Adverse actions, administrative procedures of implementing increased pressure for greater productivity and, in the process, to enhance the efficiency of the Federal Service; PIP actions; leave restriction memos; refusing to grant LWOP beyond the allowance under FMLA; placing individuals who have exhausted all Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA on AWOL status; these are some of the “big stick” pressures in the seemingly infinite arsenal of weapons, and more, at the discretionary use of every Federal Agency.
Category: Federal Disability Retirement Law Articles
Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available for all Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, whether under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset. So long as minimal eligibility requirements are met – 18 months of Federal Service for FERS employees, and 5 years for CSRS (which, given the nature of the old CSRS system, one assumes that anyone from that bygone era will necessarily have met that criteria) – the prefatory threshold for filing can begin; but beyond, the complexity of the law, the preponderance of the evidence to meet, the bridging nexus to formulate, and the administrative procedures to follow.
In undertaking any endeavor, one should never engage the activity until one has thoroughly analyzed and understood the overarching rules which govern the enterprise, whether it is in sports, a trade, a craft – or applying for a benefit at the Local, State or Federal level. Would you advise your child to play football without first going over the rules? Would you hand a power tool to a novice? Or entrust a large sum of money to an individual who possesses no knowledge about financial management?
There is often a suspicion that certain forums are “weighted” in favor of the government. In speaking with Federal and Postal Workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, a concern which often surfaces repeatedly is that the Merit Systems Protection Board is “weighted” in the government’s favor. While it may be true that the MSPB may find in favor of the Federal Government and its agencies in a majority of cases, this does not necessarily mean that there is a bias on the part of the Administrative Judges.
When a Federal or Postal employee files an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, one of the many issues immediately introduced, and which must be confronted, is the legal issue of “accommodation”. The fact that you can show that a medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job, is merely the first step in proving eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. […]
The law is often a compendium of complexities for the lay person. Non-lawyers who enter into the “arena of law” often find it befuddling, confusing, and moreover, against the very grain of what law is “meant” to be. Law is meant to provide “justice”. But if Justice is indeed the goal, one must know, understand, and apply the law properly. This is no less true for those Applicants who are attempting to obtain Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.
Law is an evolving process. Statutes are merely the beginning point. Thereafter, cases are tried before Judges, and the evolution of the law, within the context of a particular sector of law, begins to unfold. As the evolution of law begins to unfold, the complexity of the legal process becomes more and more intricately intertwined. A body of law develops and grows. Yes, to a great extent, lawyers create the complexities which grow within that body of law.
The Office of Personnel Management is constantly and aggressively attempting to change the laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, to make these disability retirement laws more difficult to overcome. Such attempts at changing the law always comes in incremental steps, and may not seem like “blockbuster” cases at the time; but the reverberating effects of such cases can be far-reaching, and impact upon Federal and Postal Workers for years to come.