FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Information: The pleasure robbery

There are “highway robberies”, “train robberies” (distinguishable from THE great train robbery, which has become a historical feature of mythical proportions) and “bank robberies” (is there a single one that overshadows all others, or are they better identified by the characters who perpetrated them, like “Bonnie and Clyde”, Ma Barker, John Dillinger or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc.?); there is the “car jacking” which is nothing more complicated than the robbery of a vehicle, except perhaps by violent means and confrontation with the driver and/or owner; Skyjacking or Hijacking; and then there are “grand” or “petty” larcenies, depending upon the amount stolen, as well as special formulations with particularly distinctive and distinguishing details, like “embezzlement” (which often must possess an employer-employee relationship) or exerting “undue influence” in the act of stealing (as in cases of elder-abuse where a child or relative begins to siphon off wealth from one’s own family member); and many other types of simple criminal acts of absconding with that which is not one’s own to possess.

But what about the daily occurrences of the most prevalent incidents — that of the pleasure robbery? You know — those simple acts of mental anguish, where worry steals and robs from the pleasure of the moment; where an anticipated future event not yet having come to fruition constantly overwhelms where one is obsessed with the expectation of disaster, and thus robs the person of any pleasures taken for the moment?  This often happens on the weekend, doesn’t it?  From late Friday until Monday morning, the worry and anxiety sets in, robbing from the reserve that the weekend itself was meant to preserve and restore; and it is the pleasure robbery that leaves one with the greatest of devastating effects: profound and unrelenting fatigue, and not just from the imagined catastrophe that has not yet occurred, but moreover, from the anxiety and worry itself.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition, where the medical condition is impacting and preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of the pleasure robbery is a familiar one: for, one’s future, one’s career, and one’s livelihood are often at stake.

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, may not be the “total solution” for the anxiety that it may cause — whether because of the knowledge of a reduced income or the admission that the Federal or Postal employee must face the reality of one’s medical condition. However — despite being a complex administrative process, it is nevertheless a benefit that may resolve some of the perplexing questions that often accompany a medical condition, and set one onto a path of future hope and greater certainty in order to stabilize a world of unfathomable uncertainties, and at the very least, to stop the pleasure robbery from any further stealing away the needed rest and peace that weekends, vacations and a good night’s sleep are meant to provide.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Morning quietude

It is that early morning time when dogs remain still, mice scurry about and the soft snore of distant somber drifts down hallways without traffic of daily discourse.  Morning quietude is a slice of a coming day before the tumult of life begins.

Modernity possesses a level of activity heretofore untried and unimaginable; the constant barrage of emails, the connectedness that everyone feels pressured to comply with; the fact that we are glued to technology, dependent upon it, anticipating it for satisfying our every needs; and beyond the storms of everyday living, there is still a need for that brief period of morning quietude.  It is, in many ways, an extrapolated slice of a metaphorical interlude; for, like the stages of a linear life itself, there are periods of extremes that can be charted on any graph that reflects the daily heights and depths of human activity.

The other side of the spectrum, of course, is the nighttime rest – whether of the need for a period of “down-time” before turning in for the night; or even of sleep itself: how difficult, whether immediate or preceded by a period of insomnia; or even of tossing and turning throughout each night, every night.  Then, morning quietude dawns.  Does it last for very long, or will the rush of the day’s noisiness shatter any semblance of peaceful calm?

Medical conditions are likened to those mornings shaken and interrupted.  For, with unexpected rudeness, they awaken us from that slumber we feel where we were once immortal, invincible and unchallenged.  Then, one day we wake up and realize that we are all too human, and our bodies deteriorate, our minds begin to slip.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates one to begin considering 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, it is like that interruption of morning quietude that finally makes us realize that one has no choice in the matter.

Just as the peace and calm of early morning cannot last forever, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job cannot sit idly by and watch as events continue to deteriorate at one’s job, in one’s personal life, and the clash between health and work.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the next logical step after the morning quietude is broken – when the mice no longer make noises and the dogs begin to bark.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The lethargic state of tacit acceptance

Life has a way of beating down.  Whether it is from the constant drudgery of daily responsibilities, or perhaps the overwhelming bombardment of the harsh technological stimuli foreign yet to the still evolutionary sensibilities of nature’s slow progression for adaptability; the human body, mind and soul, while possessing a capacity for resistance greater than many other species, nevertheless is contained by limits of restrictive mechanisms tested daily beyond the tolerance of allowable endurance.

It is often said that time and age will take care of any youthful idealism; for, as cynicism is the property of the older generation, folly is the playground of the younger.  Falls resulting in laughter, as opposed to empathy; tears paused by applause, as want of sympathy; but as we grow up on morsels of victorious tales from mythology and storytellings from the warmth of loved ones, that security which we were once wrapped in quickly becomes a tattered shawl unable to conceal the victimhood which haunts our inner soul.

Acceptance of one’s plight has been, throughout man’s history, the basis for longevity and survival; and the quietude of a tortured soul, nowadays, may result in a bloodletting untold in former times for their atrocity and ferocity for purposeless mayhem.

It is that lethargic state of tacit acceptance which we always have to battle against; for, we know not when that moment of quantified bevy reaches the point of no return and the boiling level of overflow; and, for each of us, the threshold of that which constitutes “enough is enough” is variable, as the genetic predisposition for an explosive overflow depends upon birth, character, and the historicity of experiential phenomena which all of us carry within as the baggage which is unseen but which exudes like gangrene and spoiled milk wreaks of a rotting soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have reached that point of despondency, where a medical condition has prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the time may have come, already passed, or may be nearing, when the liveliness of the inner psyche once running barefoot through the pasture of timeless childhood memories has transformed into the mummy-like vestige of what once was, and now in danger of a metamorphosis into the lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not always seem like a “positive step”, and may have the appearance of stoppage, cessation or even a terminal conclusion pausing forward progress; but in the end, it is the health of the body, mind and soul which should dictate the priority of one’s actions, and not a career which will go on in the bureaucracy of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, whether that rotting essence lives on for a more hopeful tomorrow, or remains quietly rotting in a lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire