Help with OPM Disability Retirement: Wintertime flowers

What do you tell a young child who tries to plant seeds in the fall, and when asked about the activity, responds, “I want flowers for the winter and am planting them now so that they will bloom by the time the cold comes”?

Do you: (A). Laugh and tell the child that he or she is being foolish, (B) Explain to the child that flowers don’t bloom in the wintertime, (C) Direct them to the proper plants that will produce the intended effect or (D) Let the child discover for him or herself as to whether such an effort will have any positive results?

Clearly, options A and B would not assist the child in learning and advancing one’s knowledge of the world (Answer B, while generally the case, ignores the greater effort required in explaining that some flowers do, indeed, thrive in the dead of winter or, alternatively, that this particular region is not conducive to certain plants); and choice D, while perhaps allowing for a greater lesson to be learned — may instead attain the wisdom of the harsh reality of the world through explanation and discussion.

Explanation and a proper understanding of the circumstances, context and limitations of one’s activities in light of the surrounding universe is the key to gaining wisdom and knowledge.

Given that, Choice C would obviously be the “best” option towards greater understanding.  Thus, it is not merely the vacuum within which what one is doing that matters; rather, it is the effective interaction between one’s activities with the greater world beyond that produces a balanced comprehension of one’s place in the universe, how one can be effective and even influential.

Camellias are wintertime flowers that continue to thrive despite the harshness of the environment; whatever the genetic make-up that allows it to remain in bloom while others wither or die, their hardiness in environments others hibernate from and shun is a testament to the reality that, indeed, there are such things as wintertime flowers.

That is sometimes a difficult reality and lesson to learn — for we too often categorize times of our lives in similar ways: In extremes where it is an “all or nothing” proposition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, it is important to understand that the end of a Federal or Postal career does not necessarily mean that it is an “all or nothing” proposition.

There can be life even in the wintertime of one’s career; for, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the individual to work in the private sector, the state, county or municipal job, and continue to receive the OPM Disability Retirement annuity, so long as you remain under 80% of what a person’s former Federal Salary pays, and to the extent that it is medically justifiable that there is a distinction between the former Federal job and the non-Federal job.

Like wintertime flowers, you just have to find the right circumstances in order to thrive in the season of your life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The peril of procrastination

Time is considered to be a continuum; it remains throughout, and except for artificial slicing imposed by seasons or bifurcations recognized by night and day, sunlight or darkness, or other natural categorizations which creep beyond our calendars, “time” remains a rhythmic cycle barely noticed until deadlines scream to be met and the ageless alarm clock suddenly awakens.

Noticed when the hands on a clock move; of the hour hand, slowly and with slumbering care; of the minute hand, more deliberatively; and of the second hand that ticks away while we watch time pass by.

In this digital era, time refuses to “march on” as the metaphor once informed us, and instead stares silently through the redness of a glaring, impassive face.  Waiting makes for awareness of passing; waiting in line to get into this or that establishment; waiting in a doctor’s office; waiting for a train; or do we just wait because there is nothing left to do?

Procrastination is a form of waiting, except we put the proverbial cart before the horse: Instead of waiting for the allotted time or event to occur, we wait for its non-occurrence, then rush to complete the non-occurrence before the expiration of the allotted time.

Certain events make for pleasantry of time — as in being with others you enjoy; performing a deed of delight; or merely resting, relaxing, engaging in activities of mirth; while others extend the laborious into an unbearable anguish of unending torment — of pain, unwanted relations and uninvited calamities.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, time can become an enemy if one fails to foresee the peril of procrastination.  At some point — and often, early on — it becomes obvious that filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Trying to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and complex administrative process, and delaying that which one knows must be done is not merely the peril of procrastination, but an exacerbation and potential worsening of circumstances that may already require your attention today, if not yesterday or the day before.

For, in the end, it is not procrastination itself which creates the peril — rather, it is the peril of the medical condition left to time and its progressive deterioration — and that is why procrastinating can itself be avoided by consulting today, without delay, with an attorney who specializes in the the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Now, as for that chore that was left for tomorrow…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Interests

There is self-interest; then, the interest of the third party; or perhaps on behalf of the interests of you, the second person.  Whatever the interests involved, for some odd reason, it is the “self-interested party” that raises an ire of suspicion, a pause devolving with a wrinkled eyebrow, a frown or a furtive look of concern.

Thus, of the old adage that a person who represents his or her own interests may be deemed a fool —but not because of any fervency of advocacy, or even a question of competence, necessarily; rather, it is because of the loss of objectivity that is perpetrated by failing to be able to step back and review one’s circumstances with disinterested dispassion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal job, the concern about whose interests are being looked after, and whether or not what you are doing is in the “best interests” of the client involved — you — should always be one of concern.

You may well be the best person who looks after your own interests — for, surely the one who has the most to gain or lose is the one who will look after those interests.  However, the reason why representing one’s self in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an unwise move, is because the loss of objectivity cannot always be overcome by the medical evidence presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It may well be appropriate to write an impassioned letter in declaring one’s love for someone; or even a heartfelt declaration using many adjectives and adverbs in conveying condolences or an apology; but when one is beset with a medical condition and is trying simultaneously to manage one’s medical conditions while describing it for purposes of trying to obtain OPM Disability Retirement benefits — it may be too difficult to unravel the double helix of self-interested entanglement in order to attain a needed level of objectivity in the matter.

That is why interests self-directed, especially when pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, would best be left in the capable hands of an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: Different Standards

To overdress is almost always acceptable; to underdress — well, while it may be acceptable, you may have to endure being the subject of curiosity and quiet whispers of raised eyebrows.

There are different standards for every occasion, endeavor, event or engagement; some high, others low; a few enforced without exception while still maintaining a sense of decorum and the rest of them left to ignored apathy where anything goes.  Some private clubs seem to thrive upon the exclusivity of standards maintained so high that few can meet the exceptionalism applied, while those more accessible to the public allow for flagrant violations with nary a nod or a wink.

It is when the context becomes the content that eyebrows become raised, and the higher the brow the more exclusive the thinking.  For the rebel, it is always difficult to try and convey the notion that one must adapt and change with the circumstances — that standards are applied, and you must recognize those standards and act accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the standards set have now failed to be met — whether at the personal level or the professional — it might be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whether through a recognition of the standards set for yourself — which is often higher than what is acceptable by others — or because you are beginning to get the hints that your agency or the Postal Facility has become dissatisfied with your work performance, your attendance or excessive use of sick leave; whatever the reason, the plain fact is that the medical condition itself is always the basis for determining the need to alter and modify one’s personal and professional standard.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  The standard you used to apply before the onset of a medical condition should not be the same one that is applied to your present situation, and you should therefore consider that the standard of maintaining one’s health is the present priority exclusively, no matter what your Federal Agency or your Postal Facility tries to have you believe.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and determine whether you “meet the standards” to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  They may be different than what you think.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Meeting the basic requirements

As with any endeavor, meeting the basic requirements is the minimum standard.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to understand the basic eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Here are a few: The minimum Federal Service requirement (18 months); of having a medical condition during the tenure of one’s Federal Service that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and an inability by the agency to provide reasonable accommodations or reassignment; and some further factors to be considered, as well.

Beyond the basic requirements, of course, are the technical issues that have developed over many years and decades, primarily through statutory interpretation as expounded in court cases and decisions handed down by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  There are, moreover, legal refinements and interpretations that go beyond the “basics”, and while meeting the basic requirements is an important start, it is critical to understand the technical legal refinements which have evolved over the years. “Always start with the basic requirements; and from there, consult with an expert for further details.”

Such is the sage advice often given before involving oneself in a complex process, and Federal Disability Retirement Law is one such administrative endeavor that should take such counsel into account.

Start with meeting the basic requirements — of the minimum 18 months of Federal Service; of having a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job; and from there, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — another “basic requirement” in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire