only the Federal or Postal worker who is suffering from a medical condition, can ask and answer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Time to File

When should I file?  This is a question which is asked often; it is a telling, revealing question, because it is often a rhetorical question.  It is as if the question begs to be answered with an unequivocal, “You must file now”.  Aside from the time it takes, which is generally between 6 – 8 months from the time the entire process begins until the time the Office of Personnel Management approves an OPM Disability Retirement application at the First Stage of the process (and certainly this general time-frame needs to be taken into account because of financial circumstances, accrued sick and annual leave which may be used, and multiple other factors for consideration), the Federal or Postal worker who is contemplating when to file an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits generally knows the answer to the question.  As a general rule, if one asks the question, then the answer is already known.  If one is expecting a PIP, comes home each day dreading and exhausted, living with the anxiety that the Agency is waiting for an excuse to get rid of the employee; if each night and weekends are spent just recuperating in order to make it into the office for another day, then to ask the question, “When should I file?” becomes merely a tautology.  To arrive at that point is to make it into an emergency; it is better to project into the future; as a football coach once said, “The future is now.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Right Time

For each Federal and Postal employee, there is a “right” time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS.  By “right time”, I do not mean as to the proper timing in the actual filing of a Federal Disability Retirement case — i.e., whether it should be before or after separation from service, whether at the end of the year, the beginning of the year, etc.  No, by “right” time, I refer to the time when a Federal or Postal employee — that person who has put in all of those many years of loyal service, managed through pain, discomfort, overwhelming stresses, anxieties, fears, chronic and intractable pain, etc. — comes to the conclusion that he or she cannot continue in this mode of existence anymore.  Whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement case is filed with an agency or at the Office of Personnel Management in one month as opposed to another, is ultimately not of great importance; whether a person who is suffering from a medical condition for months, or years, and has been adept at hiding the daily pain and suffering — whether that person has come to a decision that it is now the “right time” to file for disability retirement, makes all the difference.  Each person must find that right time.  “How” and “when” are the two questions which must be answered, and only the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS can answer such questions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire