Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Argument

You hear about such lives every now and again; of an old man declaring, “Never a raised voice in 50 years of marriage”, or: “We never argued. Bless her (or his) soul”.  Leaving aside the viability of the astounding prefatory remark (i.e., that two people in this day and age could remain together for half a century), one wonders whether selective amnesia plays a significant role in such a statement.

Can it even be possible that two people who have been together for such a lengthy period of time could possible exist without any discernible conflict?  No friction; no irritation; no level of heightened stress such that a raised voice must be expressed.  Or, are they “playing” with the meaning of the word “argue”?

Perhaps there was a disagreement, by any measure of the word; or a dispute; or a failure to agree; but throughout, there may well never have been any untoward unpleasantness.

Does an argument have to be unpleasant in order for it to be an argument?  Or, can two or more people smile, be civil, remain cordial throughout, and simply state their points?  Are all disagreements arguments as well, or are some disagreements merely antithetical statements which never rise to the level of an argument?  Does it matter whether or not a “personal stake” is involved in the matter?  Is that why we often preface a statement with the preemptive strike and motive of avoiding an argument in saying, “No, please don’t take this personally, but … “?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if the goal is to live a life where there has never been an argument, then there is likely no point in filing at all.  OPM is there to argue and oppose; consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and who has no qualms about arguing your case on your behalf.

Now, as to arguing with one’s spouse — that is a different matter, and this attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law has no advice to give concerning such matters, or at the very least, refrains from arguing about the issue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Qualifying Standard

What if a group of individuals gathered to compete in a race, of sorts, and trained, engaged in strenuous preparatory work and did all of the things necessary in order to “qualify”? They all gather on the agreed-upon date and, in customary athletic clothing, run a predetermined distance where 3 individuals out of ten cross a white line in sequential fashion. There is no doubt as to who the 3 “front runners” were. Yet, when the prizes are handed out, they are given to the 10th, 7th and 5th place runners. There is an understandable uproar. A protest is filed.

Umpires and referees gather (are there such people, or is that just in baseball, football, soccer and basketball?) and discuss the situation at length. Small, hand-held rule books are consulted and the audience sits in anguished silence as the outcome is debated in a deliberative fashion. Furrowed eyebrows are mashed in faces of concerned silence; the crowd that had gathered to witness the sporting event argue vociferously over the unfairness of it all; television crews have arrived, having been tipped off that a major scandal has been scented and the sharks have gathered for the afternoon kill.

No one notices that a little old man who has stood watching the entire spectacle with a peaceful, quiet calm has slowly made his way onto the platform where a microphone has been set up. He approaches the podium, adjusts the contraption and begins thus: “Ahem”. He pauses, waiting for everyone at the event to recognize the point from where the clearing of his throat originated, and continues on: “I am Mr. X; I organized this event. If you look at the last paragraph of the rules-book, it specifically states the following: ‘Mr. X is the sole determiner of the qualifying standard’. I am, as I said, Mr. X, and I determined that runners 5, 7 and 10 are the winners. End of story”. The little old man then turns around and walks back down, and away from the event.

Now, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition leads the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this story may appear to parallel the manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acts: As a law unto itself.

Fortunately, they are not the sole arbiter of the qualifying standard and, instead, there is such a thing as “The Law”. In order to apply the law and force OPM to follow the true and only qualifying standard, however, it is necessary to “know” the law; and, in order to do that, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. Otherwise, you might be subject to the same standard (or lack thereof) as the little old man who does what he wants on any given day depending on how he feels on that day, or in that moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Deus ex Machina

It is a contrivance which finds its origins in Greek plays of a civilization now gone; of the recognition of unsolvable problems created by human hubris; and when all seems lost, the “machina” (machine) which lowers the god (the “deus”) onto the stage then resolves everything by supernatural means.

The contrivance itself would probably not be acceptable in this era of modernity, where the cynicism of “reality” would not allow for a supernatural force to intervene and solve the problems of mankind (although, it might be acceptable if an extraterrestrial were to appear from outer space and solve such problems with a taser gun — which tells us a lot about our culture where we disbelieve in gods but lend credibility to aliens where there is scant evidence of such existing beings).

Yet, in everyday life, we believe and daydream of a deus ex machina: Of fairytales and knights in shining armor; of winning the lottery despite the billion-to-one odds against; or of simple acts, like thinking that one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service will be “nice”, “kind” or “understanding”.

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, hoping for a deus ex machina to provide a solution is to engage in mere fantasy-daydreams.  The fact is that the problems that are created by a medical condition can be resolved through the reality of the law — by preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — for, while such a lawyer may not be a modern-day Deus ex machina, the successful result of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may prove to be better than a Greek tragedy ending with an improbable outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Happiness Lasting

Can the precipice of elation last for long?  What of contentment — a seemingly “lower-level” joy that pervades and remains for the duration of a season?  Does evidence of its durability depend upon a smile frozen upon one’s face, or can it continue to establish its existence with gleaming eyes and a perpetual grin that seems never to go away?  Is glee in youth different from a winter’s discontent followed by a summer of joy, and does a period of happiness fostered by nostalgia the same as two young lovers who proclaim the currency of an unfettered passion for life?

Modernity celebrates the cult of youth, and it is thus assumed that happiness is the sole possession of those who look and declare youthfulness; but in the end, is it just wasted energy that dissipates because the young have no knowledge of how to handle such emotional turbulence?  What does it mean to “be happy”, and should it ever be considered as a worthwhile “goal” as opposed to a byproduct of a life well lived?

When a person feels elation, should the advice be: Temper it, for such a spectrum of heights will never last and you will find its opposite and negative effect at the end of it all — of dread and dismal desolation.  Or, should one just enjoy it while it exists, and deal with its opposite when it comes about?

Aristotle’s approach of finding the middle ground — of a moderation of temperament and approach to life — may allow for happiness lasting precisely because the height and depths of the spectrum of human emotions are never allowed to consume us.

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 idea that happiness lasting can no longer be attained is a pervasive feeling because of the medical condition itself and the effects upon one’s life and career.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may not be the “solution” to attain happiness, but it can be a process where intermediate goals can be achieved — of what to do during the pendency of one’s medical condition; of how to change careers; of how to attain a sense of stability for the future while attending to one’s own health and well-being.

It is a means to an end, where happiness lasting can be seen in the short-term goal of securing one’s future by filing for, and obtaining, a FERS Disability Retirement annuity before the next set of challenges in life’s fulfillment of changing circumstances must be faced again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from the OPM: Expectations

What are they?  Is it something that we place upon ourselves, or merely the burden of what others have said?  Are there implied ones as opposed to direct and blunt ones?  Do they scar and damage throughout our lives, based upon the haunting sense of what we believe our parents demanded?  Are expectations the cumulative juncture caught between our own dreams, the demands of parents, and what we believe society considers success or failure?

Do we carry them about without an awareness of their influence, forgotten in the closets of our memories until psychoanalytical triggers suddenly bring them to the fore and where we suddenly blurt out, “Oh, yes, that is where it all comes from!”  And what happens when reality blunders upon expectations and the two conflict within the agony of our lives — do we (or more appropriately put, can we) abandon them and leave them behind in the ash heaps of discarded disappointments?

And when do we become “smart enough” to realize that the old vestiges of expectations need to be reevaluated and prioritized, and not allowed to remain as haunting voices that we no longer remember from whence they came, but remain as unwanted guests within the subconscious purview of our daily existence?

Expectations — we all have them; but of priorities in our lives, we rarely reorganize them in order to meet the present needs of our complex lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and position, it may be time to re-prioritize those expectations that one has about one’s career, one’s future, one’s…life.

Expectations can be a positive force — of placing demands that spur one towards heights previously unimaginable; but that which is a positive force can turn upon itself and become a negative influence, especially when the check of reality fails to make one realize that priorities must be reassessed based upon the changing circumstances that life itself brings about.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of one’s deteriorating health may not be what one ever “expected” — but, then, all expectations have always been conditional in the sense that the demands made depended upon circumstances remaining the same.  When circumstances change, expectations must similarly adapt.

Preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may seem like a lowering of one’s expectations; yet, as it was always conditional upon the state of one’s health, a concomitant alteration of one’s expectations must meet the reality of one’s changed circumstances.

That is the reality of life’s lesson: Prioritize — health, family, career and the changing levels of expectations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: The isolation

Generally, we accept the statement that Man is a “social” animal, and by that we mean that he or she prefers, all factors considered, to live in communities and interact voluntarily with others, as opposed to living in isolation, apart and separate.  That we congregate in bunches of aggregate intercourses is not uncommon; that we enjoy the company and camaraderie of social discourse is considered “normal”; but on the other hand, that we like to be alone at times is also not disputed.

There are those who cannot stand being alone; others who must always be in the company of someone; of still many who fear being alone in life, and desperately cling to partners who one neither deserves nor should solicit for the sake of one’s own well-being.  For, in the end, even the loner was born into the communal world; that he or she decided to betray the conventions of society and isolate himself is not an argument for normalcy of being.

It is, in the end, the isolation that is most daunting; of being targeted and separated and placed into a proverbial-type of sequestration or solitary confinement.

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 concept of “isolation” is not a new one.  Whether because the Federal or Postal employee feels isolated because he or she cannot tell anyone about the medical condition or, having told about it, the Federal or Postal employee is deliberately being isolated because of the medical condition, matters little.  Both result in the same consequences.

The “targeted” employee; the one who is no longer “part of the team”; the one who has dared ask for an accommodation; the one who is no longer invited to meetings or in the general sharing of information; the isolated Federal or Postal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, lest the isolation results in the continued harassment and ultimately ends in a termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Interests at odds

A comity of interests has to arise in order for relationships to “work” — in whatever arena of meaning such a term must apply.  When interests are at odds, it means that the goals, orientation and direction of each of the parties are conflicted.  A “conflict”, of course, can be direct or indirect, and can be on various levels of complexities, but in general would imply a need to sever ties unless such conflicts are resolved.

In the employment arena, the comity of interests is fairly straightforward: The employer has a set of interests that need to be pursued; the employee, desiring to advance the interests of the employer, agrees to join in with the comity of interests in the common pursuit of stated goals.  Compensation is agreed upon; certain conditions are mutually stated and a contract, whether explicit or implied, is formed.

Conflicts may arise during the course of employment, of course; if a competitor makes an offer to the employee unbeknownst to the employer that directly or indirectly conflicts with the stated goals of the employer, certain ethical questions may arise.  Or, if certain employment conditions fail to be met, the “interests” of each begin to be “at odds” — an odd way of putting it, but that is the lexicon that has arisen in the employment arena.  It is almost a euphemism to avoid the harsh reality of other “choice” words.

Medical conditions can certainly “bring to odds” and damage the employer-employee relationship, and certainly Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers recognize that.

The “solution” that has been preemptively provided is the benefit known as “Federal Disability Retirement” — it is a means to avoid or otherwise resolve the conflict that arises when a Federal employee or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — where, in the event of a medical condition no longer allowing for the Federal or Postal employee to fulfill certain of the employment conditions agreed upon (i.e., not being able to maintain a regular work attendance; unable to work full time any longer; taking too much SL or LWOP; unable to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, etc.), then it is time to access the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Of course, the “interests at odds” is not just between the employee and one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Service — it is also as against another agency: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management who attempts to subvert, deny and otherwise place obstacles in obtaining an “approval” for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

That is why the “interests at odds” needs to have an advocate — of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Consult with an attorney who can help you attain the comity of interests, and to counter that entity which clearly is at odds with your interests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire