OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Treading Life

We don’t often think of it in those terms; but, in fact, that is how most of us live.  Like the meek swimmer who does not want to drown, we merely tread water — sometimes calmly, often with a sense of desperation; and too often, with a fear that results in a frenzied struggle.  We invent euphemisms for that: Keeping out “heads above water”; Not drowning; “Sink or swim”; “Like being on the Titanic”; and other similar statements emanating from water-based fears.

We tread life like we tread water; just to survive, never taking the chance to swim in this direction or that; and when finally fatigue sets in to remind us that going nowhere is tantamount to waiting to be drowned, we are so weary from so much time and effort to keep afloat that we can no longer muster the energy to even swim to the edge of the pool in order to hang on or lift ourselves out.  And when those unexpected tugs, tides and tidal waves suddenly appear, we thrash about and forget the basics of how to even float, allowing the vicissitudes of life’s mishaps to determine the course of our lives, the quality of how we live and the manner of who we are.

Medical conditions have a way of doing that — of making us forget how to even swim.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one of more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Treading Life is what we are often forced to do; drowning in life’s problems is what we are too often faced with; swimming with a purposeful destination is what we need to do —and that is the purpose of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Return to Who I Am

We all take on different roles — whether as a parent, a husband, a wife; of assuming the role each day of a supervisor, a worker, a doctor, lawyer, etc. The underlying “substratum” of the “I” is presumed to remain the same throughout, but there may be a difference in the character posed, the personality posited or the tone, tonality and tenor of a voice, inflection, the way you talk, etc.

Perhaps, on a “Take your child to work day” you bring along your son or daughter and he or she watches you work in a particular role. Afterwards, does the child think to himself — or express him or herself to you or some third person — and say: “Gee, Mom [or Dad] sure acts differently at the office.”

Actors and actresses take on a “double-role” of sorts, don’t they? They not only have to take on the role of a character, whether in a play or a part in a filmed venue, but moreover, to “become” someone other than the person Who I Am.

Is there a difference between “Assuming the role of an Accountant” and “Playing the role of an Accountant”? Certainly, the former must have some credentials — perhaps as a C.P.A. or some “financial consultant certificate”, or some degree in accounting — whereas the latter only has to “act like” he or she has merited such a status. And the clients who come to the former — they are presumably “real” people whose financial problems or quandaries are “real” as well, whereas in the “acting’ role, they are not real, per se, but are also assuming the role of a part for the sake of an audience.

In either and both cases — whether of being “real” or “acting” in a role — the person to whom one “returns to” is someone who is the substratum: For the child, it is “Mommy” or “Daddy”; for the spouse, it is the husband or wife who “went-to-work-and-is-now-home”; and for the life-long friend from childhood days, it may be “Oh, that’s Dan who works as such-and-such, but who is good ol’ Dan always and forever.” But whatever role one assumes in life, whenever he or she returns to that person “Who I am”, does he or she ever return as the same person, or is there always a slight difference?

For, whatever the experience encountered in the “role” one plays, doesn’t it always change the person such that the person to whom one returns to can never be quite the same as before?

That is what happens with the Federal or Postal employee who needs to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits — Yes, the point of trying to overcome a medical condition is so that one can “return to who I am”; but in reality, that will never happen, precisely because the medical condition and the experience of enduring the medical condition has changed the person forever.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early FERS Medical Retirement: Inside Life & Outside Appearance

Each of us lives an insular life.  It is that “private” side of us which remains so at our option.

How much of it is allowed into the public arena, and to whom we may share with, those are dependent upon multiple factors — of desiring to; of releasing information about ourselves that may allow for one to become “vulnerable”; of secretive lies; of shameful pasts; of thoughts that may be considered imprudent or childish; of foolish past exploits that may embarrass; of actions committed that were long forgotten by everyone but the self; and many more besides.

Then, of course, there is the “Outside appearance” — the person who is a compendium and pieced-together puzzle.  That “person” is comprised of many facets: By those who “know” you at the office, but perhaps in a restricted, limited way; by neighbors and acquaintances; by closer family members; by people who may have only come in contact by telephone or the internet, etc.

How much of the Inside life and the Outside appearance overlap may be best illustrated by a Venn diagram — or by a multitude of concentric circles, depending upon who is asked about a particular person.  Some scrupulously guard the inside life; others, like an open book left unguarded and unmarked, allow for the two parallel streams to mix and mingle without thoughts of restricting access.

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 position, the concept of the “Inside life” and the “Outside appearance” is important to consider when entertaining the idea of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the Federal or Postal employee may be suffering from a medical condition, how much of that “Inside life” has impacted the “Outside appearance” — i.e., the medical condition’s impact upon one’s performance, conduct or attendance — will be questioned by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in determining the merits of the case.

It is, in a FERS Disability Retirement case, the “Outside appearance” that will be determinative, so that no matter the extent of pain or anguish experienced by the “Inside Life”, it is the “Outside appearance” which will be the facet of evaluative validity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire