Relying on Common Sense

The problem of relying on “common sense” (as that term is often used and understood) is that such reliance not only reflects a presumption that one possesses that very quality that we deem and recognize as “common sense”, but further, that we assume that we have such sense to realize one possesses it, and additionally, that the person to whom such sense is applied also has it.  In preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, it is indeed an arbitrary delegation and assignment of one’s case, that the Case Worker would possess that very quality in the process of evaluating, analyzing and reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application.

Instead, what normally happens is that the OPM Case Worker mechanically applies a sheet containing the “7-part Legal Criteria” and determines whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement application satisfies each of the criteria.  But much of OPM Disability Retirement has to do with subtle implications and “reading between the lines” of a medical report, and coming to a “common sense” conclusion by extrapolating and actually analyzing the connection between one’s positional duties and one’s medical conditions, and determining whether or not an inconsistency exists.

Further, when the Bracey decision concerning the concept of “Accommodations” is considered, the issue of inconsistency between a Federal or Postal position and the medical condition can be viewed in a proper light and context, with greater clarity.  But to rely upon common sense — both in one’s self, and in someone else — is a dangerous assumption: one which proves the old adage about making a donkey out of you and me.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer

While we do every effort to keep our blogs updated, Federal Disability Retirement Law changes over time, especially with new case laws and rules.  If you have any question about the FERS Disability Retirement process, please contact the author for a personalized consultationMr. McGill is the leading FERS Disability Retirement Attorney in the country.  He dedicates 100% of his practice in this unique field of law.

The Agency’s Attempt

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the issue of “accommodations” will necessarily surface, if only because the Agency must complete SF 3112D — the Form which is entitled, “Agency Certification of Reassignment and Accommodation Efforts” (which bureaucrat came up with that title?).

Agencies will often choose the wrong box to check because they will either misread the choices or misunderstand what the statements mean.  For instance, in the third choice of Question 4, it states, “Yes, describe below the accommodation efforts made, attach supporting documentation and provide narrative analysis of any unsuccessful accommodation efforts.”  The problem with the choice itself is that the entire concept of “accommodations” has been clarified, modified, and thoroughly discussed in cases which have been brought before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and such court opinions have been issued subsequent to the original meaning of the term when the Standard Form was first issued.

But when the Agency completes the form, they will often answer the question in terms of “allowing for liberal use of sick leave” or “letting the employee refrain from doing X, Y or Z”, etc.  But allowing for temporary, light duty work does not constitute a “legal accommodation“, and thus does not go to the requested information.  In fact, the loosely-used term of “accommodation” is actually no accommodation at all.

What to do about it when it happens?  One must be discreet in how to approach it.  For most cases, the agency’s lack of understanding will have no impact at all, and it should not be responded to.  In other instances…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

Materials and information on this blog are provided for informational purposes only, are general in nature, and do not constitute a legal opinion or legal advice and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice.  For more specific information, or to discuss the specifics of your case, you may contact the author for a free, first-time phone consultation.

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. 

It’s a Federal Government Issue

Representation by an attorney who is licensed in one state, of a Federal or Postal employee who lives in another state, is accomplished in a Federal Disability Retirement application precisely because it is a Federal issue and not a State issue.

If an individual has a legal issue which he or she wants advice on, which concerns an event, issue or matter which involves a particular state’s laws, then obviously an attorney from the particular state should be consulted.

In obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity from the Office of Personnel Management, however, it is irrelevant whether or not the attorney is from the Federal or Postal Worker’s state. For one thing, the agency which must be directly dealt with — the Office of Personnel Management — is located in Washington, D.C. (although the initial intake office is located in Boyers, PA).  OPM is the agency which handles all Federal and Postal Disability Retirement applications under FERS, and makes both the Initial Decision in the process, as well as any decision at the Second, or Reconsideration Stage.

In this technologically-centered world of ours, everything can now be handled by telephone, fax, express mail, FedEx, UPS, email, email attachments, etc. It is more efficient this way, and further, there are not that many attorneys who specialize in the field of Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

The legal articles published in this blog are intended for general information purposes only.  Reading this information or exchanging emails do not establish a lawyer-client relationship.  However, you may contact the author for a free case evaluation assessment by discussing the specifics of your case.