Federal Employee Disability Information: Options

The telephone-recorded options are the most irritating of all, of course — for, if you hit the wrong one, or fail to remember the correct numeral identified after being offered an endless litany of alternatives, none of which quite fit what you are looking for, then you have to wait until a further option is offered to go back to the general directory in order to once again choose the option offered.

Have such recordings become more irritating as time has passed, or is it that we have become so numb to so many such encounters that we have lost patience with that metallic voice that has replaced the human one?  What is it about a recording that gets us so incensed?

Objectively, isn’t it all the same — we never “meet” the “person” anyway, whether it is a recording or a “real person” on the other end of the line: both are mere voices, but why is the automated recording so much more irritating than a live person?  Is it because we know the futility of landing a sarcastic response to the recording, as opposed to slamming our frustrations upon an individual who possesses feelings, and whose day we can potentially ruin by shouting, yelling, demeaning and spewing forth destructive epithets to and against?

In life generally, we all have them — options.  Sometimes, we are confronted with too many, and thus are left with a confounding sense of confusion.  At other times, the options are “there” somewhere, but we just don’t know them because we are too blind to the ones hidden or too stubborn to concede our ignorance.  In those instances, it is best to consult with someone who can present the options hidden, those unstated, or otherwise unknown.

In some circumstances, of course, the options available may be severely limited — as in a Federal or Postal employee suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s essential job functions.  In such situations, the limited options must be considered in light of the priorities one assigns to the values one accords: How important is one’s health?  Is the deterioration of one’s health as exacerbated by the job one is remaining in important enough to continue with?  If so, perhaps disability retirement is not the “right” option.

Stay and remain; resign, walk away or get terminated and do nothing; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The three options presented must be considered in light of one’s health, the effects upon it if one remains, and whether the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will continue to tolerate one’s excessive absences, inability to perform many of the essential functions of one’s job, etc.

When, after the options are considered, the Federal or Postal employee decides to move forward in 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, then it is time to consider further options as well, such as whether one wants to represent one’s self in the process, like the old adage of that person who has a fool for a client — of representing one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Hypocrisy

What is it about carrying about one’s state of existence with the knowledge that there is a dichotomy between that which we declare and what we secretly harbor, or between the words we convey and the actions we engage?  Is it likened to the adage of, Do as I say, not as I do?  Why do we so relish with a sneer when failure of moral dimensions become exposed — of a priest who is “caught in the act”, the preacher who is seen to embrace episodes of moral turpitude; a moralist who denies the obvious inclinations of human desire, or the purist who pounces when the mere tinge of impurity spreads its imperfect wings?

Hypocrisy abounds, and has always throughout history, and the louder the volume of protestations, the harder the fall as the chasm between reality and the theoretical purity of ivory towers only reveals the baseness of human frailty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel like hypocrites because of a medical condition that continues to be denied, hidden and overcome by sheer will of concealment, there often comes a time where fatigue simply catches up to the fear of being “found out”.  No, it is not quite the same as your run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, like the preacher who falls from grace; but the tension is still there, nevertheless, and it is just as real as if your moral failings suddenly become unconcealed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have to “hide” their medical conditions and act “as if” everything is fine and dandy, ultimate pay the same or similar price as the hypocritical moralist who walks about with a puffery undeserved: the anxiety that continues to grow and fester remains so and grows beyond a bearable state of concealment.

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 often the first step in an admission of “failure” — but more importantly, of turning that failure into a success, by shedding the cloak of hypocrisy and facing the reality of a medical condition that needs priority of attending, in order to regain that balance that should be first, foremost and in the front of the proverbial line: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The inchoate life

The problem is often the perspective, and not the reality.  Somehow, human beings walk about this earth with the expectation that fulfillment is in the “now” and development is merely something ascribed to babies, yogurt and African nations on a far away continent of timeless immaturity.  Potentiality; the consistency of growth; and, even in old age, despite the deterioration and degeneration of cellular expansion, our lives represent an inchoate and rudimentary structure such that we have to constantly strive to grow.

Yet, somehow, we mistakenly believe in so many fictions; that the senior prom is the fulfillment of all things important; that graduation from college represents the pinnacle of our education except for those few who go on to graduate schools (which is now more common than even a decade before because of the intense economic challenges and competition); that the present job is the treadmill upon which success or failure reflects; and that, in old age, decrepitude and endless agony awaits us all.

All of us, in the end, are imperfectly formed and in the constant process of becoming formulated; yet, by our impatience and desire for fulfillment, we deny the very existence of the part-existence of our very Being.  And so we cry out in protest when a medical condition hits us and prevents us from being or doing that which we believe we were destined for; and like the shrill screams of hungry coyote in the wind-swept plains of a desolate landscape, we dream in solitude as the howls of time obscure the pain of suffering.

What dreams we once held; the journey from form to content; the need to accomplish, excel and fulfill; these are all human characteristics which bring out the best in us.  But reality is also a discourse where interruptions and interludes occur, and the reality is that most of us never fulfill the potential of our lives, and that is okay, especially when the circumstances intervening are beyond that which we have the ability or capacity to control. The inchoate life is seen throughout the many unmarked graves and tombstones lying in quietude of silent anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who realize that careers chosen, dreams yet unfulfilled and goals unachieved, the medical conditions that interrupt are merely reminders to us all that the inchoate life cannot be avoided.  Priorities must be set; a different path may be required.

Preparing, formulating and 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 merely another step in the many steps of a Chinese proverb, and the inchoate life is just another movement, a stir and a wrinkle in so many lives yet to reach the completeness of a destiny still to call in the wilds of a lone wolf speaking to the full moon of purposeful lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Avoiding the anarchy of thoughtless acts

Life requires acting; successful living demands thoughtful acts.  Every good stage manager recognizes the signs; there are those who float through the script, with nary a cognitive engagement; others who involve themselves with an exhaustive turmoil of stipends unpaid; and still, those who think that talent alone will carry one through, despite the mediocrity which has surfaced unabashed, and where fingerprints left behind of tattered devastation betraying the lack of success.

Do we ever really “get over” our own ignorance or arrogance?  It is said that the two go hand-in-hand, like cousins who dress identically, or twins who hide their natural jealousies by inventing figments of unborn siblings.  It is because we need to compensate for our ignorance that our arrogant character traits surface; and by our arrogant personalities, we reveal the depths of our vacuity.

In history, there never has been a successful civilization based upon anarchical designs; despots and totalitarian conduits aside, such an institutionalization of disarray would never work.  We already have that in supposedly “organized” governments: bureaucracies of mammoth proportions that continue to thrive on indolence and disrepair.

In a state of anarchy, there isn’t even the semblance of competence; as everything is allowed to work without rules, principles or vicarious rationalizations for perpetual existence, so the inherent despair of personal destruction would prevail over any healthy ego or psyche which attempted to reassemble and reorganize.

But what of individual acts?  Does cruelty originate from an anarchy of thoughtless acts, or do they appear from a deliberative consciousness of knowing resolve?  Must institutions reflect the disarray of individual minds, or does a collective anarchy somehow transcend the singularity of thoughtful vacuity, and translate by pure osmosis a secularization of bifurcated consciousness?  Since when was cruelty excused because of lack of thought, when all throughout history it was precisely that principled requirement which mandated good manners and decorum of proper living?

We have come to a point in history where we have accepted a degraded standard, an institutionalization of mediocrity, and thus the faceless shame of inhumanity.  In the end, we will pay a price for such a state of concession, with a thousand cuts inflicted daily.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties, the daily harassment, hostile environment and constant bludgeoning of the fatigued workforce is but a microcosmic reflection of the greater macro-indicia of a world gone mad. One may take some consolation in the dismissive aside that, “It is nothing personal” – but that is indeed some minor conciliatory excuse.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the best option available, but it is that which attempts to preserve a scintilla of dignity, as a safeguard away from the daily imputation of cruelty designed, and a means to avoid the anarchy of thoughtless acts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Removal and/or Retirement from Federal Position: The cultivated soul

The loss in Western Civilization of the pursuance of Truth (note the capitalization of the term, in contradistinction from the mundane daily tropes of common factual observations, such as the classic example of pointing to an object and making a declarative utterance, for purely identification’s sake) has resulted in a vacuum of sorts; the consequences reverberate by group identification and causes aggregated based upon preference and subjective elevation of all things decadent.

No one ever talks about the angels of yore; or of the priority of character, and whether the intellect should rule, the appetitive would be subjugated, and the passions controlled.  All animals have equal rights (or so my dogs always believed, anyway, as if there was ever any question in the household); and the human species no longer retains the lofty position once held, where angels sometimes visited and the gods would intervene in playful fits with fated concubines.

The very idea of a cultivated soul once meant something; now, replacements arrive daily in doses of self-improvement programs, soothing the egos of hurt childhoods and health combines where metamorphosis no longer connotes Kafka’s transformational metaphor of a tortured essence of humanity, but merely the mundane wants and fantasies of stardom and being able to be accepted into the superficial realm of the “beautiful” set.

Kardashian and Kanye aside, the great multitude of goals set, priorities garnered, and teleological ends met, no longer includes the antiquated construct of the cultivated soul.  We certainly continue to give lipservice to such latent antiquities; of how education is all important (though the focus is merely upon the ends — of grades and padding of resumes, as opposed to the substantive content of one’s character); and of becoming a “responsible adult” with independence and empathy of character remaining a striving purpose of life itself (despite the ballooning debt and deteriorating economy which undermines all such youthful goals).

Where did that voice go, vanished and vanquished in the shattered inner self where the quiet reflection once persuaded and convinced us all that the hidden worth of a human being could still rise from the ashes of a regenerated Phoenix, when gods still protected and the shriveled remains of a tortured goblin would scurry away into the far corners of an empty universe?  The cultivated soul always needed time; it required reflection, solitude, and a peaceful self-assurance that the coming days would produce a moment of relapse into the timeless carriages of a rhythmic ride through life’s trials and travails.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of a cultivated soul may be of a distance beyond a bridge too far.  Pain, agony; cognitive dysfunctions and progressive deterioration; these are the daily hallmarks for the Federal or Postal employee in the present circumstances and currency of today’s slice of life.  But that is precisely why it is important to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, whether the rest of the world recognizes the sustaining force of Truth in a world condoned by Falsity, the objective world still recognizes that the true essence of the human species will always reverberate amidst the cultivated souls, and to attain and achieve that end, one must first get beyond the medical condition suffered, and begin the steps taken towards a plateau of living where health has been achieved, and the quietude of a contemplative moment may yet be grasped.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Gov. Disability Retirement: Of dreamers and doers

There is a time for dreaming; of mental wanderings into wafting willows of soft surfs, where the ebb and flow of moonlit sparkles in the quietude of motionless tranquility pervades like the morning mist in weightless calm.  But in a world where action, doing, accomplishment and “getting ahead” constitutes the springboard of recognition and rewards, the temperament of timeless thinking rarely is allowed, and with grim furrows of brows judging with severe penetration of unforgiving eyes, the dreamers of the world survive at the behest of small windows of tolerance.

Of dreamers and doers, they span the spectrum between creativity and accomplishment, betwixt imagination and construction, and within fiction and fact.

There is a time for everything, and King Solomon knew well the appropriateness of matching the circumstances of the world to the plans of a future king.  For most of us, the time is now.  Dreamers who dream beyond the pinnacle of sleepless nights fare only at the behest of those who race ahead.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, the need to act, to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes more and more of an urgent need, concurrently with the time when the injured or medically incapacitated Federal employee wants to curl up and hide in the womb of dreams.

Life is hard; and while the state of dreaming allows us to momentarily escape the harshness of the world, we awaken with a sudden start, and realize that the dream shattered was merely a land of imaginary hope; doing is what accomplishes, and for the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the concrete steps taken which will allow one to attain that conclusion of restorative prairies, where one can attend to the medical conditions and be free to dream for tomorrow.  Of dreamers and doers; it is to engage the latter, in order to have the time for the former.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire