Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS: Performance, Conduct or Attendance

Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”.  There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.

Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.

These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined.  Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.

When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?”  Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?

Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Tarnished lives

These days, are there any other kinds?  Do saints exist, or is it merely time which erases the stench attached, and as history is recorded and memorialized by sympathetic co-conspirators attempting to preserve the sanctity of reputations and disregarding the detritus of humanity, so once the sanctification by pontifical decree settles upon a figure previously considered human, and now an idealized version of an individual lost in the complex historicity of biographical omissions, the tarnished perspective of lives once lived has disappeared into the ethereal universe of a surreal reality.

All lives are tarnished; but the moment one makes such a statement, it becomes a meaningless declaration.  For, just as stating that X is “all-inclusive” necessarily negates its opposite, so to posit that Y is “pure nothingness” undermines the very essence of “something-ness”.  If everything is meaningless, then nothing can have less or more meaning than anything else, and thus do we end up with an anarchy of language.  So, to qualify: Yes, all lives are tarnished, but some lives more so than others, and others, less so than further others (somewhat like the declaration in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “all animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.”).

And thus do we live this way, where the cynic believes that there are no saints, and the naïve minority of individuals who believe in such blather repeatedly invest in purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge as a sound retirement strategy next to Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme.  But of what do we judge a “tarnished” life, as opposed to one that is not?  Does a minor blemish amount to the same thing as a total spoilage of the whole?

That is where people have often misinterpreted the religious teachings of entrance into heaven, where purity through the sacrificed Lamb allowed for gaining a foothold into heaven, but where – from that – people argue, therefore, God doesn’t make a distinction between a minor infraction of sin and the carnage of murder or some other equally greater offense.  But surely there is a difference with a real distinction between that which requires purity in order to enter into heaven, as opposed to judging the difference between types of moral turpitude?

Yes, we all live tarnished lives, but some lives tarnished are of greater consequence than others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who view the onset of a medical condition as a “tarnished” smear upon one’s career, and thus resist leaving until that smudge has been erased, good luck.  The reality is that a medical condition is not a reflection of any “fault” or “negative” judgment upon a person; instead, it is simply a reality of one’s mortality.  Some people never suffer from a serious medical condition; others, with more than a fair share; and most of us fall somewhere in between.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, always remember that the need to seek an alternative remedy through a Federal Disability Retirement is never a reflection that deems that one now falls amongst the tarnished lives of greater misdeeds, but merely a reality in this mortal world of fallen souls, no different for this generation than for the centuries of such tarnished lives in unmarked graves of yore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: “Oh, can I help?”

It is the grammatical interjection or discourse marker; in either usage, it is in response to some new or surprising information received.  Thus do we often encounter that individual (we all know of at least one) who, sitting silently, idly and unnoticed throughout, suddenly perks up after all (or most) of the work has been done – whether in preparation of a meal; cleaning up after the dinner party; or where the main elements of a project have just been completed.  And the uninvited interjection:  “Oh, can I help?”

There may even be a hint of clever knowingness in the eyes emanating from that query – of a challenge and defiance, to dare one to question the sincerity of the offer, even when the history of that singular uniqueness has many times over manifested a consistency of never having acted upon the discourse marker.

Yet, we are required to graciously accept it as sincere, and to respond with resignation that, No, there is nothing more to do, but Thank You for the offer, anyway.  For, we all know that the test of sincerity is not words upon words, but rather, that individual who, without uttering a single word, gets up and acts, and engages, participates, contributes and embraces with nary a muttering.  It is the pause between the utterance and the action that makes all of the difference, in common discourse as well as in everyday lives.

There are many, many people who interject with the “Oh, can I help?” but fewer still who act without words unnecessary and unappreciated because of humility in silence.

It is that chasm between word and act, utterance and initiation, a cocoon existence in the silence of one’s thoughts and the breach of entrance into the objective world around – or, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management:  the gap between the suffering silence of a medical condition and taking that step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, which can be an administrative process that can take many months, and sometimes years.

It is well and good for the individual who consistently utilizes the discourse marker to avoid entanglement in undesirable projects, but when it begins to harm one’s own interests, then it is time to not merely utter a sentence, but to prevail upon the world and act upon the need.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who, because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, can no longer continue in the career or vocation of choice, the grammatical interjection of, “Oh, can I help?” should immediately be followed with initiating the steps necessary to secure one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, by making inquiries with a lawyer who has experience in Federal Disability Retirement law.

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 Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The wrong target

What if you are involved in the highest levels of competitive marksmanship – say, target shooting by a rifle, or crossbow, or bow and arrow, or even by a pistol.  You shot throughout the morning, and hit the bulls eye every time; your opponents try to keep up with you, but at each level of competition, there is a slight deviation here, a centimeter there, and systematically, the competition is “eliminated”, and you are left standing at the podium of the “winner”.

As the trophy is brought out, the Chief Judge who is about to present the awards and ceremonial crown, pauses, reflects for a moment, and declares:  “Sorry, but it turns out that you were shooting at the wrong target each time.”  They then present the accolades to the “runner up”, who was shooting on the same range, aiming at each turn at the target set up in his or her respective lane of sightings, and seemed to follow the protocol as set up by the competition and the committee of judges.

You go and question the judgment of the judges, and especially address the Chief Judge, protesting:  “What do you mean?  I shot at the target that was set up.”  “But you shot at the wrong target.  Your target was the one in the lane next to you.  You shot in Lane A; you were supposed to be in Lane B”.  And you argue:  “But that is irrelevant.  Lane A is the same as Lane B, and there is no difference between the two.”  And the Chief Judge says:  “Look at your designated Card Assignment:  It states without question, ‘Assigned to Lane A’.  Yet, you shot all targets in Lane B”.  You persist in arguing:  “But what difference does it make?  It is the same target whether I am in Lane A or Lane B?”  And the kicker from the Chief Judge:  “In life, you can’t just do what you want; you have to obey the rules.”

Who is right?  Would it matter which lane one is assigned to, and whether obedience to the protocol and adherence to the “letter of the law” is followed, when the substantive point of the whole process – hitting the target – is clearly accomplished beyond the competence of all others?  We often encounter that anomaly in life – of the seeming conflict between the technicality of the issue (the “minutiae” otherwise unnoticed by the rest of the population) and the general adherence based upon common knowledge and boredom of repetitive protocol.  It may well be a trite redundancy, but when a “technicality” is involved, then a technician is the one to call.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of the “wrong target” and the “technical violation” of the rules is appropriate to recognize and consider:  For, in Federal Disability Retirement Law, as in many other facets of legal wrangling, making sure that the larger compass of hitting the “right” target, as well as keeping within the proper lane of technical legal issues, are both equally important in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “wrong target” is the agency; the “right target” is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The “technicalities” encompass the statutes, laws, regulations and legal opinions as rendered by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Courts on issues pertaining to Federal Disability Laws litigated as precedents.  And, who is the proper “technician” to call?  An attorney who is experienced in fighting the cause for Federal and Postal employees, to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire