Paradigm Shifts and the Federal Employee Disability Retirement System, an Option That Was Always There

Paradigms are meant to shift.  A non-shifting paradigm means that there is an inherent and entrenched belief system which refuses to accommodate changes.  Certain principles can retain such intractable resistance; deeply-held systems based upon historical convention, customs and cultural foundations should never be discarded without a rational basis; but to hold on to a set of beliefs without a foundational methodology of defending the very core of a system, is to merely do something out of habit.  And that is the point, isn’t it?  Actions based upon habit for habit’s sake, are mere thoughtless and unjustified movements.

Work often becomes such an unprovoked endeavor; for, to engage in mindless, repetitive modalities, provides a semblance of security and safeguards.  Then, when a medical condition interrupts one’s life, you begin to miss the mundane.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the yearning for that time before when the monotony of repetitive work provided the assurance of routine and repose, begins to magnify with exponential significance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, should always be an option.  If one pauses because the paradigm which one operates under has become intractable and entrenched, it is time to consider a paradigm shift.  It is not only in science that paradigm shifts are necessary; and, indeed, Thomas Kuhn’s contribution to the historical perspective of scientific progression has taught us much, both as to disciplines, as well as for individuals.

The shifting of one’s own paradigm may be the first important shift in making a proper decision concerning the preparatory steps in filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; and that is the key, both in science, and in one’s own personal life and endeavors.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Preparation

Observing competence in action often results in the disarming effect that all endeavors are easy and effortless, and that the price to be paid, the admission fee for fame, is merely based upon luck, whom you are associated with, or what school you attended.  And while it may be true that meritocracies are fading into the oblivion and sunset of historical anachronisms, and the new and acceptable approach to societal fairness is to implement the distribution of wealth via Piketty’s proposed paradigm in his compendium work, Capital in the Twenty First-Century; nevertheless, there are some things which one must still prepare for, and formulate a road-map for a successful outcome.

GPS devices tell us what to do, where to turn, how many miles the journey will take; administrative and bureaucratic facets of life still lack any such electronic directional voices.  For Federal and Postal employees who must consider the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the reality of preparation must be faced and confronted.  Preparation must involve: obtaining effective medical reports (how does one go about doing that?); what are the legal parameters which increase the chances of a First-Stage successful filing (is this based upon the law or some other factors?); what are the procedural steps which must be adhered to (is there a sequence to be followed, or can one approach the process through multiple avenues and tentacles simultaneously?).

The fact that one pays a single admission fee to watch a symphony or ballet does not mean that players perform based upon the singularity of the fee; that would be an absurdity. Preparation constitutes multiple actions behind the curtains, far in advance of the final performance displayed for the seated audience. It is up to the Federal and Postal employee to go backstage before the performance begins, and to unravel the hidden devices, the invisible threads, and the wizard behind the proverbial curtain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Suspect

Newspaper stories are replete with articles involving scams, dishonesty and crimes of financial improprieties; that is not surprising, given the nature of what constitutes “newsworthiness”.  Fraudulent claims involving disability applications are trumpeted loudly to reveal the disintegration of a system requiring structural integrity.  Of course, no one makes the distinction that such claims of fraud almost always involves the “other” disability system, and not the option available to Federal and Postal employees through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Just as all politicians are lumped together, so the aggregation and broad-painted brushing of anyone receiving a “disability” annuity is to be expected.  But Federal Disability Retirement is a different animal from the “other” disability system, and with good cause:

First, Federal and Postal employees do not file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits until and unless it becomes a necessary option to take.  The general public cannot have it both ways: on the one hand, they complain that Federal and Postal employees have it “easy” with their Federal or Postal jobs; on the other hand, they grumble that receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits is taken advantage of by unscrupulous Federal and Postal employees. But if the employment itself is so easy, why would the Federal or Postal Worker take a lesser income by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  The fact is that most Federal and Postal employees work hard, and well beyond their rate of compensation, in furthering the mission of their agency or department; and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the furthest thing from the mindset of a Federal or Postal employee.

Second, because of the reduction of income accorded by an approved Federal Disability Retirement, many Federal and Postal employees must go out and seek employment in the private sector.  Yes, they can continue to receive the disability annuity so long as they remain under 80% of what the former Federal or Postal position currently pays; and yes, the combination of both the annuity and the employment income can aggregately comprise more than what the former Federal or Postal position was paying; but that is the very attractiveness and intelligence of the incentivized system. It encourages the Federal and Postal Worker to remain productive, and to “pay back” into the system. In essence, it is a self-paying enterprise.

And, Third, because Federal Disability Retirement recognizes that the disability is tied to a particular kind of job, there is very little room for abuse within the system.  One is encouraged to remain productive, and such an incentive allows for the system to remain economically viable.

In these difficult economic times, people are often afraid of considering filing for “disability” benefits; but for Federal and Postal employees who have given their time, life and (often) health in the pursuance of an agency’s mission, being treated like a “suspect” in a broadly-painted indictment is not only unfair, but reprehensible.  The Federal and Postal Worker has nothing to be ashamed about, and the fact that the general public may harbor some hidden resentments during these trying economic times, is merely a reflection upon the often petty nature of humanity, and not a true gauge of the work ethic of Federal and Postal employees throughout the country.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Complexity in the Hidden Background

To prove one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is seemingly an uncomplicated matter.

As one’s medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential element of one’s job, it is up to the treating doctor to establish the nexus and provide an opinion as to the connecting bridge between the medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

How does one do that? Must it be comprised of a 1-to-1 ratio between job elements and medical conditions? How important and prominent are “symptoms” considered, as opposed to the mere clinical declaration of the diagnosis, in persuading the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that a particular medical condition should qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits? To what extent is one’s own statement of disability, as described on Standard Form 3112A, important in establishing the foothold towards gaining an approval from OPM?

Also, what algorithm or comparative analysis does OPM use in evaluating a case, and how does one enhance the chances of success at the First Stage of the process? If denied at the First Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, does the basis of the denial (often characterized by a plethora of multiple reasons given) require a point-by-point refutation, and is the Reconsideration Division at OPM using the same standard of review, or a different application of laws in evaluating the additional evidence submitted at the next stage?

If one watches a gymnast, a ballerina, or even a mathematician at work in solving or unraveling a complex problem or exercise, one is immediately struck by the ease with which the feat is performed. But it is almost always the unseen preparation which has preceded the actual performance that sets the stage of an uncomplicated presentation.

It is that mystery of the uncomplicated, which tends to trip us all, and that is no different in the preparation, formulation and submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, applied through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Cognitive Dualism & the Two Incommensurable Paths

Cognitive dualism is the concept that one cannot hold onto two competing and contradictory beliefs while maintaining a life of integrity and consistency. It is tantamount to suffering from a form of intellectual schizophrenia, potentially resulting in dire consequences and paying the price for attempting to force the cohesiveness of two incommensurable paths.

The anxieties which exponentially magnify; the undue stresses which naturally result from attempting to retain the impossible; at some point, the natural divergence of both will force the split, or in modern domestic parlance, determine the “uncoupling” in a nasty divorce of ideas.

For Federal and Postal employees who must contend with the inconsistency of attempting to address a medical condition while at the same time keeping control over one’s employment, such cognitive dualism becomes a harsh reality which is confronted daily. How does one deal with the serious medical issues, which should always be the priority, while at the same time address the impact upon one’s inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job?

The two incommensurable paths may come to a crisis point, where both cannot be adequately maintained.  It is at this point that the Federal or Postal Worker must consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement.  For, Federal Disability Retirement benefits are precisely those employment benefits available for the Federal or Postal Worker who finds him/herself in such a situation of cognitive dualism, where two incommensurable paths must necessarily be addressed, and one must be chosen.

The stark reality and the harshness of the choice would be: one’s health, or one’s job. But for Federal and Postal employees, there is a “third” path — that of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus can cognitive dualism be reconciled where two incommensurable paths may seemingly diverge, and allow for a compromise of sorts, by fighting for an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Not all paths must split into two, where choices are bifurcated into an either/or; instead, sometimes one must find the hidden path through the grassy knolls less traveled.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fragrance of Fear

One rarely associates fear with fragrance; perhaps with a malodorous scent, mixed with angst and perspiring anxieties just before flight; but, no, fragrance is generally linked to perfumes and similarly heightened pleasantries which enhance the attraction of attention.  But to dictators and emperors of insignificant fiefdoms, fear emits a sweet fragrance, one inviting sadistic responses and enlivening a meanness awoken by the subtle aroma of vulnerability and susceptibility.

Medical conditions invite fear; fear within the individual suffering from the injury or disability, for the future, for the pain and suffering associated with the diagnosis and prognosis; fear from without, expressed by loved ones and those whose associations can be counted within the circle of friends, family, and close acquaintances.  Beyond the normal parameters described, however, the ethereal fragrance of fear is caught by the olfactory nerves of predatory consciences awaiting the whiff of anticipated anxieties; as an evolutionary conduit to survival, it serves also to invite the unintended to exacerbated difficulties of life.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, whether of a physical or psychiatric nature matters not, the progressive deterioration and manifestation of the medical condition engenders a proportional heightening of fear; fear, in turn, further impacts one’s inability to perform the full functions of one’s job; and failure revealed at one’s Federal or Postal employment tends to invite a hostile work environment, bringing out the worst in people.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which the Federal or Postal employee should always consider, when once the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Such a step is often the only pragmatic option to attain the needed context of restorative health, and to quash the fears which envelope and accompany the crisis. For, it is often the fragrance of fear which wafts through the still air and invites the things that go bump in the night, and where washing one’s hands clean is the single best route, as opposed to dousing one with perfumes, scented soaps and smelling salts, only to exacerbate the greater troubles of multiplied turbulences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Transfinite Cardinals

It is a concept invented in order to avoid the inherently problematic implications of the “infinite”; yet, it clearly means that it is “not finite”. It is meant to avoid a type of exclusive disjunctive and attempts to equivocate and obfuscate, implying that it somehow goes beyond the finite but refuses to become embroiled in the complexities of the infinite, thereby allowing for a compromise by remaining forever in the limbo of mathematical purgatory.

Such conceptual word-games save us for a time; and, sometimes, time is what is needed. Thus, for universes of pure theoretical constructs, where application has little or no impact upon the reality of life, conceptual language games can be daily engaged and walked away from, without any practical consequences. It is, however, when theory intersects with reality, that qualitative reverberations become felt, as in the application of theoretical physics upon the pragmatic application of nuclear fusion.

Advancing from Thought to Action

Advancing from Thought to Action

For the everyday Federal and Postal Worker, the theoretical existence of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is likened to transfinite cardinals: until the intersection between thought and action occurs, it remains safely in the universe of theory, mind, and limbo; but when the reality of a medical condition hits upon the physical universe of the real, and impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability/inability to maneuver through the employment sector because of physical limitations or psychiatric obstacles imposed by the medical condition, then one must reach beyond the theoretical and take pragmatic steps of prudent applicability.

Like boilerplate legalese in multi-paginated contractual agreements, theoretical constructs exist for potential applications in the real universe.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits remain in existence for all Federal and Postal employees, and must be accessed by submitting an application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is like the Platonic Ideas of Greek philosophy “out there” in the ethereal universe, but of no consequence but for ivory tower constituents. And like transfinite cardinals, Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits remain in a parallel universe of theoretical constructs, until that time when a particular Federal or Postal employee accesses the need to ignite the fuse of pragmatic intentions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Differences

The weather comes upon us; as a cloudy day dominates, so a sense of darkness and foreboding can impact one’s emotional life; some days are better than others.

In the virtual world of our antiseptic lives, surrounded by such advancement of technology which separates and bifurcates; we think that we are different from other species, and indeed, a comparative analysis can be a potent and foundational argument in establishing the superiority of the human animal, as in, “Can X do Y?” “Can a chimpanzee sketch a rough draft of an architectural phenomenon like the Roman Colosseum?” (Then again, who among us could do that?)  Some would say that the titular character in Camus’ classic novel, The Stranger, Meursault, has it “right” when he attempts to ascribe blame to the heat of the day, the brightness of the sunlight, for his acts if human degeneracy.  Such an explanation is as valid as any that one can give for justifying the murder of another.

Prolonged stress can affect performance levels on jobs that require high levels of focus and concentration

Prolonged stress can affect performance levels on jobs that require high levels of focus and concentration

We tend to desire an intellectualization of our actions which somehow differentiates us from “others”, when in fact the environment impacts us no matter the extent of engagement in placing artificial walls around ourselves.

Medical conditions have a tendency to bring out the humanness in us.  This is because, when a medical condition impacts our lives, it is a final recognition that an invasive malignancy has been able to penetrate the artificial walls we have so carefully constructed, and it reminds us of our fragile, organic essence.  For Federal and Postal Workers who have been impacted by medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to continue in one’s chosen vocation, an admission of vulnerability and mortality comes to the fore. To counter this, a change of venue is often needed, and is the required prescription in order to push against the fear and loathing which accompanies such an admission.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is often the wisest step which the Federal or Postal employee can do.  There are many stories of Federal and Postal Workers who have obtained Federal Disability Retirement benefits, who reflect back and declare that it was the smartest move of their collective lives; but then, when we are stuck in the rut of our antiseptic lives, it is often the most comfortable place to remain, and so we fight against our own self-interest.

And, indeed, in the end, that is all that the prosecutor was seeking for from Meursault — just a word, a deed, a symbol — that he was at least somewhat remorseful.  But Camus would have none of that for his character; only the stark and naked honesty, that he was no different from the surroundings of nature which enveloped him on that fateful day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Uniqueness versus homogeneity

It is the lack of recognition of singularity within the greater species of one’s kind, which results in an universal loss of empathy and understanding. Homogeneity presumptively recognizes the cumulative identity of functional values, and from that, extrapolates to an assumption of sameness in everything — from capacity to ability; from tolerance to reactionary fortitude. We tend to project that which we are able to handle; if we have withstood years of stressful environments, we assume that everyone else can do so, and should; if we have lived through tragedy with little to no ill effects, we scoff and sneer when others break down and disintegrate upon experiencing a fractional encounter of comparative insignificance.

But it is precisely the fragile uniqueness of human beings which is overlooked in such embracing of homogeneity; as Aquinas modified Aristotle’s perspective and argued that it is the combination of form and substance which results in the essence of being, so some of us have psyches which are made of more brittle but fragile ingredients.

For Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the issue is often when, to what extent, and how long can one hold out until the breaking point arrives? There is no “objective” criteria in which to apply; for, just as the individual is an unique entity, so the impact of one’s medical condition upon one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job is also singularly tied to the facts and circumstances of each case.

Abstract forms in a platonic world are no longer believed in; and as unicorns and giants pervade only those universes of mythology and science fiction, it is a sad thought to consider when the uniqueness of individuals are overlooked for the commonality of a subsumed species.  In our work-a-day world, it is easy to walk past a hurting soul; and all the more so when the one hurting is the same one who is walking by.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

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