Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Threatened Order

One’s orderliness of life is dependent upon the next person; and like the proverbial domino which stands precariously wedged between the one previous and the one subsequent, the universe of stability is dependent upon the static nature of the surrounding environment.

Thus, in the antiseptic neighborhoods around the country, the quietude of the next door neighbor ensures the peacefulness of one’s heart.  If a violent eruption or turmoil occurs next door, and the flashing lights of law enforcement blink through the closed blinds and curtains of your house, you feel violated.

The principle has been tested and verified, that one’s own order in a physical, as well as psychological sense, is only as secure or vulnerable as that maintained by the next person.  For, we do not view ourselves; we view the world around us, and especially our peers, neighbors, coworkers and extended families, and it is by judging the stability of our surrounding environment by which we determine the security of our own lives.  That is why when a person becomes disabled, it threatens the relative peace and security of supervisors and coworkers within the agency, and they react accordingly.

In advising Federal and Postal Workers throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question which is often asked is the timing of when to inform one’s Supervisor as to the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the time to inform should normally coincide with the actual event of filing, unless there is a valid reason to preemptively inform the agency.

The reaction of an agency is rarely different is substance from one’s neighbor or relative; the disruption of one’s antiseptic and ordered life is seen when a blemish occurs upon the landscape of a cosmetically airbrushed photograph.  When a slight rumble is heard, one looks immediately to the domino standing to the fore and the aft, in the known language of shipmates drifting rudderless in the vast sea of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Recognition of Time

Time is a factor in all of our lives; we are conditioned to it; we respond to the constraints, and procrastinate because of its allowance.  Both time and timing may be factors in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For the Federal or Postal worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the fact that it is the “end of the year” should not be the motivating factor, nor that in a week or so it will be the “beginning of a New Year”.  Rather, the issue of time and timing should be governed by the extent and severity of one’s medical condition, and its impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

As recognition and utilization of time is always an indicator of proper planning, so it is with the Federal and Postal Worker who must prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for American Federal Government Workers: Timing and Impatience

In the United States, we have come to expect efficiency and effectiveness; that is the nature of our history, and precisely why the prevailing philosophical engine has been that of “pragmatism“.  But countries evolve over time; bureaucracies become burdensome; the character of a nation may slowly, almost imperceptibly, change and alter.  Further, some actions are within the purview of one’s ability to impact; other issues are entirely outside of one’s control.

For the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to distinguish between those aspects of the administrative and procedural issues which can have some exerted control, and those which are well beyond one’s sphere of influence.  For, the test of one’s patience and growing sense of impatience will often be determined by a recognition of that which can be influenced, and that which has little to no access for such.

Timing issues can often be controlled, as in when to file; but as for the timing of OPM’s determination, that is another matter altogether.

Patience is unfortunately a virtue which is being daily tested by Federal agencies; the practical reverberating impact is upon the individual Federal and Postal employees who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (the Agency that approves and manages Disability Retirement for all Federal Employees in America)  That, too, is something which is historically inevitable — it is the individual who is impacted, while the faceless “agency” goes on about its business.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Case Development

There are times when “waiting for a season” makes sense — as in entering a marriage relationship prior to a long engagement period for purposes of getting to better know the other person.  Or, in a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement application, waiting as the doctor wants to establish more evidence, send the patient for a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE , or to see what his or her colleague or referral “specialist” has to say before rendering an opinion — these are all valid reasons to wait before formulating and finalizing a Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There are, of course, countervailing reasons which “balance out” such sensible bases for waiting — economic rationale; the need to file in a timely manner if the Statute of Limitations is running and the 1-year mark is quickly approaching; threats by an agency to remove the Federal or Postal employee and leaving him or her with no income, no medical insurance, and little leeway for options other than to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM; but such balancing must be done with an intelligent approach, as timing at the outset in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is best accomplished in order to preclude, as much as possible, the delay of time at the “back-end” of a case, by having it summarily denied at the First Stage of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Timing

Once the decision has been made to prepare, formulate, and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal Worker will often want to “time” the event of filing with the agency.

While this is certainly “do-able”, one must take into account that there is very little control, if any, as to the ultimate timing event:  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is backlogged at every stage of the process — at the intake point in Boyers, Pennsylvania; in assigning a Case Worker to begin “handling” the claim (whatever that may mean); to actually reviewing, analyzing and evaluating the submitted Federal Disability Retirement packet; to making an actual decision, rendering the decision, and mailing out the decision-letter itself.

Thus, whether for personal or professional reasons — some (or most) Federal Workers are so dedicated as to have a desire to complete projects, make sure that certain responsibilities are delegated properly, etc. —  it is perfectly acceptable for Federal Disability Retirement packets which are prepared and ready to be filed, to be temporarily held or suspended for a timing reason, so long as medical reports and records do not become stale.

Further, in some cases it may take a period of months in order to develop the case fully, where the treating physician may need to order additional tests, try other palliative means of treatment, etc.

Whatever the reasons may be, there is nothing wrong with attempting to “time” the submission with the agency, so long as the Federal or Postal Worker understands that there is no such thing as timing the event with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Timing and Perseverance

The proper timing of an event has much to do with the successful outcome of an endeavor.  Just look at the “timing” passes in the NFL, where the quarterback throws a pass towards a receiver who has not yet looked for the ball, but expects it because that is precisely the play which has been called, and one which has been practiced for in countless previous series of practices.  But with timing comes a history of perseverance. Timing is perfected by practice, and practice becomes fruitful and productive only through countless effort and perseverance.

If the first time one attempts X and the timing is not perfect, one cannot walk away in frustration because the timing was “off”; rather, it is through perseverance where perfect timing is achieved.  Effortlessness is achieved through the very achievement of great effort.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are multiple “timing” issues, coupled with the need to have the perseverance to achieve that proper timing.  

Sometimes, it is simply premature to start the process:  perhaps the doctors are not ready; perhaps the Federal or Postal worker is not mentally prepared to take the next step.  Psychological barriers are just as real an impediment as physical ones. At other times, timing has to do with the doctors — cases often have to develop, and doctors have to spend time with the patient/applicant before admitting that disability retirement is the only and best option.  For that “perfect timing” to occur, perseverance by the Federal or Postal employee may be needed — if not only to persevere through a slightly longer process of case-development.  

Thus, timing and perseverance are not limited to the NFL or sports in general; rather, in life, and in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, being “in the game” and trudging along to perfect the right time, are all important components in the successful submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal and Postal Worker.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Attempting to Time Submissions

Timing is more of an art form than a science; it is the coalescence of knowledge, experience and an instinctive sense of when the most effective moment of fruition will occur, rather than an empirical analysis of sequential propositional logic.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, many Federal and Postal employees attempt to “time” the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, for various purposes and reasons, some rationally sound, others rather dubiously proposed.  Whether it is because of a set goal of a date certain; or of funds reserved in order to survive a specified period of time; or of a belief that certain months have a higher probability for a successful outcome; all such attempts are neither based upon certitude, nor upon a sound methodological basis.

The best timing for any Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (first, through one’s agency if one is still an employee or not yet separated from Federal Service for over thirty one (31) days) is the one which files it properly, in a timely manner, in as complete a format as possible, and which satisfies the legal criteria as set by statute, regulation and case-law.

Now, there may be some truth to the idea that submitting an application just before Christmas, or during the week of the 4th of July, may not be the most intelligent thing to do, as such a packet may sit in the agency mail room while most of the Federal or Postal employees (or both) are off doing other things.

Aside from such exceptions, attempting to “time” a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, should be a secondary matter; the primary focus is to prepare a case well, in substantive form, and let the winds of time determine the course of future events.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire