OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Decorative Bookends

Such a niche industry, whether by individual craftsmen or in factory output, must have recognized years ago that trouble lay ahead.  For, with the transfer of the reading public (which in itself is shrinking daily) from paper to electronic medium in the form of ebooks, the need for such anachronisms has diminished and is on its way to extinction.

Such objects were never at the forefront of civilization’s advancement or representative of its superior culture. Unlike the Model-T, military arsenals and the advent of tabletop computers, one cannot point to them and say, “Now that was the beginning of the industrial age, the technological age, the age of modern warfare“, etc.  Instead, bookends were purchased and displayed for a quiet, unassuming, utilitarian purpose: to help books remaining standing.  One rarely went into a store and bought only a single bookend; they come in pairs, and when one of the pairs is lost or damaged, then both became less of value in terms of everyday utility.

In going through basic training in the military, a similar concept was hammered: of pairing soldiers together and working in tandem to advance towards an enemy position.  Marriage is sort of like that; the cooperation, not the warfare (although some would point more to the latter than the former as representing the institution).  And so the statistical sales of bookends has been steadily declining.

Often, for Federal and Postal employees who come to a critical point of needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the metaphorical association to the uselessness of bookends in modernity is obvious: the agency no longer supports the Federal or Postal Worker, neither in words nor in deed, and one can easily forecast the future value of one’s continuing presence. With the loss of such support, one feels like the singular bookend.

When that loss of agency support occurs, it is time for the Federal and Postal Worker to consider that option which exists precisely for that moment: to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  Work is important, but health so much more. When the bookend of the agency is lost or damaged, then one is looking at holding up one side of the spectrum.

Oh, and that metaphorical concept of the “buddy” system, taught in tactical military training? Like the singular bookend which can only hold up the rear, that’s precisely what the Federal or Postal Worker must look out for when once a medical condition is revealed to an uncaring Federal Agency or Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Tendencies and First Impressions

First impressions are funny animals; while potentially misguided and fraught with errors, they are difficult to shake off because of our natural inclination to form them.  Tendencies, on the other hand, are established over time, and tend (sic) to reliably reflect a routine of repetitive behavior.  In both cases, they are difficult traits to get rid of, sort of like a nagging cold or a hairball in one’s throat.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, both traits are important to recognize.

First impressions — and from knowledge gained over time:  one’s agency; how will one’s supervisor act or react; one’s treating doctor; the extent of support one will receive; they will be the initiating basis and foundation in determining whether to go forward or not.

Tendencies — one’s own; is procrastination a problem?  Is avoidance an issue, such that it is best to jump into the process, knowing that delay is an identified enemy of one’s own best interests?

One’s formed personality and characteristic traits are established early in life; it is the remainder of our lives where we work to understand them, and to undo, supplement, or learn from those early first impressions and tendencies molded into our very being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement (for US Federal Employees): Administering Treatment versus Administrative Functions

Doctors rarely have any problems with administering treatment based upon clinical encounters and subjective narratives from their patients; yet, when it comes to providing a medical report and performing similar administrative functions, the sudden pause, hesitation, and sometimes outright refusal, is rather puzzling, if not disconcerting.

Such trepidation from the doctor can obviously result in a difficult wall for purposes of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

For, much of medical evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis and prescribing of treatment encompasses receipt of subjective responses from the patient:  where the pain is present; the nature and extent of the pain; the history and chronicity of manifested symptoms; even functional capacity evaluations must necessarily be an observation of the subjective actions & reactions of the participant.  Of course, there are often distinguishable “objective” factors — swelling; carcinogenic versus benign tumors; broken bones, etc.

On the other hand, even MRIs and other diagnostic tools reveal only that X exists — not that X results in symptom Y.  An example would be a bulging disc — while the abnormality itself may show up on an MRI, whether the individual experiences any pain from the abnormality may differ from subject to subject.

This is why, despite the willingness of a doctor to treat based upon most factors being “subjective” in nature, it becomes a puzzle why the same doctor shows an unwillingness to write a report stating that, because of the medical conditions for which patient M is being treated, one must necessarily conclude that he or she cannot perform essential elements X, Y and Z of his or her job.

It is the jump from treatment-to-disability-determination which is often problematic for the treating doctor.  All of a sudden, the excuses flow:  “I am not trained to make such determinations”; “There is no objective basis for your pain” (then why have you been treating me for over a decade and prescribing high levels of narcotic pain medications?); “I can’t say whether you can or cannot do your job”; and many other excuses.

The switch from administering treatment, to treating administrative matters, is one fraught with potential obstacles.  How one approaches the treating doctor will often determine whether such obstacles can be overcome — and whether one’s Federal Disability Retirement application can be successfully formulated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Succinctly Put

In a technological age where one’s attention is diverted by multiple needs, wants and necessities, the old adage that “time is money” is merely a reflection of the commodity-based approach prevalent in our society and lives at large.

One understands that in certain geographical locations, to encounter the salutation, “Hi, how are you,” is merely a formality, and is not meant to have one pause and actually provide the historical details of the past day, week or month, leaving aside any acceptable response other than a quick, “Fine, thank you,” and to walk quickly by.

In other parts of the country, foreign or domestic, such a greeting must actually be met with a personal conversation, lest one is left to be considered rude and unneighborly.  It is precisely because time is considered a valuable and threatened commodity, that one is left with attempting to devise ways in which to “maximize” the precious but ethereal substance.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, when one approaches a medical doctor in requesting records, notes, or a rather detailed report in order to obtain support for one’s Federal Disability Retirement submission through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important to explain thoroughly; to request in detail; but at the same time, to remain succinct in order to deal with the aspect of time as a commodity.

Doctors know the value of time; they tie it to life and death decisions on a daily basis, and are keenly aware of the importance of a life’s time.  To show respect for a doctor’s time is important in the very approaching of the medical personnel.  It is simply one more thing to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, whether under FERS or CSRS, for all Federal or Postal employees.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Blunt Clarifications

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often a good idea to distinguish between the entities and issues which will respond favorably or not; the extent of the response; whether straightforward or not.  

Blunt clarifications will provide an effective road map — however, remember that a question asked can provide the wrong type of information to the recipient of the question, and so one must always be careful.  

Where possible, however, it is a good idea to be clear on a road map.  Thus, by way of example, take the following:  The doctors who will be asked to provide medical narrative reports — will they be supportive?  To what extent will they be supportive?  The agency which will be receiving the Federal Disability Retirement application (assuming that the Federal or Postal employee has not been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days) —  how will they react if they are informed now, as opposed to when the application is submitted?  Will they respond in a negative, reactionary manner, or will the supervisors and chain of command show some empathy and be supportive during the process?  

It is best to be able to gauge the level of support, be able to determine the people who will be favorable, etc.  In the end, of course, it is the medical condition which will determine the plan and course of one’s actions, because the impact of one’s medical conditions upon the ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job may compel the Federal or Postal worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  But it is a good thing to know the “road map” and the people along the way, whether supportive, neutral, or negative, in the preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire