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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Mental Health, Stress and First Steps

Disquietude is a negation of a former state of being.  Perhaps it is merely a retrospective re-characterization or romanticization of a time or status that never was; or, maybe even a partial remembrance of a slice of one’s life measured as a fullness in comparison to what is occurring in the present.

Regardless (as opposed to the nonsensical, double-negative modern vernacular of “irregardless”), to have a sense of disquietude implies of a former time, event, or state which had a greater positive light than the present one.

And it is in this context that the Federal or Postal Worker who begins to contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is living in California, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota or Texas (have we effectively zig-zagged a sufficiency of states in order to make the point, yet, or perhaps we need to include Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin in order to make the point), that one must understand the greater bureaucratic involvement which one needs to undertake before engaging the complexity of the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

First, it is a Federal issue, and therefore, it will be unlikely that one will find, for example, a Florida Federal Disability attorney, or an Oregon, Kentucky or Louisiana Federal Disability lawyer; for, it matters not whether or not the lawyer lives in, or is licensed in a particular state, precisely because this is a Federal issue, and not a state issue.

Second, Mental Health issues — aside from being a valid and viable basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application — can either stand alone, or be in combination with a physical disability (isn’t it interesting how we bifurcate “mental” as opposed to “physical”, whereas both are part of the same physiological state of a person?).  Sometimes, mental health issues stand alone; other times, they can be concurrent medical conditions, or secondary ones.

Third, stress is a basis for a Mental Disability Retirement claim, although it must be properly and carefully approached because of issues concerning situational disabilities.

And Fourth, how one approaches the first steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, will often determine the success or failure of the disability case.

Overall, it is the plan itself, the cogency of the approach, and the gathering of the proper documentation, which will determine the efficacy of those first steps, and whether the stress, mental and physical health of one’s being, will be relieved as a result of filing for a Federal Disability claim.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Representation Is Not Limited

When calls of a repetitive nature occur, it is time to provide some clarification.  Often, from the very nature of a question, it becomes clear that some extent of confusion or puzzlement underlies the very question itself.

For “Federal matters” — i.e., in cases where representation by an attorney occurs before a Federal administrative body, such as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C., which is the Federal Agency which receives, evaluates, and determines all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Federal and Postal employees who are under FERS or CSRS — the attorney who represents the Federal or Postal employee can be licensed from a state which is different from the state in which the Federal or Postal employee resides.

This is why it is not necessary for the Federal or Postal employee who lives in, for example, the State of Arizona, to be represented by an attorney licensed in Arizona, for representation before the Office of Personnel Management.  Indeed, because Federal Disability Retirement Law is a very particularized field, it may simply be impractical to find a “local” attorney to represent the Federal or Postal employee in the very state in which the Federal or Postal employee resides.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a Federal issue, not a State issue, and as such, national representation is accordingly performed by those who engage in such practice of law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: A Federal, not a State, Issue

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS constitutes a “Federal” issue, and not a “State” issue.  What this means is that an attorney representing a Federal or Postal employee in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is not restricted from representing that particular Federal or Postal employee because of the specific state in which a person resides.

Every now and then, it is clear that there is some confusion on this matter.  It is the Office of Personnel Management — a Federal Agency located in Washington, D.C. — which makes a determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application, for the first two (2) stages of the process.  Thus, whether a person lives in California, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, etc., is irrelevant with respect to legal representation by an attorney who has his or her license to practice law from a state other than the one in which the prospective client resides.

As a Federal issue, and not a State issue, the jurisdictional ability of an attorney who specializes in practicing administrative law in assisting Federal and Postal employees obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS crosses any and all state boundaries.  What should thus be the focus in determining which attorney is the appropriate one to hire should be based upon experience, competence, reputation and “comfort level” — those criteria which should always be taken into consideration when hiring an OPM Disability Retirement attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Initial Step Is the Most Difficult

I find that the initial step in filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the most difficult step for people to take.  It is often a psychological block.  I have spoken on this issue in the past.  For a Federal or Postal worker, especially in these constrained economic times where the job market outside of the Federal Sector appears restrictive, at best, the pressure of one’s medical conditions and the impact upon one’s job, results in an anxiousness when it comes to filing for federal disability retirement under FERS or CSRS.  Certainly, it is a significant pay cut.  Certainly, it is a worry that — although one may be able to make up to 80% of what one’s (former) Federal salary currently pays — it may be that the private sector may not offer the opportunities to make up the difference in the pay cut.  Yet, the choices are often stark and untenable; for, at some point, it becomes clear that one’s medical conditions prevents one from performing the essential elements of the job. 

As such, the only and best choice is to move forward:  in fact, even in this economy, creativity will be rewarded.  Private companies actually find independent contractors who carry his or her own health insurance a plus; part-time work is offered more readily in a bad economy precisely because it allows for companies to obtain necessary work and skills without having to pay the “extra” benefits.  The initial step is the most difficult; after stepping beyond the difficulty, Federal and Postal workers who obtain disability retirement benefits find that there is a different and better future — even in this economy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire