OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Quiet Subtlety of Excellence

Failure blares like a discordant trumpet in a confined space with no exit; success flows like the quiet stream on the other side of the mountain, barely noticed.  In law, it is the appeal, and the written order issued therefrom, which receives the attention of the daily press.  Yet, if one pauses to consider:  The reason for the appeal, is the lack of success at the trial court level.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find themselves the target of workplace hostility because of a medical condition which now prevents them from performing one or more of the essential elements of their job, it is often a surprise that they have become a focal point of interest.  The quietude enjoyed for so many years, in relative anonymity, is actually a reflection of one’s outstanding performance throughout the years.  It is because of the threat of departure — of the “failure” to continue to support the agency, or to provide ongoing efficient contribution to the U.S. Postal Service — that results in the sudden and unwanted attention.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who cannot perform all of the essential elements of one’s job anymore, is an option which must be considered precisely because of the limited alternatives offered or provided by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Health should always be the primary concern; maintenance of one’s health, the focal point of endeavor.

And just as importantly, to maintain that quiet subtlety of excellence in the next important step of one’s life — to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

All these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has dedicated him or herself to the excellence of combining career, family and personal relationships; when the time comes to attend to one’s own medical difficulties, it is important to maintain and continue that standard-setting record of accomplishments, by ensuring that one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement claim reflects what has always been known all along, but has only received the murmurings of a muffled fanfare — that quiet subtlety of excellence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Explosions of Reality, Containers of Fantasy

Disability benefits for employees in the Federal Government

It is often the converse; as reality is that which constitutes the universe of the knowable, it is that which is contained and determinably set within the parameters of perception; likewise, we normally consider fantasy as that which cannot be contained, and therefore is unstable and likened to a detonated delinquency of diverted desires.

But in limited situations, of lost hope, where youth and the vigor of expectations yet unfulfilled, and anticipated future strivings are cut short by the tragedy of circumstances unexpected and of sudden termination unrealized, it is the very disintegration and deterioration of reality which constitutes the tragedy, and its mirror image of dreams unfulfilled.

Medical conditions tend to do that; at whatever age, whether in youth or near retirement, when expectations are bluntly severed and dreams are cancelled like plane reservations where the empty seat of an awaiting corridor on a tarmac in the stillness of a foggy night merely reveals a void and vacuity of that which might have been; it is the aggregate of life, its dreams and hopes, which reveal the true nature of value and worth.

For Federal and Postal employees 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 positional duties of the Federal or Postal position occupied, the need to cut short a promising career in the Federal sector constitutes an explosion of reality and a containment of dreams.

Suddenly, that project must be delayed; the expected promotion must be forgotten; that planned vacation must be canceled; the 3-day weekend with family and friends must be shelved.  Reality need not be the grandeur of paradigms, just as one’s fantasy of the utopia of one’s dreams need not include gnomes and pots of gold.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits may not seem like the granting of the singular wish one may hope for, but it is a benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and must be proven at either the administrative level at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or at the quasi-judicial forum of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  It is a benefit which allows for the important recuperative period of gaining back control of one’s life, by pushing a “reset” button and re-ordering one’s priorities in life.

It may well be that having a debilitating medical condition constitutes a metaphorical explosion of one’s reality, resulting in the containment of one’s fantasy; but the greater tragedy would be if the circumstances of one’s life explodes one’s fantasy and dreams for the future, with the consequence of containing forever the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Loss of Meaning

What it is that motivates a person to achieve greatness; whether the factor of that which does, or purports to be, and to what extent the outward articulation of the elements of a driving force corresponds with the esoterically objective truth underlying the learned and expected statements for public consumption; these, we may never know.

Most of us engage in repetitive monotony of actions; whether by fear of societal retribution, the judgment of peers, a sense of responsibility and obligation; or, perhaps even by sheer ignorance and stupidity, where the instinctive drive is merely based upon the base hunger for accumulation of material objects; as self-reflection is rarely a consideration of serious intent, so the onset of what some deem a mid-life crisis is often nothing more than a pause in unthinking acts of greater thoughtless chasms in void and vacuity.

Medical conditions, and the impact of a debilitating injury or disease, can be the prompting nudge for change and upheaval. Whether because a medical condition forces one to consider a redistribution of life’s priorities, or merely because they interrupt the capacity and ability to continue in an unthinking manner; regardless of the motive, change becomes an inevitable consequence of an unexpected medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option of limited choice.

For, as the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, so the dependency upon the agency to provide a “reasonable accommodation” is ultimately an act of futility.  “Reasonable accommodation” is merely that which is accorded in order to perform all of the essential elements of the job; it does not do away with any of the elements, and thus is rarely conceivable, and practically impossible to implement.

Federal and Postal workers who are prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, at least have the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Many in the private sector have no such benefit, and are thus left to disparate means and desperate devices.  Often, the onset of a health condition becomes a crisis of meaning, where the medical condition itself compels the Federal or Postal worker to question the meaning and value of one’s work and accomplishments.  But the loss of meaning need not occur as a necessary or inevitable consequence.

Federal Disability Retirement accords an opportunity of a second bite at the proverbial apple; there is life after Federal Medical Retirement for those who get beyond the long and arduous bureaucratic process, and the meaning of one’s existence need not be the harbinger of fate, but merely a door opened for future endeavors of thoughtful exercises and prioritizing of values.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of Monsters and Magicians

Childhood is characterized both by fraughts and fantasies; of imagined universes filled with the realities of the unknown, tempered by admonishments balanced by a world of adults who reassure, mixed with warnings and counsel of what could be. This is a complex, complicated world; to maneuver throughout it all is to first survive successfully the caricature as depicted in one’s imagination, and to match that against the objective world replete with dangers beyond mere bumps in the night.

Monsters are creations of fictive activities, and the child is told they are make-believe; yet, at the same time and almost in the same breath, warnings ensue about the world of bad people who may offer candy and toys to lure the unwary; and of magicians, what can we say? With computer-generated imagery complete with trolls and tyrannosauruses, where cuts evoke merely a wince and levitation occurs by mere whim of fancy, can the mermaid with golden braids be far behind?

To “grow up” is to leave behind both monsters and mermaids; but what we are often left untold, is that while the linguistic designations may change, the reality of the harshness of the world beyond the mountains filled with trolls and ogres, still remains filled with adversity, evil, harm and harrowing harbingers of hopeless encounters.

Medical conditions are real. Whether spoken of as monsters within, it may provide for a more simplistic paradigm of understanding, but is just as effective as viruses, virulent infections and bacteriological encounters.  Or of trolls and ogres?  Do we not know of Supervisors and Managers who put on masks of societal acceptance when others are around, but show their fangs and claws of flea-bitten gnarls when alone with you?

Federal and Postal workers who must confront a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, encounter by necessity of circumstances a world once left behind in childhood dreams; but the reality of the situation, however designated and whichever way described, often reveals a universe of unreal reality just as trolls and mermaids are; but it is still a battle which must be fought, fraught with monsters and millipedes of myriapodous anthropods crawling in the night.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s own agency but ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an avenue revealed through necessity, of reaching a plateau of existence in order to rehabilitate one’s self from the world of adversity. The benefit is available for Federal and Postal workers who have the minimum time in-service requirements within the Federal Sector.  It is a benefit which must be fought for, proven, and protected, just as Sir Galahad did as the brave son of Lancelot.

Whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the world of medical conditions and debilitating diagnoses can only be successfully countered by securing a semblance of a present need, as well as a future hope for continuation in order to rehabilitate the devastating effects of the medical condition.  It is similar to the battle in childhood, only more real than the reality of monsters and magicians.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire