Different Perspectives during the Federal Disability Retirement Process

Inform an individual that you suffer from Hansen’s Disease, and one might get a benign reaction, perhaps a blank stare. Convey to the same individual that you have contracted leprosy, and it is likely to evoke an expression of revulsion, and perhaps a discomfort bordering on flight.

What we say; how we say it; the social stigmas attached; and the cultural sensibilities and conditionings constraining how we become predisposed to act and react, are often determined by the perspectives which are brought to the fore.  Leprosy is the common term for Hansen’s Disease, but with it, an entire historical perspective replete with stigmas and tales and images of disfigured and contorted features and physical characteristics surround the former term, but rarely accompany the latter.

Whether and however termed, it remains one and the same. For an individual who suffers from a disability or handicap, society’s reaction similarly remains consistent and uncaring. And while laws and regulations may provide a semblance of minimally protective measures, it cannot prevent individual insensitivities from surfacing.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the reaction of one’s agency or department is often tantamount to informing them of either contracting leprosy, or of Hansen’s Disease.

Normally, unless a compelling reason exists otherwise, such information should be limited, and restrictively revealed only when the necessity arises, precisely because of the type of reaction one can expect from the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Perspectives differ; differing perspectives may often surprise; but the one similarity abounding in human nature is not too different from the beastly perspective from whence we came; and that is of the herd instinct targeting the weakest and most vulnerable — in this case, the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Medical Retirement: Soulful Windows

Plato’s well-known quote that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, presupposes the capacity of the “other” subject observing the individual, to make judgments, determinations and analytical conclusions.  It is thus the subject becoming the object and prey.  Medical conditions often have a capacity to do just that.

There is something perverse in human nature, where the herd instinct of ganging upon the weak is somehow justified, and even applauded.  Weakness is a vice; revealing it, a sin; acting it out, a mortal failure.  Vulnerabilities and the manifestation of such open wounds require sensitivities beyond the human capability of present evolutionary tendencies; in that respect, perhaps man is merely a beast with synthetic garments worn merely to hide the superficial appearance of civility.

But it is the eyes which reveal; and even with sunglasses and averted looks, it is those pair of windows to one’s soul which bring forth the vulnerability of one’s position.  That’s why there are laws which protect, as civilization comes to recognize that in a civil society, the social contract must extend beyond the state of nature where only the strong survive, and to accord some semblance of protection for everyone.

Thus, another quote from Plato:  that moral individuals need not the guidance of laws to act accordingly, while evil will search out and find ways to get around them.

Federal Disability Retirement and the entire compendium of laws protecting disabled individuals, and people with medical conditions which need accommodations, all represent the window to the soul of a society.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available to all Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, with minimum requirements for eligibility, and mandated documentary standards of proof which must meet the preponderance of the evidence test.

It is a recognition that when a Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and accommodation efforts have failed, that a civil society which has progressed beyond the original state of nature, must reflect a capacity of sensitivity beyond the herd instinct.

That does not mean, however, that such originality of human nature does not residually reside in individual human beings; rather, it is the reflection of the greater window to the soul of a society.  Filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process and bureaucratic procedure which must be fought for, and aggressively pursued, if one wants to have a life beyond the herd of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

As windows can be open and closed, so the window to the soul of a civilized society must be carefully observed, and opened with deliberate intent and accuracy of purpose.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Hostile Work Environment and the Centrality of the Medical Condition in a Government Employee Retirement Claim

Pithy quotes are replete throughout advisory or “self-help” books; it is a cottage industry involving coming up with linguistically sticky statements, like post-its tacked on to our sleeves in order to remind us of daily living tools to carry.  “Keeping the main thing the main thing” is one such quote, and numerous similar mutations, which remind us that prioritization of concepts, in any endeavor, is important to keep in mind, and to not allow for peripheral concerns to overwhelm and dominate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the centrality of the medical condition should always be paramount, penultimate, and properly placed atop the prioritized priority list of planned penmanship (such early morning alliteration is indeed a challenge).

This is normally not a concern; for, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, suffers from a medical condition, which is the primary basis for which such a life changing event must be engaged.  But in the course of encountering the adversarial administrative process — of the agency, the supervisor, coworkers, the H.R. Department, and in the end, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — it is easy to become sidetracked with issues of a hostile work environment, of harassment, increasing disciplinary measures, suspensions, initiation of a PIP, etc., and to forget that the centrality of the medical condition should be the guiding principle and light which drives the engine of success or leads to the drone of failure.

Getting sidetracked with peripheral issues remains the singular and problematic course of careening causal catastrophes; it is, as stated at the outset, the centrality of the medical condition which needs to be placed at the forefront, the mid-section, and the conclusory compendium of all carefully calibrated cases in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Medical Retirement: The Coalition Forces

One hears much these days about the importance of forming a coalition of forces before engaging an offensive action; and, indeed, there is the old adage of having strength in numerical superiority, and the sense that a consensus of opinions and cooperation of numbers results in an increased chance of success.

Quantitative composites can mask a disarray of qualitative forces, and the security in numbers can somewhat compensate for lack of internal cohesion.  But what if you are the target of a coalition of forces, albeit one that is merely bureaucratic in nature, and administrative in pragmatic application?

That is how the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker often feels, when applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS.  And not only that, but the “attack” comes at one’s most vulnerable point:  when a medical condition is involved.

Filing for OPM Medical Retirement benefits is tantamount to going up against a coalition force:  One’s own agency; one’s own Supervisor; one’s own Human Resource department; one’s own coworkers; and then to contend with trying to obtain the proper and sufficient medical documentation in order to show eligibility and entitlement (yes, there is a distinction with a difference between the two concepts), on top of filling out the vast array of standard forms (SF 3107 series for FERS employees; SF 2801 series for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees; SF 3112 series for all three, FERS, CSRS and CSRS Offset employees).

The medical condition itself, of course, is the vital point of vulnerability, and it is as if the coalition forces are fully aware of those weak points, and attack them relentlessly.  OPM Disability Retirement, the process of filing, and the agencies which make up the linear progression for filing — all together can appear to comprise a coalition of forces which, without necessarily working in coordinated concert of thought or action, can aggregately defeat an OPM Medical Retirement application.

The singular warrior of the target — the FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker — must use all of the administrative and legal tools available, in order to go up against such a behemoth of bureaucratic gargantuan proportions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Experience and Federal Disability Retirement Benefits

The vicious circularity of having or not having “experience” is comprised of the following: If too much weight is placed upon it and one is passed over because of its lack, then one will never be able to attain the experience needed in order to qualify; in order to attain experience, one must be given the opportunity to grow by trial and error; but such trial and error only reveals the lack thereof.

For most endeavors, the experience of undergoing X is merely a singular event, and one need not have repetitive encounters in order to aggregate a composite of a series of such events in order to become “better” at it.  For FERS and CSRS employees, whether a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the experience of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is normally just a singular lifetime event.

The experience itself may well be a difficult one; and while no prior experience is required in order to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is often a good idea to obtain the counsel and advice of someone with experience, in order to make the process a less-than-devastating experience.

Experience matters; experiencing an administrative process without the guidance of experience makes that experience all the more a difficult experience. It is in these conundrums of life that we find the true puzzlement of the tumultuous linear-ness of experiential phenomena, and for Federal and Postal employees filing for the difficult benefit of an OPM Medical retirement, such mysteries are made all the greater when one is left in the dark about the secret matters which boil in the cauldron of a witch’s brew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Science versus Art

There is an abundance of discussions these days relating to the methodological validity of science, especially as it concerns climate change.  The calculus applied; the variable deviations of conclusions; the computer models based upon dubious information inputted; and whether declaring that there is a “consensus” within the scientific community, and what constitutes such a declared intent of internal agreement, results in more questions unanswered than not.

Science once held the position of being the pinnacle of unquestioned authority.  It lost its lofty position when its methodology of verifiability became infiltrated with egoism, self-interested motives, and politics.  It is now an admixture of art and pragmatism.

Where, then, does that leave law?  Law was based upon the rules of logical argumentation; but somewhere along the line, the general public decided that entertainment should outwit the methodological rules of logical analysis; shouting was more fun than the cold shoulder of logic; clever tricks of persuasive linguistic palpitations caused greater stir, and the drama of the courtroom in television shows and movies became the industry of choice.

Further, the lay person could give a twit about rules of logic; they just wanted justice in the form of vast quantities of renumeration.  For most sectors of society, however, whether science loses its position at the lofty pinnacle of pandering to politics, or whether the super-lawyer achieves a measure of persuasive cleverness with sleight of hand, matters not in the common world of everyday living. We all have to continue making a living despite climate changes and courtroom antics.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the reality of everyday circumstances must still be faced, regardless of the fits and turns of the world of drama, entertainment and scientific bravado.  When a medical condition hits the life of a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is a pragmatic decision making all of the tumult of the world around us, into a microcosm of irrelevancy.

This is indeed where science, art and law come together in the reality of the real world:  The medical condition (science); the need to enter into the world of bureaucracy (art); the proving of one’s case by evidence and argumentation (law); filing for Federal Disability Retirement for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker is an experience which brings together the drama watched on television or movies by the rest of the world.  For the Federal and Postal employee, it is a drama which is an existential experience of the first order.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Spare Tire

No doubt the idea of a spare tire is derived from fear: fear of the unknown, concern for the future potential possibilities; anxieties related to what ifs. With the advent of advanced technology in tire manufacturing, the probabilities of a flat tire have exponentially decreased, and perhaps with it, the need for carrying a spare tire has crossed the threshold where such concerns should be allayed entirely.

But as with shark attacks, being hit by lightening, and other such phenomena where statistical concerns should make them insignificant, it is the person who experiences the calamity which defies any such argument about probability irrelevancies. For the person bitten by a shark, he fulfills the 100% chance of a shark attack.

Statistically speaking, Federal employees and Postal workers who become derailed in their careers because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are numerically miniscule. But when the need arises, Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for a foundational annuity, such that the Federal employee or the Postal worker can continue to maintain a livelihood and plan for the future.

It represents the spare tire “in case of”, and the very availability of it represents an employment package which looks upon the value of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker not only as a commodity for the present, but a secured interest for the future. While complex in its bureaucratic and administrative procedures, Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for Federal and Postal employees to qualify for disability benefits when needed, like the spare tire unused but ready for performance.

Thus, the next time you see a car pulled off to the side of the road with a jack lifting a quadrant of the vehicle in an abnormal fashion, it may be an appropriate reminder that while spare tires are best left unused, it is there for a pragmatic purpose, as is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire