Discretionary Judgments

There are many things in the long process of getting a Federal Disability Retirement application approved, which are purely “discretionary”, based upon one’s experience, sense of a case, an ear to listening to a client, and based upon a compendium of factors, facts and circumstances, to come up with the “best” decision on a particular issue. A person who tries to go through the process alone, without the ear, mind, experience or judgment of an attorney who knows the process governing Federal Disability Retirement has to make such discretionary decisions without the benefit of past experiences.

Such decisions can range from small issues of: how and when a treating doctor should be approached in the request for a medical narrative; how much guidance the doctor would need or want in preparing a medical narrative report; when and how to inform the agency of the pending decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, etc.; to the larger decisions, such as which medical conditions and reports to include in the final packet to be submitted to the Office of Personnel Management; and many other such discretionary decisions. Yet, when grouped together, the complex interactions of the multiple “discretionary judgments” can often make or break a case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Benefits Lawyer

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement is not a decision that should be made lightly.  Whatever your circumstances are, consider every aspect of the application, the process, and your individual situation before making a final decision.  Set up an appointment over the phone with Attorney McGill to review your case so that he can help you to assess your chances of getting approved.  It’s easy, convenient and free for first-time consultations. 

Reassignment Considerations

In considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management the issue of possible reassignment will arise — normally as a rather secondary and unimportant facet of the process — as an obligatory agency action.

SF 3112D is a form which the agency must complete.  The form essentially affirms that the agency attempted either of 2 things: tried to “accommodate” the Federal or Postal employee, or tried to find a suitable “reassignment” to another existing, available position.

As to the latter, case-law has made it clear that in order for an offer of reassignment to preclude the Federal or Postal employee from continuing with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, such light or limited duty offer must be at the same pay or grade of one’s current position (there are some complicating details connected with the enunciated standard, but for present purposes, this general rule will suffice).

Sometimes, the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service will find a lower-paying position, and offer it, and the employee will gladly accept it because it allows for continued employment.  But one must understand that, if down the road, the Federal or Postal employee finds that he or she is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of that “lower” position, then it is from that “lower” (and often of lesser responsibilities) position that one will be filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

Just some thoughts to ponder; for, as a general rule, the greater the responsibilities of a position, the lesser the standard of meeting the threshold for a Federal Disability Retirement; and, conversely, the lesser the responsibilities of a position, the higher requirement to prove one’s case in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

This and other articles might or might not have been published before.  In this blog edition, we have tried to update them to check over laws and rules that change over time.  However, we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this information.  If you or a loved one is considering early medical retirement from a Federal or Postal position, contact Attorney McGill to discuss the specifics of your case.

Preempting OPM’s Arguments

It is important at all stages of a FERS Disability Retirement application for Federal employees to predict, anticipate, and preempt the arguments which the Office of Personnel Management may make, will make, and can be expected to make.  Obviously, the three main areas of such concern are: Sufficiency of medical documentation; Agency efforts for accommodation and reassignment; the impact and interconnection between one’s medical condition(s) and the positional duties of one’s job.

However, there are multiple other areas, and it is the job of an applicant filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or his/her attorney, to anticipate the areas of OPM’s concerns, and to address them both factually and legally — the latter, by pointing out statutory authorities and case-law holdings directly or implicitly touching upon those very areas of concern.  Further, one should never be fooled if, in an initial denial of a FERS Disability Retirement application, the substance of a denial is fairly short or if it is detailed and lengthy; the content of a denial letter should not determine the extent of a response by an applicant at the Reconsideration Stage.

Instead, whether short, of “middle length”, or extremely detailed, a response should anticipate all areas of concern, and the applicant who is attempting to secure an approval for his or her Federal Disability Retirement benefits should always preempt any potential areas for a further denial.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

Federal Disability Retirement laws and rules are constantly changing and evolving. This is one of the reasons why we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information found here.  Some of these legal articles might have been previously published in other websites such as the Federal Disability Attorney blog or the Federal Disability Lawyer website.  If you have questions about these articles and need to have an expert opinion about your chances of getting an early retirement due to your medical conditions, please contact the author for a free and confidential evaluation of your current situation.

Clarity and Conciseness

One can be completely clear in a statement, yet convey the information incorrectly.  Clarity of statement is merely the vehicle for precision; the substance of the information itself is a separate matter.  The problem with the former is that, it is often mistaken for comprehension by the conveyor.

Rambling, convoluted run-on sentences (yes, we all should have taken note and paid attention during those early grammar lessons) may be perfectly understood by the writer of such garbled conceptual constructs; but it is always the targeted audience which must be kept in mind when one’s goal is clarity of thought.  As for the latter, the substantive information must be screened and streamlined; volume of information in any endeavor cannot replace succinctness and precision of thought.

In preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management clarity and conciseness in preparing (especially) one’s Statement of Disability is crucial in attaining the success of one’s goal: an approval of Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Volume of information should not replace a well-prepared, concise disability retirement packet; and lengthy narratives will not undo the meanderings of imprecise connections between one’s medical condition, the positional duties one engages in, and the nexus between the two.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Attorney

The information on this legal blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice for any individual FERS Disability Retirement case or OWCP claim.  This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.  If you wish to receive a more personalized evaluation of your current legal situation, considering the specifics of your medical condition(s) and your agency, please contact Attorney McGill.

The Unresponsive Agency

The complaints abound; the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is still way behind on its evaluation, review and decision-making process for all characters of retirements, disability retirements included. And now with all of the pressure to become more “efficient” under this current Administration, I am receiving reports from multiple sources that OPM is denying more and more FERS Disability Retirement applications.

It is a given that filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must necessarily have an expectation of a time-consuming administrative process, precisely because of the encounter with a Federal bureaucracy.

At each step of the way, OPM has become more and more unresponsive, and with new cases coming in, the length of time at every stage, and “between” stages, has been extended. The process itself contains inherent milestones of delay: from filing the entire disability retirement application to a facility in Boyers, Pennsylvania, which merely annotates the receipt of the case and inputs the case into the computer system; to thereafter sending the disability retirement application, with all of its evidentiary submissions and attachments down to Washington, D.C., where it must first await assignment to a caseworker; then, upon assignment, for the caseworker to even get to the applicant’s submission for review and evaluation. Then, of course, there is the possibility that the entire packet will be selected to be sent out for review by a contract doctor.

The delays are beyond the control of the applicant, his or her FERS Disability Retirement attorney, or the Federal agency for whom the applicant worked. It is, ultimately, an administrative process which can be tedious, time-consuming, and fraught with delays and extended periods of silence.

Patience may well be a virtue, but the unresponsive manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has handled the delays, fails to engender much confidence in a system which should be most responsive to those in greater need.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

Any articles viewed on this blog are intended to provide information only and are not intended to be legal advice.  As laws are always in a state of change, we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information.  For current updates of laws, rules, the current proposal for the elimination or replacing of the Office of Personnel Management, and to get a personalized assessment of your individual disability claim, please contact the author for a free first-time consultation.

Listening to the Doctor

It is amazing how unaware we often are of our very surroundings, even when the circumstances and scenario directly impact us. Doctors see dozens of patients per day, and the administrative aspects of their medical practice rarely engender excitement; for, while being a proponent of a patient to assist in the entirety of the recuperative process, writing a medical narrative report is not the crux (for most doctors) of that process.

However, when a doctor makes statements which clearly reveal the extent of administrative support that they are willing to provide, it is time to listen. For example, if your treating doctor says something to the effect of, “Your job is clearly killing you,” or “you shouldn’t be doing this line of work,” or sometimes even the non-subtle approach of: “You need to medically retire” — the response for the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits should not be one of remaining silent, unaware, smiling distractedly, or even responding with, “Yes, I know, but…” with a trail of silence.

That scenario is precisely the moment to seize, and to say to the doctor, “Doctor, I think that you are right. Will you be willing to write a medical narrative report which would support me in my quest to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, which would then allow me to recuperate from my medical condition?” Such a conversation must have the cooperative participation of both the doctor and the patient. For, if the doctor does not bring the subject up, and the Federal or Postal employee begins the process of seeking to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the type of conversation-opener described herein will have to take place, anyway.

If the doctor brings up the subject during any clinical examination or encounter, the pursuance of such a conversation should be taken advantage of. The old saying that the doctor knows best is certainly illustrated when one’s treating doctor has opened the door to supporting the Federal or Postal employee in the quest to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Benefits Attorney

The copyright of all the articles in this blog belongs to Attorney Robert R. McGill. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the blog.

 

Getting Legal Advice and Guidance

The worth of advice is unique in that it is valued based up multiple facets of judgments: the source of such advice; the reputation and historical successes of that source; the soundness of the advisory statement, based upon all information available; and, ultimately, the receptiveness of such advice on the part of the person who seeks it.  When advice falls upon deaf ears, of course, then the very value and effectiveness of such advice has been lost forever.

In the legal arena, there is an added component — that the attorney is unable to, for obvious ethical reasons, to render advice unless there has been established an attorney-client relationship.  The “obvious reasons” have to do with the fact that proffering advice in particular circumstances can only come about if and when an attorney has received the confidential and specific information pertaining to a “client”.  Guidance of a general nature, without reference to individualized details, can be given in a generic sense.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, where each case is unique because of fact-specific medical conditions, position descriptions which are impacted by the particularized medical conditions of the individual case, and the nexus which must arise with the interaction between the two — because of this, legal advice must be tailored within a context of an attorney-client relationship.

General guidance can be given; but the Federal or Postal employee seeking help in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should understand that the importance of getting good legal advice is dependent upon the value and worth the Federal or Postal employee places upon his or her unique and individualized case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal & Postal Disability Lawyer

Attorney Robert R. McGill specializes in FERS Disability Employment Law, helping Federal and Postal employees across the nation secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  You may contact him over the phone to receive a free and confidential 30 minute initial case evaluation.

Internet Information

Previous articles and blogs have written quite extensively about the distinction and conceptual differentiation between information and knowledge, and the fact that exponential quantification of the former (information) does not necessarily result in a qualitative increase in the latter (knowledge).

A similar argument can be made for the “reputation” of an individual.  It has been pointed out on many occasions to this writer that various readers have read many “positive” things on various websites which discuss Federal and Postal Disability Retirement issues.  While such complimentary statements are certainly better and more welcomed than negative ones, nevertheless, one must recognize the age-old principle that where good things may be stated, the very opposite can also occur.

Reputation is built over time; not everyone can be pleased for all of time; and information which is hastily posted on the internet may or may not be the full story, leaving aside whether or not it is based upon facts or knowledge.

The plethora of blog writers, websites which merely promote one’s self and reputation — all must be evaluated and analyzed within a greater context of a span of time.  Many writers seem to think that quantity is the key to success — that by repetitively reiterating “key words and terms”, that the internet traffic will increase, and since most people don’t take the time to read, evaluate and discern in a careful manner, such an approach provides for moderate success, if “success” means reaching the greatest number of people.  But preparing, formulating and filing a FERS Disability Retirement application must necessarily contain the element of care, meticulous preparation, and thoughtful formulation for the future.

When an attorney is considered for representation, the choice should be made based upon multiple factors: knowledge, experience, reputation and accessibility being some of the chief elements to be considered.  Quantity of information is good; quality of information is better; and in the greater context of all such information concerning Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, careful consideration of all of the relevant factors must be taken.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

Any publications viewed on this blog are intended to provide general information only and are not intended as a source of legal advice.  As laws are always in a state of change, we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information under these publications.  For current updates of laws and rules, and to get a personalized assessment of your individual claim, please contact the author for a free initial consultation.

Lack of planning

A common consensus among those who contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is that it is an unplanned event, and one which required decisions which shortened the career goals of the Federal or Postal employee. Such an unplanned event, however, should not be left for lack of planning of the event itself — of preparing, formulating and filing for the FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus, a distinction should be made: yes, the fact of the medical condition, and its unplanned impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, thereby cutting short the Federal or Postal career of the individual, is quite often something which is unexpected and beyond one’s control.

Once the realization that it is necessary to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from OPM becomes apparent, however, one should not simply act in a manner which compounds the problems of lack of planning. At that point, planning is essential to the entire endeavor: the garnering of support from the medical community; the persuasive conversation which one must have with one’s treating medical provider; the decision of which medical conditions to include, how to state it, what to state; the preparation of the coordinated aspects of each of the strands of a Federal Disability Retirement application — these need to be planned for, in order to increase the chances of success at each stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Attorney

Disclaimer: The hiring of a Federal Disability Retirement lawyer, or any attorney in general, is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisement. In some jurisdictions this site may be considered advertising. Before you decide, contact Attorney Robert R. McGill for information about his qualifications and experience in the field of Federal Disability Retirement law.

Apparent Normalcy

One can venture and maneuver through this world with a semblance of normalcy, where from all outside perspectives, a person is untroubled and unencumbered.

There are multiple complexities inherent in such a perspective, of course: what constitutes “normal”; to what extent do individuals have a responsibility in assessing and evaluating a person’s private world; as well as the problem of infringing upon the privacy of others, and the desire of the other to allow for any intrusion, whether consciously or subconsciously.

For, each person constructs multiple layers of privacy zones — from the proverbial picket fence, to one’s own private bedroom; to the gates of a home; but always, the foundation begins within the walls of the skull of one’s brain. For, the gatekeeper is always maintained by the individual, as to what is allowed in, and what is manifested for others to observe.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who is beset with a medical condition, such that he or she must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often the preparation of the actual forms which is the first manifested evidence of an impacting medical condition.

All throughout the previous many years, the apparent normalcy has been closely protected; great performance ratings, minimal leave taken, and daily smiles and platitudinous greetings; until the Federal or Postal worker arrives at a crisis point.

This is the apparent face and semblance of normalcy — the surprise of others, of the regretful and remorseful comment, “I just never would have realized.” Or, perhaps it is the indicia of the busy world in which we all live, which allows us to lack any compassion to notice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

Robert R. McGill is a FERS Disability Retirement attorney, that is, a lawyer who specializes in helping Federal and Postal employees secure their FERS Disability Retirement benefits, a practice area he dedicates 100% of his time.  For more information about his legal services, publications and forum, please visit one of his legal websites and blogs available through the Internet.