Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Systematic Preparation

Can a project be well-prepared if there is no “system” in place?  Do we trust, for example, a construction firm who goes about their business without a blueprint?  If you ask of the firm, “Well, can we see some examples?” or “Can you provide a rendition of what kind of a house you plan on building?” — what would you think if the answer came back with: “Oh, don’t worry, it will have a roof, a couple of bedrooms and a kitchen.” Is that a satisfactory answer? Or, would you want to see that a firm foundation is first built, and that a systematic methodology of preparing, then initiating the building project will proceed in accordance with a previously agreed-upon blueprint of the archetype of the product proposed?

To that end, shouldn’t you be able to speak to the lead architect, at some point, and not merely be sloughed off to salesmen, administrative support staff and other office workers who may be very helpful, but are not the ones who will “head” the project?

Similarly, if you call a law firm, shouldn’t you be speaking with the lawyer him/herself, instead of a secretary, paralegal or some other “disability specialist” whom you believe you are hiring, but you never seem to get a hold of?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has come to a point where it/they prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the necessity in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often an option which is unavoidable.  That being said, do you want to proceed down the administratively complex process of Federal Disability Retirement without a systematized methodology of preparation?

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a good first step in gaining a blueprint on how to proceed; just be careful that you don’t hire a law firm that merely has all of its “underlings” do the important work of the systematic preparation, and moreover, it is important to inquire as to what kind of approach the attorney has in moving forward to win a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, for you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Time as a Valued Commodity

At what juncture in the course of human lives the linear progression of “time” on a continuum of history became of prominence, philosophers, psychologists and historians may differ.  Certainly, animals are aware of the general importance of seasons; daylight and nightfall mark bifurcations of being alerted for purposes of seeking refuge against predators, as daytime dangers are quite different from night stalkers.

The measurement of time became ensconced with the invention of the timepiece.  When utilization of the watch, clock, digital devices, etc., established the cutting up of the world into unit measurements, it became a commodity of value because of its limited supply, and the increasing demand for greater productivity within each measured unit.  It is this ascription of “value” which one must contend with, in all aspects of modernity, in the daily living of one’s life.

For Federal and Postal employees who are seeking a quick fix — of one’s medical conditions, as well as securing the opportunity to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — complex considerations must always be weighed in an effort to “save time and money”.

If an OPM Disability Retirement application is not properly put together at the outset, it will waste valuable time in the long run, precisely because one will have to contend with a denial and a Request for Reconsideration, as well as a potential appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application can never be a “sure thing”, because it depends so much upon the evidence one must gather, in order to prove one’s case by a preponderance of the evidence.  But the saving of time will be achieved by putting the best case possible in every Federal Disability Retirement application.

The commodity of time is a recognition of its value in modern life.  It is a feature of linear human progression which simply cannot be ignored.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Systematic versus Haphazard

The latter term (“haphazard”) is marked by a lack of planning, and connotes a loss of direction and depicting disorderliness.  The first term in the bifurcated title represents a purposeful and planned event; one which possesses a goal from the beginning of an initiated process, and in an ordered manner, goes about to execute that goal by taking and completing pre-planned steps in order to reach that endpoint.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to approach the completion and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application in a systematic manner, as opposed to a haphazard one.  By “systematic” does not necessarily mean “sequential”, however — as in the sequence of the standard forms which one receives in a packet of governmental forms.

Thus, for instance, if one simply picks up the 3112 series of forms, it would not make sense to fill out and complete 3112A first, then to send out the Physician’s Statement (3112C) to the doctor (side note:  this author has widely, systematically, and for some great amount of time, counseled against using the 3112C because of the potential wider consequences of allowing for unfettered access by the agency to a Federal or Postal Worker’s medical records, so be forewarned) for completion.

Indeed, to do so would not make any sense:  why would one complete questions about one’s own medical condition prior to having, in hand, medical reports from one’s own treating doctors?  By “systematic” does not mean getting the forms and filling them out in as quick a time frame as possible.

While completion of a Federal Disability Retirement packet is certainly a goal, a far greater goal is to prepare, formulate (systematically), and then file — but not in a haphazard manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Contemplative Action

Contemplation for the sake of “in and of itself” can be activity without purpose or end, and can lead to inertia; for the living of modern life inherently has demands of actions — of “making” a living, of “producing” results, and “accomplishing” set goals and purposeful ends.  But contemplation for the sake of an end is in and of itself a useful activity.  

Part of the “preparation” of the oft-used phrase (used repeatedly in these blogs), “In preparing, formulating and filing…” is the very act of contemplation — of formulating a plan of action for the securing of one’s future.  For, the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing, as some future event, a Federal Disability Retirement application either under FERS or CSRS, with the Office of Personnel Management, must contemplate the emotional, financial, and future impact of such an action, and there is indeed much to contemplate in the very pre-preparatory stage of the administrative action.  

Can one endure the long wait of the administrative process?  Does one have a supportive medical community to provide the documentary support necessary to be successful?  Will one’s family, friends, etc., understand and empathize?  What will be the reaction of those who will be informed — family, coworkers, supervisors, doctors, etc.?  

I often state that the “Holidays” should not be a time to iron out differences within the family, but instead should be a time of “coming together” and enjoying the time and life away from the daily comedies of the modern life style; that such “ironing out” should be done during those other periods of the year.  But such respites as the “Holidays” can and should be used to contemplate and formulate a plan of action for the future; and in the quietude of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it may be time to huddle around a contemplative time of gathering, in order to secure a brighter future.  

Remember, preparation is the key to success, and wise and good counsel should always be a part of that preparation.  In dealing with the Office of Personnel Management in preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is often a good idea to have a contemplative phase, and to rely upon good advice and counsel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Decisions, Decisions

I am often asked questions by people of which I am unable to answer.  They are not questions concerning “the law” underlying Federal Disability Retirement, but rather questions which go to my “professional discretion” as an attorney in putting together a Federal Disability Retirement packet, prepared to go forth to the Office of Personnel Management. 

By “professional discretion” questions, I mean those questions which go to making decisions and choices concerning medical reports, percentage ratings received from the Veterans Administration; permanency ratings received from Second Opinion or Referee doctors, or the fact that one has reached “maximum medical improvement” and is now “permanent and stationary”, and whether to use such collateral sources of medical documentation in putting together a disability retirement packet. 

The practice of law is not all objective and straight-forward; part of the “practice” of law is of an art form, based upon one’s experience, and professional discretion sharpened by repetitive experiences in working with the Office of Personnel Management and in representing Federal and Postal employees before the Merit Systems Protection Board.  Further, there are some questions which I answer only for those whom I represent.  I am happy to provide general information about the process of filing for disability retirement.  For those whom I represent, however, I reserve for them the art of practicing Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Service Disability Retirement: How Many Should Be Listed (Part 2)?

The listing of the medical conditions in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as it is descriptively written on the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) for FERS & CSRS disability retirement, to be submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, is a separate issue from the creative description of the symptoms which the applicant experiences as a result of the identified listing of the medical conditions.  Thus, a distinction should be made between the “official” diagnosed medical conditions (which should be limited in number, for reasons previously delineated) and the multiple and varied “symptoms” which result from the listed medical conditions.  Thus, while one may suffer from the medical condition termed as “Fibromyalgia”, the symptoms can be multiple:  chronic and diffuse pain; impact upon cognitive abilities, inability to focus and concentrate, symptoms which are often termed as “fibro-fog”, etc. 

When the Office of Personnel Management approves a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS and identifies the specific medical condition by which it is approved, it will identify the medical condition, and not the symptoms.  This distinction is important because, when an applicant prepares the narrative to show the Office of Personnel Management what he or she suffers from, the differentiation between conditions and symptoms is important to recognize when creatively and descriptively writing the narrative of one’s medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire