FERS Disability Retirement: The formulation

There is, first, the preparation; then, the formulation; and finally, the filing and the waiting.  Are the sequence of steps necessarily separate and identifiable — cleanly bifurcated such that there is no overlapping of concerns?  Of course not; but the three elements in a OPM Disability Retirement application are necessary for the successful outcome of the endeavor.

The “preparation” is often skipped in order to get to the “filling out the forms” portion, which is contained somewhere between the preparatory stage of the process, extends into the formative arena and comes to fruition just before filing, as the finishing touches are placed in refinement of the final product.

The analogies are numerous: of baking a cake — first, one must have a “recipe” (the preparatory stage of the process); then, in between the preparation and the formulation, one must gather all of the ingredients necessary to fulfill the recipe: i.e., the medical documentation; the legal citations to be applied; perhaps other ancillary supportive presentations; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and the multitude of other papers which will ultimately accompany the Federal Disability Retirement filing; then, the filing itself — of placing it into the oven and waiting while it bakes to final product.

It is, in many ways, the “formulation” part of it that fails the Federal employee or Postal worker putting together an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the rush to get it done is often comprised by a furious sense of desperation in gathering whatever medical records can be amassed in the shortest time possible; of quickly jotting down the things “wrong” with you on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and then quickly “shoving” it into the oven hoping that it will bake quickly and come out well.

Yet, while the “recipe” is important, and the filing is crucial, it is the “formulation”of the OPM Disability Retirement packet — of the putting together in a thoughtful and persuasive manner the legal memorandum which cites the case-law, argues the evidence and providers a “road-map” for OPM to approve one’s Federal Disability Retirement application — that is often overlooked and becomes the unintended nemesis for a successful outcome in a OPM Disability Retirement application.

In skipping over that part —the formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application — it is likened to that “uh-oh” moment when you realized that you had forgotten to put any butter, milk or other essential ingredients into the cake after you have already put it into the oven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Detectorists

For those of you who are fans of the British series, a sad wave of goodbyes ensued after the third and apparently final season that depicted intelligent humor, a subtle sense of British irony and a deep love for human relationships above material wealth.

Simplicity and the idealized community of pastoral lifestyles amidst the bustle of the world beyond allows for the story to capture the imagination of fans and viewers.  None of the characters in the series have much or anything in common with one another — whether in profession, personality or commonly-held beliefs — except for a love of a hobby that unites their differences and quirky individualism.

Many of the references contained within conversations must be Googled in order to attain a greater appreciation; the constant references to the musical interludes of Simon & Garfunkel are easily recognized by a generation of those who grew up with the music; and the deep historical references engendered by images of an ancient past creates a sense of mystery beyond minor relevance to the emptiness felt in the way we live today.

Who would have thought that there would be of much interest in a group of misfits scanning fallow farm fields for ancient traces of Norman or Celtic residue?  Gold and similar treasures are the unspoken goal of everyone, though such dreams of ancient discoveries remain deep within the consciousness of every such hobby-seeker; and like so many such series, there will be an abiding cult-following, for we always want more: 3 seasons of watching Andy and Lance banter among the grassy knolls of the English countryside just doesn’t seem enough, and the subtle British humor demands more despite the final episode that gave satisfaction to all treasure seekers — of riches literally falling down from the heavens.

What metaphorical lessons can be gleaned from two comics of such ordinary means — is it the pastoral background?  Of a simpler life offered?  Of human relationships that might otherwise have never been forged?  Or does it abide in the idea that the true treasures we seek are hidden just beneath the surface, where such places are stepped over each and every day without their due recognition?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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 “life-lessons” from the Detectorists might be that clinging to those things we consider “treasures” while one’s health deteriorates may be a wrongheaded approach; and while obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may not be the “answer” to all of the difficulties faced by the Federal or Postal employee struggling with a medical condition, it at least allows for the Federal or Postal employee — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — to focus one’s greater efforts upon regaining one’s health.

And like the detectorists who scan about for treasures beneath the surface, it may be that a more pastoral lifestyle without the stresses of the modern workplace may serve to bring about a healthier outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mindful debate

The concept itself can take on various meanings: of a “thoughtful” discourse or disagreement between two or more individuals; of a debate that takes into account factors leading to a courteous and conversational engagement; or of even a third meaning — that of an insular soliloquy, where the only voices participating in the debate are those of one’s own: voices that are never heard by the public ear, nor recognized by anyone else but the lonely voice within.

That is often the most dangerous of debates; for, in the end, who is the judge of such a debate, as to who wins or loses the argument?  Was there ever a chance for a third voice — an “objective” party outside of the confines of one’s own mind — to bring in another perspective, a different thought or a distinct voice of reason?

No — the mindful debate that includes only the purveyor of a one-sided perspective is predestined to conclude with a narrow viewpoint, and moreover, one that cannot be properly judged as right or wrong precisely because it was predetermined at the outset to a perspective unwilling to listen to differences. How often and how many walk about silently while never engaging others, forever having the mindful debate within?

It is too often the voices that consider the validity of such a debate to be singular, lonely and irrational, if only because rationality needs the input of voices other than one’s own.  Such mindful debates can turn to the solitary agony of troubled waters resulting from a myopic and wrongheaded view that things are worse than they seem, and it is the “seeming” that leads one astray.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the singular voice that occurs in the loneliness of one’s mind is too often a one-sided debate until and unless you seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Don’t let misinformation misguide you; do not allow for wrong paths to take you down error’s lane just because you have engaged in the solitary conclusions of a mindful debate.  Instead, before preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and start including others in the mindful debate such that the mindfulness of the debate becomes also a thoughtful one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The pleasurable distraction

When does a distraction itself become a distraction, such that the pleasure beheld becomes instead a burden and no longer is a pleasurable distraction?  It is like the tangents that become the mainstay of a life; suddenly, the peripheral matters become the central conditions, and those fences that once preserved the clear boundaries have fallen into disrepair, and instead there seems to be no end to the bifurcations needed in life’s inherent complexities.

Thus, was once a hobby a pleasurable distraction, now merely a nuisance that is left in the junk heap in the corner of the garage?  Or an activity of physical exercise that one exuberantly tackled, now a necessity because of failing health, and increasingly intolerable because of the time it takes, the stresses of needing to attend to other, more “meaningful” projects, and so we exchange prior declarations of glee for that of old-age grumbling.

Playing with the kids; throwing the ball with the dog; watching a movie together with that “special other”; these were once pleasurable distractions, now jumbled into the stresses of life as if they are just “things to do” on the daily lists of activities, as opposed to that which is “looked forward to” in order to escape the centrality of problematic living.

We have lost, in modernity, the capacity to enjoy; oh, yes, we make statements about how “happy” we are, and put on a brave face or a phony smile; but the reality is that “happiness” has lost its core meaning precisely because we are all expected to be so.  And thus has the pleasurable distraction been cast away on the trash heap of history’s many experiments, one more to be counted on the negative side of the proverbial ledger.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have experienced 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 position, always remember that the pleasurable distraction was once the central focus of why we do what we do; and when that pleasurable distraction becomes transformed into a nuisance because the core basis upon which we engage the world – our work, our career, our means of making a living – becomes such a burden that we must abandon all such pleasurable distractions, then it is probably time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, when those pleasurable distractions become impeded by the unpleasant deterioration of a medical condition, the entire basis of the structure of why we continue on becomes questioned, thereby requiring a reformulation of the structures of unscientific evolutions – i.e., what it means to be “happy”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: Life’s Series of Decisions

As activity is the fingerprint of life, and inertia denotes death (or at least a somnolence of sluggishness), so the parallelism between thought and life follows the logic of movement versus progressive decomposition.  Thinking, according to Aristotelian tradition, constitutes the essence of human-ness.  Other species may have characteristics which define and distinguish; for the human animal, it is the process of thinking, or thought-engagement, which differentiates and identifies by uniqueness of quality.  Part of that cognitive process involves decision-making.

For all species, this cannot be the essence of being, because such a principle applies to every genus, lest we conclude that determinism is ingrained in one’s DNA.  Predators must decide when and upon what the advantage of a chase will result; frogs must affirmatively choose when to snap that elongated tongue in the split second of time to satisfy its appetite; and men and women must resolve issues short of confrontations engaged in a prior state of nature, to confirm that civilization is indeed a progression of culture and sophistication, and not based upon brute force.

The underlying principles, then, which distinguishes human decision-making from other species, must be some other component; perhaps that of the formulation of a paradigmatic criteria upon which an option is considered.

In the process of thoughtful decision-making, what criteria do we apply?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the criteria-based paradigm of choice-making may be limited:  You can remain within the inertia of present circumstances; you can walk away in order to “save” your health, while also partly engaging in the first option (i.e., change into the inertia of a different set of circumstances); or, you can file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

If the third alternative is the one opted for, then a series of additional questions and answers must be posed and resolved:  How many years of Federal Service; how long will the process take; what are the chances of success; will my doctor support me in this endeavor; and multiple other queries.  For some of these, further research and investigation will provide the answers; for others, seeking legal counsel, expert advice and general wisdom of experience will be helpful.

In the end, inertia should be disengaged, as lifelessness should never define the essence of a living being; and the thoughtless void which modern society and technological dominance tends to cower us all into, should be pushed back and resisted, like the days of yore of Masada and other uprisings which manifest the destiny of humanity, that life on any planet, Mars or Earth, is indeed a rarity even among a plenitude of apparent activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire