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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Narrative Recanted

The ability to expunge, extinguish or recant is only available to the extent that memory serves us well; for, as the last veteran of a war once fought follows to a grave avoided in the skirmishes and battles long forgotten, so the discarding of memorialized narratives will survive long past, or be placed upon the dusty shelves of books unread and periodicals unsealed.

Human memory itself, of course, is fickle and fraught with errors of judgment and contextual intermingling of past vestiges, present impressions and future anticipatory angst of what should be; thus do short stories and novels of Dickensian genres magnify the perspective from a child’s memory of slights and wrongs committed.  It is when the written form is completed, that we are locked into the truth or falsity of an otherwise remembered past.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the narrative Statement of Disability as propounded, explicated and sealed on SF 3112A becomes the foundation of one’s application.  For that is where the facts, figures and featured fellowship between one’s medical condition, the work one engages in, and the nexus between the two will determine the evaluative force and analytical judgment of the Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Once the Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania, and a CSA Number is assigned, the content of the narrative statement is accepted and ensconced in stone; medical conditions cannot be “added”, but they can follow the course of substantive inclusion; and nor can the narrative be recanted, despite differing memories diverging from the written Statement of Disability as submitted to OPM on SF 3112A.

As such, one must take care in the preparation, formulation and filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application, for the narrative recanted must be withdrawn, but the residue of past submissions may remain in copied form in the unforgiving files of a bureaucracy which never discards anything, even unto the dustbin of history.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Future of Now

Human beings have the unlimited capacity of projecting into the future, such that a present picture of what may occur some time hence can be visualized; but whether and how many bring the future to the fore, such that the present becomes encompassed into the reflective reality of current circumstances, is of an imaginative rendering few take the time to engage in.

By focusing upon the future as some ethereal fog somewhere in the distant netherworlds, we can justify the tendency to procrastinate and kick the proverbial can down the road; and, similarly, we can get lost and embroiled in the problems of the now and today, and groan with delicious consternation about the inhumanity and uncaring nature of the world.  But to meld and cross the lines of future and now by projecting forward, then bringing back, such that the future becomes the now in our enlivened universe of deadened souls, is to plan for a time hence in real time of current clockwork.  It is an exercise of the imagination which is necessary in order to better prepare both for today and for tomorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is important to consider those matters not just in linear form, but as a reality of clashing values and systematic interludes of conflicting confidences.  Yes, you want to continue on, but does the current state of pain and debilitating medical conditions allow for such expectations?  Yes, what you decide today will impact your future in ways financial, medical and career-wise, but does delaying consideration now change such a projection of future events?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an easy dictate of imaginative musings; but when the warning signs are emitted, both from one’s own body as well as from the harassing actions of one’s own agency and the U.S. Postal Service, the reality is that the future of now, and the now of one’s future, have coalesced into a moment of necessity where time stands still and the world is about to shift in directions beyond your control, unless you take those affirmative steps necessary to secure the benefits for a future uncertain at a date unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Government Employment: The Beat of Life

Have you ever had a dream (or nightmare) where you are the only one out of sync?  Whether in a choir or perhaps playing an instrument, and everyone around stares with irritation or dismay, and no matter what efforts you expend, nothing seems to allow for a synchronization of movements, sounds or stylistic applications?

Or in other similar circumstances, whether in sports, dance, or other events requiring coordination of efforts and timing of actions, the personification of self reflects a complete lack of capacity to become a quiet pendulum of rhythmic beats.  And much of life is like that; there is a rhythm and a beat, and one day we wake up and everything seems out of sync, out of kilter, and no matter what we do, how hard we try, the beat of life seems to go on without us.

The phrase itself, “The beat of life”, of course, has a sense of double entendre; the first implying the rhythmic march of one’s existence, and the other denoting the thrashing inflicted through the existential encounters experienced daily.  Both, in either form, connote the consequences of the spectrum felt and the degree effectuated upon the soul of an individual.  Medical conditions tend to do that independently of any control we attempt to exert upon the environment surrounding us.  Control and our ability and capacity to determine one’s fate, is not confined or unique to the proverbial “Type-A” personality.

We all desire to be the master of our defined universe.  To lose control is to relinquish the beat and rhythm of life.   It is to be banished from the comity and security of the fiefdom we have ascribed and announced our liege to, and for which we have dedicated out lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the discovery of a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, is tantamount to a moment in a dream when the beat of life begins and ends.  The old rhythmic consonance of mellifluous comity terminates, and the new and adversarial relationship, both against the medical condition itself and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which fails to accommodate and refuses to cooperate, must be endured and confronted.

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, must be considered, precisely because a new beat must be found, and the band which played the tunes before can no longer comprehend the stylistic differentiation which you have now experienced, like a religious awakening expanding beyond the horizon one may have expected at the beginning of the journey.

But whether one lives a life in a small town and never leaves the security of the neighborhood born, or one travels through and traverses the cultural divides of the world, the beat of life one carries is somewhat like the backpack of the pilgrim, and for the Federal and Postal worker who must move on to the next phase of life, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM becomes a necessary step to allow for the beat of life to continue, lest you allow life itself to beat you down.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Observing Dogs

They belie conformity of thought, though they are willing to obey and follow strict adherence to rules and commands; and while “experts” in clothing of meandering letters, capitalized after the patronymic lineage displayed proudly as designators of validity and knowledge, may conclude that they neither smile, nor exhibit greater intelligence than primates deemed closer to our ancestral genetic heritage, what constitutes a test of possessing such a quotient is often irrelevant to defining the species.

They can defy; they can doubt, and be suspicious; anticipate by mere thought or look; and know the scent of danger from miles afar, long before any human capacity to fathom such instinctive acuity.  We think we are the great observatories of behavior and time; but dogs can as well decipher with watchful eyes, and smell the aroma of turmoil and disease, oftentimes long before a diagnostic tool can determine the course of future treatment.

We can learn much from observing dogs; for, while we may marvel at the obedience displayed, we mistake such adherence to commands as mere acts of automatons, as opposed to the want to please and the love they possess.  And how much of one’s life is characterized by a need to please, even when it is refused and countermanded with cruelty and crass contempt?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to remain in a Federal or Postal job, despite all indicators from their bodies, minds and spirits to leave for the sake of health, is it any different than the observations gleaned from dogs who obey despite the cruelty of a contemptible master?

It is like the famous quote from Hemingway, that in modern warfare, a man will “die like a dog for no good reason.”  Sometimes, obedience and adherence is nothing more complicated than a desire to please, and to “stay the course” because no other way is known or shown.

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, is no different than the curse of the cur; and while we may applaud our own superiority by making grand conclusions based upon observing dogs and other creatures, the wonder of it is what those observing dogs must consider of our own plight, as fellow mongrels in a universe replete with stupid cruelty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire