Disability Retirement for Federal Gov. Employees: Something Less

This is a country that has preached abundance for multiple decades, a couple of centuries, and certainly for a lengthy run on the concept: Expect more, not something less.  It has been touted as the flagship of opportunity, a place where dreams come true and hope abounds.  There has never been a view towards something less, for something less is an unacceptable concept to endure.

Commercials and television ads tout that we can “have it all”; that with a pill, things will be better; that if you buy a certain product, magic occurs; and if you whiten your teeth, everyone will like you better.  But what if life occurs where something less must be accepted?

Federal Disability Retirement pays 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year, then 40% every year thereafter.  It is something less than what a Federal or Postal employee makes, but certainly something more than “nothing”.  It then actually does allow you to make something more — for, on top of the 60% the first year and 40% every year thereafter, you are allowed to go out into the private sector and make up to 80% of what your former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Of course, your medical condition has already made you realize that life has to be adapted to with something less — something less than your full health; but Federal Disability Retirement does allow for something more, as well: Of a career beyond the Federal government.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and obtain the counsel and guidance of something more in dealing with a medical condition which has already resulted in something less — in terms of health and your ability to perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Flower and the Bee

From an objective viewpoint, they represent a disparate set of entities.  On the face of it, they have nothing in common.  Yet, it is the symbiotic relationship that allows for pollination and propagation, and the nexus between the two is a necessary relationship between the two in order for new seeds to be generated, and for a thriving environment to continue to flourish.

How that “connection” between two dissimilar entities is developed, is a natural order originating from unseen forces; but how we have come to recognize the nexus is through observation, experience and logical analysis.  Much of what we do, see and pass by are similarly connected, but of which we fail to recognize the intersections.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is often like that — of being denied simply because we fail to see the logical connections.  We believe, for example, that submitting old medical records that date far back would show how long we have suffered, but fail to see the connection that it might also reveal the converse: That, despite the medical condition, we were able to successfully perform our jobs.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Medical Retirement Law and recognize the nexus that must be developed; and like the flower and the bee, begin to develop the connections necessary in order to pollinate a successful Federal Disability Retirement filing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing 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, the reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Nascent knowledge

At what point does nascence become a maturity of device?  Is it linear time, or merely to exist within a pendulum of boredom where thoughts have moved on to other matters?  Youth, in general, is expected to engage in folly; but of nascent knowledge, where the appended concept of the latter connotes an established fact, a truism tested, and a hypothesis verified – but yet to be tested by time-worn principles and assimilated into the cauldron of society’s greater mixture of things working, defects allowable, and warts acknowledged as harmless.

For, newness itself should not be a basis for permanency of status, and as knowledge cannot be verified until tested, so nascent knowledge is the dangerous of all because it combines the defiance of dual categories:  Because it is new, it has not yet been tested; because it is “knowledge” unassimilated within the paradigms of commensurability like tectonic plates shifting to see what fits and what cannot be accommodated, so the lack of verification makes it that much more suspect.  Yet, we celebrate nascent knowledge “as if” the preceding announcement itself is as exciting as the introduction of a product advertised.

Don’t you miss those days of gangsters and badlands, when cell phones and close circuitry of images were missing, such that the detectives had to actually pursue the criminals?  Now, much of criminal investigation is reviewing of forensic evidence, and avoidance of conviction entails attacking the science of DNA analysis and the credentials of scientific application.

We have allowed for leaps and bounds over pauses of reflection, and never can we expect someone to evaluate and analyze an innovation and declare, “No, it just isn’t going to fit into the greater paradigm of our society”.  Why is that?  Is it because all souls are up for sale, and anything and everything that is deemed “new” becomes by definition that which is desirable and acceptable?  Or, is it merely a matter of economics, that the survival of a company or product is based upon the announcement of a more recent version, and vintage of merchandise is left for those with nostalgic tendencies, old fogies who lack the vibrancy of youth and the cult of newness?  That is, of course, where law and society clash; for, in law, the reliance upon constancy and precedent of legal opinions weigh heavily upon the judgment of current and future cases.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the acceptance of nascent knowledge should include the medical condition, the current circumstances, and the present impact upon the Federal or Postal employee’s job elements.  But as to nascent knowledge involving cases past and statutory interpretations of yore?

Those are the very basis upon which law operates, and for which nascent knowledge is anything but a folly untried and unintended for future use.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The distance marker

Highways have them; sports arenas and fields are littered with their recognizable placements; and runners rely upon them.  On highways, they are often coordinated with exits upcoming, but most drivers fail to recognize their relevance, and rarely take note of them.

What most people don’t understand, comprehend, and fail to appreciate, is that their importance is not merely about the distance still left to go, but how far one has already traveled.  The former is often tied intimately to the struggles one foresees extending into the future; the latter, forgetful or forgettable, as life’s accolades are rarely declared, and seldom trumpeted.

Thus, when a career is cut short, or a change in the course of a person’s life is necessitated by unforeseen circumstances, the internal agony and angst of life is always focused upon how much further we must go, as opposed to taking a breath and appreciating what distances we have already traversed.  Perhaps that is for the best; for, if pause were to become a pattern of petulance, progress would never be permeated.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with the performance of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the thoughts are always projected towards the future, and should be, as that is a “good” thing.

Too much reflection upon past accomplishments rarely does one good; and, in any event, the Federal agency certainly doesn’t care (don’t hold your breath for an anticipated office party recognizing your accomplishments and contributions), and except for some modicum of acknowledgements in performance reviews, will not give any leeway for future considerations based upon past successes achieved.

Perhaps that is why distance markers are ignored, except by those who have a purposeful drive in reaching a designated destination.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, becomes a necessity and a choice for the future, the distance marker to recognize is the attaining of that Disability Retirement annuity — and beyond, where life can be lived after Federal Employment.

And of the distance already traversed?  Reflection upon past successes can be the foundation for future endeavors; mark them, and even remember their placement and location; but never pause longer than half a breath, before moving on to the coordinated exit recognized as the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, lest not only the distance marker passes you by, but you miss the coordinated exit, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

It is an educational tool utilized to impart upon children the value of hard work and unfettered optimism, but one wonders, At what point should the harsh realities of the world be included?  How, sometimes there are situations where the obstacles are so great and the conspiratorial caverns so deep that the graph of upward mobility is but a mere mirage in life’s cycle of certitude. The balance between the benefit of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity, and tempering unrealistic expectations, is a scale of justice which is delicately configured throughout life.

While the tale of the Little Engine that Could represents the cultural and societal impetus for encouraging work, fair play, persistence and a positive attitude, some of life’s obstacles serve to cut short the capacity and ability to achieve stated first goals.  Medical conditions tend to do that.  Whether primarily physical or secondarily psychiatric, or inversely impacted, a progressively debilitating medical condition saps the self-confidence of the individual, and eats away at the abilities of the patient.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee, consideration must be given to one’s future, and that future planning should include filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits encompasses all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, so long as the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements: 18 months of Federal Service for those under FERS, and 5 years for those under CSRS (which is essentially assumed that anyone under CSRS already has at least 5 years of Federal Service).

Further, if the Federal or Postal employee is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or has not been separated for more than 31 days, then the Federal Disability Retirement application must be routed first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for the latter, the central processing point for all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Postal Workers is located in Greensboro, N.C.), then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

Implicit in this requirement, of course, is that there is a “Statute of Limitations” as to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  All Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed within 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service.  Thus, if a Federal or Postal employee is terminated, or has resigned, and a Federal Disability Retirement application is filed, the (now former) Federal or Postal employee must file within 1 year of the date of separation — but if separated for less than 31 days, then through one’s former agency or U.S. Postal Service, and if over 31 days, then directly to Boyers, PA, which is the “intake” processing office for OPM for all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Whether the Federal or Postal employee ever read or heard tell of the tale of the Little Engine that Could, the time for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is when that proverbial engine gives out, and when life’s harsh realities turns the story of optimism and hope into a pragmatic approach in order to secure one’s future; for, sometimes, life accords engines which need fine-tuning, and medical conditions represent just that sort of mechanical need, for the Little Engine that once Could which turned into the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire