FERS Disability Retirement for Civilian Federal Employees: Necessity by Choice

There are always options; it is just that, because some of the alternatives presented are either unfathomable or illogical, we deem them to be “not” viable choices to consider.  The necessity of filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement under FERS is often viewed in that manner: It is a necessity — yes, by choice, but only because all other options have become untenable.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker does not come to making such a decision because he or she really has any other say in the matter.  Staying at the job with the deteriorating condition is really not an option.  Simply resigning and walking away with nothing to show for all of the hard work expended is unthinkable.

There are, for the few fortunate, the choice of an early retirement, or having reached that MRA crossroad; but such choices are limited and often not economically viable.  And so the necessity by choice must be faced: Unable to continue in the job because of a medical condition, OPM Disability Retirement is the only option left.

Contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application because the necessity has prompted the choosing of the only viable option left.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Making Innuendoes

OPM is always looking for a motive.  It is like they are criminal prosecutors at the Justice Department, trying to always find some nefarious reasons as to why a Federal or Postal employee is filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Take, for example, one recent case which comes to mind: An individual was filing for Federal Disability Retirement application.  The Applicant’s spouse traveled a lot, and so the applicant had to switch doctors often.  The applicant had his/her brother oversee the medical treatment because of the lack of continuity in medical care.  When it came time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the brother wrote the medical report.

The case went before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and, within the Agency File were a series of emails sent between OPM Medical Specialists questioning whether this was a “fraud” case and expressing suspicions over why the applicant’s “brother” would be writing a medical report, etc.  At the Hearing of the case, of course, the brother — a medical doctor of longstanding stature — testified up front and bluntly: Yes, I am the brother of X, and I oversee the treatment regimens because of the lack of continuity of care, etc.  Factual, straightforward, nothing to hide.  But not for OPM, who is always looking for nefarious motivations and making innuendoes even though there is no basis for it.

Contact an OPM Disability attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and counter the suspicious and unfounded innuendoes which OPM is apt to make — even in those cases where there is a simple and straightforward explanation, if only OPM would listen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Failures

When ascribed to a task or a project, it all depends upon how it is characterized.  When identified or closely associated with an individual, we tend to be harsher judges — especially when it involves our own participation.  Perhaps there is a simple, even “objective” definition which encapsulates the concept of failure: Of merely not achieving that which was expected.

If we work with that definition, then the focal point would be upon our own expectations, and perhaps we simply needed to adjust them to a more realistic perspective.  Then again, such an approach would merely be a circular tautology, and there would never be any failures — i.e., every time a failure occurred, we could just say, “Oh, we expected that”, and every time our expectations were not met, we would say, “Oh, we changed our expectations, so it is no longer a failure”.  But clearly, that does not reflect reality, and there are truly times when failure does occur.

In the end, what is important is to recognize that our expectations — both of ourselves and of outcomes in reality — cannot always be met, precisely because there are other intervening factors that may account for the prevention of meeting them.

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 recognize that the intervening factor of the medical condition itself is what prevents you from meeting that expectation of reaching full retirement, and that is why Federal Disability Retirement benefits are there to assert.

It is not a “failure” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; rather, our expectations concerning our own health intervened in the meantime, and we have to adjust to accommodate — not a failure, but of human frailty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Drawing Up the Battle Plans

Are they necessary?  Or, is pure talent, brawn and a willingness to sacrifice one’s life — enough?  Can a military officer simply say to his or her troops, “Well, we have overwhelming numbers; let’s just pick up our weapons and overrun the enemy”?  Or, is a “battle plan” necessary, even for a short foray to test the strength, weakness or vulnerabilities of enemy lines?

Most would contend that a battle plan is a crucial aspect for any considered conflict, and that merely relying upon strength of numbers or sheer determination of will to fight are not enough.  History is replete with examples of inferior numbers winning against great odds, precisely because a superior plan had been considered and implemented.  It is not necessarily the boldness of a plan, or even that a plan is clever or masked in subterfuge; rather, the clarity of a mission, the simplicity of protecting flanks and doubling-back in reinforcing weak links — a plan which the troops understand and comprehend as to its logic and potential outcome for success — is critical for any successful attack.

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 position, preparing well, formulating meaningfully and filing in a timely manner are all part of the “battle plan” for a successful foray into the territory of Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law and begin drawing up the Battle Plans for a successful venture in obtaining your Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Fight

Not everyone relishes one.  Yet, the challenge comes about often when we do not expect it, when our proverbial defenses are down and we cannot muster the energy to properly engage it.  For children on the rough-and-tumble playgrounds, it can be over in a matter of minutes, where a few black eyes, a scrape and a bruise may be the worst of it.  For adults who actually engage in a fist fight, more serious consequences may ensue, and beyond hurt egos and wounded pride, there are laws against assaulting and battering.

But there are many other forms of “fighting”; of neighbors squabbling over overgrown trees which cross fence lines; of public debates and shaming; of aggressive trolls on the Internet.  Time was where once there were unspoken “rules” (like no hitting below the belt; no scratching or kicking, etc.), but with all-out “mixed martial arts” and other forms of unfettered fights, it seems that the art form (if there ever was one) is gone, and the only thing which matters is the outcome.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the “fight” is against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and fortunately for those who engage in this fight, there are rules by which all combatants must abide: The Statutes, Rules, Regulations and Case-Laws that circumscribe and dictate how the fight must be implemented and managed.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and find out what the rules are governing Federal Disability Retirement Law before you are in the “thick of it”; for, you do not want to have been taken unawares by a sucker-punch before you know what to expect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Stress of the Moment

From a distance, we can all handle stress.  It is that time and removal from the moment that makes all of the difference, is it not?  Afterwards — after the explosive anger, the sudden quietude or the paralyzing fear — we reflect and wonder as to what created such a stressful reaction.  Or, years later, one may recall that it was a moment of “something”, but rarely remember the exact details as to what prompted or triggered it.  It is often the combination of multitudes of factors: Too little sleep; overworked; a sense of isolation; a feeling that no one around you really cares, etc.

Then, when a medical condition enters upon the scene, all other factors tend to become exaggerated, magnified and exacerbated.  One’s health and deteriorating medical condition always adds to the stress.  It is like the old adage about a fish not realizing that it is swimming in water; when we have our health, we barely recognize it; when we lose it, it becomes the focal animus of our daily lives.  Without our health, there is no “stress of the moment”; rather, every moment is a stressful experience.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is time to consider filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to reverse the course taken — that of going back to experiencing the stress of the moment, as opposed to living a life of unending, unendurable and eternal stresses throughout each and every waking moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Perspective

Some would argue that it is the basis of everything; that, how we view life, the world around us, the predilections we bring to the table, etc. — it “colors” how we approach and, ultimately, how we live our lives.

At the foundational level, it brings to the fore the question, “Is the cup half full, or half empty”?  Do we wake up and face the world with a smile, or with a frown?  How do we approach problem-solving: As a challenge, or as a groaning addition to that list of difficulties we must face?  How much childhood and upbringing has as an influence upon one’s perspective is arguable; or of the age-old question, Is it Nature or Nurture?

We all have good and bad days, but it is the long-term perspective which matters most.  We live lives constantly harried and seemingly without purposeful intent; from one crisis to another, and just to maintain our standard of living or keep our heads above water, afloat upon a sea of troubled waters.  Through it all, it is our perspective which ultimately soothes and guides, like the sails which catch the westerly winds and allows for smooth sailing even during those times when the heat of the day may seem like an unbearable period of directionless ineptitude.

Keeping a positive perspective is difficult in a life filled with difficulties, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the future may sometimes appear bleak and eternally negative.  Who was the wise person who stated, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a while. It’ll change”?

Consult with an experienced attorney about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS; while getting a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may not change your life, it may alter your perspective such that the future may shine with a glimmer of hope.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OWCP & FERS Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees

Can both be approved concurrently?  Is there any disadvantage in filing for one “as opposed” to another?  Do they “cross over” and impact one another?  Can you receive payments concurrently, or must you choose one over the other and, if one is chosen, does it “negate” or otherwise dismiss the other?

These are all practical questions which can come about if an injury or illness results from a workplace incident or caused by an occupational hazard.  First and foremost, it should be noted that the two “pockets” of compensatory resources are different in nature: OWCP is not a retirement system; OPM Disability Retirement is. OWCP is a compensatory resource created and established as a temporary measure (although there are many, many cases where an OWCP recipient stays on and receives compensation for decades and beyond) — as a means of allowing the Federal worker to receive treatment, recuperation and rehabilitation, with a view towards an eventual return to work.

The paradigm of a FERS Federal Disability Retirement, on the other hand, is just that: It is a retirement system — essentially, starting your retirement “early” because of a medical condition or injury resulting in one’s loss of capacity to continue to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  The latter (FERS Disability Retirement) does not have to possess any causal connection to the employment itself — in other words, the medical condition or injury does not have to be “occupationally related” in order for a Federal or Postal worker to become eligible for its benefits.

Remember, however, that under a FERS Disability Retirement, a Federal or Postal worker must file for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of being separated from one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  The fact that a person has been “placed on the rolls of OWCP” does not excuse the 1-year rule for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For further information on the intersection between OWCP and FERS Disability Retirement, you should consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about both, and make your decision upon factual and legal information, and not from such sources as, “I heard from Joe that…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Treading Life

We don’t often think of it in those terms; but, in fact, that is how most of us live.  Like the meek swimmer who does not want to drown, we merely tread water — sometimes calmly, often with a sense of desperation; and too often, with a fear that results in a frenzied struggle.  We invent euphemisms for that: Keeping out “heads above water”; Not drowning; “Sink or swim”; “Like being on the Titanic”; and other similar statements emanating from water-based fears.

We tread life like we tread water; just to survive, never taking the chance to swim in this direction or that; and when finally fatigue sets in to remind us that going nowhere is tantamount to waiting to be drowned, we are so weary from so much time and effort to keep afloat that we can no longer muster the energy to even swim to the edge of the pool in order to hang on or lift ourselves out.  And when those unexpected tugs, tides and tidal waves suddenly appear, we thrash about and forget the basics of how to even float, allowing the vicissitudes of life’s mishaps to determine the course of our lives, the quality of how we live and the manner of who we are.

Medical conditions have a way of doing that — of making us forget how to even swim.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one of more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Treading Life is what we are often forced to do; drowning in life’s problems is what we are too often faced with; swimming with a purposeful destination is what we need to do —and that is the purpose of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Confronting Reality

When are the times we try and avoid it?  Is that the line between sanity and the “darker world”?  If we avoid it more than we embrace it, does it constitute a step beyond eccentricity and fall into the category of bizarre behavior?  If that were the case, how many of us would meet that definition?  Does engaging in entertainment — whether of the couch potato type or of the active one — constitute avoidance?

Say a person binge-watches a certain television series for 72-hours straight, then sleeps for another 72 hours; such a person has certainly “avoided” the reality of life’s responsibilities, duties, obligations, etc.  But would we deem such a person to be insane?  If he were a bachelor who has no commitments or responsibilities, and acted in such a manner during “vacation time” or during a period of unemployment, we would perhaps not give it a second thought.  But say the same person had a toddler whom he neglected for those 100-plus hours — then, of course, we would consider it as irresponsible behavior, if not criminal neglect.

“Confronting reality” is often deemed the antonym of “avoiding reality”; it is something we all do — both confronting and avoiding — and crosses the diving line between “responsible” and “irresponsible” behavior.  Of course, the latter is sometimes necessary in order to refresh one’s self in order to engage in the former, and so we embrace entertainment and leisure activities in order to adequately prepare ourselves to cross over from one to the other.

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 his or her position, confronting reality is often delayed in order to try and extend one’s career with the Federal government.  Often, early on in suffering from a medical condition, it becomes quite clear whether or not the Federal or Postal worker can continue in his or her chosen career.  This is the point where “confronting reality”, however, clashes with the desire to avoid it and to instead embrace the make-believe universe of “What ifs” — What if things improve?  What if the Agency or Postal Service is willing to be patient?  What if they can accommodate me?

Consult with an attorney experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for as difficult as it may be in confronting reality, it is the reality of the law that will help you avoid the pitfalls which you will surely want to avoid in the days to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire