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 Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Ballast for the soul

It is a plagiarized phrase, from a short story written by Brazil’s (often-considered) greatest writer, Machado de Assis.  It is that heavy material, where a large quantity of gravel, iron, metals, etc., placed low in a vessel in order to provide stability; the weight itself is what “grounds” the vessel so that the torrents of waves and storms of fury will not topple it.  Or, it can refer to the coarse gravel used in order to set railroad tracks, again allowing for stability of a foundation to prevent shifting, sinking or damaging movement.

When combined with the term, “the soul”, the concept created is one of conjoining the dual ideas of (a) providing a foundation with (b) an ungraspable concept of an entity that many believe does not even exist.  The “soul”, of course, is a controversial subject; for, it still remains from the vestiges of religious and philosophical discourses, and refers to an abiding entity that defies mortality, retains an identity beyond one’s physical appearance, and contains the essence of who a person is, whether in physical form or not.

Does the soul “need” a ballast?  Without it, does it merely flit about without duration or direction?

As a literary concept, it refers to the stability that individuals need in order to become more serious, more focused, and perhaps even more “mature”.  As a general idea, it comes to convey the concept of pragmatism and the need to be “grounded” in a universe where there exists so many beliefs, so many paths to get off course; and the dangers inherent in pulling people aside from living an authentic and fulfilling life are many, as evidenced by the number of wandering souls left to rot on the roadside of discarded souls.

What is the ballast for the soul?  Is it to be married and have a family?  Is it the immediate family one already has — or the extended one?  Or can a cadre of friends and one’s immediate neighbors provide the ballast for the soul?

For each individual, the answer to that question may differ and remain a mystery; but what is clear, mystery or not, is that the vicissitudes of life’s choices, without a ballast for the soul, are so numerous and of such great variety, that liberty of endless choices endangers the essence of every person. Health itself can be an unknown ballast; for, with it, we take for granted our ability to accomplish so many things in life; without it — when it is “lost” — we suddenly realize that the ballast of health can upend that which we took for granted — career; stability; sense of worth; sense of self.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose ballast has been lost because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Medical conditions are often the storms of life which topple the vessel once the foundation of stability has been robbed, and Federal Disability Retirement benefits can restore one’s sense of security such that a re-focusing upon the priority of health and well-being can be attained, so that the ballast for the soul can be reestablished in a world full of turmoil and tumult.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The option of nothing

Inertness for a human being is always an option; although normally a default choice, it is nevertheless an alternative one chooses, rather than what we state to ourselves in justifying the negation of doing something: Just disregard it, and it will go away.  The default is embraced once the choice is made to do nothing further.  Governments are great at that, and ours in particular — of kicking the proverbial can “down the road” and letting the next generation of voters decide upon the non-decision of critical goods and services, all the while talking a good game about what “needs to be done” and “should be done.”

The question that remains unanswered throughout is always: Is the option of nothing the best option? And further: Do we always have to take the best option, or is “letting it go” and disregarding the option to affirmatively make a decision on an important matter sometimes “good enough”?

One can always avoid these latter questions by positing the conditional of: “It all depends” upon the particular circumstances, and that may be true to the extent that, in certain situations, the option for nothing is the better option given the other options available.  In general, however, inertness is merely the lazy man’s out, or an avoidance that is emphasized by a desire of negation — of not wanting to make a decision at all.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, the option of nothing will normally exacerbate matters.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a long and arduous path through multiple administrative facets which requires expertise and thoughtful planning in maneuvering beyond the bureaucratic morass.  Because of this, the option of nothing is really not an option at all; it is, instead, a self-harming decision that can have dire legal consequences resulting from the inaction.  As such, consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits becomes a critical step in a Federal or Postal worker’s “next step” in deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the option of nothing is no option at all; it is merely the non-option of inertness, which ignores the greater option of doing something about that which needs to be done.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: That promising future

One doesn’t have to have been that “golden boy” to have an inkling of a promising future; there just needed to be some hope, and a taste of success.  Perhaps you came from a background where expectations were low; where higher education was a mere afterthought and nothing beyond an exclamation of gibberish and fantasy.

Was success defined by negation?  That if you didn’t do X, avoided Y and prevented Z, you were considered an anomaly and deemed as one of those who “made it”?

Yet, you exceeded; perhaps night school; whatever the cost, of however the pathway, that promising future that was never guaranteed, rarely spoken of and deliberately left silent but in the fertile imagination of a seeming dream; and the expectation of negation was met and exceeded, precisely because the goal post was never set within sight of grasping, but a mere filament that failed to light any hope of a promising future.

Yet, reality has a tendency to quash the daydreams of even butterflies, and a medical condition can alter forever the course of time and tenacity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once thought that a career under FERS meant a promising future for the duration of one’s life, and who never expected to be saddled with a medical condition that created a circumstance of negation, consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions tend to become that negation of hope, when in fact it may merely be an alteration of course.  Perhaps that promising future was too narrow a vision.  Maybe a change of mindset is all that is required.

Federal Disability Retirement is merely a recognition that there is an incompatibility between the medical condition suffered and the type of job one is in.  It does not mean that you cannot work; in fact, you are allowed to make up to 80% of what your former Federal position (“former” because, upon winning an approval of a FERS Disability Retirement claim from OPM, you are then separated from Federal Service) currently pays, and still continue to receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Just remember that the “promising career” was never defined by naysayers or those who lacked belief; it was always defined by your own drive, and for Federal and Postal employees whose once-promising career became curtailed by a medical condition, the “promising” part of conjunction can still be in the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The respite

It is a time away; perhaps, a momentary lapse; that fifteen minutes of drinking one’s coffee while daydreaming, or lost in the saucer of one’s teacup in a vintage reflection where the slight crack in the china allows for memories to reclusively drift into never-ending smiles of forlorn embraces.

The respite is that time of getting away, of a break from this maddening world; of forgetting troubles for a moment; of not considering the financial and economic turmoils both of a personal nature and of a macro-sensibility that tends to haunt; and of a period of peace when we can just forget.  Maybe it is the 3-day weekend; or, perhaps just a memory of that time years ago, before screaming kids came upon us, prior to responsibilities and obligations squeezing the air out of pleasure and peace; or even a distance of yesterday or the day before.

Then, there are those who never have a respite; medical conditions tend to do that to us all.  They remind us of our mortality, our frailty, our inability to cope with the reality of a harshness when an isolated island echoes from dark caverns within.  Reality is a cruel thing; it quashes all dreams and hopes, and leaves one with a pit that is bottomless and without a sense of a future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are unable to find that moment of respite because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to begin the process of formulating and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S.Office of Personnel Management.

Time is of the essence; time is precious; a time of respite is deserved by us all, and the turmoil of remaining at a job where the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform is often the obstacle to the needed respite, and that is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement is so important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

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 “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire