OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Was it all worth it?

It is that penultimate question – the one that has multiple cousins and unwanted siblings, illegitimate off-springs and uninvited guests, like:  What is the meaning of my life (refer to previous posts concerning Russell’s quip that such pedantic queries are often the result of indigestion)?  Did I do the right thing (such lines of interrogatories often emerge from a guilty conscience, so you might not want to ask that one)?  Did I spend enough time with my kids (almost always, “no”)?  Did I remain true to my marriage vows (sadly, according the statistical analysis, most people would have to answer in the negative)?  Have I behaved honorably throughout (it would depend upon the definition of the term, and of by-the-way, we tend to have private dictionaries defining words these days in a subjective, self-serving manner)?

“Was it all worth it” goes in so many directions, it is like the catch-all phrase or the “general aegis” over which all other questions and queries reside.  To whom?  By what measure?  In contrast to what other “it”?  And the more important one: Can we clarify and “flesh out” what the “it” refers to?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prompts a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the interrogatory itself often means that the point of “worthiness” refers to the delay and loyalty shown by the suffering Federal or Postal employee before taking the next needed steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Often, to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, such a query means that you have already pushed yourself well beyond that which is actually for your own good, and while loyalty, faithfulness, hard work and such similar attributes are laudable and “example-setting” characteristics reflecting well upon the one who asks the question, the answer may be – at least from a medical perspective – formed in the negative.

For, isn’t part of the point in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application to do so before the medical condition gets to such a severe crisis point of deterioration so that there is actually a retirement to enjoy?

Remember that the standard of proof in obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is not to reach a state of “total disability” (which is the standard in a Social Security case); rather, it is to show that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, when you ask the question, “Was it all worth it?” – it is indeed important to know what the “it” refers to, both in the second word of the question as well as the fifth and last.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

It is an educational tool utilized to impart upon children the value of hard work and unfettered optimism, but one wonders, At what point should the harsh realities of the world be included?  How, sometimes there are situations where the obstacles are so great and the conspiratorial caverns so deep that the graph of upward mobility is but a mere mirage in life’s cycle of certitude. The balance between the benefit of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity, and tempering unrealistic expectations, is a scale of justice which is delicately configured throughout life.

While the tale of the Little Engine that Could represents the cultural and societal impetus for encouraging work, fair play, persistence and a positive attitude, some of life’s obstacles serve to cut short the capacity and ability to achieve stated first goals.  Medical conditions tend to do that.  Whether primarily physical or secondarily psychiatric, or inversely impacted, a progressively debilitating medical condition saps the self-confidence of the individual, and eats away at the abilities of the patient.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee, consideration must be given to one’s future, and that future planning should include filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits encompasses all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, so long as the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements: 18 months of Federal Service for those under FERS, and 5 years for those under CSRS (which is essentially assumed that anyone under CSRS already has at least 5 years of Federal Service).

Further, if the Federal or Postal employee is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or has not been separated for more than 31 days, then the Federal Disability Retirement application must be routed first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for the latter, the central processing point for all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Postal Workers is located in Greensboro, N.C.), then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

Implicit in this requirement, of course, is that there is a “Statute of Limitations” as to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  All Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed within 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service.  Thus, if a Federal or Postal employee is terminated, or has resigned, and a Federal Disability Retirement application is filed, the (now former) Federal or Postal employee must file within 1 year of the date of separation — but if separated for less than 31 days, then through one’s former agency or U.S. Postal Service, and if over 31 days, then directly to Boyers, PA, which is the “intake” processing office for OPM for all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Whether the Federal or Postal employee ever read or heard tell of the tale of the Little Engine that Could, the time for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is when that proverbial engine gives out, and when life’s harsh realities turns the story of optimism and hope into a pragmatic approach in order to secure one’s future; for, sometimes, life accords engines which need fine-tuning, and medical conditions represent just that sort of mechanical need, for the Little Engine that once Could which turned into the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Blowing in the Wind

Of course, the reference recognized unmasks the age or generation from whence one comes, and the formal wording without the apostrophe is to allow spellcheck a rest and curtail the red underline.  It is the 1962 Dylan song, representing questions unanswered, answers made complex by society, and sought-after refrains which defy conformity.

Where is the answer to be found, and what can the wind represent?  Can Cliffs Notes Study Guides provide for a true education?  Or like chimpanzees in a beauty contest besides kids of comparable intelligence, is it merely regurgitation of rote memory, or some semblance of sociological dementia?  As the wind is ungraspable, and embraces and engulfs voices shouting and demanding, so the questions asked and the answers given are as ephemeral as the shifting streams of consciousness.

Nature has a way of humbling, of letting us know that though we aspire to become angels who can fly with knowledge and necromancy, with waving wands and cauldrons of witch’s brew in feeble attempts of arrogance and self-puffing, the reality is that our knowledge is limited, our capacity for growth is stunted, and the self-imposed mediocrity we generally follow reflects the tiredness of a man’s soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, questions always abound, and answers sought are often disjointed and contradictory.

If there is an area of knowledge which needs to be precise, it is of “the law”, as people rely upon information certainty, and lack of knowledge and answers which blow in the wind merely confuse and confound.  The test of reliance should always be based upon a systematic history of sound judgment and accurate discourse.  Does the source provide reliable information?  Does it appear cogent, comprehensive and of common sense?

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, can be a daunting first step, for it means a change in one’s life, a step into another direction, and a leap of faith for an uncertain future.  There will always be questions to be answered, but one should never consider demanding answers to those queries via Dylan’s methodology of asking the shiftings winds of Nature, but by searching out a reliable source in this indeterminate universe of questions asked, and answers unforgiven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Uncharacteristic Behavior

It is the clash between an expectation and the actualization of an encounter, which determines one’s perspective of self-fulfillment of a belief, or a resulting dismay from failure of verifying the basis of a paradigm.  Characteristic behavior is thus that type of human encounter which meets with, or exceeds, one’s predetermined paradigm of what one has already believed to be so; to act out of that previously considered belief system, by definition makes it fall outside of the realm of such expectation.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the bureaucratic complexity of the entire administrative process of preparing, formulating and 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, is normally not a surprise, and meets with or even exceeds, the expectation of an already-formed paradigm of what constitutes the “characteristic behavior” of the system as a whole.

It is the anomaly of the century when efficiency, helpfulness and pleasantries prevail throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, where one hears with surprise and shock that it was “uncharacteristic”.  Sadly, that tells us something.  While somewhat unfortunate, we must always remember that the road of every bureaucratic process is paved with personalities of every type.  We tend to lump the entirety of an administrative process into a single cup and cauldron of judgment, but the reality is that there are multiple categories, just as there are different types of people throughout the universe, distinctly compartmentalized into:  helpful; friendly; efficient; nasty; backstabber; fair; unfair; loyal; unpredictable; just to name a few.

The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM can be a stressful one, if only because it is based upon an obvious stressor to begin with:  a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s Federal or Postal job.  But it is not the bureaucratic process itself which adds or detracts from the inherent complexities of the process, but the behavior — characteristic or not — of those who must help along the way or hinder the necessary transition of the Federal or Postal employee, from one of active Federal or Postal employee to that of disability annuitant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government: The Run

Stockings and watercolors do it; time, with quietude and solace of a steady march, moving with predictable sequence like the consistency of a drumbeat; and, of course, the rhythm reminiscent of cardiac health, as do joggers and concerned citizens chasing down a purse snatcher to retrieve a possession of identity.  And life, too.

Sometimes, there is a good “run” of something — a lengthy period of calm and productivity, where all of the pistons of a complex and interactive mechanism akin to a turbo engine are firing away in tandem, and life is good, fruitful and positive.  But the inevitability of a breakdown can always be around the proverbial corner; a medical condition, suffered by a Federal or Postal employee, is not merely a stoppage of such a “run”, but can be a disruptive cacophony of ceaseless interruptions, both to career and to personal contentment.

The key is to get beyond, over, or around the obstacle which lands in the middle of one’s pathway for future well-being.  The child who fails to see the watercolors running; the invention of the stockings that never run; the life that seemingly runs smoothly; all, a perspective wrought at a price of neglect or deliberate ruse.  The fact is, life always has interruptions.

A medical condition can be a major one, and when it begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset may need to consider an alternate course and begin anew a run of a different sort.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is indeed a change of course.  It involves a complex bureaucratic strategy to get from point A to destination B, and the administrative obstacles are many, but not insurmountable.  And, like the verb itself, it provides many meanings for differing circumstances, but the one and central root of the process involves embracing the paradigm that life is never as easy as one thinks, and like the child who believes that he is the next Picasso in training, the run of the unpredictable always betrays the truth of our condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire