FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Lost…

One’s age can be revealed as to whether, in the privacy of one’s thoughts, the ellipses is replaced with — “Lost in Space”, or even The Swiss Family Robinson.  The former is a television series that ran between 1965 and 1968; the latter, a novel by Johann David Wyss published in 1812 that few of us read anymore.  Another television series recalled from the dustbin of history’s classics; another novel and writer no longer read, remembered or studied.

They are stories about lost colonies, lost people, lost souls — lost individuals.  The fact that they are “lost” is a phenomena that society finds interesting enough to retell the story about which we would never know, except that they were somehow “found” and were able to convey their experiences.

As a child, one remembers the self-contradiction of that very issue: the young, fertile mind queried (and never could get a satisfactory answer from anyone ):  How come, if they are really lost, we’re able to watch them on television, or read about them?  If they were found, then they aren’t lost, anymore, are they, and if so, why is it interesting or even relevant?  Or, is it just of historical interest that we enjoy hearing about the experiences during the time of “being lost”?

The world today, of course, is different from the yesteryears of a bygone era; the world is all “connected”, such that there are no places in the world where we haven’t seen National Geographic photographs depicting of untraveled areas where the “lost peoples” of the universe reside and continue to survive.  The Amazonian forests are being depleted through mindless mining and destruction; the Himalayan monks who once medicated in silence wear jeans and sandals while selling trinkets to wandering tourists; and the polar bears that once roamed the northern glaciers wander beneath the pipelines that stretch amidst the wilds once dominated by the wolves that sniffed with suspicion.

Today, we live amidst civilization’s constant drum of progress and technological connectivity; instead of being lost in the wilds of a universe still undiscovered, we remain lost amidst the communities in which we live.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition must by necessity lead one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, there is a sense of “loss” and “being lost” in at least 2 ways: The “loss” of a career once held promising; and of being “lost” in the complex, administrative process in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  In either sense of being lost, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — if only to get a roadmap to help one find one’s bearings.

Being “lost” does not mean simply that one does not know where one is geographically; in fact, most people are lost even in the midst of being surrounded by the daily din of civilization; and that is why consulting with an attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is an important aspect in finding one’s way out of the morass of being lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The world of faded photos

There is an anomaly contained in the attempt to “save” faded photos; it is an oxymoron of sorts, where modernity erases the backwardness of yesterday, and yet, at the same time, wants to preserve it.

We have all heard about companies that exist which “preserve” outdated family movies, photographs and taped recordings of distant times; it is all placed, preserved, edited and presented in a convenient “thumb drive” or in some “cloud” in the ethereal universe of a web-based phenomena.  That faded photograph, beautiful in its brown crispiness of an elderly man or woman who looks serious, because in those days having one’s image preserved for posterity was a serious undertaking — in contrast to today’s selfies immediately downloaded and uploaded into a social medium that is quickly disseminated to countries worldwide in an instant, displaying a foolishness that would shock a generation or two of those removed from such technological “advancements”.

The world of faded photos is an universe of past histories now forgotten, frozen in time by a captured expression depicting a time before, now replaced by a time after, and forever remaining in the memories of those who have survived but now sit quietly in nursing homes of corners relegated to mere existence in darkening folds of dementia and antiseptic coils of plastic tubing extending lives beyond what the photographs themselves intended to display.

The world of faded photos defy the modern attempt to preserve that which was meant to last for a generation only, just as men and women try in futility to ignore mortality by cosmetic corrections that makes for appearances which procrastinate the inevitability of time’s ravages.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the world of faded photos is the one that you remember “before” the onset of the medical condition, and instead of attempting to “preserve” the photograph, it is best to recognize that the image you see in the mirror today is the one worth protecting, and not the faded daguerreotype of yesterday, and the best way to do that is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement so that you can secure some semblance of your future, and not be frozen in the timelessness of the world of faded photos.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 — the “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire