Tag Archives: when the obvious is not so obvious to the opm disability rep

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Insidious Tragedy

Progressively deteriorating medical conditions comprise a category of tragedies which are especially insidious.

Automobile accidents; natural disasters; even airline catastrophes; such dramatic events, while shocking and tragically devastating, seem to encompass calamities of epic proportions equal to the turmoil of modern times.  But the quiet tragedies which are unheard of — the insidious nature of chronic pain, debilitating migraine headaches, overwhelming Major Depression, anxiety, panic attacks which paralyze one’s ability to engage in employment in a minimally functional manner; progressively degenerative spinal diseases; diffuse pain through Fibromyalgia; and similarly such “quiet” calamities, are especially insidious because, more often than not, there is no proportional visual confirmation of the suffering and tragedy.

Such private calamities are what must be adequately conveyed to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management when preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When a “public” catastrophic event occurs, people tend to search for the picture which matches and confirms the described disaster; but when no such visual confirmation is available, there is often a suspicion that the event itself never occurred.  It is this visual-centered universe which makes for the insidious nature of chronic pain — for how can one confirm the latter?  What picture would provide the wanted affirmation?  It is always the quietude of a private catastrophe which is exponentially magnified in its tragic components — for lack of sympathy, devaluation of empathy, and a question as to the sincerity of the one who suffers.

That is precisely what must be overcome in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Connections

It is the logical and sequential connections between independent facts, which provide the foundational basis in “proving” a thing.  One can infer or imply; it is indeed possible to extrapolate; but to leave such cognitively-arduous exercise to someone at the Office of Personnel Management is merely to cast it to a chance occurrence.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to expressly state the obvious — and not just the facts themselves, but the very connections which bind the independent conceptual constructs, and which lead to unmistakable and irrefutable conclusions.

Thus, while it might be obvious to some that if X medical conditions impact Y essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is nevertheless important to emphasize the “why” as well as the “how”.

From a treating doctor’s perspective, such a connection may be so obvious that it need not be emphasized — precisely because of the intimate knowledge which the treating doctor has accumulated over the years and years of reviewing diagnostic test results, through repeated clinical examinations, etc.  But from a case-worker’s perspective at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, who is reviewing one’s application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the first (and possible only) time, repetition of connections is vital to a successful outcome.

How does one metaphorically gain the attention of someone at OPM?  By repetition and making explicit that which may otherwise be implicit and hidden.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Making Explicit the Implicit

Sometimes, it is implicitly clear in the formulation of the Federal Disability Retirement application that the applicant is unable to coherently present one’s case in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  

Whether because of the physical limitations or the cognitive dysfunctions, the brevity of the statement on the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, or the illegible handwriting, etc., may well provide an indication of one’s medical conditions and their impact upon one’s Federal or Postal duties in a particular position.  But to rely upon an implicit revelation, or to expect that a Claims Representative at the Office of Personnel Management may infer the intractable pain which the potential applicant may be experiencing, is to expect that which will likely not happen.  

The paper presentation offered to the Office of Personnel Management must be explicitly stated at every juncture, at every opportunity, at every potentially coordinating point — with succinctness and clarity of delineation, utilizing the language available, inserting the most effective, descriptive adjectives to create a compelling word picture, governed by truth and justified by the medical documentation within the parameters of the law, in order to express that which has previously remained implicit.

To make explicit that which is implicit is the key; to expect the implicit to be recognized by the reviewing individual at the Office of Personnel Management is to expect the impossible.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire