Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Standard of incompatibility

How does one “prove” a standard of “incompatibility”?

Physical injuries often allow for a medical opinion to impose certain restrictions:  No lifting more than X-pounds; no standing more than 2 hours within an 8-hour period, etc.  These, then, can directly “prove” that a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by comparing such restrictions as against the positional requirements of a given job, and “showing” that the standard required can no longer be met.

The “other” cousin of the standard, as reiterated by cases represented by Henderson v. OPM and related precedents, allow for a “different” type of proof, where one may show that there is a general incompatibility between the entirety of one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.

It might be argued that such a standard is more “nebulous” and “harder to prove”, but in fact, the opposite is often true: specificity on a 1-to-1 ratio between a given medical condition or symptom and an element of one’s positional duties no longer becomes necessary.  Rather, a general showing of incompatibility between the “type” of job and the “nature” of a medical condition is enough to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.

The trick, of course, lies in the manner of “proving” it, but it should be of some comfort to Federal and Postal employees that there is another type of standard beyond the 1-to-1 ratio standard that applies generally for “physical” duties; for, in the end, many psychiatric conditions can only meet the “incompatibility” standard, although some specificity of inability to perform a particular function of the job may be present as well.

To meet either standard is a burden of proof that must be shown by the appellant in all OPM Disability Retirement cases; to understand, apply and satisfy such standards, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Life on Hold

There are periods in our lives when life is seemingly “on hold”.  Of times when we know not what to do; of careers that have hit a brick wall; of unhappiness over present circumstances; perhaps even of deteriorating family relationships that fail to reveal a glimmer of hope for improvement; and of a medical condition that becomes chronic with the realization that we must accept it, live with it, and endure the accompanying symptoms for a life-long struggle.

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset (though rare are the latter two these days) is often a movement forward to break out of the mold of life being on hold.

When a Federal or Postal worker realizes that the medical condition suffered will simply not go away, and it prevents and continues to deteriorate in that aspect of preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of being stuck in a “no-man’s land” is understandable.

From the Agency’s viewpoint, it is often a period where they are unsure of what to do with you.  They act with a timid sense of empathy (or perhaps none at all); they will sometimes be somewhat “supportive” of your plight; but in the end, you know that they will replace you with someone who can perform all of the essential elements of the position.

Life on hold is a time of uncertainty and trepidation; preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a movement forward; it allows for some certainty to be adjudicated in a world where everyone else seems to be in a mode of “fast-forward” while you are stuck in the timelessness of a deteriorating medical condition.

Life on Hold — it is a time when decisions need to be made, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job because of a medical condition, a time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer 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 job, the “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Retirement: 2019, The New Year

It has a familiar ring to it; of a harkening to a recent past that has a melodic cadence reminding one of a famous book by George Orwell.  It is because of the “19” that we are reminded of it.  Can it have already been 35 years in passing?  “But it’s not quite as bad as all of that,” we say, and perhaps such a sentiment is right: Pox on the negativism of predictions of doom!

No, we do not have flat screens forced upon us which spy into our lives; instead, we went out and purchased them ourselves — voluntarily — and realized only later that the camera embedded can, indeed, record our every movements.  And we learned that all of that personal information shared with friends and family have been stored and disseminated to forums and facades not otherwise intended; and so everything private has become public, and there is nothing left but the shell of who we are.

But enough of that; we celebrate the coming of a new year not for the unwanted fears of the past, but because the future can always bring about change, greater prosperity and a glimmer of hope for things yet to come.  It may well be that 2019 is that very year we have been waiting for — a dawn of new beginnings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition no longer allows for you to continue in your present job, the incoming New Year may be an opportunity for change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application.  Consult with a knowledgable attorney and begin the process early, as OPM is way behind and it is important to get in line.  2019 — Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Persistence versus giving up

The latter should never be an option, although it is too often contemplated; and the former requires either a dull sense of reality or an in-born stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge defeat.  Both are often the result of the countermanding characteristic of the opponent who relies upon the fact that a certain percentage of the population either lacks the characteristic of persistence or otherwise will ultimately give up with nary an effort or will to fight on.

How many battles in history’s billfold of forgotten memories resulted in defeat because of a ruse portrayed by the enemy?  It is the bold pretension that tests the resolve and allows for victory or defeat; the knowledge that there will always be a certain number of people who, upon facing any resistance or adversity, will simply “give up” and surrender.  Thus is it left up to those who will persist no matter the challenge, where adversity and contention will be endured no matter the cost.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who enter the arena of a Federal Disability Retirement process, one should always expect and prepare each stage “as if” the battle at the next stage will ensue.  If a denial is issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement application, of course it is going to be written and conveyed “as if” the case never had a chance, “as if” none of the medical evidence had any relevance or significance, and “as if” you don’t even come near to meeting the criteria for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement.

By sounding “as if” you never had a chance and failed miserably to meet any and all legal criteria for eligibility, OPM is banking on your lack of persistence and the concomitant reaction of simply giving up.

However, persistence is the key to success, and giving up is merely a prelude to a victory near at hand if only one steps back, takes a deep breath, and realizes that, from the very beginning, Federal Disability Retirement was never going to be an easy road to bear — but a consultation with an experienced attorney may well lift the burden of the beast where persistence is the key and not giving up is the pathway to a successful outcome at the next stage of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Purposive sequence

Are all things in a sequence “purposive”?  If you are walking in the countryside and come upon a horse, a man and a pig, in that order, was there any “purposive” meaning in the sequence met, or was it random and a reflection of the chaos of the universe as a whole?  If it had been in a different order — say, you first came upon the pig, then the horse, and finally the man — would there be a question as to either the sequence or the meaning of the sequence?

Now, take a different hypothetical, where you come into a child’s room who is engrossed in fantasy and play, and the child has a sequence of stuffed animals: Again, they are in a line of a stuffed horse, a doll of a man, and a large plastic pig, in the very sequence you encountered while out in the countryside.  You laugh and say to the child, “Oh, that’s very peculiar, I just came across those three in the identical sequence you have them in.  Of course, it is just coincidence, but nevertheless odd.”  The child smiles, turns to you and says, “Of course it’s not a coincidence.  The horse is the most beautiful creature in the universe, and therefore comes first; the man is the cleverest, and therefore should be second; and the pig is the smartest, but since intelligence should come after beauty and be placed below being clever, he comes third!”

In such an instance, did the fact that a purposive assignment of intent change the sequence and the meaning ascribed?  In other words, did the “human” explanation as to the sequence presented alter the objective foundation behind the orderliness of the universe, or does it yet remain in chaos except for the subjective ordering by the child?  Or, is Kant correct in positing that the chaos of the universe is internally ordered by human categories structuring the outside world, and left without such subjective impositions, we would never be able to comprehend the disordered universe?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, it is important to engage in a purposive sequence of completing the Federal Disability Retirement application.

The medical condition itself is chaos enough, as it impacts one’s life and livelihood, but it is the medical condition that becomes the center and foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  From the chaos imposed from the objective world, a purposive sequence must be countered from the subjective universe of the Federal or Postal employee, and that purposive sequence must begin with the chaos of the unordered world itself: The medical condition, from which all else naturally and artificially proves the case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire