FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: That bright star

We remember learning about the various constellations; and, these days, we are merely one “Google-away” from identifying that morning point of light that seems to shine so bright just over the horizon, and has moved since you first noticed it the evening before. Google ruins everything.  There was a time when discussions would last long into the night because memories failed us — who was that actor in Movie-such-and-such; what was the last line in so-and-so play; and what was the name of the character in that blah-blah television series?

We no longer need to remember; poems no longer require reciting from memory; facts and dates are accessible with the click of a button; arguments and discussions no longer are required because they can all be looked up at Wikipedia.

Yet, in the objective world, or in that universe where Kant bifurcated the subjective from the inaccessible objective universe, that bright star continues to shine, and no matter what Google says or Wikipedia posits, the mystery of time, the external universe and the fact that the bright star shining may already have disappeared eons ago and the idea that what we see is merely the residual aftereffects just reaching one’s pupils within an universe that fails to betray such mysteries of eternity, we can still enjoy the quietude of a pinhole of light within the darkness that surrounds.

And then there is the singular existence of a human being staring at that bright star in the morning silence even before the first bark of the neighborhood stirring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability or capacity to perform one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often that “feeling” one has in staring at the bright star — alone, isolated and apart from the rest of the universe — that makes one fearful of the world beyond.

Federal Agencies and the Postal Service tend to make the Federal or Postal employee feel isolated and alone when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS can seem like a lonely prospect — somewhat akin to the feeling one gets when standing outside looking at that bright star.  That is why consulting with an Attorney who Specializes in Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law is an important step in pursing the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement: To know that the bright star is there, and that we are not alone to counter the troubles of this world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Thought versus thoughtless

Does the former have an advantage over the latter?  Our tendency is to think so — as in, “Being a thoughtful person is better than being a thoughtless person.  And, in any event, it is always better to think about things than not to.”

Really?  Does reality bear such a thought out, and does thinking about something as opposed to its opposite — not thinking about it — gain any advantage?  Does Man’s biological advancement through evolutionary selectivity of genetic dominance necessarily favor those who engage in the activity of “thinking” over those who do not?

Take the following hypothetical: An individual must make a “serious” decision — i.e., perhaps about one’s future, career, marriage, etc.  He is told to “take some time to think about it”, and does so dutifully.  He speaks with others; does some reading; mulls over and “reflects” upon the issue; takes out a yellow-pad and writes the columns, “Pros” and “Cons”, and after days, weeks, perhaps even months, comes to a decision.  Within a couple of years of making the decision, he realizes that he has made a fatal error.

Now, the counterexample: Same scenario, but in response, the individual says, “Naw, I don’t need to think about it.  I just go on what my gut tells me.”  He goes out, parties, avoids “thinking” about it, and the next morning makes that “important” decision.  He remains happy with the decision made for the remainder of his life.  So, the obvious query: What advantage did one have over the other, and what fruitful outcome resulted from “thought” versus “thoughtlessness”?

Yet, we persistently hear the phrase, “I should have thought about it,” or “I should have given it more thought” — always implying that, had further reflection been accorded, had additional wisdom been sought, or multiples of contemplation allowed, ergo a different result would have been achieved.

The error in the logic of such thinking is that one assumes a necessary connection between “result” and the activity of “thinking”, when in fact it is the very activity itself which retains a value in and of itself.  “Thought,” “thinking” and “thoughtfulness” are activities which have a value by themselves.  The satisfaction of a result-oriented, retrospective according of value based upon an outcome achieved is to place the value upon the wrong end.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are “thinking” and engaging in “thoughts” about preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when a “decision” must be made.  “Thoughtfulness” is an activity worth engaging in, regardless of the outcome of the activity itself.

In engaging such an activity, it may be worthwhile to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — if only to consider the evolutionary advantages in thinking about thoughtful activities as opposed to the thoughtless decisions made by an unthinking thoughtlessness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: OPM’s Methodology

There may be a single criteria to meet, with subsets of requirements that must be complied with; yet, multiple methodologies in approaching the singular.  How can that be?  Isn’t it all simple, where you read what is required, then gather up all of the evidence that appears to meet it and simply send it all in?  That is the “volume methodology”.

Can a single sentence in a medical report ever meet the legal criteria in an OPM Disability Retirement case — i.e., a “qualitative” methodology, as opposed to a quantitative one?  Sometimes.

Isn’t the law clear in what is required, and isn’t it a matter of just amassing the medical evidence to meet the requirements as stated?  Hmmm…. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand, somewhat, OPM’s Methodology in reviewing and deciding upon a case.

First of all, not all medical conditions are equal.  Perhaps that is self-evident, but for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from one or another medical condition, and must endure the daily pain, restriction and limitations imposed thereby, it may not be so self-evident.

Second, OPM is not some “neutral” Federal Agency that reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application with dispassionate objectivity, ready to grant an “approval” because you “believe” your medical evidence is “sufficient” to meet the legal requirements as stated.  Sufficiency is the gatekeeper that denies many a Federal Disability Retirement case — and it is not a methodology that is satisfied by quantitative (volume) means, not even necessarily by qualitative standards; rather, it is the reviewer (i.e., the “Medical Specialist” at OPM) who determines by some unknown and unknowable standard when the goal-post has been crossed.

Thus, in an OPM Disability Denial Letter, one may read a reference to one’s doctor’s note or a quotation from a medical report from one’s doctor, and think, “Good, this is very supportive” —then, with an appended end to the paragraph stating, “Such medical evidence does not sufficiently meet the standards to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement”.  Huh?

Think about it this way: “Sufficiency” may mean different things to different audiences; for example, what is a “sufficient” amount of food for a lion, as opposed to a domesticated kitten?

OPM’s methodology is, at best, malleable, as language in law is likewise changeable.  It is good to know this for Federal and Postal employees who are either getting ready to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or who are in the middle of a fight to obtain it; for, in the end, consulting with an OPM Disability Retirement lawyer allows you to arm yourself with knowledge for the battle that OPM’s Methodology in determining Federal Disability Retirement cases must be prepared, like any legal battle that involves “criteria” to be interpreted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: The full emptiness

Beyond the definite article, the two adjectives would remain self-contradictory if the meaning attempting to be projected were either both (A) in the physical sense or (B) in the spatial, cognitive sense.

A further explanation may be in order, here.  Contradictions often occur when words are mistaken to be conveyed in a single dimension, but can be modified if explained that they represent different conditions, occupying a sense of distinction that can be differentiated because of the slight alteration of contextual bifurcation.

Certainly, the terms “full” and “empty” become self-contradictory when applied in a physical sense for both terms; but if either of the terms are meant to represent different dimensions — i.e., “full” in the physical sense and “emptiness” as an emotion or feeling, or vice versa (“full” in an appetitive meaning and “empty” as a physical fact), then the contextual distinction takes on a differentiated meaning.

One often says that such phrases containing self-contradictory terms are merely a “play on words”, and indeed, it is normally intended to convey a thought-provoking compound of a conceptual construct.  The “full emptiness” is an idea that can denote many meanings; perhaps of a life filled with activities, but somehow lacking in meaningfulness; or, of an individual whose outward appearance is one of fulfillment and contentment, but whose soul is wanting because of a tragedy in his or her past.

That has always been the essence of a life worthy of condemnation, has it not?  Of a friction that continues to rub against each other — of appearance versus reality, of internal versus external; the contrast between the inner sanctum of thoughts and the outer reality of what is expressed.  For, of what worth is a life if it cannot be condemned?

The full emptiness is what most of us project to others, and how others behave towards us; that is the unfortunate aspect of living among and amidst each other.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the self-contradictory concept of a “full emptiness” is a familiar theme.

The outward appearance must continue to be maintained — of competence, ability to multi-task, and capacity to take it all in; all of this, despite the ongoing medical conditions that debilitate and progressively deteriorate.  The inner reality often tells of a different story: of pain; non-restorative sleep; profound fatigue; physical and mental dysfunctions that are hidden and concealed.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a step towards vanquishing the contradiction of a life of full emptiness; it is to recognize that the negative circumstances of the medical condition need not dominate the positive hope that is still held that a career once deemed promising can yet open up into a future undaunted by the medical conditions themselves, by securing a Federal Disability Retirement and focussing upon getting one’s health back into balance so that the conundrum of a full emptiness can become a thing of the past.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The futile treadmill

If an alien from another universe came to visit the world of Humans and somehow landed within sight of a gym or some semblance of a physical fitness facility, and remained invisible to the watchful eye, the single contraption that would puzzle and befuddle would be the treadmill.

For, ambulation upon the mechanical device would surely be observed; and upon a certain amount of time, the alien visitor would reflect that the person who remained upon the contraption would suddenly depart and actually go from Point A to Destination B, and so the puzzling conundrum of query might be: What in the world (or universe) was this person doing walking upon a revolving platform without going anywhere, then leaving it behind to then go somewhere?

All geared up with wires and headphones, with digital monitors that made beeping noises and flashing signals — but going nowhere; whereas the alien, who is dependent upon sophisticated time-warp technology in travel and transport, would consider the exertion of physical ambulation to be a primitive form of an inconvenience to reach a destination point, but would be quite enthralled by this act of futility upon a treadmill.

It is, indeed, an absurdity when one pauses and reflects: of a contraption that moves as if one is traveling, but without an individual who has any intent of reaching any particular destination point.  Or, what if the alien visitor were to view a randomly selected community from above — comfortably watching from its invisible spaceship hovering with telescopic devices — and sees the hundreds, nay, thousands of joggers and runners who begin from destination Point-A and…returns to destination Point-A.  Would that not similarly confound, confuse and befuddle?

From the perspective of the outsider, the futile treadmill has no purpose, no rationale, and certainly no cogent explanation that would account for the manner in which many of the human species behave.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on a similarly futile treadmill — that of attempting to continue to work despite having a medical condition that tells you otherwise — it may be time to begin contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Federal Disability Retirement is precisely that benefit that is meant to get you off of the futile treadmill, and to begin to allow you to secure your future, as well as focus upon your health.  Getting off of the futile treadmill is the difficult part — of your dedication to your work and career; of the comfortable salary or wage that is being earned; and of the sense that, so long as you remain on the treadmill, somehow it will get you somewhere beyond the point of your medical condition.

Sometimes, however, the alien’s perspective is the more objective one, and remaining on the futile treadmill will continue to go nowhere or, worse, it may speed up and knock you off of the treadmill itself; then, what will you be left with?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a daunting bureaucratic process, and the time is likely ripe to begin it now by consulting with a seasoned attorney specializing in Federal Disability Retirement law, lest the futile treadmill begins to leave you behind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Fathoms and farthings

They are words seldom used by ordinary people, and are instead found within contexts now of limited usage except by reference to anachronistic novels and reference manuals, or perhaps in sea-faring settings where such terms are related to between seasoned old-timers in the field.

The former term refers to the unit of measurement for the depth of the ocean’s topography; the latter, a unit of currency so small as to have become obsolete by now with the inflationary course of history having relegated such amounts to irrelevancy, and ceasing to be recognized as legal tender by 1960.  Besides, it was a “foreign” currency as well, and was not a currency used in current usage within recognizable current vintage, anyway (yes, yes, a bad attempt at alliteration and a play on words).

What do they have in common?  They both measure a unit of X, of course; they are also words that have “meaning” only within certain contexts, whether of specialized oceanographic particularization or, as to the latter, within a historical context if one were writing a play, screenplay, novel or short story that included anywhere from the Victorian to the Elizabethan periods.  It is a reminder to us all that words come in and out of “meaning” and relevance based upon the context given and recognized.

Language games”, as the term Wittgenstein ascribed, retain their relevance and applicability depending upon the context of the usage adopted.

It is no different when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is thrown into a “language game” that has been ongoing for decades, but is new to the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Such terms as “The Bruner Presumption”, “viable accommodation attempts”, “Persuasive legal effect of other disability ratings,” etc., come into play.  Yes, you may be able to research and understand some of the terms, but the particularization and the anachronism of such terms may come back to haunt you unless you, as the Federal or Postal employee trying to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, can fully comprehend the specialized nature of this complex process called Federal Disability Retirement.

For, like fathoms and farthings, it may be best to consult an attorney who has a long experience with such terms and usage in order to better heighten the chances of a First Stage Approval from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Admitting defeat

It is probably the single most difficult thing to do in life, and its inability reflects upon the abysmal state of education, both higher and lower.  The manner in which education is perpetuated – where “right answers” receive accolades and admitting of defeat merely alters the pecking order of who is admired and who are relegated to the detritus of human society – merely reinforces the greater loss of empathy, the destruction of civility and the coarsening of society.

Facebook, too, merely perpetuates the focus upon destroying an opponent and quieting any voices that may provide a quiet revolution, as alternate voices are silenced into submission by mere meanness of bombardment and repetition.  Some would applaud this all-too Darwinian approach as merely reinforcing the innate nature of “survival of the fittest” – for, admitting defeat is tantamount to revealing weakness, and the weak are mere fodder for the strong and stronger.

Whether in argumentation of discourse or fighting battles, wars – real or virtual – or verbal encounters characterized as harmless skirmishes on the Internet, it matters not anymore the manner in which one prevails, only that one does reach the apex of any endeavor, profession or undertaking.

Once upon a time, there were some rules of engagement – of a civil discourse where debates were conducted in quiet tones and respectful venues, and where humility called for admission of recognizing the greater argument which results in establishing the goal for the greater good.  Now, it matters not the means; for the end justifies the means and if you can shout down the opponent, lie about the facts and cheat around the strategy, it is the winner who is looked up to and the victor who walks away with the spoils.

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 positional duties, it may be that the best way to avoid admitting defeat is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, but somehow one’s priorities have become skewered in this obsessive-world where admitting a medical condition is tantamount to admitting defeat, as opposed to merely recognizing the limits of human endurance and the frailty of the human condition.

Fortunately, the rules governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal or Postal employee receiving Federal Disability Retirement benefits to go out into the private sector, or even into the state or local government, and work at another job or vocation and make up to 80% of what one’s Federal Government or Postal job currently pays, and thus, to that extent, obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is not considered admitting defeat, but merely a change of venue in the pathways of life’s complexities throughout.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Gatherings

What is it about human beings that compel and necessitate it?  Unlike the wandering Cheetah or the lone wolf, human gatherings have been the imprint of psycho-social requirements since the dawn of day.  The tribal gatherings around the campfire; the Thanksgiving feast that celebrates survival and the new season; the corporate board, the large-scale concerts and the network of social media; and then, of course, that which is all but forgotten, and yet always yearned for: the private gathering of “just the family”.

Somehow, we lie to ourselves and soothe our own egos, suppress the truth by – again, “gathering” – the number of “friends”, “likes”, etc., and it has now become a quantitative game as opposed to a qualitative reality that determines how “happy” one is.  In modernity, we have lost the whole purpose and underlying foundation for what gatherings are meant to be – of the interchange between neighbor and neighbor, the opportunity to listen to elders and the basis for which a society survives.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 position, does the Agency, the immediate supervisor or fellow coworkers even “know” about the medical condition, or even show any concern or care?

Each day, we “gather” together for a common purpose – for work, for the Agency’s “mission” and the “work-for-paycheck” agreement between employer and employee.  And, yes, there is a distinction to be made between a “social gathering” and a gathering intended for purposes of work and productivity.  Yet, there is something inherently amiss when one’s humanity is lost in the process of this thing called “employment gathering” – where no one seems to care about the next person, and when once the clock ticks to the closing hour, everyone departs to their own private gatherings, whatever that may be and wherever it may end up.  Of course, to invite a coworker to a home meal may constitute some form of harassment, and any gatherings to “pray” for another – regardless of what religion or denomination of belief it may originate from – is automatically excluded because of the offensive connotations of such an act; and so we are left with going home, each of us, and gather from a distance through the technology of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email.

And yet, the Federal or Postal employee who has all along suffered from a medical condition, suffers still, and the only option left is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, just because the “gathering” at work didn’t care enough to try and find a suitable accommodation for that Federal or Postal employee.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire