OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Virtual Reality

Say a person says to you, “I was in Japan last night.”  You had just seen him the day before, and so you might quickly calculate how many hours it would take for a flight to Japan, how long he could have stayed there and then flown back; and, perhaps you would unduly confuse yourself by thinking, “Perhaps the time-zone shift is such that yesterday is today and today is actually tomorrow’s today because of the international time-zone shift”, or some similar nonsense as that which often confuses and confounds us all (in fact, isn’t that how we always feel when we must change the clocks for that “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” period?).

You study the person’s features and determine that he looks refreshed, without a hint of sleeplessness.  Upon coming to the conclusion that, No, it is not possible that your friend had actually gone to Japan and back, you say to him or her: “What do you mean by that?”  The person says, “Just what I said.  I visited Japan last night.  I went on a tour of Kyoto, a couple of shrines, saw the cherry blossoms and had a couple of meals and drank some sake and then went to bed.”  And you take that sliver of an opportunity — that phrase, “I visited” combined with, “then went to bed”, and with suspicious deliciousness as of a genius private detective who has singularly uncovered a mystery, declare: “Aha! You mean you were on your computer and took a virtual tour of the country!”  To which your friend says: “You can put it that way.  I say that I was in Japan last night.”

In this world where virtual reality and reality itself has been conflated, the words we use have similarly broken out of their previous state of rigidity.  Whether of “alternative truths” or misstatement of facts, the malleability of language has had to adapt and conform to the changes of reality.  Is there a distinction with a difference between a person who takes a “virtual tour” of a country, as opposed to actually, physically flying there and walking about the lost ruins of Peru?  To the question, “So, did you visit the Sistine Chapel while there?” — both and either may provide a detailed description of their independent and individual experiences, and do so convincingly; and even to the question, “Were you really there?” — the answer can be identical and yet truthful.

Yet, there are some things in life that still defy conflating virtual reality with the “real” reality — such as medical conditions.  For, “virtual” pain and “virtual” medical conditions do not impact the identical experiential phenomena of the “real deal”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a real medical condition such that the reality of that condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you may want to consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS .

Before you do that, however, consult with a “real” Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer, lest a “virtual” one provides you only with virtual advice, in which case it won’t be worth any more than a virtual dollar used to pay for a virtual meal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Ascent and descent

It is the “high” of reaching it and the satisfaction of proceeding down and away.  The ascent is focused upon attaining a goal; the descent, a time of reflection in the satisfaction of knowing that the goal has been achieved.  What next?  That is what the challenge is, isn’t it?  Of knowing what to do next after something has been achieved and accomplished?

There are, of course, “voluntary” goals achieved, and those that are placed before us as obstacles through no choice of our own; of mountain climbers who search for the impossible — like the North Face of the Eiger where the tombs of countless attempts whisper in the arctic winds of time; or of Everest, where the icicles of history betray the foolishness of human attempts at immortality.  Then, there are obstacles that one must bear because of accidents or nature’s imperfection — of a condition one is born with, or one gets later in life.

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, the ascent to achieve has already been surpassed — you need no longer “prove” yourself; it is the fear of the descent that makes you pause.

Perhaps you do not see the descent as a challenge, but more of an obstacle.  Yet, obstacles present a challenge, as well, and the medical condition itself is one such challenge.  What would you say about the mountain climber who was concurrently playing a video game on his or her Smart Phone?  Or reading a book on Kindle while trying to conquer Everest?  “Foolhardy” would come to mind; “Not focused” upon the task, would be another.

So it is with the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and struggle with the medical condition while concurrently trying to work; and that is what a FERS Disability Retirement allows for — an annuity which then gives the opportunity to focus upon one’s health instead of always being distracted by the demands of work.  The ascent has already been achieved; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the descent afterwards, in order to focus upon one’s health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Interests

There is self-interest; then, the interest of the third party; or perhaps on behalf of the interests of you, the second person.  Whatever the interests involved, for some odd reason, it is the “self-interested party” that raises an ire of suspicion, a pause devolving with a wrinkled eyebrow, a frown or a furtive look of concern.

Thus, of the old adage that a person who represents his or her own interests may be deemed a fool —but not because of any fervency of advocacy, or even a question of competence, necessarily; rather, it is because of the loss of objectivity that is perpetrated by failing to be able to step back and review one’s circumstances with disinterested dispassion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal job, the concern about whose interests are being looked after, and whether or not what you are doing is in the “best interests” of the client involved — you — should always be one of concern.

You may well be the best person who looks after your own interests — for, surely the one who has the most to gain or lose is the one who will look after those interests.  However, the reason why representing one’s self in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an unwise move, is because the loss of objectivity cannot always be overcome by the medical evidence presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It may well be appropriate to write an impassioned letter in declaring one’s love for someone; or even a heartfelt declaration using many adjectives and adverbs in conveying condolences or an apology; but when one is beset with a medical condition and is trying simultaneously to manage one’s medical conditions while describing it for purposes of trying to obtain OPM Disability Retirement benefits — it may be too difficult to unravel the double helix of self-interested entanglement in order to attain a needed level of objectivity in the matter.

That is why interests self-directed, especially when pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, would best be left in the capable hands of an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

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 sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed of, 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, is not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM: Major Depressive Disorder

The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”.  One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.

The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned.  Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition.  If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.

We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact.  Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases:  most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise.  But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).

It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual.  But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance and Delay

Human beings have an uncanny capacity for avoidance.  In the greater genus of the universe we identify as the “Animal Kingdom”, where survival of the fittest determines the genetic viability of the evolutionary scales of neutral justice, avoidance means potential death, and delay constitutes a certainty for an untimely demise.  For, as thought and reflection is the pause between an event and a necessary response, so avoidance and delay is that interlude between necessity and regret.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal Employee or a U.S. Postal Worker, the avoidance of the inevitable, and the delay for the obvious, often becomes an intransigent approach to life’s misgivings.

The act of 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 thought of as a step of finality — an admission to one’s self that the battle has been lost, the war’s outcome has been determined, and the cards dealt must now be played, with nothing left to trade in or replace.  That is the “short view”, as colored by the perspective of avoidance and delay.  The “long view” is that there is actually life after Federal Service, and potentiality for growth beyond the U.S. Postal Service.

We become entrenched in the habits of our own making, and while filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may seem like a step of finality, it is actually just a step in a different direction, where one can open up new avenues for a second vocation, while at the same time securing a financial future for stability and further growth.

Avoidance and delay — they are the price one may pay for the limitations imposed by our own lack of imagination, but the greater canvas of life opens up the power and creativity hidden within the deep recesses of a childhood potentiality we once held on to, but somehow let go in this journey we call “life”, which often puts us down and tramples upon the flights of a child’s wide-eyed vision of the greater universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Continuity of Care

Most things in life require a continuity of care.  Yes, projects will often have an inception date, and termination point where, once completed, no further maintenance of effort is required.  But other concerns require further and elaborative engagements beyond the linear horizon of attendance, including:  teeth, dogs, children, marriages, and Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

When a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker obtains that vaunted and desirable letter of Approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the tendency is to think that one may then fade into the proverbial sunset, ever to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and focus upon one’s health, medical conditions and the medical care required.

But then there comes additional contacts from OPM — perhaps not for a few years; perhaps not for a decade.  But the potentiality of the contact is there, and one must lay down the framework of preparatory care in order to respond appropriately.  If not, what will happen is this:  A fairly innocuous request for employment information can result in a termination of the disability annuity, based upon a “finding” that you have been deemed medically recovered.

That “Final Notice” from the Office of Personnel Management does, fortunately, allow for Reconsideration rights, as well as further rights of appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Additionally, there is a proper methodology for responding to OPM, to enhance and greatly ensure the continuation of one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

Wrong steps can lead to negative results; unresponsive panic without proper legal argumentation can have the unwanted consequences of an unnecessary loss of one’s Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  The best approach is always to respond with the legal armaments and arsenal one is provided with, and to maintain a continuity of care for preserving one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire