Injured Federal & Postal Employees: “What should I be doing?”

It is a query that applies to so many aspects of a successful life; of an endeavor or a pursuit; of preparing the steps in order to attain a level of perfection.  Curiosity and the desire to improve are the ingredients of success; the lack of either or both will often leave one behind as others progress.

The runner who wants to shave off a fraction of a second; the “expert” in a given field who desires to comprehend the next level of complexity; the business owner who strives to avoid the fickle nature of a purchasing public in order to expand; they all begin with the question, “What should I be doing?”

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 question concerning preparing an effective Federal Employee OPM Disability Retirement application may have already entered into the fray.

The question following when that arrival point comes near is: “What should I be doing?”  The answer: Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, that very question will lead to building the proper foundation for a successful outcome in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is those preparatory steps which will often make all the difference between success or failure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: The Inconsequential

In the annals of history, most of us remain as the inconsequential.  Not even a footnote, nor even a passing reference, we are lumped into generations of third-person subjects unnamed and faceless.  We might read, for instance, that during the “Sixties” or “Seventies” (or beyond), this group of people or that community of individuals did X or participated in Y, and we might say to ourselves, “Oh, that is a reference to my generation”.  Yet, as an individual, it is rare to be identified by name.

History always fails to recognize the inconsequential; except, perhaps, by memory of relatives and faded photographs barely remembered in gatherings where old folks once chattered about this or that person whose absence emphasizes the starkness of the inconsequential.

Is that what many of us fear?  Not just about being ignored; and perhaps not even of leaving this world without a mark of recollection; but of being one of the inconsequential within a mass populace of unknown graves, unmarked but for those faded memories of vestiges in whispered conversations once echoing down the forgotten chambers of time.

And of that place where we toiled for a decade or more — where so much time was spent, so much effort and expenditure of labor: The workplace.  Once we are gone, will we even be remembered?  Will a fellow worker say, years hence, “Oh, remember that guy who…?”

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 fear of becoming one of the “inconsequential” is often what makes the Federal or Postal worker pause before considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

But just remember this: There is life after work, and whatever “consequential” work you believe you contributed to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, there is nothing that cannot be replaced, and the greater consequence of failing to attend to one’s health is what makes for the inconsequential to loom larger with greater consequences down the road.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Frustrated Purposes

The linear attempt is the methodology of direct purpose; it is the measurement of length — of a straight line from point A to point B, of a one-dimensional character.  Any obstacle placed in its path represents a frustration of that purpose, and merely delays and obfuscates the attempt to accomplish a stated goal.

How to ad lib in circumstances where obstacles appear; the consideration of options and alternatives in the face of detours and unexpected deterrences; what malleability of core values must be shown when necessity arises; these are all challenges within a universe of expectations otherwise untested.

The hardest of these, of course, relates to deliberate attempts by outside forces to frustrate one’s purposes — whether by other people, coworkers, Supervisors, Managers, or perhaps even the microcosmic body politic of an organization or entity as a whole; or by circumstances otherwise unexpected, like a medical condition.  It is bad enough for one or the other to be the sole cause of turmoil; when both conspire jointly, they become a source of angst and agony.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal job or Postal position, it is that fight against both fronts simultaneously which becomes unbearable.

Not only must the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker contend against the challenges of the deteriorating medical condition, but concurrently, at every turn, the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service works day and night to seemingly frustrate the sincere attempts of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to return to a level of functionality such that the positional duties may be fulfilled and satisfactorily completed.

Thus does preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, become an important consideration in the delayed destination of frustrated purposes.

That linear sight of myopic perspective — of a career of accomplishments set over a lifetime, with retirement as a byproduct in a future destination and contribution to society as the groundwork of contentment — must be allowed to swerve, overcome and become a series of schizophrenic lines of zig-zagging spectrums, lest the frustration of purposes defeat the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

It is an educational tool utilized to impart upon children the value of hard work and unfettered optimism, but one wonders, At what point should the harsh realities of the world be included?  How, sometimes there are situations where the obstacles are so great and the conspiratorial caverns so deep that the graph of upward mobility is but a mere mirage in life’s cycle of certitude. The balance between the benefit of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity, and tempering unrealistic expectations, is a scale of justice which is delicately configured throughout life.

While the tale of the Little Engine that Could represents the cultural and societal impetus for encouraging work, fair play, persistence and a positive attitude, some of life’s obstacles serve to cut short the capacity and ability to achieve stated first goals.  Medical conditions tend to do that.  Whether primarily physical or secondarily psychiatric, or inversely impacted, a progressively debilitating medical condition saps the self-confidence of the individual, and eats away at the abilities of the patient.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee, consideration must be given to one’s future, and that future planning should include filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits encompasses all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, so long as the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements: 18 months of Federal Service for those under FERS, and 5 years for those under CSRS (which is essentially assumed that anyone under CSRS already has at least 5 years of Federal Service).

Further, if the Federal or Postal employee is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or has not been separated for more than 31 days, then the Federal Disability Retirement application must be routed first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for the latter, the central processing point for all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Postal Workers is located in Greensboro, N.C.), then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

Implicit in this requirement, of course, is that there is a “Statute of Limitations” as to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  All Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed within 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service.  Thus, if a Federal or Postal employee is terminated, or has resigned, and a Federal Disability Retirement application is filed, the (now former) Federal or Postal employee must file within 1 year of the date of separation — but if separated for less than 31 days, then through one’s former agency or U.S. Postal Service, and if over 31 days, then directly to Boyers, PA, which is the “intake” processing office for OPM for all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Whether the Federal or Postal employee ever read or heard tell of the tale of the Little Engine that Could, the time for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is when that proverbial engine gives out, and when life’s harsh realities turns the story of optimism and hope into a pragmatic approach in order to secure one’s future; for, sometimes, life accords engines which need fine-tuning, and medical conditions represent just that sort of mechanical need, for the Little Engine that once Could which turned into the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire