Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Case Development

Federal Disability Retirement is one of those areas of law where countervailing forces are always at play, and the tug-of-war against time, resistance of individuals to respond, all within a context of a hectic-pace of life, create for a havoc of systems and regularity.

Because the underlying basis of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often involves a chronic, progressively deteriorating medical condition, it is often seen from the perspective of the Federal or Postal employee to be an emergency; from the viewpoint of the medical doctor whose support for the case is critical, because the opinion of the doctor is essential to formulating the foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is often seen as another administrative burden; from the Agency’s vantage point, the alleged patience over the years which it has shown in “dealing” with loss of time, less-than-stellar performance, etc., often results in a reactionary adversity of being entirely unsympathetic to the plight of the Federal or Postal employee; and, together, all of the strands of these multiple countervailing forces places an undue pressure upon the entire process.  Yet, once it gets to the Office of Personnel Management, the file sits…and sits.

The long-term perspective on every Federal Disability Retirement application must always be to accept the fact that case development is the most important point to ponder.  Quickly filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, may in the end prove to be pound-foolish, especially in a retrospective, Monday-night quarterbacking sense, if OPM denies the case anyway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Perspectives

From the perspective of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, once the information is received that the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal employee has filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — or is contemplating filing — such an individual is seen merely as an obstacle to a positional slot on a piece of paper:  presently taking up space, but no longer a vital piece, leaving aside a piece of any kind, to the organization.

Perspectives are peculiar animals:  they formulate from a specific angle and motive, and rarely attempt to empathize from a differing aspect.  Thus, whether a Supervisor has been supportive for many years often becomes an irrelevancy when a Federal or Postal employee informs that Supervisor that he or she is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Such a supportive attitude and approach was based upon a perspective involving the employee’s long-term involvement with the organization; such a perspective can quickly and irreversibly change once information is received that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer a part of that long-term goal.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service will be informed of such filing; the question of the appropriateness of informing the agency prior to the actual filing, is a discretionary issue with the employee.  Normally, unless a compelling reason exists, inasmuch as the Federal agency will be informed upon the actual filing, anyway, there is little reason to “pre-inform” the agency.

Perspectives change; changed perspectives can result in sudden actions which may be detrimental; anticipating a changed perspective can be a tenuous endeavor, especially when it comes to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire