CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Cognitive Dissonance

In psychology, it is the state of self-contradiction, of holding onto a belief while simultaneously acting in a manner contrary to that belief.  If such a contradiction between belief-and-action impacts upon a core, foundational essence, of one which constitutes a defining centrality of a person’s character and personality of that which makes a person who he or she identifies him/herself to be, then the greater proportionality of discomfort and stress, often resulting in an alteration of either the belief, or the action intended to be engaged.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who experiences a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, such cognitive dissonance is an everyday, common occurrence. You already know that continuation in the position as a Federal or Postal Worker cannot continue; you do not need a medical doctor to tell you that; your body, mind or soul has already screamed that dissonance out at you multiple times, at varying degrees of decibels countlessly and in monotonously repetitive occurrences throughout each day over many months, and sometimes enduring over several years.

But the belief-system of the Federal or Postal Worker is to silently “take it”, and to continue on, with a self-destructive sense of blind loyalty in an effort to “accomplish the mission”; but the question always is, At what price?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal Worker is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which must be seriously considered when the extent of cognitive dissonance comes to a crisis point. It is the point of reference where one finally comes to recognize that the problem requires a solution — of abandoning the senseless embracing of blind loyalty and seeking a period of reclamation of one’s physical and mental health; or of continuing on the path of self-immolation in the Federal or Postal position of one’s chosen career.

Federal Disability Retirement: it is the bridge which one must pass upon to close the chasm between what one’s health screams out for, and the daily toil of one’s occupational duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Federal Agencies

Why do some Federal Agencies (and the Postal Service) act in non-supportive, negative ways, while others go out of their way to support their employees?  The answer to such a question essentially is as complex (or simplistic) as individuals themselves; for agencies are made up of individuals, and the reaction of an agency is often a reflection of the individuals who lead the agencies. 

When it comes to an employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement, this is often important to understand, because while Agencies (i.e., supervisors) cannot ultimately block a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, they can sometimes make the process more difficult for the applicant, by engaging in certain tactics (e.g., placing a person on AWOL as opposed to LWOP; delaying the writing of a Supervisor’s Statement; the H.R. Department being obstructionist, etc.) 

In dealing with an Agency, it is important to remain courteous, but not weak; professional, but not a “pushover”.  Further, it is important, where possible, to have an attorney deal with the Supervisor or the H.R. Department as a “buffer” between the Applicant and the Agency, to de-personalize the process.  When Agency Supervisor’s take things personally, problems arise.  It is as if all of the pent-up angers of accumulated personal slights come roaring to the forefront.  One should always try and avoid such personalization of the process, and allow for the smooth transition of the employee to becoming a Federal Disability Retiree.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Legal Arguments

Whether and to what extent legal arguments in Federal Disability Retirement cases under FERS or CSRS should be made, should rarely be ventured into by non-lawyers.  The boundaries of legal arguments are naturally constrained for lawyers both internally and externally:  internally, because (hopefully) lawyers are trained to recognize that maintaining the integrity of legal precedents is vital to the process, and externally, because all legal arguments are ultimately subjected to the review of a Judge — in the case of administrative laws governing Federal and Postal Disability Retirement, at the first instance by the Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board, then potentially at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  When laymen attempt to make legal arguments, there is the added danger of misinterpretation and mis-application of the law, which can further injure the chances of an Applicant filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits to obtain an approval.  And, finally, such chances for success may be further damaged if it needs to come before an Administrative Judge for review.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire