OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: The Cauldron of One’s Past

The oversized iron pot hangs over the open fire, and the gurgling of ingredients steams and burps the lid in predictable sequences of rhythmic timing; the aroma is an admixture of sweet and mysterious combinations of one knows-not-what; perhaps of bones, marrow and herbs, here a whiff of something which touches upon the dark recesses of one’s memory, and there a hint of harboring horrors, reminding us of past deeds and loathsome reminiscences.

The figure who stands hunched over the source of pervading uprisings, is covered in a dark shawl; a bony hand gripping the large wooden ladle, mixing, turning, crouching over to sniff and taste; and from the chasm of the figure’s hollow mouth, toothless and echoing a chamber of snorting chafes, the sigh of satisfaction emits, as the cauldron of one’s past is ready to be served.  And so the story goes.

Who among us would want the fullness of one’s past and history of deeds to be revealed?  What pot would hold the full taste of one’s misdeeds, private concerns and actions engaged?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the process itself sometimes feels like one is forced to partake of a witch’s brew — who will be in the mix?  What private information will have to be revealed?  When will the pot of information be ready?  Who will mix the ingredients?  The mysteries contained within the mixture of the witch’s brew is indeed terrifying.  Every process which is unknown and, moreover, unknowable, is one fraught with concerns and trepidation of purpose.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is like the witch’s cauldron — it must bring to the fore one’s current circumstances (the medical condition), the impact upon the future (finances, future job prospects, etc.), and potentially the confrontation with one’s past (agencies love to do that).

The key is to understand the complexities of the administrative process, and to maneuver through the bureaucracy of the witch’s brew.  In doing that, one must always be cognizant of the cauldron of one’s past, and keep out of the reach and grasp of those bony fingers which reach out to encircle one’s throat, lest you become an ingredient in the admixture of the skeletons found at the bottom of the pot.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Random Happenstance

A determination concerning the random nature of a material and unconscious universe can only come about in contrast to a recognition that there is a comparison to be made, to its opposite corollary — that of a teleological state where will, consciousness and deliberation of action occurs.

Thus, one can bemoan the random happenstance of events, but to complain of an inherent “unfairness” becomes a self-contradiction, precisely because to do so is to declare otherwise than to acknowledge its aimless appearance and entrance into the consciousness before one who recognizes the arbitrary realm of an otherwise impervious and unfeeling world.

Further, while inanimate objects and their movement within the universe may further establish the arbitrary catapult of nature’s actions, when human decisions, and acts engaged by animals who are clearly aware of deliberative encounters interact within the arc of intersecting symmetries, one must always consider the history of how things came about, before determining whether or not the lack of teleological consequences betrays a truly random happenstance.

Medical conditions tend to prove the point.  Why does X occur to Y, but not to Z?  That is a question which involves an underlying sense of declaring the “unfairness” of a circumstance.  Whether genetic inheritance, an excess of negative and detrimental exposures, or perhaps an aimless accident resulting in injury, most often one will never know.  Doctors can discuss the contextual historicity of origins, but in the end, the medical condition must be accepted, and engaged.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives have been impacted by a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the time to consider the random happenstance of one’s condition, or whether there is behind it a purpose or lesson to be gleaned, is best put off for another day.

Instead, the practicalities of life’s mandates should prevail, and one such deliberative consideration is to determine whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should be one of the options to entertain.   Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal and Postal worker to maintain health insurance, continue an income based upon an annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year of being an annuitant, and 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point it becomes automatically converted to regular retirement; and, moreover, the number of years one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of Federal Service.

Yes, life’s random happenstance can sometimes appear unexpectedly, and seem unfair in a universe where we map out our existence from birth to death; but it is important to recognize that beyond the laws of physics allowable in the physical world of an impervious nature, there are no rules of the game except the ones we employ through devices concocted within the artifice of our own imaginations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Privacy Factor

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency, en route to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under whichever various retirement systems (FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset), the inherent dangers of revelation, violation or dissemination, whether intended or otherwise, becomes a focused concern for every Federal or Postal employee engaging the administrative process.

The idea that a stranger may view one’s medical information is one thing — for, in that event, we have become used to the discomforting acceptance that strangers at a records copier service may inadvertently “view” such medical documents; or, that the necessity of the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must analyze and evaluate the medical information provided; and such instances are unavoidable and therefore marginally acceptable.

It is, rather, the viewing and dissemination of those whom we are familiar with, which tends to concern.  But to focus too obsessively upon such issues can distract and detract; the scent of vulnerability — a euphemism for people being nosey — is a natural result of bureaucracies, and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are rampant petri dishes for uncontrollable spread of viral prurient interests.  Fear of imaginative consequences can harmfully present an obstacle for progress.

Assume that the worst will happen, and when something less actually occurs, acceptance of such lesser results will be easier to embrace.  Medical conditions and information about one’s disability are indeed matters of privacy; but when a Federal or Postal employee voluntarily files for Disability with the Office of Personnel Management, the road from Point A to Destination B should be a straight line of focus, and not marred with distractions which ultimately have little consequential impact.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire