Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Coming Year

The Calendar says it is now 2013.  For those preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it matters little as to the designation of the year.  A chronic medical condition makes no conceptual distinction from year to year; the impact upon one’s ability/inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job is not distinguishable between December 31 or January 1.  

For those who have filed with the Office of Personnel Management, the fact of the waiting period itself merely magnifies — that we are now into “another” year — the lengthy process which the bureaucratic morass forces the Federal or Postal employee to undergo and endure.  The “coming year” is, for the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, a continuum of the previous year.  It is not the days immediately before, or just after, which makes a difference.  Rather, it is ultimately the approval from the Office of Personnel Management which will make all the difference.  

To appreciate that “difference”, the best that the Federal or Postal employee seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits can do, is to:  increase the chances of an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application; limit the mistakes which can subvert or otherwise damage a Federal Disability Retirement application; and always, always affirmatively prove one’s case with the best evidence possible.  That way, the coming year will have turned out to be a fruitful one, and distinguishable from the previous year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Tying Together the Loose Strands

When a medical condition impacts a Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS or CSRS, and prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management begins.  

One may conceptually distinguish between a “formal” beginning of the process, as opposed to an informal or “real-time” beginning; but in any event, from a retrospective vantage point, it is clear that the “beginning” occurred at that point when the coalescence of medical-to-job impact manifested itself and it became obvious that the Federal or Postal employee could no longer continue in the same fashion as before.  

During this initial part of the process, when the Federal or Postal employee is simply struggling to survive — by going to medical appointments; attempting to continue to work; trying to ignore the reality of the medical condition by striving to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job as before; attempting to maintain the same balance of work-to-personal life, etc. — there is rarely a coordination of efforts, and the disparate strands of life’s compartments never come together in any comprehensible manner.  

But at the “formal” point of preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to engage in the “tying” together of the disparate strands of life — if only to package a cogent and coherent presentation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  

Life may be a series of messes; a successful Federal Disability Retirement application, however, should be a serious compilation of proof, evidence, argumentation and logical structure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Respite and Reflection

Sometimes, it is a positive thing to have a period of respite, in order to engage in a reflective mode of thought.  The “to-do list” is always extensive and pressing; the need to advance, to accomplish, and to complete the pending projects is always in the foreground; but a period of respite and reflection — a pause in the action of life — is a welcomed break.

For those Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often merely an extra day in which to recuperate one’s energies in order to go back to work.  If the Federal or Postal employee finds that the period of a few days off are merely a palliative form of treatment in order to drag one’s self back to the identical state of affairs at one’s Federal position — whether because of chronic pain, or profound, overwhelming fatigue; or perhaps an intractable state of cognitive decline and depression — it is probably time to think about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

One can “fight the good fight” only for so long.

At some point, the coalescence of the medical condition, the limitation of human capacity, and the self-destructiveness of continuing in a position which is detrimental to one’s health, will come to fruition.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is perhaps what one should reflect upon during the respite of life.

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

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Will to Proceed

Human will is a peculiar element of the entirety one’s being; it is influenced by desire, often forced by the intellect, and goaded and persuaded by one’s perspective of the world.  How one perceives one’s condition; how the world is perceived; how the treatment of one by those around us — can all play a significant role in the will to proceed, how to proceed, when to proceed, etc.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is often the clash of influences upon the human will which determines the course of action which the Federal or Postal employee may decide to take.  

Thus, the accurate and proper perception of one’s medical conditions, based upon information gathered from the medical community; the ability to prognosticate the present impact, and future potential limitations, of that information concerning one’s medical condition, upon one’s ability to continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job in the Federal sector, or with the U.S. Postal Service; and further, the perception, whether real, skewed or imagined, of the Agency, including one’s supervisor and coworkers, in determining the value, contribution, and capability to perform and accomplish the goals of the department or agency; all of these combined provide the foundation to determine the will to proceed, in what direction, and whether the will — often at a point of fatigue from the constant fight against the medical condition, depleted in energy and diminished in power — should be forced in order to continue to perform in a job clearly impacted by one’s medical conditions, or to will to proceed to prepare, formulate, and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Yes, it is merely a matter of “willing” — but willing to do what?

Proper perception, based upon good advice and counsel, will determine the will to proceed, in what direction, for what cause, and for what purpose.  It may be time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, and to continue to expend one’s reserve of energy is a price which may not be worth taking, at the expense of one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Time to File

When should I file?  This is a question which is asked often; it is a telling, revealing question, because it is often a rhetorical question.  It is as if the question begs to be answered with an unequivocal, “You must file now”.  Aside from the time it takes, which is generally between 6 – 8 months from the time the entire process begins until the time the Office of Personnel Management approves an OPM Disability Retirement application at the First Stage of the process (and certainly this general time-frame needs to be taken into account because of financial circumstances, accrued sick and annual leave which may be used, and multiple other factors for consideration), the Federal or Postal worker who is contemplating when to file an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits generally knows the answer to the question.  As a general rule, if one asks the question, then the answer is already known.  If one is expecting a PIP, comes home each day dreading and exhausted, living with the anxiety that the Agency is waiting for an excuse to get rid of the employee; if each night and weekends are spent just recuperating in order to make it into the office for another day, then to ask the question, “When should I file?” becomes merely a tautology.  To arrive at that point is to make it into an emergency; it is better to project into the future; as a football coach once said, “The future is now.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire