FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Purposeful Statement

Some narratives are written for the pure beauty of style and art; quiet in tenor, like the bamboo hollow whistling in the serenity of a morning breeze as the sun reaches the crest of the distant mountains, the place where wizards and warlords gather in solemn conferences around a fireplace of cooling ashes.  Then, there are informational pieces — direct lines of communication, shot at the reader like an arrow and with words to pierce the intended audience.

One’s Statement of Disability, written for purposes of inclusion in a Federal Disability Retirement application by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, and whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the admixture of history, story, situation and persuasive argumentation, constitutes the purposeful narrative.  Stories reveal a truism; in the classical sense, a conflict, and an unfolding until it reaches a pinnacle of a resolution.

A statement of disability, written in response to questions posed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on Standard Form 3112A, may not yet have a resolution; otherwise, the need for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits would be somewhat meaningless.

But be not fooled; the narrative as delineated on SF 3112A, in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is a story filled with compelling drama and mixed with facts, circumstances, and contextual significance, no less than the great works of literature or the purposeful articles in technical journals and compendiums of esoteric writings; it is just that the particular narration as detailed on SF 3112A pinpoints a select audience, and is written from the soul of a Federal or Postal employee,  reaching out to a nameless bureaucracy in a world where numbers are assigned to faceless and nameless workers who have toiled for years without accolades and ceremonies, but where need is the basis of the written statement submitted for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

OPM Disability Retirement: The Power of Approval

Whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can have a significant impact upon a Federal Disability Retirement application is a question often asked; then, of course, there are always suspicions that certain individuals and entities may try to undermine or otherwise sabotage, out of pure animus and acrimonious low-down-ness (not a legal or technical term, by any stretch of the imagination), by going through “back-door” channels and attempting to influence or otherwise paint a portrait of perverse circumstances.

At best, agencies, individuals and entities of the Federal kind can remain neutral and harmless; at worst, they can allege unspecified and unidentifiable, nefarious circumstances of associated behaviors or conduct issues otherwise unrelated but left to the unimaginative creativity of an OPM administrative specialist.  But then, since those would all be illegal and unofficial acts of retribution and retaliation, they would never be validated nor publicly acknowledged, anyway, and so only the suspicions would remain, without verifiable evidence of ascertained capability to influence or otherwise persuade a negative determination to be reached by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

To their credit, OPM asserts complete and total independence, and refuses to allow for any influence but for the legal criteria in evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the individual is under FER, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and whether the Federal Disability Retirement application comes from the U.S. Postal Service or from one of hundreds of Federal agencies and departments across the country.

Neither a Federal agency nor the U.S. Postal Service can promise or otherwise grant a Federal Disability Retirement application to a Federal or Postal worker; only the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can do that.  Empty promises aside, whether by implication, inference or alleged influence, OPM is the only entity which can approve a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Yes, agencies can be more helpful than not (though that is rare); agencies can somewhat harm (though a Federal OPM Disability Retirement application is ultimately based upon the medical evidence gathered); and yes, agencies more often than not attempt to undermine rather than assist (despite thousands of Human Resource Specialists across the country claiming otherwise); despite all of this, it comes down to a single entity — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and no other agency — which grants or denies an approval for a Federal Disability Retirement application.  As such, beware of promises made; be cautious of settlements reached; and be dubious of claims of egomaniacal exponents of hyperbolic vituperations; they normally amount to the value of the verbal paper they are written upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Reflections on Federal Disability Retirement this Independence Weekend

Each country has a symbolic date for celebrating independence; that historic marker which represents the freeing of a populace from the chains of tyranny.  Some may view it as an anachronism, and in such a mindset, it is merely another day off from the daily toil of work. Others, with half-hearted attempts at joining the revelry of the occasion, may actually convince themselves of the celebratory relevance of the extended weekend.

How does one keep alive the historic importance of past markers?  As veterans of past wars begin to decrease in number, so the present fervor of an event parallels the diminishing stature of the occasion.  Why is World War II more prominently featured than the “Great War” some mere decades preceding; and what of the cost of the Civil War?  As living memories fade, so the pages of history remain kept on dusty bookshelves left for college professors and their students to ponder. In the end, relevance of an event must be personalized; that is how connections are made.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself becomes a tyranny of dependence, it is precisely that marker which separates one from confinement which reveals a revelatory relevance to the greater world.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option available to all Federal and Postal employees who seek to become independent from the chains of turmoil and turbulence caused by one’s medical condition and the exacerbation of such conditions upon one’s Federal or Postal position.

Independence day is often a marker of historical significance, but it must always relate at the personal level for each individual. Otherwise, it remains merely an extension of another weekend.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Unchosen

It is a term and concept which denotes a negation of what once was; like an unfinished paragraph or a torn page in a novel, the act of undermining and incompleteness is implied; and so the reader will never know the full story or the thoughts once surfaced but buried forever in the settled dust of time.  A career cut short; quiet whispers of, “and he was such a promising young man…”

Federal and Postal Workers who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, fit nicely into that category of the unchosen.  Once part of the workforce, the need to detach, separate, and move on to another and different phase of life, career, vocation and stage — all are aggregately bundled into the entire process of separation from an organization which once chose, but because of circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, ascribed with the prefatory negation of that which once was.

When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the Federal employee has few choices.  Continue on as one of the chosen; walk away with nothing to show for it; allow the agency to determine the time and place of becoming one of the unchosen; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and have some semblance and control of being the master of one’s destiny and future.

Becoming the unchosen may begin with a preface of negation; it is up to the Federal and Postal Worker to replace the torn page, and complete the unfinished paragraph.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: An Altered Life of Habituation

Loss of stature and status can come in many forms; we think too often in terms of financial status, of material belongings, where we live, with whom we associate, and the subtle evaluation of social consciousness in relation to our neighbors, friends and family.  But as work constitutes a majority of the time we expend, we often fail to understand the profound impact that we subconsciously place upon the status and standing we perceive within the employment arena.  This is closely related to the conceptual viability of bifurcating our “time at work” and “closing the door behind us” when we exit our place of employment, get into the car, and begin the commute home.

More and more, of course, the traditional dichotomy between work and personal life has been destroyed with the intrusive nature of email, smart phones, laptops and the constant need to keep in communication via electronic media.  The sanctity of the home life is deteriorating; weekends are merely interludes of a slower pace of work; and Sundays are rarely categorized as days of unreachable separateness.

With all traditional social and employment walls disintegrated, it becomes all the more profoundly insidious when one’s employment is severely impacted by a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the change from the status of “Federal employee” or “Postal Worker” to one of “Disability annuitant” can have a devastating psychological impact. For, in the end, it is not merely a change of status and stature; it is a profound alteration of a way of life, arrived at through habituation without thought, mindlessly embracing the insidiousness of technological intrusions which we never asked for and rarely sought.

The negative view for the Federal and Postal Worker is to myopically observe this profound change in sadness; the positive outlook is to have a fresh perspective, and to actually take the opportunity to use the time for rehabilitation of one’s health, perhaps just to be able to — for a brief moment in the history of one’s life — stop and smell the proverbial flower on the way out of the office door.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Suburban Sketches

Within the past 2 weeks:  a rabbit’s nest is discovered in the back yard; then, in the early morning dawn of the next morning, that same discovery is met with a predator whose presence is feared only in the limited universe of suburbia — the neighborhood cat.  Laying with a sense of indifference and aplomb, the cat is quickly shooed away, hoping against any glimmer of hope. Sure enough, the heads of the two young bunnies had been eaten.

And the second wildlife sketch (well, not quite, inasmuch as a backyard in suburbia hardly constitutes the wilds of woodland forests):  attending to some chores, a baby squirrel walks without thought or suspicion right up to this human; a moment later, the mother prances frantically, and in the quiet language known only to animals, directs the young prey back to the safety of trees and branches.

Humans are merely a species within the greater genus of animals, and yet we tend to forget that.  It is, of course, at our own peril that we forget the obvious.

For Federal and Postal Workers who encounter and engage the carnivorous power of an agency, the bureaucracy of destruction can quickly stamp out the youthful naiveté which the Federal or Postal Worker may exhibit.  Perhaps it is like the bunnies:  As long as one stays in the metaphorical nest of one’s own making, safety will be assured.  Or, like the baby squirrel:  Be open, and no harm will result.

Whatever the consequences of youthful exuberance, the difference is at least this:  For human, most mistakes based upon a reliance of trust do not end in terminal consequences; whereas, in the wild, a singular mistake can result in death.  Trust in one’s fellow man is a reflection of two sides of a single coin:  the one side, revealing moral character; on the other, naiveté.

When a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee, and consideration is given as to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the query is often made as to how much trust should be granted or information should be revealed, and at what stage of the process, to the carnivorous animal known as “the agency”.

One should be able to glean the opinion of the undersigned as to the answer to that question, by the very nature of these sketches.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire