Federal Disability Retirement: Perspectives, Altered and Static

Medical conditions have a way of changing one’s perspective; the daily outlook of merely taking ordinary things for granted reverts to an ongoing sense of appreciation for the mundane.  Even to be pain-free for a few moments may seem like an utopian state of blissful enlightenment.  The ordinary becomes the miraculous, and the order of priorities for others may become inversely reorganized.  But the problem remains for the world at large whose perspective has not been impacted by such alterations.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is suddenly confronted with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the Agency, the Supervisor, coworkers, the U.S. Postal Service, etc., may not (and one can more forcefully predict, “does not”) share that change of perspective.

Pausing to smell the flowers may be fine for some, but not while in the same room as the Supervisor who sneers at such folly.  Such altered perspectives may need the mundane remedy of a legal response; and, ultimately, if filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is the option to pursue, because the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, then such a course of action should be initiated as soon as practicable.

Not everyone shares a change of perspective; and, indeed, the Federal or Postal employee who has an altered perspective should recognize that he or she once resided in the exclusive club from which expulsion and ex-communication is now imminent.  The static nature of the ordinary will always dominate; it is the extraordinary which remains in the minority, as history has always proven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: To Whom Do We Owe Our Allegiance?

Whether allegiances are formed by a natural predisposition to an innate need to “belong”; or, as human beings are essentially social animals with a historical essence embracing a herd-mentality, it is a natural component within the personality, characteristic, and in-born psyche of our society that we crave a macro-personality above and beyond the micro-being of our individualism.

We give our allegiances freely, without thought, and with nary a price to be paid.  It happens naturally, within the context of our personal lives, our families, friendships, and in the employment arena.  One enters into a position, and before one is even aware of the potential consequences and pitfalls, you are deemed to be part of “that group”, under the mentorship of X, or suspected of surrendering your fealty to a particular management.

For Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, such unthinking loyalty occurs almost immediately upon entering the Federal sector and workforce.  But one quickly learns that such mindless fealty is a unilateral embracing of an age-old puzzle: of what benefit does one accrue, and how strong is the fealty when tested?

The Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, quickly finds that “loyalty” to the organization is a unilateral concept, and never bilateral, where the agency owes anything back to the individual Federal or Postal employee.

That is when one begins to ask the question:  To whom, and for what, do I owe such unwavering loyalty?  It is only when this question is asked, that the Federal or Postal employee begins to look out for his or her own best interests.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits are available for those who find that the loyalty once relied upon is merely an empty chasm of broken promises and returned emotional items of defective goods; and the herd which once appeared to protect, is acting suspiciously like a predator in waiting.

For the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not a violation of one’s fealty to the agency; such blind loyalty, one must understand, never existed, except in the creative mind of a bureaucracy which dresses in wolf’s clothing in order to lure one into the trap of self-immolation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: The Mistakes People Make

The greatest mistake of all is to “assume” X or to “presume” Y; and this is not uncommon, precisely because the wording of the Standard Forms as presented on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), which is the central basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is formulated (both for FERS as well as for CSRS employees), makes it appear as if obtaining an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely a pro forma activity.  

And, indeed, many have informed the undersigned attorney that Human Resources’ personnel at various agencies will understate the scrutiny which OPM will apply in reviewing and evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application.  

The problem with H.R. Personnel dismissing the arduous and meticulously scrutinizing administrative process as applied by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is that such underestimation is barely acknowledged when a denial is received from OPM on a Federal Disability Retirement case.  All of a sudden, the Human Resources personnel put up their hands and state, “It’s not our responsibility”, when all along they had been insisting as to the ease of the process.

No, it is true — it is not the ultimate responsibility of the Agency or its Human Resources Department.  Yes, it is also true that any application for a Federal Disability Retirement is the responsibility of the individual applicant.  As such, because responsibility falls squarely (why, by the way, is it “squarely“, as opposed to “triangularly” or “circularly”?) upon the Federal or Postal Worker, it behooves one to take the entire process seriously, and to invest the proper time, attention, and expenses needed, to do it right “the first time”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Agency Pressures

Ultimately, the pressures which one’s Federal Agency places upon the Federal or Postal employee creates and manufactures a perspective that events have an urgency beyond the reality of the moment.  There is, further, a context of a build-up which is often lost; agencies view employees who have not been fully productive, in terms of “liabilities”, and begin to act and react accordingly.

From the employee’s viewpoint, actions initiated by the agency are often unfair, instigated without warning, and advanced with irrational promptness without regard to the particular situation of the Federal or Postal employee.  This is because much of the context which leads up to a decision is often kept in secret from the employee — internal discussions concerning the employee, etc.

A Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often embroiled in the midst of an employment dilemma — whether the near-certain imposition of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), which is essentially setting up the employee for failure; or continuation of systematic workplace harassment; the pervasive nature of a hostile work environment; suspension or restriction of sick leave usage; and multiple other pressure points.

From the perspective of the agency, their stated goal is to further effectuate the “mission of the agency”.  From the perspective of the employee, it is nothing more than undue pressure and harassment, and leaving one with little or no choice but to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits quickly, and immediately. But of course the Office of Personnel Management does not act in a quick or immediate manner, and so there is the problem of dealing with agency issues until the time of a decision.

That is all the more reason why it is important for the Federal and Postal employee to not wait until the last minute, and to begin to contemplate preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, with some time still ahead, both for planning and for handling potential agency issues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire