OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Pace of Life

Although we try and control it, it defies such control; and the best that can be accomplished is a paltry attempt at managing it.

Whether with the five minutes to feel the warmth of a steaming cup of coffee, a fifteen minute meditative stance of inner quietude, or a 2 mile run with earphones on to become lost in the rhythmic monotony of jogging within the insular world of a musical beat; despite it all, the pace of life quickens, and we feel that there is nothing that can be done about it.

Life is stressful.  Giving lip-service to the fact of its pace somehow seems to help in overcoming it; or, at the very least, in disarming the ravages of their impact.  What little things we do; from taking a deep breath to isolating ourselves into depressurized tanks of meditative quietude — is palliative at best and self-delusional at worst.

Then, when a medical condition or other interruptive nuisance of life further adds to the already over-burdened pace of life, we often wonder whether we can even “handle it all”.  But what choices are we left with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to split the seams of sanity, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, is often the answer to the unanswerable question: What will lessen this unbearable pace of life?

To dissect the various elements and tentacles that wrap themselves around and strangle, then to bit by bit dislodge and separate, then get rid of — like the process of cleaning out a basement or an attic that has accumulated the junk of unnecessary hoarding.

The pace of life will always be a burden; filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is a step towards lessening the burden for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that when the peripheral and surrounding stresses are unpacked, the central focus of attending to your medical conditions becomes the singular pace of life’s embrace.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

SF 3112B

OPM Standard Form 3112B: Supervisor’s Statement:

Were it that managerial approaches were diverse, and that such differences in stylistic methodologies constituted a perfect tailoring of individual personality to a particular job at hand; then, in that event, efficiency would predominate, scandals of long waiting times would disappear, and Federal and Post Office Workers would never be tested in their penultimate entanglement with the requisite virtue of patience.  But this is the real world. This is not some parallel universe in which dreams are dictated by wants and desires, and satisfaction of personal goals are attained at a whim.

In the harsh reality of technological onslaughts and daily toils of repetitive boredom, supervisors are placed in positions of trust, often misfits in an universe of onerous regulatory requirements and mandates.  As in all sectors of society, both public and private, there are good ones and bad, competent and their opposite; caring and callous; cold, indifferent, or warm beyond a fault.  But because of the busy-ness of the world in which we live, being aware of, or having the time to care for, the problems of subordinates, is a rare trait.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Medical Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the process will require the request for completion of SF 3112B, or more commonly known as the Supervisor’s Statement. For some, it will merely be a nuisance in the mere act of requesting; for others, a chaotic turmoil of sorts, filled with angst and thoughts of retribution and retaliation.

Ultimately, however, this is where standardized forms work for the benefit of Federal and Postal employees, because of the specificity of questions posed in SF 3112B.  Yes, there are blank spaces for some extemporaneous comments; yes, attachments to SF 3112B are allowed; but the most relevant queries are merely requests for box-checking, and that is where brevity is to the benefit of the Federal employee or Postal worker.

In the end, the process of filing for Federal Disability benefits through OPM is based upon the sufficiency of medical documentation, and not what a Supervisor says or leaves out in SF 3112B.  That is why an executed methodology of a coherent strategy to obtain evidentiary support is so crucial to a successful outcome in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee Disability Insurance benefits, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: The Hearty Laughter

Laughter is therapeutic; it is an expression, often spontaneous, responding to an event, a circumstance, a joke; sometimes, merely upon meeting an old friend and becoming flooded with reminiscences of mirthful times long ago.

It is a response of physical, emotional and mental totality; the body reverberates with joy and the echoes emanating from deep within; the flood of emotions are released; the mind becomes relaxed and unguarded.  Often, however, it is the eyes which are most telling.  Listen to a person laughing, and you may be fooled; watch a person’s eyes as he laughs, and it may reveal a dissonance which contradicts and raises suspicions.  For, laughter can also be the veil which attempts to conceal.

Similarly, in this economy of heartless efficiency, the Federal and Postal worker who must daily attempt to work through one’s pain or psychiatric condition in order to continue to work, despite suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, there comes a point where the capacity to present one’s self contradicts the reality of what is actually occurring.

Most Federal and Postal workers are such dedicated workers that they continue to work through a progressively deteriorating medical condition to one’s ultimate detriment.  At some point, the dissonance and contradiction will reveal itself; and it is at such a crisis point when the Federal and Postal Worker comes to realize that Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be considered.

Whether one should wait until that flashpoint arrives is an individual matter.  But like the hearty laughter emanating from the deep chasms of a person whose eyes reveal pain and sadness, the Federal or Postal Worker who continues to put on a brave face each day, knows that as all the world is a stage, the actors must one day face the reality of the world in which we live.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Supervisor’s Statement

The Supervisor’s Statement (Standard Form 3112B) should be a form with negligible impact, unless it is to inform the Office of Personnel Management that (A) the individual Disability Retirement applicant was placed in a light duty, temporary position, (B) that the Agency could not accommodate him/her, and (C) to describe how the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits was by all appearances limited in his/her ability to perform many of the essential elements of the job.  Such statements are often helpful to the Office of Personnel Management in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  

Most Supervisor’s Statements, however, are noncommittal. The lack of information provided by a supervisor reflects poorly upon the supervisor, insofar as it evidences non-engagement and lack of awareness of someone whose job it is to be aware of such things.  Every now and then, there will be a Supervisor who goes out of his or her way to make statements which clearly attempt to undermine a Federal Disability claim.  The way to approach such a Supervisor’s Statement, however, is not to focus a great amount of attention upon it; rather, to remind the Office of Personnel Management that this is a “medical” disability retirement application, and not a Supervisor’s disability retirement application.

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