FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Process Mentality

The importance of understanding that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, as a “process”, is critical in reaching the mental preparedness necessary to endure the potentiality of the lengthy encounter.

The analogy of the approach should be likened to the difference between WWI and WWII — of trench warfare as opposed to a blitzkrieg.  It is the former which must be prepared for, and not the latter.

For, at each step of the way — from waiting for the proper medical reports to be prepared by the treating doctors, to formulating the narrative of one’s statement of disability; to waiting for the agency to complete the processing of their potion (i.e., the Supervisor’s Statement and the Agency’s Certification of Reassignment and Accommodation efforts); to the intake processing unit of OPM at Boyers, PA, then down to Washington D.C. where assignment of the case will take some time; to final assignment of the case, and potential routing for review by a contract doctor — this is all merely at the First Stage of the process.

If it is denied at the First Stage, then one must fight the process through the Reconsideration Stage, and possibly beyond.

Thus is the mental preparation at the outset required in order to survive the multiplicity of bumps and turns within the process itself.  It is best to know the trials in order to survive the process, and to prepare for it as best one can.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Applicant’s Mindset

“Motivational Speakers” will often focus upon the “mindset” of the audience, and argue that a change of attitudinal perspective is the “key” to success in this or that endeavor of life.  Whether true, how much of it is true, and whether a generic, universalized approach can be effectively tailored for a particular individual is always questionable.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, however, it is important for the applicant to have a correct “mindset”, and to approach the entirety of the administrative process — its legal hurdles, the regulatory criteria which must be met, the gathering of the evidence, confronting the issue of the Agency’s alleged attempts at accommodation, etc. — with an approach that, indeed, Federal Disability Retirement is what is desired and is set as the “telos” or the end goal.

Often, because the Federal or Postal Worker is still beset with “second” thoughts and innate conflicts of still wanting to stay on the job or, more often, hoping that somehow the medical condition will resolve itself and this unpleasant episode of life can be overcome, that the mindset of the Federal or Postal worker prevents the efficient progress of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Such internal confusion or innate conflict can stall a Federal Disability Retirement application.  

Whether consciously or subconsciously, it is important that, once a decision to move forward has been made, the Federal or Postal worker intending to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits resolve any doubts or conflicts, and to aggressively move forward.  

Don’t delay and procrastinate every time the Agency appears to act compassionately — they will not be able to accommodate you.  Don’t pause the forward progress of a Federal Disability Retirement application because you had one good day at work — the profound fatigue and need to rest and recuperate is a condition of chronicity over time, and not just an episodic event.  Federal Disability Retirement is not a death sentence; it is a sentence to allow for a further narrative of life beyond a particular type of job.  

Poetry is not just a single line, but a melody created through a compendium of conceptual depictions of beauty.  Life is not measured by one’s medical condition upon a particular segment of one’s life, but over the course of a lifetime.  

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Doctor

Out of all of the elements comprising a Federal Disability Retirement application — the various aspects, including medical, personal, impact-statement, statement of disability, Supervisor’s Statement, etc. —  the essence of it all must be coordinated around the core of the case:  the medical narrative report

That alone has multiple, inherently complicating factors:  Why won’t the surgeon write the report?  Why is it that the Pain Management doctor, or the Internal Medicine doctor, or the Family Physician is the one often most cooperative and willingIs the Chiropractor’s opinion sufficient?  Is it helpful?  How detailed must the report be?  How long must you be a patient in order to establish the threshold of having a “longstanding doctor-patient relationship“?  Are medical records in and of themselves sometimes sufficient to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefitsIs it sufficient to get a Therapist to do the report, without the Psychiatrist?  Can a therapist alone win a case? Must I undergo a Functional Capacity Evaluation?  Can I use reports from an OWCP Second Opinion doctor?  If my Psychiatrist only sees me for five minutes each time and prescribes the medication, is it necessary for him/her to write a report?  How detailed must the report be?  Is the doctor going to understand, let alone actually read, the SF 3112C?  These are just some of the questions which one is immediately confronted with, in beginning the process of putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  It is a complex, overwhelming process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire