FERS Disability Retirement: The Inevitability of Change

It is a tautology; for, “inevitable” encapsulated and embraces the term “change”, and one presumes that, in applying and comprehending the word “change”, there is a sense of inevitability contained within it.

Thus do we assume certain truths which naturally follow: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a moment (for, the natural course of the universe dictates that the weather will change over time); if you are dissatisfied with your life today, ride it out (for as circumstances appear static for the moment, time will resolve many of the uncertainties faced today); and similar dictums of sagely advice.

What we are not told, however, is that which we have already accepted by experience:  That “change” is too often a negative component, and that is why we believe that things almost always change for the worse.  That is the byline for the pessimist, of course: That good things never last; everything changes for the worse.  The optimist, on the other hand, always tries to squeeze the good out of anything that worsens, and tries to see the glass as half full, instead of half empty.  Whether you are an optimist or a cynic, both accept that change is inevitable; the difference is merely in how one perceives the change.

Then, of course, there is the human element — of affirmative actions taken by an individual or a multitude of individuals in performing acts that contain or otherwise alter the course of change.

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, change is inevitable.  Whether by being placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan”, or the increasing harassment perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — or in the inevitability of a termination — the medical condition itself will normally and often dictate the need for change.

The “human element” is the action taken by the Federal or Postal employee in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where the affirmative intervention of actions taken may change the ultimate outcome of life’s trials.  Yes, the inevitability of change is a given; but how that change will come about and what outcome is to be determined will depend upon the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes both the inevitability and the need for change, but moreover, of how to go about initiating the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: That promising future

One doesn’t have to have been that “golden boy” to have an inkling of a promising future; there just needed to be some hope, and a taste of success.  Perhaps you came from a background where expectations were low; where higher education was a mere afterthought and nothing beyond an exclamation of gibberish and fantasy.

Was success defined by negation?  That if you didn’t do X, avoided Y and prevented Z, you were considered an anomaly and deemed as one of those who “made it”?

Yet, you exceeded; perhaps night school; whatever the cost, of however the pathway, that promising future that was never guaranteed, rarely spoken of and deliberately left silent but in the fertile imagination of a seeming dream; and the expectation of negation was met and exceeded, precisely because the goal post was never set within sight of grasping, but a mere filament that failed to light any hope of a promising future.

Yet, reality has a tendency to quash the daydreams of even butterflies, and a medical condition can alter forever the course of time and tenacity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once thought that a career under FERS meant a promising future for the duration of one’s life, and who never expected to be saddled with a medical condition that created a circumstance of negation, consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions tend to become that negation of hope, when in fact it may merely be an alteration of course.  Perhaps that promising future was too narrow a vision.  Maybe a change of mindset is all that is required.

Federal Disability Retirement is merely a recognition that there is an incompatibility between the medical condition suffered and the type of job one is in.  It does not mean that you cannot work; in fact, you are allowed to make up to 80% of what your former Federal position (“former” because, upon winning an approval of a FERS Disability Retirement claim from OPM, you are then separated from Federal Service) currently pays, and still continue to receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Just remember that the “promising career” was never defined by naysayers or those who lacked belief; it was always defined by your own drive, and for Federal and Postal employees whose once-promising career became curtailed by a medical condition, the “promising” part of conjunction can still be in the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Pension: In between preparations for vanishing

The Biblical reference is where John the Baptist declared that his role in the historical narrative would naturally diminish by relevance in order for the primary character to loom large upon a world in need of a coming Savior.  Each of us strive daily to accomplish, achieve and advance (ah, the 3 “A’s” might be the title of the next New York Times Bestseller on the mass marketing list of self-help books); that is the natural inclination from birth to death – or, at the very least, until one has expended and exhausted the reservoir of stamina each retains for the daily battle of life itself.

What we fail to recognize is that, as another book of wisdom in an age prior to the declaration of a coming earthquake that would split the earth and crack the old barrels of fermenting wine (figuratively stated) pointed out, there is a time, a season and the proper context when certain acts should be considered (paraphrasing here), and prominent among them the capacity to recognize the appropriate time to begin paring back, preparing to recede and allow for the next generation to take its successive position of assertive presence.

Do we embrace the in between preparations for vanishing, or do we fight against it because that is what we have done all throughout our lives?

It is important, for instance, to apply the principle of eventual vanishing when one becomes a parent, in order to foster the self-confidence of a son or daughter; to slowly, incrementally and seemingly naturally allow for the opinions and views of the younger ones to grow in stature, relevance and significance, such that when adulthood is reached, the lowering of the parent’s perspective becomes equal to the rising of the child’s self-image.

At that point, when the balance between childhood and esteem for one’s parents meets in the middle upon a spectrum of wide variance, parent and child can become co-equals of a sort, and “friends” as much as a parent and child can be.  In order to achieve that goal, however, it is necessary to engage in “in between” preparations for vanishing – not to totally obliterate the relevance of one’s historical accomplishments, but to incrementally diminish in magnification and presence.

Fighting against the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often based upon the lack of recognition that in between preparations for vanishing is a natural and necessary part, at a certain stage in life, during a particular season of one’s career, and when the time necessitates.  Yes, the Federal career and the Postal work provided a sense of identity and granted a purpose, focus and compelling force during the productive career – but now, the season has changed, the context has altered and the time has ripened in another direction.

It is time to engage the in between preparations for vanishing – not to totally disappear, but to diminish, such that when a Federal Disability Retirement is attained, the next stage of one’s life can be opened for that which we term the greater adventure of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Help: Caught in the world in-between

It is a purgatory of sorts; of the netherworld where twilight is a constancy of confusion, and when neither dawn nor dusk, between summer and winter, or of cognitive clarity and conundrums of confusion reach the pinnacle of an infinite maze.  Do we prefer clarity to confusion, or the light of dawn to a period “just before”, when consciousness of thought is suppressed or prevented by a darkness befalling thoughtful perspectives impeded by streams of dancing oracles upon a seamless stupor?

It is often uncertainty which tires the soul.  For, while wealth is preferable to destitution, and employment to its opposite, it is being caught “in-between” which engenders uncertainty and angst of future plans, and that is likened to a form of hell.

When a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker first learns of a medical condition — whether from an accident or injury on the job, or during a foray into uncharted recreational activities, it matters not for purposes of meeting the criteria for eligibility in a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — the weariness of time and the toll of uncertainty is often worse than the failure of resolution encountered through therapy, medication regimens, surgical intervention and the long delays in recuperation and rehabilitation.

It is that “waiting” which becomes the agony of life, for the questioning and incessant pondering resulting therefrom haunts the soul:  What will the future hold?  What will my job do?  What are they planning?  The “what”, the “when” and the ultimate “why” becomes a reverberating echo of repetitive songs unwavering in their monotony of questions forever unanswered.  For, it is the unanswered question and the unstated discretion of silence which makes for waiting to be just another agony of life’s challenges.

To be caught in the world “in-between”, where future plans are delayed because the present remains in a muddle of soft mush, and when past actions fail to concretize a pathway for mapping current stability, is a state of existence which is tantamount to a purgatory of eternal uncertainty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, it is thus important to take some action and begin the process of filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement.  Wishful thinking will not make the medical condition go away; and while hope is always a basis for future planning, one often knows early on, within the core of one’s soul, whether the injury or medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties will resolve to an extent possible in order to return to full duty.

It is not knowing which is the true hell of existence; and to remain caught in the world in-between is often a choice — albeit a bad one — which is based not upon want of certainty, but enmeshed in the essence of human tragedy, when delay prevented that split-second decision that could have avoided the disaster.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Medical Retirement: Kaleidoscopic Clash

The watchful eye of the human animal is quite different from that of other species; for the human interaction and interpersonal encounters bring together the complexity of past histories and memories; of present foibles as uniquely colored by one’s past; and always of projected future concerns and anxieties.  It is this admixture of kaleidoscopic clashes, where the past, present and future become wrapped into a tightly knotted ball of human thought, that the peculiarities of human personalities intersect with the needs and wants of societal conflicts.

Dickens was a master at describing the eccentricities of humanity; today, one wonders whether such straying from convention and normative confinements are allowed; or perhaps they are hidden, with barely a hint beyond superficial discourse as revealed on social media, but where heinous crimes are better concealed and the universe of sociopaths are scattered within the dungeons of private basements and base minds.

Is it because of the repressive nature of a seemingly open society that subtle meanness and baseness of spirit prevails?  One can witness it pervasively in the workplace; and, indeed, the greater the need for laws and restrictions, the manifested cruelty will find corners of inconspicuous outlets, like ratholes gnawed in the baseboards of concealed crimes. The worst of humanity always seems to reveal itself when the best is required.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in need of sympathy, compassion, empathy and understanding, when a medical condition hits them at moments of mid-career and accommodations would potentially lengthen an otherwise promising future with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; it is then that Supervisors, Managers, coworkers and the entire bureaucratic apparatus of human baseness seems to erupt.

Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s position, becomes the brunt of human complexity.  Perhaps human compassion exists, but we are too busy to reveal it; or that misunderstandings occur, and the grounds for explanatory eloquence is wanting; but whatever the reasons, the protective shields of legal applications have failed to adequately provide assurances.

Fortunately, there is the option for Federal and Postal employees to seek an “out” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  How one presents one’s Federal Disability Retirement case as described and delineated on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), and in any legal memorandum one files to accompany the justifying basis in law of eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, is all-important, and must be considered in light of collateral issues and parallel forums involving hostile work environments, EEO complaints, grievances filed, etc.

It is, indeed, this kaleidoscopic clash of separate entities of conflicting combinations, which must be sorted through in order to effectively present a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application.  Within the complex context of intersecting personalities, where the past, present and future come together in a cauldron of human conflict, it is important to have the advice and consultative opinion of an objective perspective in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire