Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: Excessive Reliance

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is never a good idea to proceed with excessive reliance (or any at all, for that matter) upon expected or presumed actions on the part of one’s Agency.

The preponderance of the evidence in proving a Federal Disability Retirement application is always upon the Federal or Postal worker, and one should affirmatively and pro-actively proceed without regard to what the Agency will do, says it will do, or might do during the process.

Yes, the Agency has its portion to complete; yes, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management does review the entirety of the Disability Retirement packet, including the standard forms which the agency must complete, along with other personnel information that is forwarded to OPM.

But the crux and essence of a Federal Disability Retirement applications always remains the medical information gathered and submitted, along with the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in conjunction with the asserted nexus constructed between one’s medical condition and the positional duties of one’s job.

Any other approach is merely to run a fool’s errand for a fiefdom from which one is attempting to flee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Gatekeeper II

The image of the gatekeeper is a powerful one — for it represents both sides of an analogously identical coin:  of an insurmountable impasse from the perspective of a third party, as well as the key to entry and deliverance when seen from the subjective “I”.

Stress is ultimately an inevitable and inherent part of any workplace environment.

Each of us represents a gatekeeper of sorts; what we allow to bother us, and what stresses we embrace and transport into the quietude of our own homes, will often depend upon each individual’s tolerance for the wide spectrum of ability to filter the stresses impacting our lives.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is also a gatekeeper of sorts.  The Agency empowered to make determinations on all Federal Disability Retirement applications can open the door to allowing for that crucial rehabilitative time in a person’s life, where granting of a Federal Disability Retirement application will secure one’s future and change the course of one’s life in order to avoid, avert and allow for an environment different from the stressful one which is impacting one’s health and well-being.

Ultimately, the gatekeeper him/herself — the Federal or Postal employee — must make the decision to open the door or not, and to take the next step in determining whether or not it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS.  That decision — whether to open the door or not — is often the single most important step of one’s life, career, and future course of actions.

In the end, we determine who we are, what we want in life, and when the right time is, in overcoming the insurmountable; for the gatekeeper has the hidden key to the passageway to the Khyber Pass of our own future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Agony of Beginning

Somehow, the agony of beginning a process is the most excruciating; why that should be so is a mystery, when the prefatory phase leading up to actually starting and engaging an activity is probably the period where most people experience the greatest anxiety.  By “beginning” is often a milestone of a mental nature, as in coming to a decision to initiate an activity.

Then, the question remains of bridging the chasm between the thought and the physical action of “doing it”.  Thus, one can “decide” to perform X in one’s own mind, but never actually implement any objectively ascertainable steps to manifest any signs of having begun the process in order to reach point Y. Beginning the process must follow a sequence of steps.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to close the gap between thinking about it, and actually doing it.  Agencies often get frustrated with mere words; they want to see some evidence, some progress; and even if it is information regarding having retained a Federal Disability Retirement attorney, or some communication concerning the process and the progress made, will often delay an administrative action or sanction contemplated.

As OPM takes an inordinate amount of time in making a decision on any given case, it is important to take the necessary initial steps, and to submit a Federal Disability Retirement packet within a reasonable period of time, and to shorten the period of agony and anguish, by initiating the administrative process of Federal OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Social Isolation

Federal and Postal employees who contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, often feel a profound sense of isolation.

First, of course, the agency itself has a tendency to treat the medically disabled Federal or Postal employee as a pariah; that, somehow, suffering from a medical condition is within the control of the sufferer.

Then, if the agency is informed of the very intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, then certain consequential actions often follow:  a PIP may be imposed; leave restrictions may be enforced; an adverse action may be proposed, including a removal — often based not upon the medical condition, but all sorts of “other reasons” that have been tabulated, memorialized and recorded, by supervisors and fellow co-workers.  Yes, there is FMLA; yes, the Federal or Postal employee may file an EEO action or other potential lawsuit; but such counteractions fail to mitigate the sense of isolation and separation that the Federal or Postal employee feels, from an agency which he or she has expended one’s life and energies to advance for the cause of one’s career.

Third, when the Federal or Postal employee finally files with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPM’s non-responsive attitude further exacerbates the sense of isolation.  A sense of closure is what one desires; of being able to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, then to move on with life into the next phase of a vocation, the next step beyond.

One should always remember:  It is the very act of filing which is the first step in overcoming the profound sense of isolation; for, the act itself and the decision to move beyond, is the affirmative indicator that there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Advancing from Thought to Action

In speaking with thousands of Federal and Postal employees, it is the pervasive thread of the final step which emanates from the uniqueness of each case, where the realization of that which separates the personal circumstances from the “rest” of us, can be summarized as follows:  The career of the Federal employee; the dedication and loyalty shown; the acknowledgment of how much our ego, our self-worth, and sense of who we are is dominated by the perception of what we do in the working compartment of our lives; and as Vonnegut said so eloquently, “So it goes”.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is that “final step” which is so difficult to take — of transitioning from thought to action, from theoretical construct to practical application; of accepting a diminution, and ultimate elimination, of continuing to engage in that worthy endeavor variously called, “a career”, “one’s profession”, or the answer to the question which every encounter poses:  “So, what do you do?”  And it should be understandable.  

So much of one’s life is taken up by one’s work, that to consider the option because of circumstances beyond one’s control — of a medical condition which has come to impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of that which defines the Federal or Postal employee — is a difficult step to take.  But it is better to control the options available than to allow for circumstances to dictate one’s future; better to work out a timetable than to submit to an emergency; and better to drive a graceful road, than to be forcibly strapped into a roller coaster.

The step from thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement, to acting upon it, is a major event in one’s life.  But to delay, procrastinate, and ultimately allow for others to determine one’s destiny, is an option worse than taking the necessary step.  Indeed, it is no option at all, but an uncontrolled event.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Decision

I have often spoken about the “process” of filing, but that mostly concerns the administrative ordeal of filing:  of preparing, of gathering the medical documentation, of writing up the proper applicant’s statement, of putting together the legal arguments in support thereof, etc.  Then, of course, I have spoken about the “human” side of things — of the difficult human ordeal of going through the process.  There is the initial psychological barrier — of starting the administrative process, which is somewhat of an implicit acknowledgment that a person is indeed “disabled”, as if that concept or label has some sort of a “stigma” attached thereto. 

One would think that in the 21st Century, all such stigmas would have been extinguished and extinct; and, indeed, most such stigmas are merely self-imposed.  Often, we are our own worst enemy; there is the barrier of ourselves in the process, of actually starting the process.  This is often why an attorney is the best person to handle a Federal Disability Retirement application — because it allows for the process to begin, without it being so intimately and personal a matter to the applicant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire