CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: “What If” Scenarios

The problem with “what if” scenarios is that they rely upon fear.  What if I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the agency then removes me?  What if I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and OWCP decides to send me to a Second-Opinion doctor and begins the process of trying to get me off of their rolls?

Fear and the anticipation of unknown future events is often the trigger-mechanism to prevent a person from acting.  The fallacy of making decisions based upon such fear factors, however, is an obvious one:  The agency can begin the process of removal with or without the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement (because of one’s medical conditions, his or her attendance, overuse of sick leave, less than full performance of duties, etc., is normally quite obvious to the agency already, anyway); OWCP can send the Federal or Postal employee to a second-opinion doctor or cut off benefits arbitrarily with or without the Federal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and in general terms, “what if” scenarios can occur even if the event in question is never pursued.

Fear is the factor which bullies, totalitarian regimes, and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service relies upon.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely the great equalizer against the fear factor.  That which can happen regardless of a triggering event, will occur anyway; so the logical conclusion should be to decide to file for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits in order to acquire the “safety-net” against the future possibility (and probability) of adverse actions which the Agency is already likely contemplating.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency which Decides

These days, the chasm between language, truth and reality has widened to where the bifurcation and distinction between each has resulted in a lack of any significant relationship between them; or, conversely, each has become identical with the other, which amounts to all the same if one pauses to reflect upon it.

Once upon a time, prior to Bertrand Russell’s mischievous offering of a conundrum with the statement, “The King of France is bald” (for, as there is no King of France, and therefore there can be no bald King of France; yet, how is it that such a statement can nevertheless have meaning?  Ergo:  language need not have any relationship to truth or reality); the prevailing operative theory involved the correspondence theory of truth, where statements were said to correspond to the noumenal world around us.

In the practical world, the weight which keeps us grounded is based upon the extent of responsibility one must accept.  Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is precisely the agency to whom a Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted which the Federal or Postal worker should be focused upon.  It is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — OPM in acronym form — which should guide and dictate how a Federal or Postal worker should act, react, and correspondingly prepare for.

While agencies will attempt to pressure the Federal or Postal worker into hastily preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application for their own purposes, the Federal or Postal worker must always realize that if OPM denies a claim, you cannot go back to your agency and say, “See, you made me do X, Y and Z, so now it is your problem.”  No, the Agency will not take responsibility; it is between OPM and the Federal or Postal Worker.

Therefore, act accordingly; do not unwisely and hastily be pressured to prepare or formulate a Federal Disability Retirement case just because the agency wants the positional slot vacated.  Do it properly; take the necessary time; get legal counsel; otherwise, you may in fact have to meet the bald King of France.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Labor Day Weekend

Over the years, the evolution of the meaning of terms, concepts, conceptual references, etc., results in a spectrum of changes.  What was once originally conceived to represent X, over time embraces and encompasses a conceptual entity which may be an inverted or convex cave of creative characterizations barely containing the originality of meaning.  Labor Day is one such concept.  Yet, whatever the prior meaning, the origin of such meaning, etc., for the “everyday” worker, it represents the idea of the end of summer, a celebration of workers and the contribution to society and the productivity of a life of work.  

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Medical Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, Labor Day Weekend is merely a needed period of respite and recuperation; a time to recover from the chronic and increasingly debilitating medical conditions which are progressively ravaging one’s body, mind and/or soul.  Whether in an insignificant or relatively minor position as a clerk, secretary, assistant, etc., or at an executive or managerial level of the Federal government, medical disabilities fail to discriminate.  The importance of the job left unaccomplished begins to cumulatively manifest over time; perhaps it is left unnoticed to the Supervisor, or the greater suspicion is that the Supervisor is simply being “nice” about it and intentionally not noticing.  But over time, suspicions arise and exponentially magnify; and one begins to wonder whether the Agency is contemplating some action.

Labor Day is merely a bump in time; yes, it can be used for a period of rest and recuperation; but for the long term, the very celebration for which Labor Day is reflective of, should make the Federal or Postal worker pause and consider that the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is one which is part of the compensation package which the labor force fought for, precisely to recognize the need of such a benefit if and when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job.  

Preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits begins by a conceptual contemplation of it; formulating it requires some pragmatic steps; filing it is the completion of such steps.  The first step is to determine the need for it, and then one may truly begin to recuperate from one’s progressively worsening medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire