Disability Retirement For Federal Workers – The Importance of a Coherent and Consistent Application

Federal and Postal employees either fall into one of two possible retirement systems: FERS (an acronym for Federal Employee Retirement System) or CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System). Whichever system the Federal or Postal employee falls under, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is an option which is available, in the event that a Federal Government worker is no longer able to perform at least one of the essential elements of one’s job. Remember that, in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the medical condition or injury does not have to be job-related. Indeed, one could have incurred a career-ending spinal injury while on a skiing trip, and still qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under either FERS or CSRS.

The Agency which determines that a Federal or Postal Employee is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). They are empowered by statutory authority to scrutinize each application for approval or disapproval. In order to be eligible for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, one must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, three basic components:

(A) a Federal or Postal employee under FERS or CSRS has a medical condition;

(B) the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; and

(C) that the Agency is unable to accommodate the individual or, alternatively, to reassign the individual to a position in the same pay or grade.

In order to successfully prepare and submit an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, two overarching elements should always be kept in mind: Coherence and Consistency. “Coherence” has to do with the form of the application, while “consistency” has to do with the content, or substance of the application. Both elements are important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application. Thus, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will make logical sense and “fit together” with everything (coherence), as well as have an internal structure of information which agrees with one another (consistency).

How does one prove that he or she is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits? Is there a table or schedule of accepted medical conditions? As to the latter question, the general answer is “No”. Qualifying medical conditions have more to do with the symptoms of a medical condition, rather than the formal diagnosis. Thus, physical conditions can range from Cervical & Lumbar diseases, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spondylolisthesis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Failed Back Syndrome, Chronic Pain; Fibromyalgia; to total hip replacements which limit and restrict flexion and mobility; cardiac issues; migraine headaches; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Chemical Sensitivity issues; Asthma; Hypothyroidism; Plantar Fasciitis; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; shoulder problems, often referred to as bursitis or shoulder impingement syndrome; trochanteric bursitis; lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as a great many other conditions which are not named here, and which are too numerous to catalogue. As for Psychiatric conditions, the list can be just as long: Major Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Bipolar Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD & ADHD; Paranoia; Schizophrenia; Asperger’s Syndrome; and multiple other psychiatric conditions. Whether attempting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits based upon a physical medical condition or a psychiatric medical condition, it is important to prove that one is eligible for the benefit.

Which brings us to the first question: How does one prove that he or she is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, either under FERS or CSRS? In any application for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits, one must make sure that the application is both coherent, as well as consistent. Coherence of an application results when all of the various components of the application “fit” together. Thus, for example, in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), Block 4 asks the applicant to “Fully Describe Your Disease or Injury”. If the disease or injury is a physical one, then the focus of the narrative should be to describe the pain, the physical restrictions and limitations, etc. Then, when one comes to Block 5, where it asks how your disease or injury interferes with the performance of “your duties, your attendance, or your conduct,” the focus should have a coherence with the previous answer – meaning that, if the narrative described physical issues, the impact upon one’s job should therefore focus upon the physical aspect of the job. Thus, by way of example, to say that you “cannot concentrate or focus” upon a certain aspect of the job, would only be coherent if either (A) the job required cognitive-intensive work and the severity of the pain impacted one’s cognitive faculties, or (B) the medications prescribed to alleviate the physical condition impacts one’s focus or concentration. Conversely, if the narrative concerning one’s medical condition entails primarily psychiatric issues, then the impact upon one’s job should encapsulate cognitive issues (i.e., focus, concentration, ability to analyze, evaluate, etc.). As you can see, coherence in an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an important component.

Furthermore, an effective application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS should be consistent. Each element of the application should “agree”, wherever possible, with all of the other components. Where inconsistencies occur – for example, between what the treating doctor says and what the applicant states in his or her explanation on SF 3112A – a red flag may arise, providing an opportunity for a denial from the Office of Personnel Management. Thus, don’t try to “oversell” the description of the medical condition. Remember how, when you were deathly ill but your voice sounded perfectly normal over the telephone? You had to call in sick, and you had to “sound like” you were sick, even though you were in fact deathly ill. In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, this is not the time to “sound like” something more than what the treating doctor states.

Ultimately, the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS as submitted to the Office of Personnel Management will depend upon the coherence and consistency of the application. Preparation is the key to success, and it is important to always remember that coherence and consistency are two elements which must always guide the formulation, preparation and submission of a successful Federal Disability Retirement application.

10 Facts About Motorola

Motorola was founded by Paul and Joseph Galvin and produced one of the first commercially successful car radios in 1930. Today it is a Fortune 100 telecommunications company with an annual turnover of over 22 billion dollars.

  1. Martin Cooper was a project manager for Motorola and invented the world's first cellular mobile phone back in 1973, weighing in at almost 800 grams it is a cry from today's small and sleek handsets. However the first commercially launched handset called the Motorola Dyna-Tac was not made available to consumers until 1984
  2. The Second World War led to many innovations but one of the most useful and iconic was a mobile two-way transceiver or "Walkie Talkie" which was invented by Motorola in 1940. This particular model was called the SCR-300 and was a hefty back mounted device. It was not until a year later that the company mass produced a smaller handheld unit which they called the "Handie Talkie" or SCR-536
  3. Pagers were very popular during the 90s, but Motorola actually made the first one in 1956 which was used in hospitals to send radio messages to specific individuals
  4. Motorola also made the first cordless large screen portable television. This TV had a 19 inch screen size
  5. The company not only invented communication devices which were used on Earth, but also made the radio used by Neil Armstrong to utter the now legendary words "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" back in 1969 on the Apollo 11 lunar module
  6. High definition television is very popular now but a subsidiary of Motorola called General Instrument Corporation actually proposed and launched the world's first HDTV television all the way back in 1990
  7. In 1999 the company made the iDEN i1000 plus handset, which was the first smartphone to incorporated web browsing capability, email and alphanumeric messaging.
  8. Motorola's car radios were initially sold to Police departments across America. By 1937 further communication advances enabled them to launch a two-way version which allowed Police to communicate whilst on patrol
  9. The founding company of Motorola was called Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, which was incorporated on September 25th 1928 in Chicago, Illinois. It was not until 1947 that the company previously changed its name to Motorola
  10. In 1998, Motorola was overtaken by Nokia as the world's largest seller of mobile phone handsets

The Success System That Never Fails by W Clement Stone – Book Review

Title and Author : The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

Synopsis of Content:

Success is a system. It can be learned from those who have achieved success. In this book Stone accounts his own meteoric success going from poverty to riches and starting out in the Great Depression. He teaches what he learned from life experience, business, his mentors and others who taught him how to succeed in business.

The Success System that never fails covers the importance of selecting the correct environment for success, understanding the formula for success, thinking for oneself, the importance of taking action, and many other rules and disciplines that lead to success.

Stone teachers what he calls the three essentials for success: Inspiration to Action; Know How; and Activity Knowledge. These would also be understood as inspiration and motivation, knowledge of how to do something, and knowledge gained from experience. Each of these is essential in the pursuit of success.

He stresses the importance of proper planning and goal setting, how it takes less effort to succeed than to fail, finding and maintaining the right course to success, the importance of energy and motivation and the importance of the right team.

Stone was a devout man and he included discussions of the importance of personal faith and prayer. He also touches on what later became known as the power of attraction. He discusses the importance of developing success oriented skills such as becoming an effective public speaker, how to use your mind to achieve more, how to relate and assimilate useful information and many small steps that lead to success.

Stone's formulae for success are the traditional list of having a purpose, planning, using goals, working hard, working smart, and constant learning and improvement. While you will not find any new or revolutionary in this classic work you will find the solid success tools that have worked for millions of people for centuries and remain just as valid today as they were in 1962 when the book was written.

The examples and mentors he lists are dated a bit but they certainly illustrate his points well. To truly understand where success literature and theory is today it is useful to study its history. Stone was not a pioneer in this work but he worked with at least one such pioneer and studied others.

Readability / Writing Quality:

This book is very readable. It was ahead of its time in its careful organization. Atypical of books of that period does not contain large blocks of text but is broken down into an easy to follow outline form with many illustrations.

Notes on Author:

W. Clement Stone was one of the most successful salesman and businessman of the mid 20th century. He turned $ 100 into one of the largest insurance companies in the world and launched it in the middle of the Great Depression. He was also a student of success and a collaborator with Napoleon Hill during the 1950s.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. You can neutralize a negative emotion that limits you through properly directed action. You can change how you feel and think through your own directed action.

2. While learning and planning are critical to success nothing is more important than taking action and striking when opportunity presents itself. "Do it Now" is an axiom that will empower you.

3. If you can not save money the seeds of success will remain forever elusive. Having a budget and planning for the future are essential.

Publication Information:

The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

Copyright 1962 by W. Clement Stone

Published by Prentice Hall, Inc.

Rating for this Book

Overall Rating for Book: very good

Writing Style: easy to follow and understand.

Usefulness: very useful to anyone who aspires to succeed.

How Heat Can Escape Your House and How You Can Prevent It

As the cold season approaches, energy bill goes up. This is mainly because of the need for heating systems on winter months. But not all the heat generated by your heating device stays in your house. Some, or in certain occasions, most of them escape from your house. As a result, your heating device has to work harder resulting in unwanted increase in energy consumption and cost.

This can be avoided by effectively seeking out the root cause of the problem, and dealing with them accordingly. Follow these simple do-it-yourself methods and save hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars on energy cost.

Doors and windows

Doors and windows usually have gaps and spaces on them where heat can escape. Although they may not be that much, if you consider how many doors and windows there are in your house, they collectively result in a huge loss which will reflect badly on you next month’s energy bill. A simple remedy to this problem is covering the gaps with curtains, drapes and/or sheets. You can also use rugs and door sweeps to cover the gap beneath your door.

Electrical and cable ducts

Electrical wires, telephone wires and internet cables and others of the like enter your house through holes and/or ducts. And through these channels, heat can escape. You can easily remedy this by installing outlet gaskets or stuffing the holes and ducts with certain materials such as foam.

Cracks, gaps and leaks

First, you need to find where they are, but looking for them just by sight can be very tricky. You can use a lighted candle and move it near suspect places. The flame of a candle is sensitive to airflow and will sway at the minutest air movement. When you see the flame swaying at a certain spot, there must be an air leak there. Once you have found the cracks, you can seal them by using a caulk. But make sure to apply it both on the inside and the outside.

Attic and ceiling.

A popular physics law states that “hot air goes up”. This is also true inside your house. The heat produced by your heater is likely to accumulate on the ceiling and you attic. This will only result in wasted energy because people don’t normally stay on those places. You can prevent this by making sure that the gaps and cracks to your ceiling and attic are sealed. You may want to check your folding attic stairs if you are using one. You can use weatherstripping and caulk to remedy the problem.

Heat only certain areas

You may ask yourself: “do you really need to heat the entire house?” Maybe there are areas in your house that are not frequented by people and do not need to be heated. If you can manage to limit the range of your heater only to places that are frequented by people, and avoid places such as hallways, storage rooms, attic, and others of the like, you can definitely cut down on your energy consumption cost.