OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Pivotal Moments

In basketball, it is a key movement of escaping an opponent’s attempt to block or steal the ball, so long as one foot retains its point of contact with the hardwood floor.  In the game of greater life, it is a moment, in contradistinction from a singular series of movements, comprising the culmination of a spectrum of events, which requires a decision of exponentially quantified significance, such that it may be considered metaphorically to be “earth shaking”.

It can seemingly be as minor an event as when the first confrontation occurred as a child, challenging one to a fist fight; but, in retrospect, win or lose, that moment was pivotal in the sense that it determined the future character of an individual’s make-up:  of courage or cowardice, of fight or flee, and of facing up or turning away.  Or, of greater relevance, at least on a memory and consciousness level, of a career choice, of which school to attend, of whom to marry, and of raising a family despite difficulties, or divorcing with impressionable regrets.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is just one of those “pivotal moments” — it is a point of reference, the proverbial “fork in the road”, and the Frost-like road less traveled.  For many Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, “sticking it out” and enduring the pain, the constant harassment and pernicious hostile environment, is actually the path of least resistance, precisely because the repetition of habitual comfort is often preferable to the unseen, unknown and unforeseen.

Like the basketball player who must maintain the point of contact with one foot while moving about on the other lest the referee’s whistle blows for a traveling violation, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that he or she is no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, remains within the “safety net” of the greater arena of life.

But within that macro-context of one’s future, whether one remains or takes an affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, will determine that future orientation where retrospective dismay may tether the soft landings of past regrets, when once butterflies fluttered like the dreaming spirits of yesteryear for pivotal moments once grasped at, but lost forever in the floating vestiges of our memories of yore gone and long forgotten.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement and the Inescapable Bureaucracies

The gargantuan of Leviathans is the Federal entity with a bureaucracy so expansive that identities of Federal employees are not merely never recognized, but to a great extent, irrelevant. Certain agencies fall into that category: The Department of Defense; The Department of Homeland Security; the Department of Veterans Affairs; The Department of Agriculture, with all of their subsidiary services, including the U.S. Forest Service; The U.S. Department of Justice; and, further, the U.S. Postal Service probably qualifies in that category of large, subsuming organizations where one’s identity of any sense of “self”is lost within the overwhelming size of the bureaucracy.

For the Federal employee or the Postal worker who is employed by such organizations, or any of the lesser ones (i.e., U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; Department of Commerce; NOAA; Department of Energy; Department of — and one may almost be able to simply insert any pragmatic noun or adjective, and there is a department or agency which fits the bill), the intersection of a medical condition which begins to impede one’s ability and capacity to perform the full positional duties of one’s job, becomes a double-edged sword: On the one side of the equation, being an employee of a large organization can mean that one can, with some success of anonymity, continue to work without much notice, so long as the immediate supervisor or other coworkers do not take note; on the other side of the sharpened sword, is the reality that if such an organization begins to take punitive and adverse actions, it is difficult to fight against the compendium of agency tactics.

Whether the agency notices or not, the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker has an absolute right to file for CSRS or FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so long as certain prefatory legal criteria are met.  For the Federal employee or Postal worker under FERS, a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service is required. For the quickly-fading dinosaur of CSRS employees, the minimum requirement of 5 years of Federal Service is required. In either case, if a Federal employee or Postal worker begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, then it is time to consider filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, especially if it becomes fairly evident that the medical condition is going to last a minimum of 12 months.

Then comes the next hurdle and realization: While the ill Federal employee or the injured Postal worker is employed by one of those gargantuan entities, the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application must ultimately be submitted to another Leviathan of sorts: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management. C’est la vie.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Different Agencies

The question is sometimes asked as to whether, in filing for a Medical Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management, it makes a difference whether the Attorney has previously dealt with a particular Agency of the Federal Government.  

Ultimately, whether it is the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Customs & Border Protection, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc., or the multitudinous variety of other departments, including the U.S. Postal Service, Department of State, Securities & Exchange Commission, Social Security Administration, NASA, NOAA, NIH, etc., it matters not. Agencies are made up of individuals.

Whether individual supervisors or Human Resources Departments are “helpful” or not, depends not upon an Agency, but upon the very individuals who comprise the corporate culture of the agency.  Certainly, the tone and tenor of the Department head, and the deliberate compilation of an unpleasant group of supervisors can make a difference in the cumulative culture which conducts business, but for purposes of a medical retirement under FERS or CSRS, the focus needs to be upon the medical conditions, the impact of the medical conditions upon one’s positional requirements, and obtaining the proper documentation to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that one is eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  

Having prior experience with a multitude of different agencies, over many years, is helpful in recognizing those issues which are central to a Federal Disability Retirement case, and those issues which are and should remain peripheral to a case.  Whether a particular agency or department has been specifically encountered in the past is of far less relevance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire