Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Weak Links

Perhaps we refer to it when using a chain to tow another vehicle, or to pull something or someone up from a deep ravine; and it is always the weak link that leads to the sudden collapse and failure.

We can apply the term in a metaphorical sense for other contexts, as well.  In a movie or play, there are “weak links” — of supportive roles, or perhaps even in referring to the main actor, that fails to deliver the expected performance necessary to brings about a box-office hit; or of a technologically-based company that provides a specific product, but somewhere down the line of the assembly or production process, a “weak link” is discovered which results in the failure of the product.

Air bags that fail to deploy properly; a member of a platoon who doesn’t “carry his weight”; a memory chip that erases critical information — all “weak links” within an aggregation of human activity.

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 job, there can be many “weak links”.  Perhaps your Federal Agency or Postal facility looks upon you as the “weak link” and thus proceeds to engage in a campaign of harassment and initiation of adverse actions to get rid of you.

You may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And when you do, you yourself must make sure that there are no “weak links” in the preparation and submission of your OPM Disability Retirement application.

Consult with an OPM Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and limit the number of “weak links” in order to give yourself the best chance possible. For, in the end, it is always the “weak links” that come back to haunt.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Age-based worth

That is the ultimate hub of it all, isn’t it?  Age is always a factor, whether a society enforces protective measures, anti age-discrimination laws, or simply deny the underlying existence of the subtleties that conceal the unfairness of it all.  What is it about age that compels people to judge the worth of others based upon it as the singular criteria that determines value?

If a person is expected to be at the “end” of one’s life — say, nearing 80 or 90 years old — is that person’s worth any less than the newborn who enters upon this world with the same expectancy as that old codger’s past remembrances?  Why do we consider it an honorable gesture if, on a ship that is about to sink, the older men make sure that children (and women) are the first to fill the lifeboats and rafts before considering themselves?  Are their lives not worth of any greater, equal or identical value as the young ones who benefit from such unequal conduct?

Perhaps, in modernity, such gestures of chivalry would no longer apply, and the more current perspective of “first come, first survive” would be the rule of the day.  In a society where criteria of worth and value have been cast aside and where each individual is considered without regard to age, race, ethnicity or origin, is perhaps the better approach — but is that true in all contexts and circumstances?  The fact that there should be no discrimination based upon age in the workplace — does it mean that the same rules should apply in the sinking-ship hypothetical?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, age must always be a consideration because of the automatic conversion to regular retirement at age 62.  On the other hand, the time that a person is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of service when the recalculation occurs at age 62, and so the extra percentage points will be of great benefit no matter how old a person is.

The laws seem always to favor the younger, and age-based worth is often a consideration in engaging any and every sector of life, and that is no different in considering filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Perspectives, now and then

We all have them; and, like opinions and other discarded detritus unworthy of further consideration, we can replace them with others.  It is what Plato warned against in his allegorical narrative about the shadows against the Cave walls, and how the true form of reality was presented only after we were unshackled from our lying eyes.

Perspective, now and then, or “now” as opposed to “then”, can change.  It is the “now and then” and how you interpret that dependent clause that often matters.  Is it something that comes along once in a blue moon, or a changed, modified and altered perspective that differs now, as opposed to that obscure “then” – perhaps in youth, in early adulthood or in middle age?  When does a perspective remain constant, wise, worthy and consistent with reality such that we can grasp a hold of “it” and never let go? Or, are perspectives changeable, mutable, subject to reality’s compelling of alteration based upon the fluid circumstances of life’s misgivings?

In law school, there is the classic lesson taught in Criminal Law 101, where the professor has two actors come into the class all of a sudden, struggle, argue, then a loud “bang” is sounded, and one of them runs and the other falls dead.  Then, the students are asked to write down what they saw.  The notoriety of eye-witness accounts being so unreliable is quickly shown by the disparities revealed.

Nowadays, of course, with body cameras and video mechanisms running nonstop , we are subjected to a replay of scene after scene, and perspectives can change – except, of course, as to camera angle; what is actually seen no matter the constant replay; and of when the “record” button was pushed and how much contextual evidence had been left out before, or sometimes even after.

Medical conditions, too, alter perspectives.  Sometimes, when “subjective” medical conditions such as chronic pain or psychiatric conditions of depression and anxiety are never noticed until the severity became too great to bear, the other side of the perspective has to do with believability and veracity of acceptance.

Remember that there is always a difference between having a medical condition, and proving it.  That is why in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the Federal or Postal employee must take into account the differing perspectives, now and then (in whichever form and whatever context) of your medical condition, how others see it, how it is proven, how your agency or the Postal facility views it all – in other words, perspectives far, wide, now and then, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life Lessons

Most of us stumble through it, and somehow end up down unexpected corridors of unplanned venues; and then we have the nerve to think that we can have kids and impart wisdom we never learned, refused to lived by, and rarely listened to.  It is said that hypocrisy is the characteristic of the common farce; it just happens to infect everyone else, and never ourselves.  But there is an evolutionary determinant even in the comedy of life; it used to be that Western Philosophy would teach us to always seek out the substance of a thing, and to recognize mere attributes and appearances for what they are — recognizing that superficiality conceals the essence of Being.

Now, there are popular books which tell us that “faking it” is okay, so long as everyone else is too stupid to know it.  Then, there is our job, our careers and that vocation at which we spend the majority of our lives pursuing.  One day, we wake up, and find that the manifestation  of a medical condition makes it impossible for us to continue.

What do we do about it?  Procrastinate.  Deny.  Avoid the issue.  But reality has a way of ignoring our pleas of ignorance and avoidance.  Harassment at work; Letters Warnings; imposition of a PIP; Proposed Removal; Removal.  It is not that we did not see it coming; we just hoped that life’s lessons would make a detour around our individual circumstances.

Fortunately, however, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, there is a consolation benefit in the event that a life lesson involving a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits allows for the Federal or Postal employee to have “another chance” at life’s misgivings, by providing a base annuity, allowing for work in the private sector on top of the OPM Disability Retirement annuity, and to garner a time for restorative living in order to attend to the medical conditions by retaining and maintaining one’s FEHB.

In the end, there is a conceptual distinction to be made between “Life Lessons” and “Life’s Lessons”; the former is what our parents and the juggernaut of historical inevitability tried to teach, and which we deliberately ignored; the latter is that which impacts us daily and personally, and to which we must by necessity respond.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must 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 lesson of life — whether as Life Lessons or as Life’s Lessons, is to take that stumbling former self who ended up in the corridors of the Federal Sector, and to straighten out the future course of events by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Balance of Information

Most administrative entanglements involve some measure of balancing.  How much information to provide; determination of that which constitutes satisfaction of the request; whether, and to what extent, the information is sufficient to complete the transaction; and other similar analytical evaluations prior to submitting the compendium of data.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers struggling to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s agency (if still on the rolls and not separated for more than 31 days), and then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (unless one has been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, but not more than 1 year, as all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be submitted within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service), the key component and measure is the effectiveness of Standard Form 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The act of balancing begins upon an initial review of the questions posed by SF 3112A.  While other forms require basic information concerning one’s personal data and the agency for whom the Federal or Postal employee works (e.g., SF 3107 series, including Schedules A, B & C), the SF 3112A is the linchpin of it all.  Care should be taken in answering the questions; reflection upon the character and extent of the data provided; editing and review of any final submission.  Too much, or too little.

The Goldilocks principle should always be applied, and when served in just the right amount, the true test of the balance of information has been finally met.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire