FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Adversity in B-Minor

But that we could live life as if playing a musical score, then changing the tonality in a different pitch, thereby perfecting a piece for the final performance.  Adversity is an unavoidable event; no matter the effort to avoid it, the encounter inevitably catches up to us.

Can we ever replay it, but in a different pitch?  Can the musical score be altered, but this time without the raised voices or the heightened stress?  What is it about a certain look, a particular tone, that gets one’s gander up; and while some are tone-deaf and wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a major or a minor score, does the same apply to social graces and the cues that trigger responses otherwise better to be left unsaid?

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, becomes a necessity in the height of adversity, whether played in B Minor or C Major.

It always appears as if adversity can never be avoided.  First, there is the medical condition itself; then, to compound matters, making them worse, there is the pressure of the Agency; and suddenly, one feels as if the musical score so often rehearsed has fallen out of tune, and we begin to wonder if the chords played, the instruments used and the conductor followed, makes any sense at all.

The jumble of life is too often like the mixture of one analogy into another.

In order to sort out the proper “chord” to be played, it is important to consult with an attorney to sort out all of the elements in properly preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application: the documentation to be gathered; the guidance of how the narrative reports would be formulated; the legal memorandum that persuades and the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement packet that is “effective”, leading to an approval by OPM.  Otherwise, your life may remain in adversity in B Minor, or some other discord unanticipated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Life’s Satire

There is a subtle distinction between satire and comedy; as the latter is intended directly to evoke laughter, in whatever manner possible (though, of course, there are comedies which provoke guffaws of loud, unconstrained and boisterous mirth, as opposed to the delicious chuckle, and a spectrum of multiple layers in between), the former can be dead serious, in leveling commentaries and sharp criticism upon political or social misfortunes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have contended with the bureaucracy of their own agency, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be more akin to a satire, than a comedic episode of a tumultuous interlude.  Medical conditions are no laughing matter; but the process of coming to the realization that one’s own agency or the U.S. Postal Service will not do anything to accommodate one’s medical condition, despite a history of years and decades of dedicated service, is but a satire of sorts.

Then, the administrative headaches inherent in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is like a running commentary upon the satirical process which began when first we became a Federal or Postal worker.

Viewing a satire while seated as an observing audience, can be a pleasant experience. Identifying one’s self as one of the actors in the play, is what is most disturbing. But when the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes both the spectator as well as the player, the scene itself takes on aspects of another turn: for, as dreams allow for the dreamer to sometimes recognize that one is dreaming, so the elevation of a dream into a nightmare can be identified as short-lived and merely to be endured until one is awakened from the slumber of a tragedy, yet unfolding, still to be determined as to the outcome of the satire of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Experiential Responses: Medical Retirement for Postal & Civilian Federal Employees

Life’s garbage is supposed to teach us lessons; that is what we are taught from a young age.  Thus, long lines allow for an opportunity to test patience; insults and ingratitudes, self control; imprudent behavior, an antipathy towards it; lengthy battles, allowing a lesson to forge on while others give up; and similar encounters which provide ample revelations for altering one’s natural instinct of regressive responses.

But the other force which powers its way in an insidious and countermanding manner, is the very negation of lessons learned: of finding security in habitual and repetitive behavior; of responding in a known manner, because past actions of an established quality provide a zone of comfort in contrast to an unknown future.  But medical conditions in and of themselves are unknown factors which impede, intrude, and interrupt.  Sometimes, not acting is as deleterious as proceeding against life’s lessons, learned or yet unachieved.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition not only impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties but, beyond that, has already impacted the extent of experiential encounters with one’s agency, supervisor, coworkers, etc., it may be that one must reconstitute and consider changes which may be anathema to one’s very nature: patience for long-term treatment may not work, as one’s agency may be impatient; self-control towards the ingratitude manifested may not be enough; and imprudent behavior engaged in by one’s agency may be an acceptable norm of standards to follow.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are meant to allow for the Federal and Postal employee to attain a level of livelihood in order to attend to the most important of life’s experiential encounters: one’s health.

While filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, may feel like one is “giving up” instead of forging forward despite adversity; the reality of it is that filing for OPM Disability Retirement does not constitute defeat or surrender, but rather an affirmative move to change the stage of the battlefield.  Further, in life, it is not always the “good guy” that wins. Sometimes, the guy in the white hat must walk away, only to see another day to engage the greater battle of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Fault Lines

In Geology, fault lines involve plate tectonic forces and planar fractures which reveal significant evidence for causes of earthquakes and help in determining and predicting areas of subduction zones and active faults which likely will result in future major earthquakes.  Movement, activity, fault? Sounds familiar. The anthropomorphic language, where we attribute human characteristics to inert matter, is a reflection of the beauty and elasticity of language.

For Federal and Postal employees engaged in employment disputes, and where medical conditions often underlay the seismic reverberations resulting from adversarial encounters between Supervisors, Workers and Agency cohesiveness within the greater context of asserting power and authority, often the wrong focus and engagement of the issues will result in greater calamities than was necessary if the issues were properly narrowed and pragmatically determined.

For Federal and Postal employees 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 job, OPM Disability Retirement may be the option most viable in solving an ongoing issue.  Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS.

In Geology, proper and precise location of fault lines may be crucial in determining essential predictive accuracy of seismic tectonic shifts; in human affairs, it is often not the fault lines which matter, but how to maneuver around them.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: Adversity and Change

Somehow, the collective and proverbial “we” came to expect that life was easy; that comfort, good health and career advancement was part of the human deal; and that adversity was a circumstance which only people in other nations faced, and from which we would help to show the way out.

But adversity and change have always been an essential element of life; the moment expectations pushed the ‘delete’ button and erased those concepts from commonplace consent, we lost the will to hungrily pursue our dreams through achievement, hard work and purposeful drive.  At the same time, a nation which harbors a self-image of greatness will necessarily create an intelligent paradigm which fosters the collective will of those who are less fortunate, to achieve goals and maintain dreams in the midst of adversity.

That is precisely what Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, contemplates, for the Federal and Postal employee.  For, under the generous administrative annuity provided, Federal and Postal workers who cannot be fully productive, and who face adversity in all aspects of one’s life — of career stoppage, finances, and workplace animosity — can become eligible for a system of compensation into which one may continue to contribute by seeking a different, second vocation in the private sector.  Or, for those who are too disabled to work, it is tied into the Social Security system, such that SSDI is combined with FERS disability retirement benefits.

It is a progressive paradigm which allows for the collective “we” to pursue the common goals which we have all maintained — of productivity and purposefulness, wedded to compassion and caring.  That, in the end, is how the “I” become a “we” in a society which values civil intercourse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Dealing with Adversity

How does one deal with adversity?  When the adversary is a faceless entity, a bureaucracy which acts as a behemoth of epic proportions, one must take care in choosing the proper battle to engage.  For, ultimately, the victory or loss of a battle is often determined by logistical considerations — of where and when it is fought.

Further, it is important to identify who the “enemy” is against whom one wages a battle.  Is it a separate entity, or is the real enemy one’s self?  When an individual is suffering from a medical condition such that one is weakened, others will often begin to smell the scent of such weakness, and begin to prey upon the deteriorated stateit is “worth the while” to fight against the agency, the system, and the entirety of the Federal Bureaucracy.

It is well and good to say, “I’m not giving up” and to fight for one’s rights, but at what cost?  At the cost of one’s health?

More often than not, it is a smart strategic move to leave the battle s of being.  That is the law of the runt; it is the rule of the world.  For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a position where one’s medical conditions have deteriorated to a point where he/she can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to consider whether cene, and go into the quietude of the morning sun, in order to find the space of recuperative peace, in order to come back to battle another day.

Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is just such a safety hatch; and whether you are under FERS or CSRS, it is a consideration worth noting, and taking, in order to regain one’s strength, to come back for another day — next time, from atop the vantage point of a hill, instead of looking up from the valley of death and destruction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Disability Retirement & Standard Forms

Standard Forms are intended to restrain, contain and standardize; it is meant to make you believe that if you violate the “fence” around the physical form itself, or fail to answer specifically the questions “as asked”, that there will be a penalty to pay — i.e., in the case of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a denial of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  

For the Federal or Postal Worker who is intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question of what to say, how much to say, and in what tone or tenor (does one presume that OPM is an “adversary”, and therefore should any submission be crafted in such a manner?  Or, should the tone be more “neutral”?  Hint:  Whatever the proper balance of tone to embrace, OPM is not one’s close relative, and should not be approached as such); and, ultimately, whether and to what extent “continuation pages” should be attached to the forms themselves.  

For FERS employees, or course, one must complete SF 3107, along with Schedules A, B & C, as well as have the Certified Summary of Federal Service completed, and if applicable, SF 3107-2, the Spousal Waiver.  For CSRS, one must complete SF 2801, and again, the Schedules A, B & C and the Certified Summary of Federal Service.  For both FERS and CSRS employees, the second set of forms — SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D & SF 3112E — must also be completed.  

For the Federal or Postal employee, it is the SF 3112A which is the most daunting, the most important, and the one which must be thoughtfully completed.  It is the first form which OPM will search for, review, analyze, compare, attack, and scrutinize, in making a decision upon one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is indeed a form which is “standard” in every sense of the word — in appearance; in requirement; in formatted appearance; and in the end, the level of effort and input one makes of it.  

What should one’s own “standard” be in preparing, formulating and filing the Standard Form 3112A?  Care, caution and a concern for coordinated completion.  Yes, and by the way, the undersigned writer enjoys engaging in alliteration, assonance and consonance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Performance of Roles

Discussions concerning “performance” can often have implicitly negative connotations; for, the term itself can refer to a ‘faking’ of what one truly believes or does, as opposed to the substance of who a person is.  Thus, in the recent nationally-viewed debates, there is widespread discussions about the “performance” of X; whether he “looked” strong, firm, in command of the facts, etc.  Such evaluative statements, of course, appear in obvious contrast to the inverse:  Was X in fact in command of the facts; was he in fact firm, etc.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important while in pursuance of the administrative process, to recognize the performing roles of each entity, and not to confuse them.  To confuse an enemy for a friend can result in disastrous consequences; to mistake a friend for an enemy can change the course of one’s life; to fail to recognize the proper roles in life, can alter one’s future forever.

Supervisors, managers, and those who are superior in rank and position, should never be considered as confidants, as a general rule.  When one is about to separate from Federal Service, or have an underlying intent to do so, should fill one with caution in approaching people to whom information may be disseminated.  Proper roles dictate certain predictable behavior, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is important to acknowledge the roles which each person plays, and to act accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Long Road

The bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” with the Office of Personnel Management is indeed a long, and often frustrating, endeavor to undertake.  

From the long wait at the initial stages of preparation and formulation; to the waiting wasteland once it gets to the Office of Personnel Management — including first the period of waiting merely to have it assigned to a case worker, then the long period of uncertainty while it has been assigned but pending an actual review by the OPM Caseworker; then, of course, if it is approved, the lengthy period of receiving interim (partial) pay before it gets “finalized” and calculated — this, all on the assumption that the Office of Personnel Management will perform the monetary calculations of backpay, interim pay and final pay in a correct, indisputable manner; and further, if it gets denied at the First Stage of the process, then the further period of waiting at the Reconsideration Stage of the process; and further, if it gets denied at the Reconsideration Stage of the process, then an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.  

A recent case — indeed, just decided a couple of days ago — where the client went through the First Stage, the Reconsideration Stage, then a Hearing at the Merit Systems Protection Board, all without an attorney, and came to the undersigned attorney to file a Petition for Full Review at the Merit Systems Protection Board where, fortunately, there were enough legal mis-steps on the part of the Administrative Judge that the collective “we” were able to get it reversed and obtain an approval for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management — all told, took about 2 and a half years from the start of the process to the final decision.  By any standard, that is a very, very long time.  

Caution:  It is not recommended that an individual wait until after an MSPB decision to obtain the services of an attorney.  The wait for a Full Review by the MSPB 3-member Board alone took about 10 months, and moreover, it is very difficult to reverse the decision of a Merit Systems Protection Board’s decision.  It can be done (and has been done), but it is obviously a better idea to win at the MSPB Hearing level, and not try and reverse an AJ’s decision based upon an “error of law“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Different Denials

After having formulated, prepared and filed a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, the period of long waiting ensues with the review process of the Office of Personnel Management (having survived the waiting process through the Agency).  

At this initial stage of the application, the Federal or Postal applicant will be forced to wait (anxiously) for a decision by OPM.  Thus, when the Office of Personnel Management makes a decision at the First Stage, and that decision is a “denial” of the Federal Disability Retirement application, there is a spectrum of possible responses — immediate, emotional, angry, frustrated, etc.  

Instead, however, the proper response is to recognize that this initial denial is merely part of a greater process which involves many steps, procedures, responses and replies.  Indeed, part of the reason why a Federal or Postal employee feels the pressure and anxieties is because one tends to view the application process as a “one-time” deal — where submission of an application should be reviewed by OPM and an approval is granted.  This can be true — but should be viewed as merely an anomaly, and not the standard.  

While having a Federal Disability Attorney prepare the application for Disability Retirement should increase the chances of an approval at any level of the process, it is nevertheless first and foremost a process involving multiple steps and stages, with potential pitfalls and denials throughout.  Thus, a Federal Disability Retirement application may be initially denied, then responded to, then denied a second time at the Reconsideration Stage of the process, and require a further response.  

Different denials require different responses, not because they are not all part of the same process (I know, the double negative gives one pause), but because each denial is given by different departments and personnel at the Office of Personnel Management. Remember, one must prove one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, and proof means that there is the potential for an adversarial component of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire