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.

Numbering System For Policies and Procedures

Numbering policy and procedure documents can be easy or hard depending on how you finally decide on the numbering format. I use simple numbering as you’ll see below but there are reasons for having a more complicated numbering system. I will give you both options and you can decide.

Option 1: Simple system. First of all, I like to do a four or five digit numbering system for all policies and procedures. In other words, I don’t use a separate numbers for policies and then another for procedures. Also, I like to use a sequential numbering starting from a large number like 1000 or 10000. For example, if I have a Human Resources policy on relocation, a second procedure on Purchase Requisitions, and a third policy on Forms Management, then the numbering system, based on a four-digits, would be:

  1. 1000 – Relocation Policy
  2. 1001 – Purchase Requisition Procedure
  3. 1002 – Forms Management

In some companies, I have given out ranges like 1000 to 1200 for Corporate Policies and Procedures and 1201 to 1500 for Human Resources and so on. The problem with ranges is that there is a possibility of a department running of out numbers, which by the way, happened one time to me and it has never happened again. 

Option 2: Some policies and procedures writers use a more complex system to try and pinpoint specific areas within departments. For example, a company might use a format such as:

MF-RC-PE-1001 to stand for the first procedure in the Receiving Department within the Manufacturing Department. A policy might have the number MF-RC-PL-1002 where PL stands for policy. You get the picture.

I have to admit that I did use this numbering format early in my career but it’s so hard to maintain. And forget ever maintaining it when the departments change their name. For example, when Office Services becomes Administrative Services or when Engineering becomes Research and Development or when Office of the President becomes Corporate Offices. When this happens, your entire numbering system would have to change.

Summary: I prefer the four or five number numbering system due to its simplicity. I find the second option as cumbersome but yet some companies might find good reason to use it. The system you select is your choice but all I recommend is that you do some research as to how it will hold up over time in your company environment.

What is the Purpose of ERP Software?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can be described as a complete business software solution. It is aimed at the integration of all business processes and sub-processes into a single unified system. This system is formulated and implemented in an organization to effectively and efficiently achieve the business goals of the organization.

ERP packages are implemented to manage the existing and prospective business plans and policies in an efficient manner under strict deadlines. It can be referred to as the ultimate business solution package that is predominately concerned with making sure that the available resources of the organization are utilized in the best possible manner and coordinated with the business objectives of the organization.

It is crucial that modern day business organizations have a single unified system, which aims at harmonizing its business efforts. This can prove to be a crucial determinant in determining the scope, area and net results of the organization as a whole, rather than running many different systems that do not work well together. What makes ERP different from any other business solution package is the presence of a single and unified database system.

ERP software is as essential to the needs of a business today as food is for living. Businesses can not run competitively in the absence of properly drafted and formatted ERP software. The more effective implementation and follow-up, the better are the results. ERP software is needed by all modern-day organizations, irrespective of the size, area of ‚Äč‚Äčoperations and business objectives.

Nowadays there are many ERP packages available in the global market, including SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, JD Edwards, and BAAN.

The selection of an ERP software package is dependent on many factors: previous software implementation, nature and size of operations, recommendations of consultants, and management decisions.

Before installing specialized software, a detailed study must be made and reviewed to match the business requirements with the available packages. This must be taken as a serious study as any mistake in selection or its effective implementation can provoke disastrouse to the organizational objectives and prospects. The ERP software must be installed by an ERP vendor or third-party consulting organization, which is expert service providers when it comes to providing Consulting, customization and support.

Some of the benefits of ERP Software:

* All processes and sub-processes are linked and unified into a single system.

* There are improvements in the field of productivity, efficiency and achievement of business objectives.

* ERP tends to significantly reduce the response time by effectively transferring critical information.

* ERP helps in streamlining the numerous functions performed by the organization as a whole.

* It helps the management to make vital decisions with unparallel accuracy and in-depth study.

Thus, ERP software can effectively change the outlook of any business organization that exists in today's cutthroat business world. Proper implementation of the ERP software is the key factor, which can benefit the growth prospects of any organization.

Classification of Servers

Server is a program which runs on a computer like a service and it fulfills the requirements of other programs which are not installed on the same PC.

Server Computer

This is a computer that is linked with other PC’s or devices and provides necessary network services to the users within an organization or outside users. There are different types of operating systems of hardware which drive or run the server and they are known as server platforms.

There are various types of servers used according to the use. We can discuss on different types of servers as:

Application Servers

An application server is a machine that does the work of connecting two databases or applications. It works like a middleware as a connection medium for two applications. If we take an example then these are the (middleware) products connecting a database system to a web server. Many organizations which are working on and providing various support services like server support, network management, IT management etc. are using different application servers.

Audio-Video Servers

They provide the multimedia features to the websites and allow them to program the streaming content. For transferring data the streaming technique is used and it can be processed steadily and continuously. It is popular today because many users don’t have fast access to download the content quickly. For better streaming the receiver’s side should be able to convert the data into sound and graphics.

Chat Servers

The chat servers allow the users to transfer the data or information within an environment which is similar and offer immediate discussion features. These are working on a real-time technique means immediate response. We can understand it by taking an example of a real-time operating system which responds quickly after getting an input.

FTP Servers

These are one of the Internet features which allow the users to transfer the files securely between the PC’s. The FTP Servers can move one or more than one files providing file security.

Fax Servers

The fax server is software which runs on a server with some fax modems. These are attached with the telephone lines and are capable to transmit the documents as they are to the receivers end. They can receive the information to their own side as well.

Groupware Servers

These servers let the users to interact and work together in a virtual location. They can collaborate together with different locations simultaneously.

IRC Servers

It is also like a chat server. What we chat is depends on the internet relay chat servers, it is like a network allowing the users to chat via different chat servers.

Mail Servers

The mail servers mainly store and move the electronic mails with different networks via LAN, WAN through the Internet.

Proxy Servers & Web Servers

A proxy server works as an intermediary or a computer system which allows other clients to connect with indirect network connections to other network services.

Web server is the hardware and the software which helps and allows the content and information over the internet.

The above information can be useful to those who are studying about servers and also seeking information about managed IT services as well.