FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The cog in the process

Does perspective have an influence upon one’s approach in engaging an endeavor of any sort?  For instance, does it matter whether or not the cynic and the one who sees the world consistently as “half-empty” or unwittingly cruel, nevertheless succeeds at every turn and venture?  Or, conversely, of the person who always has a “positive attitude” and sees good in every corner, but nevertheless fails at every attempted feat; did “perspective” and viewpoint make a difference?

Perhaps life requires a balance between the two, and such extremes on a spectrum of outlook is never a healthy thing.

In the end, does it matter whether or not we see ourselves as an insignificant cog in a wider process of unending turmoil, or as an Oprah-like shining star where we persuade ourselves that we matter as a mere cog precisely because the loss of a singular and unique “you” would have a devastating impact upon the well-ordered universe where the gods watch upon each hair of our scalps and wait to quiver with laughter when we express our hopes for relevance?

We often “feel” like a cog in the process – even if, on a more objective and brighter viewpoint, such an analogy and imagery represent an inaccurate put-down of major proportions.

That is the problem with bureaucracies – seen from the “other” side, our involvement in an administrative procedure invites us to ascertain that which we always suspected:  Stand in line; be assigned a number; be asked for standard information and data; a stamp is pounded upon a piece of paper and … “Next!”  What constitutes the accurate portrayal of our point of being caught within a world devoid of normative constructs, anymore?

This generation of youthful cadavers have it the worst, of course, as there is no longer a belief to die for, a value to live by, nor an encounter that can pass for pure friendship without an underlying suspicion that more is intended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into the social club of the “cog” is just beginning.  OPM is a vast juggernaut of an administrative process, and the miniscule feeling one will be exposed to, presented with and suddenly thrown to the bottom of a pitiless cauldron will become evident from the very beginning.

That “feeling”, however, should never be confused with the relevance, importance and significance of preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application properly and to a perfection made to order, at least as much as humanly possible.

For, in the end, to be a cog in the process does not mean that one should become processed as a mere cog; rather, that the line which extends around the block and down into the next needs to be acknowledged, yet prepared sufficiently such that when that call for “Next!” comes your way, all of the papers, relevant data and significance of evidence are in undiluted order, such that the cog in the process will flow smoothly when next your turn is up before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The expected party

It is the emptiness and void of what could have been, or even should have been; of regrets untold and remorse unuttered.

Whether for a special celebration marking a person’s birthday or an event of magnified relevance; or a turning point in a person’s life – of a 10th anniversary, exceeding expectations of mortality, in waiting, or perhaps a common achievement by others in everyday living but for handicaps and disabilities that make it challenging to meet; whatever the event, the party never thrown for it magnifies a negation of recognition, and like a pinprick into the heart and soul of a person’s life, it deflates the very essence of joy.

“Oh, it would have been nice to—” but the person is gone, and hears not the sudden want and desire of recognition.  “It’s too bad we didn’t get together and—” except that the inaction following the time of relevance has long passed, and it is such actions which derive the sincerity of words spoken, otherwise mere empty vessels of utterances without meaning or purpose.

Most can justify and minimize, and instead replace such statements of regretful remorse with offensive parries, as in:  “Oh, she wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway”, or the kicker – “He didn’t like those things.”  But that is not the point.  The party never thrown is not merely a negation of recognition earned, but a window into the heart of those who never truly cared in the first place.

Words are cheap and can be bandied about and flaunted endlessly without consequence of actions; but the negation of that which should have been, and could have been initiated but for want of selfless endeavor, is a missing slice of life that can never be replaced.  That is, unfortunately, what is often left behind during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The recognition of past contributions is suddenly no more; that party which “might” have been considered, is no longer; and suddenly the ‘golden boy or girl’ who could do no wrong, is the pariah, the dead-weight in the office, and the continuing drag upon the agency’s mission.

Whether the agency or the U.S. Postal Service will ‘support’ the Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and the unstated or concealed reasons for such support – to ‘get rid’ of the dead-weight, as opposed to showing some empathy; or to have that position filled by someone ‘more productive‘, is beside the point.

It matters not the why or even the ‘if’; for, whatever the underlying reasoning, don’t expect to received that recognition you once never sought but always seemed to get.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through one’s agency, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will know one’s ‘true friends’ and sincere coworkers, by the party never thrown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire