Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Balance of Body

Have you ever noticed that, if you attempt to compensate with one extremity over another, whether because of pain or temporary incapacitation in an attempt to alleviate and relieve the lesser limb, that the one in use becomes slowly debilitated as well?  The body is a balanced mechanism; it is designed to work in coordinated fashion, as a unit of entirety.  It may well be that if one component of that working aggregate requires temporary suspension, that another unit may, for a time, serve as the greater replacement by working “overtime”; but in the end, all workers are expected to return to full labor, lest the entire operation itself shuts down.

That is why pain and similar symptoms serve as a warning system for a greater condition.  People often think that compensating for a medical condition can be derived through persevering and ignoring; instead, what happens is that the other parts of the body begin to shut down and deteriorate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector, the attempt to overcompensate often leads to greater exacerbation, both in terms of the medical condition itself, as well as for the agency through bringing greater attention to one’s self.

It may be that a Federal or Postal worker may, for a time, get away with persevering and neglect of the warning systems; but in the end, the intricate and delicate balance of body, like the greater ecosystem of nature, will begin to reveal signs of wear and decay, and the time lost in taking the necessary steps will merely be unrecoverable segments of lapsed periods, where commas and pauses needed to be overcome in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement (FERS & CSRS): Computational Intentionality

Presumptuous intentionality will lead to an assumption which ultimately undermines one’s own argument; and in every endeavor, a computational approach based upon a general algorithm of life’s experiences will often leave out key factors and essential elements.

The problem with one’s own medical condition is that the person who experiences it is one and the same as the person who must convey the experiential factor to others.  That is what is often termed an “epistemological privilege“, in that the subjectivity of the medical condition, the pain, the psychiatric disorder, the cognitive dysfunction, one’s inability to focus or concentrate, etc., is ultimately reserved to the confinement of the person relating the factors.

There are, of course, objective methodologies in determining the subjective experience, by testing, diagnostic applications, manifested physical symptoms, etc.; but pain and other self-experiential factors are, by their very definition, subjective in nature.  A computational intentionality will take the experience of one’s own pain, consider the length and volume of medical treatment and records amassed, and presume that the compendium of the whole will make for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

One hears it all the time: “Mine will not have a problem”; “I am sure you hear it all the time, but…”  What is heard “all the time” is not necessarily shouts from success; rather, the voices heard are more likely to be in response to dismay and disbelief, as it is a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application which evokes the loudest sounds of discordant trumpets.

The information which is placed into a computer determines the quality of conclusions arrived at when a computational intentionality is formulated; what one does not know, and fails to include and assimilate, may in fact be the harmful error which defeats.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the compendium of evidence to be culled and calculated, then disseminated as an effective and persuasive presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not what standard government forms account for.  But that “forms” were the primary foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement, then all Federal Disability Retirements would be easily passed through.  But then again, if that were the case, Federal Disability Retirement would not be a benefit to be proven, but a right to be asserted.

Yes, Standard Forms are a “part” of the process, and so for FERS employees, SF 3107 and their sequential series must be included; for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees, SF 2801 and their sequential series must accompany the Federal Disability Retirement packet; and for all Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D and SF 3112E must be filed as well.

But in the end, be fully cognizant that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely based upon a computational intentionality of a mechanical nature; the “human element” is always pervasive and ever present, precisely because a medical condition itself is the ultimate revelation of the human condition, wrapped within the context of questions involving human frailty, empathy, sympathy, and the evocation of humanity within a universe of cold and mechanistic deliberations of silent computers.

And for those movie buffs, remember to pay homage to the HAL 9000.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire