OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The peskiness of life

Somehow, like children and rats, or of mice and men, the peskiness of life continues to trail behind us.  We think that things are going well, and then suddenly we realize that the nagging peskiness of life’s challenges has once again come upon us.  We wonder when that period of nirvana will be reached; that goal that we allegedly strive for each day of our lives; when will it come to fruition?

Life is difficult, and it becomes all the more so because of the technology all around us that persuades, convinces and pulls the proverbial wool over our eyes by making us think that everyone else lives a life of perfection.

Yes, yes, we believe we are all so much more sophisticated than to be “taken in” by the lies of advertisements, instagram pictures and those ads that urgently scream at us to “Call Now!  Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime!”  But are we?  If we truly believe in the subconscious — and advertising agencies certainly do — why then would we discount the power of the subliminal message, the persuasive impact of repetition and the daunting images that haunt and pursue?

Movies and television programs tell us daily of the exciting lives of others; instagram photographs reveal that lives of perfection exist in all other households; Facebook postings establish that everyone but you live interesting lives; and the peskiness of life seems to just follow me and you, while the rest of the world merely splashes through the gaiety of life’s endless stream of summer laughs and winter’s avoidance of discontent where youth is never stretched beyond the smile of a springtime dream and old age never comes upon the drifting leaves of fall.

Then, of course, there is the medical condition that suddenly comes upon us — where peskiness of life becomes magnified by the reality of human frailty.

Fortunately, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is the added benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement when that peskiness of life begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal job or the Postal craft.  Remember, however, that in formulating the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, be careful in not including too many whines and groans about irrelevancies that do not focus upon the core of answering each question.

But, then, the questions themselves are quite tricky, are they not — showing further that even in trying to obtain a benefit that is part of one’s Federal career or Postal package of compensatory benefits, one must always take care in making sure that the peskiness of life — that bundle of problems that makes it seem like life is so simple and beautiful everywhere else but in your own corner — doesn’t finally defeat you by making the simple mistake of not consulting with an attorney before you proceed down a road that makes peskiness into a very real legal problem of greater proportions than it was ever intended.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Struggles

It is a law of life, is it not?  To struggle; to always have to thrash about just to survive, whether in the world of employment, the world of self-control, the universe of just maintaining a semblance of sanity within a greater complex of madness we face each day?

And, indeed, that is the basis of most philosophical systems that have been posited – from the Ancients who posited permanence as opposed to constant flux (Parmenides and Heraclitus); of the tension between Forms and the world of appearances; of the universe of perspectives empowered between one’s spatial imposition of human categories as opposed to an objective reality that one can never reach (Kant); or merely reducing all philosophical problems to one of linguistic inconvenience (the British Empiricists); and on and on, the struggle to learn, to maintain, to survive.

Life is a constant struggle, and when once peace is attained, we then die, or at least retire to an old person’s home for the forgotten and the ignored.  Even the fairytales we read to our children begin with the struggle, then end with a world of make-believe; only, those types of endings don’t occur in “real life”, and so we have to explain to our children when they get older that, well…heh, heh, heh…it was all a lie – that, unlike the stories told, mom and I hate to tell you this, but the struggles in life never end.  There is no “happily-ever-after” after all.

Then, life brings about a medical condition – those pesky irritants that hopefully can be controlled or maintained with a pill or a stiff drink, but otherwise an indicator that either we are growing old or something in our bodies are trying to forewarn us of the future.  Then, the medical condition begins to magnify, exacerbate, and turn into that state of being “chronic”, and slowly, it begins to deteriorate and progressively impact how we feel, who we are, and what we can do.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the recognition that life is a constancy of struggles is nothing new; but, what is new is the realization that such a struggle now can become worsened by entering into arenas previously held inviolable – of work and the productivity that was once taken for granted.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a surrender to that constant struggle, but merely a change of direction and planning.  We all know that life is a constant struggle; sometimes, the struggle must be circumvented by moving onto the next phase of an ever-struggling life, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is that next phase of the constant struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

PM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Those goals

What constitutes a worthwhile goal?  Is it determined by the outcome – i.e., a retrospective, outcome-based proposal, as opposed to the gambling one where one must enter into the dangerous waters not knowing what the future provides?  Are we so safely ensconced in life’s predictability such that we will not longer accept as a goal that which cannot be ascertained unless and until there is some guarantee?

Do people immediately criticize and diminish the stated goal by categorizing it as either “realistic” or “unrealistic”?  Is there a distinction with a difference between “dreams” and “goals”, where the former is unbounded and unfettered by the reality of expectations, whereas the latter must be confined to that which can be reasonably ascertained as achievable?

What of the child who “dreams” of becoming a major league baseball player – do we cite the statistical odds against it, even at the tender age of 5?  What if the child works diligently and shows some promise – daily exercises, practices at every aspect of the game, and joins this league or that and shows “promise” and “potential” – at what point do we advise him (or her) to give up and “become realistic”?

Are some dreams okay to retain and have despite any semblance of “reality” intervening to make them come true – like secretly wanting to be a novelist (even though not a single page, let alone one sentence, has been put on paper) or a pro basketball player (even if you are 5’ 3”, and certainly no Muggsy Bogues), just because it makes one “feel good” or allow for self-confidence by carrying a secretive self-image that one is not what one truly appears to be?

At what point do dreams become goals, and goals merely dreams?  Is it when you actually take a “concrete” step towards making a dream become a reality, that then you have a goal, because the latter is “achievable” while the former is not?  Or is it like that old Chinese proverb that Kennedy liked to recite (or was becoming a writer for John F. Kennedy merely a “dream” and that is why Ted Sorensen, his ghost writer, is the one who did all the writing that the former President merely dreamed about?), that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Or, perhaps like the Federal or Postal worker who suffers 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 position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the goal is to become healthy again – or is it merely a dream?

Dream or goal, for the Federal or Postal worker trying to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be reviewed and determined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, like the potential baseball star or the best power forward in the business of pro basketball, the first step is the most important – of realizing dreams into goals, and goals into realistic dreams, whichever may be the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Purgatory Reverie

The state of the intermediate, the surreal loss of traction in suspended animation; of trying to jog on ice, or to reach a destination traveling on a treadmill; this is a sense one is left with in dealing with a juggernaut of a bureaucratic morass.

In this day of immediacy, where the instant satisfaction of wants and the now of gratifications is met and reinforced by the push of a key, the click of a mouse, and touch of a sensor; and as virtue is no longer looked upon as a necessary ingredient of character, but rather an irritating obstacle to a material goal, so patience cannot be wanting where fissures have widened to such an extent that chasms have created chaos.  Planning ahead is always the key to the timely confluence of achieving the stated goal.  And then some. And perhaps even to multiply the waiting time by a factor of 2.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is precisely that inherent self-contradiction of the constancy of being forever suspended, which gives rise to frustration and turmoil.

Much of it is in anticipation of what the Agency, or the U.S. Postal Service, will or will not do.  Will they initiate an adverse action during the process?  Will they approve the discretionary LWOP request?  Will they “support” the Federal Disability Retirement application, or attempt to undermine the procedural march towards OPM’s approval?

Waiting upon an agency is never a good idea; neither in deciding to move forward on a Federal Disability Retirement application, nor in trying to make an educated guess as to what the agency’s reaction would be (or, in dealing with one’s agency, is it an oxymoron to concurrently use the terms “educated” and “guess”?).  Agencies move at their own pace, and do what they want, when they want, as fiefdoms and totalitarian republics are decidedly meant to provoke.

It is never a good idea to make one’s decision concerning preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, by waiting upon an agency’s actions; for, the immediacy of ignorance may never come about, or suddenly be initiated yesterday; and as purgatory is in and of itself a reverie of angels suspended in timeless harpsichords of orchestrated serenity, so the ill Federal or injured Postal employee who thinks that it is a good idea to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service before initiating a Federal Disability Retirement application, will of course remain lost in the long and winding road leading to the pearly gates of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire