Help a Disabled Longtime Government Employee Obtain Retirement

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Mr. X is an honorably discharged veteran (8 years of Active Army Service) and 23 year employee who worked overseas since his discharge in 1991. Along the way he performed exceptionally in his job, trained and mentored many and was recognized for his service several times along the way.

In 2011 he suffered a severe on the job injury which required several surgeries (six altogether including spinal fusion and spinal nerve implant) but unfortunately was unable to fully recover and return to his full time job. Over the course of the following three years he battled an unyielding Worker's Compensation Insurance firm that not only refused to pay him salary for long periods of time but also failed to reimburse his now badly needed pain control medications. On numerous occasions he had to go without his medications, he went without physical therapy for a half year stretch because WComp refused to pay the bill as they were required. He fell behind in all of his monthly expenses, faced imminent eviction from his home, possible expulsion of his children from school because he missed tuition payments and was pushed into forced withdrawals over and over as WComp applied a financial choke hold to force him to give up on his claim for disability. His credit was ruined, credit built up over 20 years was reduced to ashes in a few short months.

Along the way, he worked from his hospital bed to guide and assist his organization. Despite all of this he continued to stay positive and focus on getting back to the job he loved for so long. As time wore on and the financial toll became heavier and heavier he vowed one last time to get back to work. As the governing Army regulations mandated, he notified his HRO that IF he could not make it back to full time work that he would be applying for Disability Retirement.

One month after he made this notification, he began his last valiant attempt to work. He did this despite the fact that he had long run out of his pain medications as he hadn't seen a single medication reimbursement in the previous 4 months. He made his attempt and unfortunately, by returning to work, WComp stopped paying him the supplemental income that they were required to pay and had been finally paying prior to this last attempt. Mr. X tried to rely on the income from the few hours he was able to put in but found it very difficult because THAT income was being eaten up by automatic deductions that were taken out to repay the loans he had take out of his 401(k) retirement fund over the previous two years when WComp had cut off payments in the past. Mr. X had a dilemma; should he continue to work for a tiny income or stop working and rely completely on the semi-regular WComp payments? Since he had enrolled in the retirement plan in 2009 and it was a requirement to pay into it for 5 years, he figured he should stop working. After much deliberation and consulting with his doctors he decided enough was enough. In the meantime, he was still at odds with WComp over their request that he travel hundreds of miles to get a required Independent Medical Exam with a doctor of their choice. Mr X wasn't refusing to get this exam but for two years had provided documented medical evidence from his physical therapist and three doctors who ALL concluded that Mr X could not physically make this trip and an alternative had to be found. Because this prolonged fight with WComp was taking a lot out of Mr X psychologically and even moreso financially, Mr X offered a number of alternatives, from having the doctor come to him to having WComp pick a truly independent doctor closer to Mr X.

Months passed by with no change and finally, 8 months after stopping work, Mr X decided it was time to prepare his retirement paperwork. He contacted his HRO who sent him the forms. Before he could retire, he needed to get the WComp issue resolved because he was working overseas and would lose all logistical support afforded to overseas employees once he retired. It was important that WComp get the exam results to either refute or support Mr X's condition so he could finally put all of this behind him and move forward and focus on adjusting to what his doctors all said was a Permanent and Total Disability.

Mr X was frustrated so he decided to call the doctor himself and see if the doctor could come to him. Lo and behold, the doctor just happened to be going through the area where Mr X lived the very next week and offered to do the exam at Mr X's home. Finally. While waiting to have the exam Mr X contacted his HRO to tell them the good news. He could move forward with his retirement. In all the darkness he finally saw some light. Then something happened that took all that light away. Mr X had NOT met the requirement for retirement! He fell 8 months short! How could this be? Mr X told HRO a year earlier he would be doing this so why did they not tell him sooner or better yet, before he stopped working for the last time?

He was dumbfounded. Now he really had a dilemma, he had waited so long for his exam and his doctors all had said he could not work any more so how could Mr X return and finish out the remaining 8 months. Mr X decided to look at the regulation and rules for disability retirement; they stated that he HAD TO tell HRO if he was going to seek disability retirement. He HAD done that. then he read the second line of the rules and it said that HRO had to VERIFY HIS ELIGIBILITY. Now there was hope! They had not done this a year earlier. There was no proof that they verified his eligibility and they had certainly not told him how much time he had remaining to meet the requirement. He then began appealing the denial based on the fact that he did what he was required to do but HRO had not done there part. If they had, they would have told him wouldn't they? They did not and because of this, Mr X stopped working too soon.

During the previous 2 years he had worked from home on occasion and even got paid for and retirement credit for working over the phone. He had stopped doing this a while before because when he did this, WComp told him that THIS was the cause of the payment delays and that he could either continue to do that and cause delays, or not claim those hours and get the semi-regular salary paycheck. He opted for the WComp payments because he had bills to pay and had a family of 4 to support. Mr X was upset, if his HRO HAD checked and they were obligated to tell him then he could have met the requirement. He contacted the people at Benefits, they oversee retirements. they told him sorry, you did not meet the requirement. They did not care about any of the circumstances concerning Mr X's work stoppage nor did they care that he worked for 23 years and ended up severely disabled in the course of doing his job. Mr X appealed to them over and over, he tried to get someone to explain why HRO was not required to meet the rules as he had. Everyone passed the buck, he ran into wall after wall. He begged and pleaded for compassion or some exception to the policy in light of his unusual circumstances.

WComp sabotaged him over and over and HRO kept from him information that would have most assuredly made him hang in there a little longer. No one was willing to help or even explain what he wanted explained. the organization he spent his entire career serving proudly turned their back on him.

He needs your help to convince those who have the power to grant this exception to take notice and do the right thing. The right thing in the name of justice and the morally correct thing to do. His life and the future of his family depends on it. Please sign this petition! Thank you.

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