FERS Medical Retirement Benefits: Words & Images

Enter a gift shop and see the generic photograph inserted within a picture-frame for sale.  Who is it? Why was the photograph taken?  Was it merely to help sell the picture-frame?  Enter an antique shop where one sometimes comes across old photographs — perhaps even a daguerreotype — often faded, normally of a stilted figure; perhaps of a young woman, an old man, a soldier in uniform; a family on an outing; of a city scene where horses and carriages fill the streets; or of a father and son smiling, a daughter and mother staring impassively at the photographer in a still-life of unknown origins and an unverified date.  Who were they?  Why was the picture taken?

For the casual visitor to the store, who merely glances at the collection of old castaways, the images mean little, if anything at all.  Yet, there is a story behind each image — one which may be forever lost.  For, why else would such photographs end up in an antique store, out of the safekeeping privacy where they once belonged, where once words and memories attached unassailably with the photographs which told a story.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the career of one’s choice, the disjunctive between words and images becomes poignantly clear within one’s own mind: Who were we once, and do the words others use in describing you match the story between words and images?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step toward re-matching the image one has of one’s self — of vibrancy and accomplishment — and the words others use to describe you, as well as the words you use to describe yourself.  For the moment, however, the words used are necessary in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — one of being in a lesser, debilitated state because of one’s medical conditions — must be carefully chosen in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and make sure that the words and images utilized in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application accurately portrays the state of present mind experienced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Rational Discourse

In the world of academia, whether as a student or a professor, the ivory-tower atmosphere tends to de-couple and de-link reality from perception.  There is, to begin with, “the world” and its events, causations, occurrences and peoples intertwined by engaging in the politics and activities of daily living; and then, there is our “perception” of such events, which — in their aggregate — is comprised of and by our backgrounds, our beliefs, our interpretive faculties and the paradigms from which we operate.

In college, the world within which one operates is a limited, protected, self-contained universe in which ideas, books, deadlines for term papers and testing for knowledge retained are all experienced through the tunnel vision and narrow prism of a fantasy-world created for rational discourse.  The fact is that the universe is comprised of much irrationality and phenomena otherwise unknown or not capable of explanation.

In a Kantian manner (uh-oh, here we go with the rational discourse prism), we bring to the world the belief that everything must have an explanation, all events must be able to be explained by a rational discourse — but reality hits us hard in the face, or upon the backside, whichever metaphor you prefer.  Perhaps that is what is meant by “growing up”.  For the cynic, the universe has become a jumble of irrationality; for the proverbial optimist, everything yet to be explained can simply be set aside for future revelation.  Somewhere in the middle is where most of us belong.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition, and where that medical condition betrays the fond memories of our youth when health was taken for granted and mortality was never even considered, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like an ugly choice.  In a world where rational discourse should prevail, the irrationality of a chronic medical condition seems to be an unfair event that requires explanation — or, at least a good defense.  We can question and puzzle; we can fret and worry; but in the end, the stark choices are there before us.  Whether, ultimately, there is a rational discourse that can adequately explain the medical conditions by which a person suffers — or not — is often besides the point.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS and begin the process of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, and let the questions concerning rational discourse remain a mystery to be solved in some unknown days ahead.  Life is difficult enough to maneuver without worrying about one’s future, and getting a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at least softens the blow in a universe that often seems impervious to the private hells of individual troubles.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Performance Appraisal

It is the system that we have created, a monster which cannot be slain, and the machine that cannot be turned off.  We learn it from an early age — good grades are the foundation for a successful future, and if a teacher has the audacity to give you a lesser grade than what you believe you deserve, call that teacher — harass him or her; file a complaint; heck, file a lawsuit.

In the Federal employment system, performance reviews are often given out like candies — and such reviews can come back to make it appear as if there is nothing wrong.  Managers and supervisors are reluctant to give a “less than fully successful” rating, lest a grievance be filed or a headache ensues; but for the person whose performance has been suffering because of a medical condition which has begun to impact a person’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the reflection upon the record when a Federal Disability Retirement application has been filed may have to be dealt with.

The Office of Personnel Management tends to rely heavily — and unfairly — upon performance appraisals, but there is another legal standard which can be applied — that of incompatibility between one’s medical conditions and the positional elements of one’s job.

Consult with a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Medical Retirement Law and discuss the impact of one’s performance appraisal within the complex administrative procedure of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS: Performance, Conduct or Attendance

Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”.  There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.

Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.

These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined.  Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.

When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?”  Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?

Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: For better or for…

Do we consider what follows the ellipses when making such a vow?

In youth, when the days of summer are endless and the rainfalls are merely seen as sweetness in dancing folly, do we ever consider the meaning, the phrase, the serious connotation of the “worse”, or do we just focus upon the “better” as in, “This is good, tomorrow is better, and the day after will only get better than better”?

Perhaps it is a genetic advantage inherent for survival’s sake that youth never considers the dark side of the moon; for, to be young and innocent of thoughts forsaking a future yet to become is to move forward with bold forthrightness, and only the fittest would survive such folly of thoughtless advancement.

Would armies have defeated the odds if trepidation of thought were to dominate?  Would the genetic pool of the daring be muddled if not for the foolish stumbling into a future unknown?  What fool thinks about the “worse” when the “better” is right before your eyes?

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 essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the thought of “worse” never came to mind until the medical condition first appeared, then remained, then worsened, then became a chronic condition like an uninvited guest who overstays the welcome of niceties left unstated.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits takes into account both perspectives of the vow that was once stated but never thought of: It is because of the “worse” but it is for the “better”.

The “worse” is the ongoing medical condition that has deteriorated such that it necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and the “better” is that, once your Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, you can focus upon your health, the tomorrow of a future yet uncertain, and the commitment to another vow left unstated: To take care of yourself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The words we never use

Are they like scraps of papers left in one’s back pocket, or in the vast chasms of oversized purses that seemingly have no bottom and certainly reveal no corners?  Do we keep them in our wallets, reserve them for special occasions, or otherwise allow them to float in the ethereal universe of unclaimed inventions?  Is there a Lost-and-Found Section within an agency entitled, “U.S. Department of Words” (or, should there be) that deals exclusively with ones that are never used?  And in a pragmatic society where utility is the key for relevance, applicability, value and worth, is there any sense to pointing out that which is never used, never recalled, rarely regurgitated and almost certainly never thought of even in the privacy of soliloquies left unstated?

The words we never use can be categorized into: A. Ones we’ve never learned about nor looked up, B. Ones we once knew when once we were serious-minded students who diligently looked up every word we knew not the definition of because we wanted to better ourselves, sound more intelligent and appear with greater utterances of sophistication at cocktail parties we were never invited to — therefore, we once looked them up, memorized them, tried to use them in sentences, and then promptly forgot them, or C. Ones we never came across, have now no interest in using them because we have become old and lazy.

There is a fourth possibility — that we “know” them but “fear” that the mere utterance of them will make a nightmare of a reality we want to avoid.  “Divorce” is one such word for kids who watch their parents fight, and wonder about their own security in the universe of unstable families; “Chronic” or “intractable” are two others — for those with medical conditions who do not want to hear their doctors talk about the consequences of certain disabilities which have developed over the past couple of years.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where such medical conditions have now come to the point of being chronic and intractable, and thus prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in his or her career with the Federal government, it is time to consider another set of words which were previously never used: Federal Disability Retirement.

Avoiding the use of words will not undo the reality surrounding the conceptual paradigms encountered; and procrastinating the thought, initiation or formulation of an effective FERS Disability Retirement application will not make such words go away; they will remain, even if they are words which we never wanted to use.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

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 essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire