CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Performance of Roles

Discussions concerning “performance” can often have implicitly negative connotations; for, the term itself can refer to a ‘faking’ of what one truly believes or does, as opposed to the substance of who a person is.  Thus, in the recent nationally-viewed debates, there is widespread discussions about the “performance” of X; whether he “looked” strong, firm, in command of the facts, etc.  Such evaluative statements, of course, appear in obvious contrast to the inverse:  Was X in fact in command of the facts; was he in fact firm, etc.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important while in pursuance of the administrative process, to recognize the performing roles of each entity, and not to confuse them.  To confuse an enemy for a friend can result in disastrous consequences; to mistake a friend for an enemy can change the course of one’s life; to fail to recognize the proper roles in life, can alter one’s future forever.

Supervisors, managers, and those who are superior in rank and position, should never be considered as confidants, as a general rule.  When one is about to separate from Federal Service, or have an underlying intent to do so, should fill one with caution in approaching people to whom information may be disseminated.  Proper roles dictate certain predictable behavior, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important to acknowledge the roles which each person plays, and to act accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Adversarial Structure

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, has inherently an adversarial structure built into the entire administrative process.  This is ultimately unavoidable, but one should not be persuaded into complacency about the bureaucratic side of things, merely because a Human Resources office describes it as procedural in nature, and merely an “administrative” matter.

That is precisely why there are appellate stages built into the system — first, within the administrative procedure itself, of filing a “Request for Reconsideration” within the same agency which denies the Federal Disability Retirement application, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the ability to appeal the case to a separate, independent body, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; and further to a 3-Judge panel of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which is identified as a “Petition for Full Review” (PFR).  Beyond that, there is an oversight mechanism provided via further review, by the ability to file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which reviews the legal application and its sufficiency through overview of the laws applied.

Indeed, one need only look at the structural mechanisms in place to understand that, far from being merely an “administrative” process, it is adversarial in nature, and should be treated at the outset as such.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Sports Metaphors

The abundance of metaphors comparing life with sports has pervaded throughout in literature, opinion pieces, articles, etc.  We can relate to sports, because many have been active participants in their youth; continue to engage in it via playing in various adult leagues, or coaching their kids, or perhaps just passively enjoying watching various sports on television, etc.

As a metaphor, it is seen as a “life-lesson”.  It is supposed to teach all aspects of “building character” — of the value of hard work, proper preparation, ethical conduct and behavior, etc.  In pragmatic terms, when one actually plays a sport, it merely becomes a one-to-one adversarial encounter with an opponent, and sometimes teaches merely that the “playing field” is not always level, and the opponent does not always follow the same rules of the game as one is taught to do.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, a comparative metaphor to any sports would be to characterize the entire administrative process as one of the battle between David and Goliath.  The Office of Personnel Management has its own set of rules — of a criteria which is allegedly applied, but which often has limited rational basis; of a time frame within which they say they attempt to meet, but which is systematically ignored; of following rules and regulations as they interpret them, etc.

What would one say about a sport in which one side makes up the rules and then ignores them?  Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is like a professional football team (representing OPM) going against a high school chemistry class deciding to put together a team (the Federal or Postal employee).  The teams are unequal; the playing field is never level; and the outcome of the encounter must therefore be decided by careful preparation, a cohesively formulated plan, and a filing deliberation which results in a compelling total package.

Such is the metaphor with sports:  to prepare, formulate and file — in an effective manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire