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

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

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Timing Is Always Critical

Timing has to do with the appropriateness of an action within the proper context, before a chosen audience, in accordance with customs and the historical pretext which forms that coalescence of circumstances.  Much of one’s actions are simply to rush in order to complete the task.  But the completion of a task, if ignored in the context of audience, timing, and event, may well result in mere completion, without any resulting effectiveness.

Thus, 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 or Postal employee must attempt to optimize every opening, every available opportunity, to take advantage of the proper timing in preparing a case, formulating the case, and filing it — at each stage of the administrative process.

Sometimes, timing of course must incur the chaos of rushing — as in meeting the 1-year Statute of Limitations in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Other times, however, such as responding to a Request for Reconsideration, or to a Medical Questionnaire, requires an appropriate consideration of “when” to file the medical information, the updated medical report, etc.  Further, in the context of today’s reality, where the Office of Personnel Management is presently behind in its review of Federal Disability Retirement applications, there is the question of when “best” the time is to submit additional & updated documentation, whether it is a received approval from SSDI or other persuasive documentation.

Experience alone will often determine knowledge of timing; that is why old men nod with knowing smiles at youth, where time is wasted upon unnecessarily expended energy and enthusiasm.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire