Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Proverbial Cup, Half Full or Half Empty

It is the classic metaphor by which we judge a person’s outlook and perspective on life; and whether influenced or determined by nature or nurture (and whether we repackage the issue by surrounding ourselves with linguistic complexities of scientific language encapsulating DNA, genetic predisposition, or social welfare conversations), the judgments we place upon people are more likely based upon mundane and commonplace criteria:  Does he uplift or depress?  Does she smile or frown?  Do you see the world around as a cup half empty, or half full?

But such stark bifurcations which colonize individuals into one classification or another, are rarely statements of ultimate truth or reality.  More likely, life is often a series of missteps and opportunities unclaimed.  Even waiting too long in making a decision can then result in an option lost, an alternative missed.  The complexity of life’s misgivings often confound us.

For Federal and Postal employees who are beset with a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing the essential elements of the official positional duties one occupies, the choices are not always clear precisely because the prognosis of future abilities and capacities cannot always be predicted with accuracy.  But at some point in one’s career, the choice between the half-filled cup and the half-empty one becomes more than an encounter with a proverb.

The medical condition itself may mean that one’s cup is half empty; but what one does in response, will determine whether the future bodes for a half-filled cup.

For the Federal and Postal worker, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a step which can become a positive direction forward, or a misstep because of hesitation, procrastination, or even a predisposed genetic determination of an inability to engage in decision-making.

But nothing is ever forever; today’s half-filled cup can be refilled tomorrow, and Federal Disability Retirement can help to ensure one’s financial and economic security for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Inside/Outside

Visiting another institution, community, neighborhood or business often evokes an initial response of envy or dismay; first impressions abound, and floods the channels of opinions based upon a comparison of one’s own life.

It is an interesting phenomena to view the perspective of an “outsider”, and it is always important to recognize that the private information known only by an “insider” is simply inaccessible to those who are not residents of a given community, or who have not been a member for a sufficiently long-enough period of time.  It is not so much that such information is a secret; rather, it is often the case that certain types of knowledge can only be gained through being a part of the whole.

On a microcosmic scale, then, the turmoil which an individual experiences because of a medical condition is a life which is rarely understood in full, and less so by certain types of predisposed personalities.   Sympathetic individuals have become a rarity; as we become more and more disconnected through virtual reality and the impersonal conduits of the internet, electronic mailing, etc., human capacity for empathy diminishes.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the problem is further exacerbated because of the nature of a large bureaucracy.  Bureaucracies are by definition impersonal; starting off as another insider (within the Federal Sector), but in essence always remaining an outsider (because of the impersonal nature of the environment itself) often portends a lack of empathetic response by supervisors, co-workers and the organization as a whole.

Having the proper perspective throughout — of effectively and persuasively proving one’s Federal Disability Retirement case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — is the best and only course of success.  How to go about it often depends upon balancing the proper insider/outsider perspective, as is the case for all of us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Office of Personnel Management

The Office of Personnel Management, the Agency which reviews, evaluates and makes determinations upon all Federal and Postal Disability Retirement applications, whether it is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is diligently attempting to adjudicate each application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  

One must understand that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not just handle Disability Retirement applications for Federal and Postal employees — they handle all regular retirements, early retirements, and at all levels of the process — from eligibility determinations, to benefit and annuity calculations; to ensuring that the proper offsets are put in place between Social Security and Federal annuities; and, moreover, any over-payments or errors which may have occurred in the course of establishing benefits and payments are also reviewed and handled by OPM.  

From the perspective of the individual Disability Retirement applicant or annuitant, the length of time it takes, or the lack of responsiveness, may appear as if a particular individual is being “singled out” in the long delay and lengthy wait.  From the perspectively of OPM, however, such an individual is merely one of many, many cases awaiting adjudication. Discussions with various personnel at OPM reveal that there is simply a backlog of cases, with many, many cases coming in every day.  Patience is the only solution; it is an administrative, bureaucratic process, and when one freely enters into it, one must accept the timeline of the process itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire