Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A penchant for excess

Do the historicity and context of a given time determine the individual’s proclivity for behavior otherwise deemed unnatural?  Does that concept even apply anymore, as normative constraints are denigrated, societal conventions become ignored, and new frontiers bypassing the ethos of communities are no more than mere irritants to swat away?

There has always been, of course, a penchant for excess inherent in the human essence; the British Royal Family, the French aristocracy, the Russian Czar and the modern totalitarian state where wealth and abundance allows an opening for the limitless reach of man’s appetite and predilection for excess.

Does the quiet neighbor next door — that meek and unassuming character straight out of the parallel universe of Walter Mitty’s caricature, of the bespectacled individual always referred to as “growing old with grace and a potbelly” — become a tyrant upon winning the lottery?  Is it inevitable that he files for divorce the day after his bank account becomes flush with an astronomical sum, abandons his responsibilities, denies his lineage to aunts and uncles who suddenly want to become the proverbial long-lost cousins who always loved him but were too shy to previously approach — is there an identifiable genetic code of wrap-around dimensions coiling within each of our cells waiting to embrace an inevitable penchant for excess?

And what of our behavior towards our fellow men and women — is human nature so predictable that we fear the unravelling of ourselves, and thus do we cloak our ugliness and conceal our inner motives precisely because, like the largest organ covering our bodies — the skin which provides layers of protection to make our appearance presentable and unblemished — we require constructs of artificial boundaries because we ourselves cannot abide by the liberty we are granted?

These thoughts are nothing new for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who encounters man’s penchant for excess once the Federal or Postal employee shows the signs of weakness which accompany a medical condition.  Suddenly, the camaraderie and comity previously shown by coworkers becomes an unconcealed bevy of whispering conspiracies, like the silence of horrific quietude of a man drifting in a shark-infested ocean upon an overturned boat, waiting for that first bump of a forewarning to test the reaction before the initial attack.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must by necessity lead to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the penchant for excess as revealed by actions of the Agency, coworkers and people you once thought highly of, is really nothing more than the unravelling of that which was always there, but forever hidden but for that invisible thread which holds the fabric of society together — of self-restraint, like the distant echo of a forgotten discipline, lost in the meditation of a Zen monastery.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The things we leave for repair

What we attend to immediately; that which we procrastinate, and set aside; and, finally, the things we allow to falter, to deteriorate in a progressive decline of disrepair — slowly eroding, perceptibly corroding, a sight for sore eyes, as the proverbial adage goes.  And what if it is ourselves?

Of course, the cosmetic and physical fitness industry have cornered the market and turned selfishness into a virtue, and self-love into a cottage industry; something akin to, “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?” (or some such parallel inanity of vacuous nonsense as that); or even a better one:  Persuade the populace to eat more sugars and processed food, then blame them for nationwide obesity while simultaneously hooking everyone on the technological steroids of smartphones, computers and the acceptability of being couch potatoes; make sports into a spectator sport, video gaming into a money-generating interest, and all the while, open the floodgates of information dissemination and tell everyone how intelligent they are, or could be, because you need not memorize any facts or have the capacity to engage in critical thinking; no, you can always Google it if you need to know, and oh, by the way, a handful of individuals, unnamed, will control the bias of information on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter from which your feeds of knowledge derive.

Slowly, incrementally, rust forms on the edges of that which we leave for repair, with the admonition that we’ll “get around to it“, that priorities overshadow for the time present; and when we have more “free time”, we will attend to it.  If we counted up all of the seconds, minutes and hours promised by a new invention or a technological innovation, the aggregate would surpass the number of hours in a single day, and we should all possess the wealth of unlimited time.  But rust in the glint of morning sunshine reflects a glow of beauty nestled in the quietude of timelessness; of those things we leave for repair, it is that growing beauty which reflects our diminishing selves.

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 all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of leaving thing aside — important things — is well known and knowingly engaged.  For the work accomplished reveals the extent of self-denial; the “mission” of the agency, the volume of letters, parcels and packages to be processed at the expense of one’s own deteriorating health; the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole, at the expense of one’s own health.

In the end, for the Federal and Postal worker who comes to a point where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the things that were left for repair are those which needed most that neglected attention; for it is the “I” disregarded, the “me” left behind despite the self-identification of a named generation, and the hollow and gaunt eyes looking back from the mirror of time, where we keep “doing for others” when the one we forgot about in the collection and vast array of the things we left for repair, calls in a desperate cry for the tools left rusting in the untouched toolbox of an undetermined future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire