Tag Archives: Basic Federal Disability Retirement information

Keeping it Simple

In almost all instances, stating the obvious when filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the rule to follow.  Another simple rule to follow: Keep it Simple.  Except in special circumstances (e.g., where there is a nebulous diagnosis and one must interweave multiple symptmatologies in order to bypass the possibility that you may be later precluded from “adding” a “new” medical condition, etc.), it is best to stick to a paradigm of a 1-to-1 ratio or correspondence of medical conditions, symptoms, impact upon work, etc.

Such a template can be dangerous to follow, however, because any Applicant’s Statement of one’s disability should never appear mechanical or stilted in its tone and tenor.  Emotionalism should not be stripped from an Applicant’s Statement of one’s disability in a Federal Disability Retirement application and, indeed, sterility should not be a goal to be sought.

That goal should be from the treating doctor, where technical medical terms present a sense of diagnostic objectivity and scientific validity.  But such simple rules as presenting the correspondence between specific physical conditions with the physical requirements of one’s job, and similarly, between specific psychiatric symptoms with the cognitive requirements of one’s job, is an important “rule” to follow.

Remember, however, that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is not a “perfect science”; in fact, it is not a science at all, but a mix between law, personal input, and medical facts, with the creative force of persuasion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

The content of this blog may include FERS Disability articles previously published in other websites by the same author.  While we do our best to maintain our content updated, laws and rules are constantly changing, and therefore we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information presented in this website.  You may, however, contact the author, Attorney Robert R. McGill, if you have any specific questions about current laws and regulations and to request a general evaluation of your Federal Disability Retirement case.     

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.

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.

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.

Stating the Obvious

Sometimes, stating the obvious is necessary.  In filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, and in dealing with the Office of Personnel Management, “stating the obvious” becomes not only a necessity, but a truism encapsulated in profundity surrounded by a simple rule: the greater the obviousness, the more effective the Federal Disability Retirement application.

For the applicant who files for Federal Disability benefits, who is unrepresented, it is best not to act as a lawyer.  While case-law and statutes abound as free information on the internet (and such information and discussion is certainly available on my website at the Federal Disability Lawyer blog and in various articles I have written on the subject), misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or mis-citation of cases, statutes, rules or regulations can easily be engaged in.

While generally harmless, and further, since many at the Office of Personnel Management are not even aware of the laws and case-laws governing the very subject which they are supposed to rule upon, what is the point (one might ask)?

The obvious point is for the future — to always predicate a case upon the simple truism that one stage in the process may not be enough, and so building a foundation for the next stage, and the stage after that, by preserving the legal and factual arguments for an eventual appeal, is always a necessary evil one must perform.  State the obvious — and state it multiple times.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

The information that appears in this blog is copyrighted.  Also, these articles may have been previously published in other Federal Disability Retirement websites by the same author or by other third-party publications.

Confirming your Doctor’s Support

After undergoing all of the those diagnostic tests; after allowing the doctor to clinically examine, prescribe multiple medications based merely upon the say-so of the doctor; after allowing for invasive surgery; sending you to physical therapy; if the time then comes to prepare and file a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, it is important to confirm the strength of that “patient-doctor” relationship that has apparently been ongoing and fostered for those many months, years, and sometimes, decades.

It is not enough to get a nebulous “pat-on-the-back-sure-I’ll-support-you” sort of response, and with that, you receive a thick packet from the medical office, you open it, and inside is merely a copy of your medical records. No — “support” must be concrete and definitive. It must mean, specifically, that the doctor is willing to write an excellent medical report outlining his or her opinion in connecting your medical condition with you inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job. If it is time to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, it is time to have a heart-to-heart talk with the treating doctor, and see how committed he or she really was and is to this “patient-doctor” relationship.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

The information contained in this web site has been prepared by attorney Robert R. McGill, a Maryland-based Federal Disability Attorney, who represents Federal employees nationwide.  Thus, this and other posts have been written for informational purposes and is not legal advice.  It is provided only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments.

OWCP and FERS Disability Future Reviews

There are horror stories: of people on “disability” who are watched and video-taped, and after having 500 hours of taping, it is edited to show that, within a 2-minute period, it is revealed that you can indeed perform physical feats which your medical disability should restrict.

As an attorney who receives daily inquiries concerning Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, people relate such fears to me.  However, I am quick to remind such callers on two (2) matters: First, such stories relate almost exclusively to Federal OWCP cases, which have nothing to do with FERS Disability Retirement, and Second, the people I represent have legitimate medical conditions which impact and prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

There is also an additional Third element in the issue, FERS Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed, under the law, to go out and get another job, and to work and make up to 80% of what his or her former position currently pays.

Now, obviously, any such job should be essentially different, in many ways, from the former job.  But the point is that the FERS Disability Retirement is intimately wedded to a particular job, and the inability to perform the essential elements of that particular job.  That is where the difference lies between FERS Disability Retirement rules and OWCP cases — the former allows one to continue to remain productive in the workplace; the other does not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Attorney

Please note that the information that appears in this article is copyrighted.  Originally written by Attorney Robert R. McGill, it has been more recently updated by the webmaster.  This article has been previously published in other OPM Disability Retirement blogs.

How Important is the SF 3112B Form?

It is amazing how a Supervisor’s Statement is completed.  Normally, it is completed without much thought; sometimes, it is completed with too much thought (and self-protective, CYA language concerning how much effort the agency attempted in “accommodating” the employee, when in fact little or no effort was made); more often than not, there is a last, parting shot at the employee — some unnecessary “dig” which often contradicts other portions of the statement; and, finally, every now and then, the Supervisor’s Statement is completed in the proper manner, with forethought and truthfulness.

Fortunately, the Office of Personnel Management rarely puts much weight on a Supervisor’s Statement in making a determination on a FERS Disability Retirement application — unless there is some glaring statement of a deliberate attempt to undermine the Application.  This is rare, because it is a medical disability retirement, not a Supervisor’s disability retirement — meaning, that it is the medical opinion, not the opinion of a Supervisor, which is (and should be) most important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

The material provided in this blog has been updated from previous publications such as the Federal Disability Attorney blog and the Lawyers.com blog.

The Essential Elements of a Federal Job

In preparing, compiling, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, one must prove by a preponderance of the evidence (a legal standard which has been set by statute) that a Federal or Postal worker who has a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service and suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s particular kind of job.

The concept of “essential elements” is variously defined and expanded upon by court cases, but one way to identify the “core elements” of a particular job is to review the position description, and to extrapolate from the official description of the job. Another place, of course, is the Agency’s performance review, which will often identify the core elements.

One should never overlook the obvious, in addition to that which is identified in the position description — the fact that one is required according to the position to work full time; to be “on site” for many jobs (thereby precluding tele-commuting as a viable permanent accommodation); and certain other inherently obvious elements which are often mentioned in passing — such as sitting for long periods of time (a sedentary position); being required to stand or walk for extended periods of time; and other such “essential elements” which make up a position, and are inherently required by the very nature of the job.

Those “obvious” but often unmentioned essential elements are notable for the fundamental requirements of being able to successfully perform a job.  They should not be overlooked.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

Note:  The material provided in this blog has been updated by the webmaster/editor and written originally by Attorney Robert R. McGill in other websites and blogs.

FERS Disability Retirement Applicants

FERS Disability Retirement applicants are especially “vulnerable” because of the inherently precarious financial situation that an applicant often finds him/herself in, and often desperate need for an approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Most of the cases that I represent are approved at the First Stage; upon a denial, however, it is necessary to go to the Second Stage, or the “Request for Reconsideration Stage.”  An individual has 30 days from the date of the denial letter to file a request for reconsideration, then another 30 days to obtain and submit additional medical and supporting documentation.

If it is denied a second time, then an applicant has a right to file an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).  While the MSPB will hear the case de novo (meaning, “anew” without consideration of OPM’s prior decisions), neverthess, it is important to look upon a disability retirement case as a “case in progress”, and that is why hiring an attorney at the outset is often important.  While most “mistakes” made by an applicant are minor and correctable, everything that is submitted — the applicant’s statement, any records or reports submitted — become part of the record as a whole and cannot be retracted or erased.  That is why a thorough review by a competent attorney is important in filing for FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Attorney

The content provided in this article has been updated and previously published in other resources such as the Federal Disability Lawyer website, the OPM Disability Retirement blog and/or the Federal Disability Attorney blog.