Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Cold

“Cold” is a word with multiple meanings.  It can refer to the temperature of one’s environment; an infectious malady of common origins; or the emotional unresponsiveness of someone.  It can even be an adverb delineating the complete knowledge or mastery of a subject, as in, “He knew it cold”.

But temperatures can be countered; common colds have multiple remedies (though one wonders if any of them are effective, as opposed to bed rest and drinking fluids); and the adverb form is merely an informal allowance of language in a vernacular left for the younger generation.  We are thus left with the state of emotional paralysis — identified in one’s own being, or in another.

For the injured or ill Federal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such an appropriate identification of the concept and definition related to the emotional reaction (or lack thereof) by one’s own agency and one’s co-workers should be expected.

While it is a welcome and unexpected surprise if one’s agency and co-workers respond otherwise, it is simply the nature of human beings to respond with a herd mentality, and for the most part, once the Federal or Postal employee reveals the intention to depart from one’s agency, the common response is one which can only be characterized as “cold”.

Why must it be this way?

There is no adequate explanation.  But for the Federal and Postal employee under FERS or CSRS, who has had to endure the often unthinking bureaucracy of the Federal Sector, such lack of warmth merely exacerbates the dire situation of one who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is, indeed, a puzzle; for in the harshness of winter, where the cold winds blow, the emotional coldness of one’s workplace is somewhat akin the common cold — a nagging sense that something has gone awry, but most Federal and Postal employees know that cold, anyway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Approaches & Decisions

With each case, a story must be told.  If the case gets denied, normally my approach is not so much that a “narrative” must be retold, but rather, I tend to view the Reconsideration Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement application process more as the “battle” to set the proper stage — to either win at the Reconsideration Stage, or to win at the Merit Systems Protection Board stage.  What is interesting is that, within the three stages of the process (excluding the appellate stages of the Full Board Review and the appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals), the need to tell a coherent, empathetic, sympathetic and compelling story of a dedicated and loyal Federal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that it impacts him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, comes “full circle”. 

I approach the “Reconsideration Stage” of the Federal Disability Retirement process under FERS & CSRS as the “center point” of battle, in many ways, precisely because it is the step just before taking it before an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board.  It is the place to give the Office of Personnel Management a subtle warning:  This is your last chance before the destiny of the Disability Retirement Application is taken completely out of your hands and control, and placed into the hands of an Administrative Judge.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire