Federal Disability Retirement: Restorative Sleep & a New Day

For whatever evolutionary reasons, the necessity of sleep is apparent to anyone who lacks it.  On just a basic level of understanding, one assumes that the extent and level of daily activities results in the corresponding necessity of one’s sleep pattern; but one sees certain individuals do next to nothing, who seem to need a vast amount of sleep, and conversely, those who expend a tremendous level of energy who seem to thrive on minimal periods of somnolence.

The necessity of sleeping is a given; when interrupted patterns occur, and identifiable sleep disorders intervene, including insomnia and sleep apnea, then we begin to recognize the differentiation between mere ‘sleep’ and the concept of ‘restorative sleep’.  The former is simply the state that one finds one in; it is the latter which is the more meaningful state.

Whether because of chronic pain which, throughout the period of attempted sleep, interrupts the pattern of relief sought through sleep; or severe psychiatric conditions which require lengthy periods of quietude; mere sleeping does not necessarily result in the state sought — of restorative sleep, in order to wake up to a “new day”.  Without that level of restorative sleep, the human mind and body is unable to perform at the peak level which must be attained, in order to thrive in the technologically challenging work environment of modern day.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who must face such a challenge daily, where one’s medical condition begins to impact the ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the Federal or Postal Worker to enter into a period of interlude in order to attain that sought-after restorative sleep.

The respite from the turmoil of work and responsibilities is often the recipe needed, and until the Federal or Postal Worker acknowledges the need, that proverbial “new day” may never arrive, and one may find that sleep is not a friend of the night, but an adversary to be battled within the darkness of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Those “Second-Class” Medical Conditions

We all know what the “Second-Class” medical conditions are:  Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diffuse Pain, Chemical Sensitivity issues, etc.  To some extent, such medical conditions have always been a paradigm of a society — at one time, one could argue that all psychiatric conditions were treated in a similar manner:  accepted at some level as a medical condition, but stigmatized as somehow being less than legitimate.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is patently obvious that the Office of Personnel Management treats certain medical conditions as “second-class” conditions.  They often deny such cases at the initial stage of the process, and unless you point out a compendium of established case-law authorities, OPM will often get away with their groundless assertions.

Words matter, and which words and arguments are chosen to rebut the Office of Personnel Management matters much in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Such medical conditions are not second-class medical conditions, and OPM should not be allowed to treat them as such.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Case of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of those medical conditions that the Office of Personnel Management systematically “targets” as a condition which is prima facie “suspect”. This is despite the fact that there are cases which implicitly “admonish” OPM from engaging in the type of arbitrary reasoning of denying a disability retirement application because they “believe” that “no objective medical evidence” has been submitted, or that the “pain” experienced (diffuse as it might be) is merely “subjective”, or that the chronicity of the pain merely “waxes and wanes”, and a host of multiple other unfounded reasonings. Yet, cases have already placed a clear boundary around such arbitrary and capricious reasonings.

A case in point, of course, is Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit case, decided on November 26, 2007. In that case, it clearly circumscribes the fact that OPM can no longer make the argument that an Applicant’s disability retirement application contains “insufficient medical evidence” because of its lack of “objective medical evidence”. This is because there is no statute or regulation which “imposes such a requirement” that “objective” medical evidence is required to prove disability. As long as the treating doctor of the disability retirement applicant utilizes “established diagnostic criteria” and applies modalities of treatment which are “consistent with ‘generally accepted professional standards'”, then the application is eligible for consideration. Further, the Court went on to state that it is “legal error for either agency (OPM or the MSPB) to reject submitted medical evidence as entitled to no probative weight at all solely because it lacks so-called ‘objective’ measures such as laboratory tests.” Statues are passed for a reason: to be followed by agencies. Judges render decisions for a reason: for agencies to follow. Often, however, agencies lag behind statutes and judicial decisions. It is up the an applicant — and his or her attorney — to make sure that OPM follows the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire