OPM Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: Not as Before

Before what?  That is the natural response.  We tend to bifurcate our lives into segments which are palatable and comprehensible; of a time before X happened, and then our present existence after X; before we had children, and after; before we became married, and after; before some traumatic incident, and sometime thereafter, etc.  The present “I” is never the same as “before”, and one could even say that truthfully about every minute, every hour and every millisecond of a distinction between the “I” in the current state and the “I” of a past state of being.

Whether on a physical, cellular level where genetic structures alter and decay even by the minute; or on a cognitive level where new information, additional data is being processed by our brains every moment of our lives.  We are not as before; we are constantly changing; and like the river which Heraclitus identified an analogy for human existence, so the vicissitudes of the world surrounding impacts us daily such that we are not as before.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the likely bifurcating event is the medical condition itself.  No, you may not be the same as before, and it is that identifiable change which forms the basis for eligibility of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; for, not only are you not as before, but likewise, your Federal Agency or the Postal facility are viewing your work and future not as before, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Those Little Victories

Life offers few of them; thus do we turn to those little victories to make it all seem worthwhile.  Waterloo is almost always seen from the perspective of defeat, just as WWII is viewed from the perspective of the Allied victory, and history has always been seen as the story from the victor’s point of view except in those instances where, like Napoleon’s hubris, the single battle determined the course of world history.

Most wars are won or lost upon the incremental victories of smaller skirmishes; and so it is with life in general, where it is those little victories which make it all worthwhile.  And the victories themselves don’t need to be as a consequence of a “battle” or a “war”; it can be small things like: Making it through the day; having a sense of joy or contentment for an hour, or even a half-hour; of having spent five minutes with someone without provoking a fight; or even of having had a good night’s sleep.

Those little victories are often the ones which last the longest in memories short-lived and shorter still before the storms of life surge; and for Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal position, those little victories of making it through part of a work day without the debilitating impact of the medical condition shortening it further, is often viewed as one of those “little victories”.

At some point, however, when those little victories seem to be too few and far between, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefit through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. For, when those little victories in life are nowhere to be found, it is time then to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to regain a sense of worth in a world which cares little for those little victories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Resistance

The initial reaction to such a title is the obvious one: To what?  Of course, Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes immediately to mind — of every action having an equal and opposite reaction; thus, when one posits a “resistance”, the natural query must refer to its opposition, as in, “What is it that we are resisting?”

Throughout our “stages of life”, we either comply, conform, “go along with the crowd” — or resist doing so.  There are “middle” ways, of course, and yet to compromise and resist “half-way”, or in a half-hearted manner, often seems to ruin the whole point of any resistance, doesn’t it?

If one is to be a revolutionary, the point is to be one completely, or not at all.  During the Sixties, there was the famous line (often misattributed to Abbie Hoffman, the Beatles and others) which declared that the movement’s participants would “never trust anyone over 30” — spoken by Jack Weinberg in response to a hostile interviewer.  The underlying point of the statement is quite clear: By the age of 30, most people have “sold out”, conformed, lost their youthful vigor to resist; or, put more simply, accepted the status quo and have become cynical.  Yet, isn’t there a natural inclination to “belong”, to not stand apart from the crowd, and to be able to live a quiet, unassuming life?

“Resistance” can thus have a duality of meanings — it can imply that one is part of a movement involving resistance to the status quo or, even its opposite; that one resists change and is integrally a participant of the status quo.  Resistance to change is the greater dominating force.  Change is a fearsome entity where the unknown is to be avoided at all costs.  To be a part of “the resistance” that refuses to conform — well, that is best left to those under 30, unattached and without obligations and responsibilities.

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, resistance to change is often the factor that procrastinates, and keeps a person in a “muddle of the middle” where conditions deteriorate but one stubbornly insists upon maintaining the status quo.

But as medical conditions deteriorate and as the Federal Agency or the Postal Service persists in seeking change — by forcing the issue and initiating adverse actions in order to fill the position with a person who is able to perform all of the essential elements of the position — resistance to change must be replaced with becoming a part of the resistance: By preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM and forging ahead into a future yet unknown.

Remember —even Jack Weinberg became a class of individuals that he resisted, and went on to become a consultant and an adjunct faculty member; in other words, he was once in the “Resistance”, then became that opposite and equal force to fulfill Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill,Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire