Federal Disability Retirement: The Pathway of Choice

Pathways are peculiar entities; pre-Google Map times, they were a maze of forbidden routes, romanticized by a generation who were familiar with the television series, Route 66, and about hitchhiking, wrong turns, Robert Frost’s famous poem and Rand McNally road maps.

Now, of course, Google guides, directs, and (sometimes) allows for avoidance of unnecessary delays.  But is it the pathway of choice, and even more importantly, is the pathway chosen the best one for each one of us, the most advantageous for us, and the one which ultimately is in our best interests?  If the pathway that is chosen is simply so because all others are never known, or merely because that is the Robert-Frost-look-alike, when in fact it is delimited because of our lack of knowledge, is it really out of choice or of necessity?

Perhaps the career chosen is not turning out to be the realization of one’s dreams; or, as sometimes happens, an unfortunate set of circumstances has intervened — like a medical condition — and suddenly the pathway of choice that we thought would fulfill our hopes and dreams no longer seems possible; then what?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows us to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the pathway of choice for the immediate future may seem constricted:  Stay put and suffer; walk away with nothing; or, prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

That is the tripartite fork in the immediate road on the way to one’s pathway of choice; but then, there are other “forks in the road” beyond, such as being able to work at another job after one has been approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether in the private sector or in a state, county or municipal employment scenario.

Don’t be restricted to the immediacy of one’s pathway of choice, for there are many forks beyond, and the pathway of choice as dictated by Google maps only tells you which turn to make in the next quarter mile, and not about what may be chosen in future lives yet unforeseen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The inchoate life

The problem is often the perspective, and not the reality.  Somehow, human beings walk about this earth with the expectation that fulfillment is in the “now” and development is merely something ascribed to babies, yogurt and African nations on a far away continent of timeless immaturity.  Potentiality; the consistency of growth; and, even in old age, despite the deterioration and degeneration of cellular expansion, our lives represent an inchoate and rudimentary structure such that we have to constantly strive to grow.

Yet, somehow, we mistakenly believe in so many fictions; that the senior prom is the fulfillment of all things important; that graduation from college represents the pinnacle of our education except for those few who go on to graduate schools (which is now more common than even a decade before because of the intense economic challenges and competition); that the present job is the treadmill upon which success or failure reflects; and that, in old age, decrepitude and endless agony awaits us all.

All of us, in the end, are imperfectly formed and in the constant process of becoming formulated; yet, by our impatience and desire for fulfillment, we deny the very existence of the part-existence of our very Being.  And so we cry out in protest when a medical condition hits us and prevents us from being or doing that which we believe we were destined for; and like the shrill screams of hungry coyote in the wind-swept plains of a desolate landscape, we dream in solitude as the howls of time obscure the pain of suffering.

What dreams we once held; the journey from form to content; the need to accomplish, excel and fulfill; these are all human characteristics which bring out the best in us.  But reality is also a discourse where interruptions and interludes occur, and the reality is that most of us never fulfill the potential of our lives, and that is okay, especially when the circumstances intervening are beyond that which we have the ability or capacity to control. The inchoate life is seen throughout the many unmarked graves and tombstones lying in quietude of silent anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who realize that careers chosen, dreams yet unfulfilled and goals unachieved, the medical conditions that interrupt are merely reminders to us all that the inchoate life cannot be avoided.  Priorities must be set; a different path may be required.

Preparing, formulating and 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, is merely another step in the many steps of a Chinese proverb, and the inchoate life is just another movement, a stir and a wrinkle in so many lives yet to reach the completeness of a destiny still to call in the wilds of a lone wolf speaking to the full moon of purposeful lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The importance of seeing a way out

The strategic approach of allowing for a route of retreat is well-known; by providing an exit option, casualties are lessened and the proportional ferocity of battle often parallels the availability or non-existence of such a pathway out.

Cornered animals behave in the same way – and why would they not?  Do we think that we are somehow exempt from the genetic predisposition of Darwinian inherency?  And the cornered enemy who sees no exit – with the final bullet retained for self-annihilation, the option of surrender not a reality for the traitorous residue to such an act, or of the potential for torture and mutilation naturally following revenge upon actions taken previously; or a kamikaze-like final hurrah met with a hail of bullets; it is the importance of seeing a way out, that often determines the course of future conduct.

That is how the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker views the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement:  as the “way out” of an otherwise untenable future course.  Without it, the options are often:  Die trying to get to work each day; resign with nothing to show for the many years of investing in one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.

What is so interesting in engaging Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers for multiple decades, now, is the singular and unassailable fact that is contrary to the misperception held by the general public:  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are among the most dedicated of workforce servants, putting in long and uncompensated hours beyond what they are required, and never wanting to take the “exit option” but for the chronic and severe nature of a rising and debilitating medical condition.  And, how many who obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity go on into the private sector and “pay back” into the very system from which they are being compensated the Disability Retirement annuity?  Many, if not most.

Without the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, many would struggle and ultimately lose the battle either with the agency or the Postal Service, or with the medical condition itself.  Even with the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the pay is not so enticing as to encourage any mass exodus via the vehicle of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, and it is only because of the progressively deteriorating nature of a medical condition that finally impels and compels the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker to take that exit option, and to seek to reach a plateau of rehabilitative serenity such that a further career or vocation in the private sector could be possible.

In the end, like enemies in a fierce firefight, the importance of seeing a way out is just as relevant to the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, as it is to the kamikaze warrior who tightens the band of fate by an emblematic headscarf in preparation for the final battle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Fear and Trembling

The reference, of course, is to the major philosophical contribution by Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish Philosopher; and his title is a further extrapolation from the Bible.  It is an investigation of the test placed upon Abraham to make of his son, Isaac, the sacrificial lamb as a testament of his faith and obedience.

Whether one is religious or not, the value of such an investigation cannot be disregarded.  Such a test and endurance; how far Abraham was willing to go; were there indications of behavior which revealed hesitancy; did doubt ever enter into his mind; is obedience to faith ever justified when it seems to overpower fundamental moral considerations; does the author of moral uprightness have the right to violate the very laws of issuance (similar to the theological conundrum, Can God create a rock heavier than He can lift, and if not, does that not undermine the very definition of omnipotence?); what emotional turmoil was Abraham wrestling with, and what of fear and trembling?

These are mere surface questions which Kierkegaard attempts to encounter; the fact that most of society fails or ignores to consider, is a reflection of the state of our own being.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts (A) one’s own health and livelihood, and (B) the capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of fear and trembling should hit close to home.  Fear is attributable to the uncertainty of one’s future; trembling concerns the state of persecution one experiences at the hands of a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Kierkegaard leaves no stone unturned in his rapacious search for truth; for the Federal or Postal employee, even a surface scratching of what Kierkegaard questioned, can be of relevance in moving forward.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like entering the lofty towers of ivory perspectives as presupposed by Kierkegaard’s work; but it is in the end a pragmatic decision of fortitude which secures one’s future and allows for the stresses of our times to be set aside, deliberately, purposefully, and with regard for one’s own life and being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: Agency Adverse Actions

Calamities coalesce in concurrent coordinated couplings; often enough in life, when one action is engaged, another follows in reactive reflection.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the necessity to, or mere hint of the need to, file 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, often invokes a concurrent action on the part of the agency.

Whether such actions are mere coincidences (unlikely); retaliatory (a good chance); or deliberatively intentional (often enough) is anyone’s guess.  Trying to figure out the underlying motivation of agencies is merely a waste of one’s valuable time; what to do with the agency’s adverse actions, is the more productive approach to embrace.

The argument that finds some precedence for OPM in arguing against a Federal Disability Retirement case, is that somehow the Federal Disability Retirement application was merely a pretense to avoid termination, and thus is somehow invalidated.  But, in fact, the reverse can be argued as well:  Because of the medical condition, the agency’s adverse actions reflect the poor performance, the excessive taking of SL, LWOP, etc., and irrefutably confirms the validity of the Federal Disability Retirement filing.

What the agency’s adverse action states; how it is characterized; what surrounding correspondence exists; and the extent of one’s medical documentation around the time of the agency’s actions, and prior to, are all important components in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire