Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Narrative

In every life, in every human condition, there is the narrative to tell.  In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is an opportunity to convey a “narrative”.  It is, however, for a specified purpose — to obtain OPM Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  As such, there is a “context” within which one is asked to communicate the narrative of one’s life; and that context is delimited and defined by the questions posed on an Applicant’s Statement of Disability, Standard Form 3112A.

The communicating of one’s narrative is an important desire and need for human beings.

The story entitled “Grief” or “Misery”, written by Anton Chekhov, answers the poignant question, “To whom shall I tell my grief?”  In that story, Iona has lost a son, and the story unfolds of how, at every opportunity in the quest to tell the narrative of the human condition, he is rebuffed, ignored and left unsatisfied.

It is often the case in similar fashion with Federal and Postal workers who are attempting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — a need to describe and tell the story of pain, medical conditions, harassment, stress, anxiety, etc.  But it is the job of the attorney to refine, limit, restrict and streamline the story; for the story of the human condition will have amounted to further misery if the story is told unedited, and the Federal or Postal employee is unable to obtain the Federal Disability Retirement benefits because the unedited version of the story was left to be told, resulting in a denial from OPM.

There are counselors and therapists; there are treating doctors; the attorney is neither.  It is the job of the Federal Disability Retirement attorney to effectively represent a client, and sometimes that involves the necessity of being blunt and forthright.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Specialization, Focus & the Attorney

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under either FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal or Postal employee will often retain the services of an attorney precisely for the focus which must be placed upon the compilation of the entire packet. It is, moreover, a field requiring specialization, and one which necessitates knowledge of the particular rules, regulations, and procedural processes which must be understood, maneuvered through, and ultimately complied with.

The reason why local attorneys are rarely found in assisting for the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, is that there are not that many attorneys in the general population of attorneys who have specialized in the field of representing Federal or Postal employees in Federal Disability Retirement law.

This is a Federal issue, not a state issue. Most issues of law require a local attorney who is licensed to practice law in the particular state in which the issue arises. For Federal issues — and Federal Disability Retirement constitutes a Federal issue — what is required is a licensed attorney (from which state is irrelevant) who has the specialized knowledge and focus in order to effectively represent the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the laws governing such benefits.

A general practitioner of law will rarely be sufficient; a local attorney who has never encountered the maze of bureaucratic procedural requirements may, with research and diligence, become competent in understanding the rules and statutes governing Federal Disability Retirement, but for purposes of properly preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to have a singular focus upon the specialized field, in order to be immediately effective and be able to have the applied knowledge to attain the outcome-successful end in mind.

Focus, specialization and the attorney — it is a tripartite combination which the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS which should be carefully considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Beyond the Approval Letter

There are many stories of Federal and Postal employees who suffer from physical, emotional and cognitive (psychiatric as well as progressively deteriorating neurological disorders) medical conditions, who continue to endure within the confines of a Federal or Postal job, for years and years.  

Federal Disability Retirement allows for a Federal or Postal employee who has a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS (5 years under CSRS, which is already a safe assumption that such minimum eligibility requirements have already been met for CSRS employees) to continue to be productive as an employed member of the workforce — but in a different capacity.

Each story is a unique one —  filled with a narrative of human suffering, of enduring pain, hostility, and often discriminatory actions by the Agency.  The attorney who represents the Federal or Postal employee, however, has a specific and unique role.  He or she is not the Federal or Postal employee’s friend, therapist, doctor or financial advisor.  Instead, the attorney’s job should retain a singular focus — to obtain the Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the applicant who is seeking such benefits.  For, after all, it is only upon the satisfaction of the foundational basics that a Federal or Postal employee can then “move on” and go beyond the impact of a medical condition — to recuperate; to start a second career; to repair the physical, emotional and psychiatric impact of the past year or more; and to begin rebuilding after experiencing the jubilation of an approval letter from the Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire