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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The New Year

Perhaps it is not merely an arbitrary demarcation, after all.  It is around the time when the winter solstice reaches its pinnacle, and the days become lengthier, the nights shorter.  The year following – the “new” year – begins its ascendancy, leaving behind the frigid desolation yet to endure.

And the excesses of behavior – of drinking, celebration and abandonment of all societal decorum and convention?  It is a way of expiating the pent-up constraints of self-discipline and customary resolve; a way to release the energy of social boundaries for a few hours, a fortnight, and a morning after without regret or remorse.

It is often said that, in psychology and therapeutic intervention, the “aha” moment of gestalt realization is less important than the long and enduring struggles which must be faced immediately thereafter.  We often put too much emphasis and relevance upon that proverbial encounter on the road to Damascus, when in fact it is the long and arduous path that follows which will determine the success or failure of one’s life.

Marking a moment in time as the “cut-off” point of a new beginning may be convenience for multi-variegated purposes; in the world of objective reality, however, the artificial lines will only serve us so far.

This new year will bring out contradictory perspectives; some, as often as not, will predict doom and the soothsayer’s gloom; others, in herds of blind followings, will enter the dawn with hopes unvanquished and dreams yet to be realized.  The rest of us, as always, will have to plod along and live our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with 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 job, the artificial demarcation of “before” and “after”, and the insertion of the increase in the last digit from a 6 to a 7, will be marking an unnoticed blip in time.  That’s the thing about medical conditions; they cross cultures, time and even years.

When the medical condition becomes magnified to a point in 2017 where essential elements of the Federal or Postal job one is working in becomes impeded or otherwise unable to be performed, then the significance of the contrast as against the previous year becomes unmistakable, and the Federal or Postal employee may want to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In the end, the “New” year is likely like the old one, and the one before that; only, our bodies deteriorate over time, and the uncaring behemoth of the federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service may only become exponentially worsened.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The dynamic duo and the perfect tandem

There are times when life “clicks”; the mistake is made to gaze at one’s navel at such times of apparent perfection, and to try and capture that something in a bottle and attempt a reenactment and regurgitation of that which works, when the reality is that it is merely a fortunate day to be experienced and enjoyed, like the perfect alignment of the planets in macrocosmic reflection upon a molecular structure of abiding mystery.

Batman and Robin represented the former; without words (except in comic-like expressions in the black-and-white version of the television series) and with the ability of almost telepathic-like eeriness, the dynamic duo could battle the forces of evil and protect the unfortunate city of Gotham with nary a wink, a word or a nod.

As for the latter, the team of coordinated bicyclists or the almost mechanized capacity of the coxed eight displaying the repetition of the anatomy of rowing that is all-important for consistency in order to gain the maximum leverage from each rower, as the “catch” and the “extraction” are engaged in a constancy of monotonous display in ballet-like fluidity.

The perfect tandem is a rare achievement; like the Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, we can only strive towards that perfection, without ever touching and glancing it.  Can it be reenacted and repeated by sheer will?  That would presume much – as if the arrogance of our own self-knowledge could replace the ignorance displayed in our everyday lives.  But as life does not come with a recipe to follow, that dynamism in duality and the penultimate construct of fluid coordination cannot be reconstructed, if merely because we never own the fullness of knowledge that Being never completely reveals.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the “dynamic duo” and the “perfect tandem” was often the coordination of one’s career and the accolades received in the very competence of work.  Work balanced one’s personal life in allowing for a sense of achievement to be had; and one’s personal life was enriched in the very mission being accomplished.

Then, along comes a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself became the interruptive and disruptive force; and, suddenly, the dynamic duo and the perfect tandem no long was, or is – depending upon what the meaning of “is” is (sorry, could not refrain from the obvious reference).  When that dynamic duo is fractured, or the perfect tandem disrupted, it is time to rethink a different paradigmatic foundation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is just such a remedy.  For, once the dynamism of duality is severed, or the perfections of a tandem diminished, it is a loss which can rarely be recapture, and thus it is the perfect time and place in one’s life to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed (ultimately) with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire