FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: The Task Ahead

We all talk in those terms, don’t we?  And when the future is no longer referred to, we begin to worry; for it is the notion of a future that keeps us alive in the present, while the past is merely a portrait of who we were and what made us today.  A person without a history is an enigma; of what we are doing presently informs others of where we are going; and of future plans — well, that reveals of character, ambitions and the motivations of “what” and “who”.

When two people meet for the first time, it is commonplace to inquire as to the other’s past.  Why is that important?  Do we glean from a person’s previous experiences the type of “character” one has?  Of the places a person has been to; of his or her upbringing; of the hardships and trials one has endured; of the relationships one has been entangled in; and of the schools attended, the education received, etc. — are these, in their aggregate, what reveals the “make-up” of a person?

Can one sweep one’s past aside and simply declare, “I have no past and nor do I want to discuss it.  However, let me tell you of my future plans — of the task ahead.”  Why wouldn’t that be acceptable?  Is it because anyone can say anything about the future yet to be done, and it is the past which remains the telltale sign of a person’s true intentions and motivations — that is, the sincerity of one’s declarations?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the task ahead becomes clearer each day as one’s medical condition worsens: Filing for Federal Disability Retirement looms as a greater and nearer necessity.

Does the past matter?  Yes — as to the deteriorating aspect and its impact upon one’s present circumstances.  Does the present have any relevance?  Yes, to the extent of one’s current medical issues and the nexus to one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  And what of the task ahead?  That is the true test — and for that, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law in order to prepare the most effective application for the task ahead: to formulate a strategy in order to pass muster with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Who we are

That is a rather presumptuous title, one might declare; for, it is always the “we” that others presume to know, as opposed to limiting the declarative within the restrictive confines of one’s self, family and surrounding community.

What is the great equalizer that allows for the collective plural pronoun?  Is it television (i.e., do “we” all watch the same shows and thus form a conglomerate of a universal consciousness)?  There was once a time when one could argue that a unity of convention existed — especially harkening back to the days when there were essentially 3 networks to choose from, and where all three were similar in content, thought and approach.

In modernity, is it the Internet?  But the worldwide “web’ is too diverse to narrowly formulate a cumulative effect of similar normative beliefs.

Perhaps that is why society in general is so diverse and fractured; where even a simple consensus amidst a small community cannot be reached, and how geographic differences have become exponentially and irreversibly altered and separated from one another.

Who are we?  Yes, the inversion substitution of the second word with the third makes the declarative into a query, and changes the entire subject matter.  It is, perhaps, both a statement and a question, and neither make sense, anymore.  And so we are left with a singular voice — of a monologue and an aside, or as in a play, a soliloquy, where the character asks the universal question, Who am I?  Am I the collective consciousness of my direct descendent, and does that have meaningfulness, anymore?  Why do we seek answers by purchasing and sending away “DNA kits”, as if the spiral spectrum of cellular anomalies would be able to answer the question which haunts us all?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the potential loss of one’s identity within the community of Federal and Postal workers is often the step that is difficult to take.

One’s identity, purpose, drive and dreams are often bundled up into an inseparable conglomeration of work and identity, and to separate from that self-identification is often a difficult venture to undertake.  But the danger, of course, is that you may be forcibly separated if you do not take the steps necessary to protect your identity.

The Agency will ultimately terminate you, and the harassment because you have taken too much Sick Leave, Annual Leave, FMLA or LWOP is inevitable.  Better that you file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits and retain a semblance of who you are, lest the Federal Agency or the Postal Service does that to you unilaterally, leaving you with the question, Who do they think they are?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Dismal

At the outset, you realize that something is wrong with the caption.  Not being a noun, the space following demands the question, “The dismal what?”  Adjectives require it; we all learned about them in grade school (if that is even taught, anymore) about grammar, and how they “modify” the noun.  It cannot stand alone.  It is a peculiar adjective, isn’t it?  It is one that cannot modify a noun except in a negative way.

Others can be modifiers but can themselves become altered by the mere fact of relational influence.  For example, one may refer to the “beautiful ugliness” of a landscape, and understand by it that the contrast between the two modifies one another.  But with the adjective “dismal’, it seems never to work. Whatever noun it stands beside; whatever word that it is meant to modify; in whichever grammatical form or content — it stands alone is a haunting sense of the dismal — of down, depressed and disturbed.

It is like the medical condition that attaches and refuses to separate; of an embrace that will not let go, a hug that cannot be unraveled; and a sense that cannot be shaken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the adjective of “dismal” often precedes the realization that one’s career must be modified in order to attend to one’s medical condition.  Work takes up a tremendous amount of one’s time, energy and strength of daily endurance, and obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity is often required just so that one’s focus can be redirected in order to attend to one’s health.

The process of preparing, formulating and filing, then waiting upon, a Federal Disability Retirement application is a daunting one, and you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the dismal turn into a morass of a bureaucratic nightmare which fails to modify the noun that all applicants yearn for: The approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Chaotic interludes

The root word itself stands for the state of being prior to the ordering of the universe – either by the hand of God or through natural evolution; or, if you are a Get Smart fan, it is spelled somewhat differently – KAOS – and is actually not an acronym that stands for anything, but is an international organization set to do evil that only Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 and his partner Agent 99 can prevent from accomplishing their terrible deeds; or, if you are an engineer, you may know the acronym as standing for “Knowledge Acquisition in Automated Specification”.

In any of the events, the state of Being otherwise recognized as “Chaos” (or its alternative spelling, KAOS) is identified as something unwelcoming, insidious and to be forever avoided.  Yet, life brings about such states from time to time, as if to remind us that order, sequence, linear models of livelihoods and pristine beauties of uninterrupted serenity are rare in the discourse of nature’s continuum.

Chaotic interludes tend to rear its ugly head just when things seem to be going smoother; when we least expect it; when the quietude of our lives seem in perfect balance; then the disaster, the disordering impact, the jumbling-up and shaking it all about comes crashing like thunder in the night to awaken us with a start.  A start?  To do what?

Perhaps as a test; as a challenge; to rethink the priorities of our lives; and to remind us that life is not a matter of slumber and remaining in a constant state of stupor and repetitive thoughtlessness, but a chasm of necessity mandating daily focus, concentration and attention to the important things around us.  Maybe we were becoming too complacent; perhaps the monotony of habit was making of us all bores to be avoided; or, more likely, we were just getting steeped into the ego of our own self-centeredness.

Whatever the reason, chaotic interludes tend to hit us in bumps and pushes, sort of like standing in a line to get into a movie theater or on the waiting list for a restaurant, and suddenly an earthquake hits the area, or a robber comes running out of the establishment and pushing you onto the street where oncoming traffic busily spins its wheels, or more commonly, you are diagnosed with an unexpected medical condition, and that medical condition becomes a slowly deteriorating, progressively debilitating state of Being.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Government or Postal Facility in ways that clearly show that you cannot do the job anymore, the concept of chaotic interludes is nothing new.  The real question is:  What to do about it?

One option is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  That’s the thing about chaotic interludes; the options available are often limited; but out of the chaos that ensues, what is often important is to recognize the problem and tackle the issue in the best possible manner.

Otherwise, call Maxwell Smart and hope that his shoe-phone is in good working order.

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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: The voice of constructive criticism

It is rare for the individual to accept constructive criticism; rarer still, to invite and welcome it in any form, whether destructive, constructive or otherwise characterized as “positive”, “negative” or “neutral”.  The fact is that few of us accept any form of it at all, and quickly respond with the rebuttal:  “It’s not constructive”.  But why does it need to be?

Such a reaction assumes an inherent distinction that merely and preemptively places an obstacle to further engagement.  It may well be that, in the end, one can conclude as to the resultant characterization initially presumed, and perhaps even to attribute bad faith, unhelpful motivations and intended cuts.  But all of that should come at the end of the deliberative process, and not as the beginning firewall to prevent further discussion and consideration.

For some reason, the evolution of man has embraced the societal need to spend an exorbitant amount of time defending justifying, counterpunching and placing linguistic walls of protective measures in order to preserve the superficial appearances that we all deny we revere.  The irony of Western Philosophy is that, despite questions repetitively and exhaustively presented – with never any conclusive and satisfactory answers ever provided (like children and their eyes bulging with curiosity in a toy store) – the query never ends and the answers are forever avoided.

This age of modernity, however, has a new wrinkle:  as traditional philosophy has been relegated to insignificance and irrelevance by reducing it as a matter of language games and confusion in our thought-processes, so now the “new” approach is to avoid any substantive questions (and therefore any curiosity to have the answers) and, instead, to preserve and protect our superficial lives and appearances.

The beginning of Western Philosophy warned of this – from Parmenides and Heraclitus, and with the entrance of that irritant vagabond Socrates as related to us through the Platonic Dialogues – “appearances” were to be queried and investigated in order to get to the foundation of Being.  Now, we avoid even the appearance of superficiality in order to protect how shallow we are, and we do this by preemptively and viciously attacking the mere question in order to avoid any criticism at all.  This can obviously have dangerous consequences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to submitting a “winning” Federal Disability Retirement application is in being open to self-criticism, whether constructive, destructive or otherwise neutral.

Vigilance in life is always the key, and refining, streamlining and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application should go through a rigorous “vetting” process, such that the questions of Socrates through his dialectical methodology of getting to the “truth” should never be subverted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Application: The tools we have for use

The foundation is always “all-important”; but there are other tools at one’s disposal, and the question is:  Do we know and recognize what those tools are, and if not, how can we use them out of ignorance?

How does SSDI intersect with FERS Disability retirement – not the issue of offsetting the concurrent payments after approval of each (that is merely a monetary calculation that has nothing to do with getting a FERS Disability Retirement application approved); rather, should an approval of an SSDI application have a legal impact upon a FERS Disability Retirement?  How about a denial – but one with a statement in the SSDI denial letter acknowledging that the FERS Disability Retirement applicant is unable to perform the duties of his current/former employment, but may be able to do “other employment”?

How should a mixed removal be utilized to its most effective manner?  If a person is removed partly for his or her medical inability to perform the essential functions of the job, but also because of AWOL issues or excessive LWOP usage, does it undermine the application and efficacy of a Bruner Presumption argument?

What should be done with a Department of Veterans Affairs rating?  Is it always persuasive, never determinative?  Even if persuasive, should it always be introduced, or is discretion the better part of valor – or, in the case of a FERS Disability Retirement application, the better part of value in using it as “proof” for a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Should medical documentation be indiscriminately submitted?

In other words, in a FERS Disability Retirement application, does the FERS Disability applicant have any rights as to dissemination of medical documentation, especially those portions which do not go to the substantive centrality of one’s claim in requesting a Federal Disability Retirement approval?  To what extent can the FERS Disability Retirement applicant and his/her attorney have the right to act as the “gatekeeper” in providing sensitive medical documentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

Tools – we have them; but of what use, efficacy or relevance are they, if they are left in reserve without pragmatic utilization?  And, as to the “reserve” – should the FERS Disability Retirement applicant keep in tow any of the tools, or should they all be used in an aggregate, cumulative powerhouse of aggressive and forceful argumentation?

Tools – to have them is one thing; to use, another; but more than that, to know what to use, when, how, and to what applicable relevance; that is the power behind the inertness of that which can be enlivened by knowledge, information and discretionary utilization.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire