Federal Disability Retirement: Beyond the apex

Few of us want to think of ourselves as past that point.  For, the “apex” is the top of it all; it is the place which is reached, and then there follows a downward trajectory such that what had been reached cannot be repeated; and from there forward, there are only memories, regrets, and echoes of past glories stated in hollow monotones that betray and failures of lives lived.

Mountain climbers persist in reaching new ones; it is the ever-pervasive “high” of the challenge faced, to be able to conquer new heights and reach for cliff faces never before overcome.  To try and reach the apex is to constantly grow; to have reached the apex, a completed task; and to have gone beyond the apex — the direction can only be of degradation in comparison to what was before.

We — none of us — want to think of our lives as in the past, or of slow and steady deterioration.  While our bodies become decrepit, we cling to an image of ourselves as being…25, 30, perhaps a little older?  Or even of immortality do we embrace; and of trading in secret pacts in order to retain our youth. Medical conditions tend to be reminders that the apex has been reached and we are on a journey beyond — though we often fail to realize that the “beyond” can be just as rewarding as the climb before.

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, it will often “feel” as if such a move means that you are now beyond the apex — a “has been”, a “failure”, a person who is no longer a member of “the team”, etc.

Yet — though your Federal career or Postal job may become something in the past, beyond the apex should be seen not as the end of something, but the beginning of the next phase of your life.  Yes, beyond the apex is often a frightening thought, but it is also an opportunity to refocus and reorient your life upon the priorities that matter: Health, relationships, and what all of those politicians say when they leave office: In order to spend more time with my family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Enduring, surviving or achieving victory

The first two in the tripartite of conceptual constructs are similar in meaning; the third and last, an extension beyond where it may include a historical background of the first two but emerge with a separateness of conclusion from them.  To endure is similar to surviving; to survive, to endure the difficulties and maintain a semblance of remaining intact.

One can “endure” a traumatic event and survive it; similarly, one can survive such an event and, in retrospect, realize that to have endured the experience was the very key to such a conclusion.  One can endure and survive, however, and yet fail to achieve any victory.  For, victory is the conclusion and outcome of how one has endured and survived; the first two are thus necessary condition precedents, in one sense, in order for the third to occur.

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 the Federal job, the necessity in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may become a reality.

For the time being, perhaps the medical condition has not gotten “too bad”, and the Federal or Postal employee may be able to endure the difficulties, go into work and maintain a level of productivity such that no adverse actions from the Federal Agency or Postal Service may result.  Or, the medical condition may be tolerable such that the Federal or Postal employee may be able to survive for the next year, or even the following few years, and be able to endure the turmoil of balancing work, family, progressively deteriorating medical conditions and the essential elements that the Federal or Postal employee must be able to endure.

If and when the time comes, however, for the Federal or Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the test at that point will not be whether or not the Federal or Postal employee can endure or survive the lengthy administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but rather, whether one can come out at the “other end” by achieving victory.

In order for that to happen, knowledge of the legal basis to be argued, the necessary connection between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job – all must be effectively compiled, argued and persuasively presented.  For that to happen, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Attorney: Beliefs beyond boundaries

There are beliefs that are presumed to be true, if not merely conventional.  Superstitious beliefs, so long as they do not interfere with daily activities and being productive, are acceptable; believing in the existence of aliens on other planets, for instance, or even that some have visited this planet, will not make a difference in the conduct of one’s life; on the other hand, if the same person believes that the alien is invisible and shadowing him wherever he goes, it might begin to impede ordinary and acceptable behavior.

There are “flat earth” associations, and one may cling religiously to the belief that the earth is flat and not round or oval, and argue vociferously that when you walk and see the horizon, there is no indication other than that the earth is flat; and such a belief would likely remain harmless and largely irrelevant.

Then, of course, there are beliefs beyond boundaries of acceptable and normative accountability, like embracing a belief in a date certain that the world will end, where such a belief results in preparation for the coming doom, spending all available resources in building and reinforcing a bunker constructed in one’s backyard, quitting one’s job in order to prepare for the inevitability of the end.  Or, of a belief that all women on Thursdays who wear blue are germ-carriers, because when Jason was five years old there was a woman who wore blue on a particular Thursday who stopped, patted him on the head and said, “Nice boy”, and on that very day, by that woman who wore blue, he became deathly ill and ended up in the hospital for two months teetering on death’s doorstep.

Is that an “unreasonable” belief to have?  Can one not make the argument that there is a “rational” basis for such a belief, and it is within the reasonable boundaries of acceptability?  Would you call such a person “crazy”?  And, so long as he goes to work each day, is productive, doesn’t harm anyone – and no woman on Thursday enters his cubicle wearing blue, he never runs out screaming, “Don’t let her touch me!” – no one would be the wiser for holding such a belief.

And of the Federal or Postal employee who refuses to take the necessary steps to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because he or she believes that taking “advantage” of such a benefit means that he or she is no longer “worthy” – is that a belief beyond boundaries of rationality?

Yet, that is often what pauses the Federal or Postal employee from preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the mistaken belief that is beyond the proper boundaries that there is something inherently “wrong” with the Federal or Postal employee when you file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, when in fact all you are doing is to finally recognize that health, life and one’s well-being are more important than killing yourself over a job that has always accorded the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Venting Venue

It is a necessary doorway (or so we are told) in order to attain sound psychological health; that, within the raging furnace of subsumed consciousness, of passions suppressed and grievances left unstated but yet seething beneath the subterranean caverns of unspecified aggregations of cumulative powder kegs confined by bloated egos, there remains a need for the fissure to emit the toxicities of life.  Or not.

The content of such emissions, of course, can never be challenged; it is only the context which should be questioned, in this age where subjectivity rules, the personal pronoun delegates, and the sacrosanct opinion of the “I” overcomes any Aristotelian residue of logical argumentation.  Venting is healthy (or so they say), and therapeutic, to boot.  And that which is both therapeutic and good, must by self-definition be unquestioned by any moral compass of historical certitude basked in tradition.

Thus, diatribes against parents are open game; vitriol against mothers, step-mothers, and especially mother in-laws are quite fashionable, and validated if spiced with an acerbic wit which only the unwitting can discern; and, certainly, the general population of parents, bad parents or parents who dared to restrict, set limits or otherwise constrained the alleged creativity of choice, lifestyle optioning and declarative innuendos of rejecting tradition and historicity of values, must be publicly flogged until the defamation of insensitivity is squeezed out of each, and where only the silence of conformity prevails, so that all traditions are banished into the timeless trashheaps of lost civilizations.

Perhaps it is good to vent; but when the “how”, the “where”, and the content-consciousness of “what” is left unconstrained, the issue is no longer whether, but if wisdom should properly channel it.  A stream flowing in front of a house, quietly lapping over the gentle smoothness of moss-covered rocks, may paint the picture of a serenity wrapped in the quietude of a morning mist; but when such waters turn into a raging turbulance and rise to levels which engulfs the rural solitude of a farmer’s self-sufficiency, the stream is then no longer the lifeline of gaiety and childhood warmth of memories unsheathed, but a warning that even the dreams of a butterfly can turn like a viper with fangs previously unseen.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to 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 proper preparation of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application should never be used as the venting venue for one’s solace or therapeutic health.  That should be left for another day, a different doorway, and a separate pathway for healthy living.

It is, indeed, the things stated in that moment of anger, actions embraced in a fit of rage, or hurts flung as self-defeating propositions, which one comes to regret.  The Federal Disability Retirement application, by contrast, must be objective, thoughtful, forceful in its argumentation and legal methodology of analysis and evaluative content, and never to be deemed impotent as a result of a venting venue of unnecessary contextual lapses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Medical conditions and the “to-do” list

We often approach everything in life in a repetitive, systematic manner; of a routine which engenders habituation of comfort, and of identity harkening to obsession of similitude.  It is said of Kant that his neighbors set and corrected their watches and clocks according to the regularity of his walks, as his life maintained a predictability of precision so reliable that error could only be ascribed to a mechanical defect, and never to his human constancy.

It is as if there is an internal “checklist” in order to attain a progression of human development, and in an effort to achieve that advancement, both of thought and of physical growth, we must be assured of completion and fulfillment.  But medical conditions are never like that; we cannot “do something about it” and expect to “check it off” of our “to-do” list, only to move on to the next item on the itinerary.  A pastor once quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough; although, there could have been an addendum:  “And where there are problems, you can always find impure motives.”

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 problem is one of duality of purpose:  For the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, the approach of attempting to “check off” the medical condition as another item on a “to-do” list is always rebutted by the stark reality of the medical condition itself; and from the Federal agency’s perspective (or the Postal Service’s), the thought-process of “when will it go away” simply avoids the issue, and fails to address the problem of the conflict which arises.

Thus, the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement is there for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely to allow for those circumstances in which (A) the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to be able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, (B) the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months — not that one must wait for 12 months, but rather, that the prognosis by a doctor or medical provider is willing to state that the medical condition will, within reasonable medical probability, last for that long, and (C) accommodation of the medical condition is not possible, and reassignment to a position at the same pay or grade will not ameliorate the situation.

In the end, medical conditions defy the human attempt to treat it as merely another obstacle to overcome, or an irritant to set aside.  It is a condition of human existence which represents a trial for a linear life we attempt to manage, when in fact a change of course is often the remedy, and not the repetition of comfort found in the thoughtless quietude of habit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Unrehearsed Spontaneity

In the absence of a coherent plan, one is left with the ad hoc approach of a sometimes delicious unfolding of unrehearsed spontaneity.  Dinner conversations; an unplanned visit; a sudden windfall; an inheritance from a long-lost relative; these are all desirable circumstances to suddenly befall; but most things in life require some extent of planning, and to expect positive results in the same manner as a string of lucky draws, is to ask for failure in the face of unrealistic anticipatory happenstance.

Medical conditions fall into the category of unexpected events; how one responds to it, what steps are taken, and where one goes from the discovery of the information — these are determinable follow-ups.  We often confuse and bundle together causation with effects.

Hume’s bifurcation via use of billiard balls as an example, illustrates the point of recognizing the importance of identifying that “necessary connection” which is lacking when discussing the universe of inception and result.  Some things happen without rational basis or knowable justification; but where we have the capacity to engage an active hand in a matter, the consequences we perceive from our affirmative participation can be defined and comprehensive.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition has impacted his or her ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal job, it is important to recognize that unrehearsed spontaneity is fine for a time, but not for planning the course of one’s future.

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, requires the cogent and deliberative gathering of relevant medical documentation; the capacity to compile the compendium of proof in order to qualify; and the application of legal argumentation in combining medical information with legal significance, in order to persuasively submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet.

Approvals are not won by mere happenstance; luck in a Federal Disability Retirement application is not based upon a lottery ticket purchased, forgotten, and suddenly viewed for statistical improbabilities; rather, it is a focused approach upon a bureaucratic process where the coalescence of facts, law, and preponderance of the evidence are compiled with a deliberative approach.

Leave the delicious moment of unrehearsed spontaneity to a dance under a sudden cloudburst; to prepare an OPM Disability Retirement application of efficacy and success, a wider approach of planning is necessary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire