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

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Identity Theft

Concerns over “identity theft” abound in this information age where an almost unlimited trove of personal data gets transmitted through the ethereal universe of the Internet.

Certainly, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management itself should be aware of this, with the recent hacking of Social Security Numbers, birth dates, responses to security questions, etc., and their failure to protect such sensitive caches of information.  But such thievery is normally recoverable; new passwords and keywords can be changed and obtained; additional walls of security impositions can be constructed, and life can be returned to a relative level of normalcy, with mere vestiges of fading memories of inconvenience to haunt our daily lives.

There are other forms of identity thievery, however, which can be more onerous, and unrecoverable.  When an individual is stripped of his or her identity as developed over many years through hard work, dedication and loyalty to a purpose or cause, and that reputation becomes destroyed in quick order and succession resulting from circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, where is the restorative avenue for that?  To what door or office does one apply to regain the loss, and return back to a sense of normalcy?

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who are daily harassed because they suffer from a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform, any longer, the full essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or for the U.S. Postal Service, such “identity theft” of an alternate kind is well known and intimately experience.

Those multiple years of toil, dedication and loyalty to development of fine-tuned talents in order to perform one’s job with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — they become for naught, when one’s worth is so closely tied to one’s health, whether physical or psychiatric.  And so it may be time to “move on”, and this means, in all likelihood and necessity, preparing, formulating and 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.

Yes, ultimately, one’s OPM Disability Retirement application must be filed with the very same agency whose vault of personal personnel information was hacked into; but that is often the irony of life itself, where the Federal or Postal employee must knock on the very door which allowed for identity theft, in order to regain it again for a new and brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Observing Dogs

They belie conformity of thought, though they are willing to obey and follow strict adherence to rules and commands; and while “experts” in clothing of meandering letters, capitalized after the patronymic lineage displayed proudly as designators of validity and knowledge, may conclude that they neither smile, nor exhibit greater intelligence than primates deemed closer to our ancestral genetic heritage, what constitutes a test of possessing such a quotient is often irrelevant to defining the species.

They can defy; they can doubt, and be suspicious; anticipate by mere thought or look; and know the scent of danger from miles afar, long before any human capacity to fathom such instinctive acuity.  We think we are the great observatories of behavior and time; but dogs can as well decipher with watchful eyes, and smell the aroma of turmoil and disease, oftentimes long before a diagnostic tool can determine the course of future treatment.

We can learn much from observing dogs; for, while we may marvel at the obedience displayed, we mistake such adherence to commands as mere acts of automatons, as opposed to the want to please and the love they possess.  And how much of one’s life is characterized by a need to please, even when it is refused and countermanded with cruelty and crass contempt?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to remain in a Federal or Postal job, despite all indicators from their bodies, minds and spirits to leave for the sake of health, is it any different than the observations gleaned from dogs who obey despite the cruelty of a contemptible master?

It is like the famous quote from Hemingway, that in modern warfare, a man will “die like a dog for no good reason.”  Sometimes, obedience and adherence is nothing more complicated than a desire to please, and to “stay the course” because no other way is known or shown.

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, is no different than the curse of the cur; and while we may applaud our own superiority by making grand conclusions based upon observing dogs and other creatures, the wonder of it is what those observing dogs must consider of our own plight, as fellow mongrels in a universe replete with stupid cruelty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Happiness Principle

A society’s trending obsession is often reflected by the backdrop of books written, published and popularized in culture corridors of mass media; and so the Oprah of timeless celebration never loses its luster for belated works attempting to keep pace with the commercialization of principles which once may have been considered seriously.

Plato and Aristotle addressed the issue; Existentialism arose from the ashes of war, and sidestepped it by considering the bleakness of the human condition; but in the age of technology and the optimism blanketed through mass dissemination of information, the focus has shifted from essence to residual results, where the natural consequences of X becomes the focal obsession of Y.  Happiness was once, in a time of yesteryear, an afterthought to survival, secondary to ethical conduct, and tertiary to a productive life.

Today, it seems that the principle is the primary goal of living, as organisms and amoebas naturally tend towards food sources.  Beyond the happiness principle, however, is the undeniable fact that it cannot be attained when certain interrupting forces blockade and obstruct; and pain, psychiatric conditions and medical disabilities certainly fall into that category.

There is, then, the condition itself (the medical condition) which impedes the happiness principle; and administrative processes (such as Federal Disability Retirement, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) which constitute a bureaucratic obstacle to corollary life principles.

Obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM does not and should not pretend to resolve medical issues; but it does allow for the Federal or Postal employee to attend to the primary concern underlying one’s life — the medical condition itself. Often, we confuse the essence of a thing with the appearance of that which presents itself to us.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker, it is important to understand that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not the “end all and be all” of attaining the ultimate goal, but rather part and parcel of multiple components which, like pieces of a puzzle, need to be gathered, sorted and organized in order to create that collage of life called contentment.

Thus the “happiness principle”:  perhaps not the destination to be confused, but the quality of the ride to get there.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Disability & Injury Compensation Laws under FERS & CSRS: Decisions & Complexities

The complexities inherent in modern technological life, and the methodologies of arriving at a decision-making process, make for a consciousness counterintuitive to one’s natural state of being.  Rousseau depicted a romanticized version of man’s state of nature; but the point of his philosophical thesis was to provide a stark contrast to the civilized world of social compacts and the justification for societal intrusion into liberties and rights reserved exclusively and unequivocally.

In what epoch one was born into; whether one ever had the deliberative opportunity to accept or reject the social contract of today; and the greater historicity of man’s cumulative unfolding of unintended paths of social consciousness; these all provide the backdrop as to why life has become so complicated.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker, there is the added issues of multiplicity of bureaucratic layers, and the decisions which must be made in the greater context of the microcosm of another civilization of administrative facets:  what choices one is faced with; VERAs, MRA+10, Social Security Disability requirements; deferred Retirements; injuries on the job which may prompt an OWCP/DOL filing; and the seemingly endless avenues which the Federal and Postal employee may have to face.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is confronted with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, the option which should always be considered is Federal Disability Retirement.  If a medical condition exists, Federal Disability Retirement from the OPM is often the best and only option which will attend to the needs of the moment.

In the end, it is not the complexity of life which wears upon us all; rather, the capacity to engage a rational methodology of arriving at a proper decision, which cuts through the peripheral irrelevancies and provides a real-life, substantive basis for the meaningful values underlying the superficialities of daily fluff.

OPM Disability Retirement for the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, may be the option of solving that greater conundrum when a medical condition begins to impact daily living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquir