FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Carousels of Summer

The mounts littered throughout the roundabout can be diverse and captivating; in the swirl of the rotating platform, the child in us wants to sit upon every creature, from unicorns to zebras, the traditional horse and the mythological creatures of one’s limitless imagination.

As we grow older, we come to realize that the spinning sensation itself remains static; the difference between climbing into the bosom of one creature as opposed to another, is indistinct and ultimately irrelevant; when one’s childlike imagination and excitement wrought in ignorance of the cruel world becomes extinguished, the fun of being naive and clueless is no longer an option.  Cynicism comes with maturity; the older we get, the less likely are we to allow ourselves to travel into the realm of the unreal.  Life tends to do that to us.

The road of hard knocks is littered with tales of turmoil and turbulence; storms come and go, and while the devastation left behind can be somewhat repaired, the psyche and soul of damaged people can rarely be glued back together, as fragile porcelain leaving behind fissures wide and gaping as the childlike wonderment we once knew.

Federal and Postal employees know the experiences of life:  the internal battles, the power struggles and the herd-like mentality of agencies and departments.  Then, when a medical condition hits, and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer the golden-boy of past cliques, one is cast aside like the child who is left outside of the teams picked in linear sequence, until the silence of being ignored becomes a reality as shame and embarrassment shouts in muted suffering.  Sometimes, the wisest move is to move on.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the best and only option remaining.  To attempt to stay is like the biblical admonition of “kicking against the goads“; to walk away and do nothing is merely to spite one’s self; and so the Federal or Postal employee who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, should always opt for the best remaining alternative.

To prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is ultimately not an admission of defeat.  Rather, it is to enliven that imagination once grasped, but since forgotten; of the child who discovered that changing from the seat of a dragon on a carousel to the bosom of a resplendent unicorn makes all the difference not in the change itself, but within the comfort of the limitless imagination of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Beyond the Bruner Presumption

The methodology of making extended legal arguments beyond the explicitly stated statute or case-law is a natural event, accepted and expected by Judges and opposing counsel.  However, there are unspoken but circumscribed limits to such arguments, and when an individual attempts to go beyond the parameters of rational argumentation, the entire argument loses its underlying credibility.  

Thus, in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, one may argue for the application of the Bruner Presumption once a proposal to removal a Federal or Postal employee for his or her medical inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job has been  initiated.  Such an argument would certainly be a logically viable one.  

Further, there is certainly legal authority and precedent for use of Social Security Disability approvals, and Veteran’s Administration ratings, as persuasive arguments in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  But how far can an argument — often “by analogy”, which has a long tradition of acceptance in the legal arena — be taken?  For instance, can an email discussion between supervisors within an agency discussing and admitting a proposed removal of an employee based upon his or her medical inability to perform the job be used?  Probably, but sparingly.  Can the Bruner Presumption be applied in such a hypothetical?  Probably not, but the principles underlying the case of Bruner v. OPM can certainly be argued as “further evidence” of the agency’s inability to accommodate the Federal or Postal applicant.  

These all constitute the boundaries of legal argumentation, which can be pushed to their limits, but with care and the tool of logical force.  But one must, of course, always be careful — because, to use a tool based upon logic implies that the user has been trained in logic and logical argumentation, which in and of itself is a discipline sorely lacking in many people, including many attorneys.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire