OPM Disability Retirement: A Pedigree of Choices

There are still some parts in the world where line of descent and lineage of genealogy matter; certainly, for spectacles such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the origins of breeding, the line of winners, and the genetically pure tree of aristocratic connections matter still.  But humans are different; or so we like to think.

We are repulsed by the very idea of placing substantive significance upon birth rights, yet we fawn all over royal births and deaths; we deny the importance of name, lineage and legitimacy, yet grope with incestuous perversity for information of scandal and bastardly genealogy; and while we feign to act disinterestedly in matters blared in tabloid newspapers, somehow they continue to sell well, and the supermarket lines are crammed with such addictive fare, alongside candies and covered chocolates.

Pedigree is to the dying aristocracy what the economy is to today’s worker:  slow death, and fading into an unknown abyss.  That has been the beauty for democracies around the world — the choices given, the opportunities provided, in a universe where lineage, heritage and genealogy matter less than the chance to thrive.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has become an impediment, it is the pedigree of a different sort which must be considered.

Pedigree in a narrow sense is that which constitutes the DNA of bloodlines; in a more general sense, it is the recorded ancestry which determines fate, but which in the modern era we have been able to free ourselves of, and with deliberative intent, force the issue.  Thus, when we talk about a pedigree of choices, it is meant to denote the reaching branches of multiple paths to consider, from a singular trunk of limited origins.

Federal Disability Retirement is one such branch, reaching out into a different direction.  For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it will often seem that future choices are as limited as the former system of feudal paucity of exclusion except for name, blood and descent by birth.

But the modern pedigree of choices is determined not by the tree of ancestry, but in the tree of knowledge; and as Federal OPM Disability Retirement is a choice available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS employees) and 5 years (for CSRS employees), it is incumbent upon the Federal or Postal worker who thinks that a medical condition is as self-limiting as the former constraints of pedigree, to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as the pedigree of choices.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Miscellaneous

Some cases take months to win; others, merely a week or so.  In some Disability Retirement applications under FERS or CSRS, a half-page report of substantive medical evidence is enough; in other cases, it is the compilation of voluminous material which must be argued and persuasively emphasized, in order to convince the representative at the Office of Personnel Management that the Federal or Postal employee is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits. 

Professionally, it gives me no greater satisfaction when a case takes a week, or if it is approved based upon a half-page medical report, than if it takes months or volumes of medical evidence:  an approval by any means results in the satisfaction of a client.  There a some cases in which a client “grumbles” when I am hired, paid, and am able to reverse an OPM decision within a week; but I try and explain to all clients that when you hire an attorney, you hire the attorney not only for his professional competence, knowledge and experience, but also for the reputation that an attorney brings to the forum.  I have attempted to build a reputation of integrity with the Office of Personnel Management, and there are many times when OPM will reverse their previous decision upon my entering my appearance into a case.  I share this fact with great humility, and an appreciation that one’s reputation still means something in this world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Supervisors, Agencies and H.R. Personnel

I am sometimes pleasantly surprised at Supervisors — ones who actually recognize that an individual filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS does so out of necessity, and not out of any personal or professional spite against the Supervisor or the Agency, and that the proper response to convey is one of support, empathy, and cooperation, without needing to compromise the goal and mission of the Agency.  Further, I am taken aback by the unprofessional and utterly unhelpful attitude of many Human Resources personnel in the processing of a Federal Disability Retirement application. 

Too often, the H.R. person finds it his or her mission in life to be an obstacle to the smooth processing of a disability retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  Yet, the law is clear (though not to many of the H.R. Departments at various agencies):  it is the Office of Personnel Management which has the sole legal authority to make a positive or negative determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application; at the agency level, the role of the Human Resources person is to try and expedite and efficiently process the disability retirement application.  Hopefully, those who have the positional designation of “Human Resources” will come to realize what it all actually means:  he or she is supposed to be a “resource” (a positive one, for that matter) with a “human” emphasis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire