Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Step-by-step Process

Complexities abound in every field, and the solution to preventing one from become embroiled in such confounding complexities is to divide the complexities into manageable entities.  While any bifurcation may be arbitrary, it does not mean that there is not a reasonable basis for such arbitrary division of issues.  

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to identify the primary medical issues which are impacting one’s ability/inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s life.  It is often queried as to “which one” of the multiple medical conditions should be included in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (Standard Form 3112A), and further, what are the “primary essential elements” which should be described.  

Both questions pose a complexity beyond an ability to answer such a question in a generic fashion, precisely because each case is unique.  As to the former question, it all depends upon the impact of the latter question; and as to the latter question, it all depends upon the answer to the former question.  

This circularity of interdependence, of which of the major medical conditions one should include, depending upon the type of essential elements of one’s job, is the complexity which must be unraveled, and it is in the process of this unraveling that one then begins to formulate the “bridge” or the “nexus” between the type, extent and severity of one’s medical condition (or its variance of pluralities of conditions) and the multi-tasking nature of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  

It is a complex process, but one in which the various components begin to provide for a foundation of that bridge, which must be constructed carefully, with scrutiny, and with deliberate reasoning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Resisting the Urge to Panic

The process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is merely the first step in the long road to proving one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  

“Merely” and “first step”, of course, are conceptual triggers which have an expanded context for those who have been engaged in the informational infinity of articles, blogs, postings, etc., which are voluminous in quantity, and often questionable in qualitative reliability.  Putting together all of the medical documentation; formulating the nexus between the medical documentation and one’s position description; securing the support of one’s treating doctor; being persuasive and adequately descriptive in one’s applicant’s statement of disability — all of these are necessary steps before the actual filing of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  

Then, there is the long waiting process.  Thereafter, with the potential for a denial at the First Stage of the process, and a subsequent denial — at the Reconsideration Stage of the process — then preparing for an Administrative Hearing before a Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board:  throughout it all, the urge to panic must be resisted.  

During the long and arduous waiting periods between a denial and the response to be submitted (or even sometimes between an approval and the beginning of interim pay; or between the receipt of interim pay and the finalization of one’s case), there is the looming financial pressure from not having sufficient income during such periods.  Those Federal and Postal workers who have prepared well and have the financial resources to endure the long period of non-pay status are fortunate.  Combining the difficulties of having a serious medical condition with the pressure of finances, the urge to panic is almost unavoidable.  

Ultimately, however, panic will not resolve the issue; the focus must be singularly placed upon attempting to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one is entitled and eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, and whatever one’s circumstances, the future rests upon one’s ability to focus upon that goal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire