Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Timing and Perseverance

The proper timing of an event has much to do with the successful outcome of an endeavor.  Just look at the “timing” passes in the NFL, where the quarterback throws a pass towards a receiver who has not yet looked for the ball, but expects it because that is precisely the play which has been called, and one which has been practiced for in countless previous series of practices.  But with timing comes a history of perseverance. Timing is perfected by practice, and practice becomes fruitful and productive only through countless effort and perseverance.

If the first time one attempts X and the timing is not perfect, one cannot walk away in frustration because the timing was “off”; rather, it is through perseverance where perfect timing is achieved.  Effortlessness is achieved through the very achievement of great effort.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are multiple “timing” issues, coupled with the need to have the perseverance to achieve that proper timing.  

Sometimes, it is simply premature to start the process:  perhaps the doctors are not ready; perhaps the Federal or Postal worker is not mentally prepared to take the next step.  Psychological barriers are just as real an impediment as physical ones. At other times, timing has to do with the doctors — cases often have to develop, and doctors have to spend time with the patient/applicant before admitting that disability retirement is the only and best option.  For that “perfect timing” to occur, perseverance by the Federal or Postal employee may be needed — if not only to persevere through a slightly longer process of case-development.  

Thus, timing and perseverance are not limited to the NFL or sports in general; rather, in life, and in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, being “in the game” and trudging along to perfect the right time, are all important components in the successful submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal and Postal Worker.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: When Should the Agency Be Informed?

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, the question is often asked whether and when an Agency should be informed of the impending Federal Disability Retirement application.  

Such a question & answer is almost always a discretionary one, and there is not a “right” answer — only one which can result from the tailored responses of specific and individual circumstances.  For, on the one hand, the Agency will often already suspect that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and therefore the automatic loss of the applicant/employee, is an inevitable future certainty, and therefore such notification is merely a formality.  

The Agency is often anxious to have the backlog of work created by the employee’s non-attendance or sporadic attendance resulting from the chronic medical conditions, to be abated at some point, and therefore hiring a replacement is something which the Agency wants accomplished as soon as possible — and one might argue that informing the Agency is the “right thing” to do.  

But in representing a Federal or Postal employee in a Federal Disability Retirement case, the “right thing” always is looking after the best interests of the client, and informing the agency prior to filing is not always in the best interests of the client.  For, on the other hand, informing the Agency too soon will often result in unintended consequences — of reactions and initiated actions upon being informed of the very intention of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  

While unfortunate and even perhaps “retaliatory” in nature, Agencies often act/react only upon official notification of an intention.  In other words, the proverbial “elephant in the room” is only noticed when the elephant actually stomps its feet (or is it “hooves”?).  Whether and when is a discretionary decision by the Federal or Postal employee.  

Ultimately, of course, when the Federal Disability Retirement application is filed through the Agency for further processing before being forwarded to the Office of Personnel Management, the Agency will be fully informed.  But as to “pre-informing” the Agency — that all depends upon the individual circumstances of the Federal or Postal employee, taking into account first and foremost the best interests of the client when represented by an OPM Disability Retirement attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Futility of Waiting for an Agency

In Federal Disability Retirements, the general rule is as follows:  waiting for your agency to act in some way that may prove to be beneficial to your case, is an act of futility.  Whether it is to wait for a performance appraisal; whether to see if the Agency will accommodate you, or not; whether you are waiting for a response from your Supervisor to see if he or she will support your Federal Disability Retirement application, etc. — in the end, a disability retirement application under FERS or CSRS is a medical issue.  It is not an “Agency Application for Disability Retirement”; it is not a “Supervisor’s Application for Disability Retirement”.  It is a medical disability retirement, inseparable from the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for the benefit.  As such, the proper focus should be placed upon the sufficient and substantiating medical documentation.  If the medical documentation, combined with the applicant’s statement of disability, are persuasive with respect to the correlative force of being unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, then such a combined force makes all other issues essentially moot and irrelevant.  Don’t wait upon an agency to act; to act affirmatively without depending upon the agency is always the best route to follow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire