OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: The boxes in Standard Forms

For some forms, it is a convenience to have a restrictive, limited “box” in which to put the “x” into, or maybe the needed “Not Applicable”; others, however, try and contain a limited narrative and force succinctness into the standardization of answers.  That is all well and good, and perhaps from a bureaucratic standpoint and perspective, the conformity of forms and the mandatory “answers within a box” makes for streamlining of paperwork.

The reality, however, is that some questions cannot be answered — and more importantly, should not — within the proposed space allocated, and so you have two (2) choices: decrease the font size in order to fit a greater substance of the narrative within the provided box, or attach a continuation sheet despite no indication in the standard forms for allowance of such cheekiness of presumptuous creativity.

How does one identify which Standard Form should be prepared and completed within the confines of standardization, and which ones should not?   First, a conceptual identification should be applied: Which ones are merely “informational” that request only singular answers, and which forms make queries that compel for narrative answers?  Once that initial, identifying bifurcation is made, then the next step is to determine whether an adequate and sufficient response can be stated within the “box” provided within the font-size allowing for regular eyesight that does not require extraordinary magnification, or if a continuation sheet is necessary.

Thus, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, certain Standard Forms are merely informational — for example, the SF 3107 series which asks for basic, factual information.  Then, of course, there is the SF 3112 series, and especially SF 31112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker under FERS, who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the greater mistake has often been to quickly annotate within the boxes provided a swift “jotting down” of the medical conditions one “feels” — as if the body parts providing temporary sensations for a given day, or even the lack thereof, will sufficiently satisfy the eligibility requirements that must be met in order to become approved for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Make no mistake about it: there can be dire legal consequences if SF 3112A is not completed properly and sufficiently.  And always remember the philosophical dictum: That which is necessary may not be necessarily sufficient, and that which is sufficient may not be sufficiently necessary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Setting up the Parameter of an Argument

What we argue depends upon identifying the criteria already established, which is why arguments will often become prolonged engagements of meandering shouting matches, thrown at cross purposes, never agreeing to disagree upon the elements which represent an actual conflict.

How many wars have been fought because of a simple failure in identifying the issues; how many costly divorces originating from misunderstanding and loss of communication, and who suffers but the collateral damage issued to non-combatants who must witness the devastation wrought more by ego than by elevated principles worth contesting?

The parameters themselves can be manipulated, such that we can “require” things unnecessary, and “mandate” prerequisites never called for.  That is how individuals can perform the proverbial act of “kicking the can” down the endless road, by talking about issues which rarely matter, but somehow confuse the mind without rational forethought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, there are many ways to delay or cease the necessary starting points even before you begin, because of the many difficulties and roadblocks which must be faced — the least of which is certainly not the medical condition itself.

In the end, such mechanisms of procrastination can be understood in light of fear, angst and foreboding dread; the fear of the unknown, the angst of change, and the foreboding dread of losing one’s place in society, the work force, and the belonging to a community of Federal or Postal workers.  We can always dredge up a reason for not; it is in doing that our acts justify our unmatched words.

In the end, the parameters we set for ourselves are merely window dressings for delaying the inevitable, and so when next the excuse to not engage comes to mind, simply replace it with a more mundane reason, like when Meursault referred to the bright sun as the justification for his acts, as well as the prosecutor who denounced it because of his lack of empathy for his dead mother.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Myth of Upward Progression

We like to think that life is represented by a linear curve of upward progression; in reality, most of us reach an apex, then remain static and content in the late summer years of our lives.  There is nothing wrong with such a state of affairs; as contentment and comfort embrace a spectrum of stability, so the refusal of change and resistance to vicissitude are not indicators of laziness, as once thought in former days of youth where transition, sacrifice and relinquishment of stability were necessary for purposes of future advancement.

Most of us, within a defined minefield of progress and regress, remain within an invisible glass casing of immobility.  Perhaps there is a major financial setback in a given year; or, a promotion or cash incentive award had not been achieved; but in the year following, or the next beyond, it is attained; or an unexpected windfall allows for greater stability least anticipated and most gratifying.

In a sense, we delude ourselves.  But so long as we remain within a constancy of comfort, where an appearance of major retrogression cannot be palpably discerned, contentment prevails, and the bother of breaking new grounds, moving to a larger house, taking on greater responsibilities, adding to headaches and stresses, can be quietly forsaken, left with the self-satisfaction that quietude is a byproduct of a goal once sought for, and achieved without fanfare or celebration.  It is when the bounds of contentment are scattered, the barriers of satisfaction crumbling, when the call to action is suddenly a turmoil of exoneration, and peace as shattered glass stepped upon in bare feet of bleeding souls, that affirmative movement must then be spurred, leaving behind those spurned opportunities once thought cumbersome.

Medical conditions have a tendency to create such circumstances of unrest.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that the chaos of inchoate situations developing because of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition impacts upon the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the possibility and need for 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, becomes a reality which disturbs and perturbs the quietude of living contentedly.

When a medical condition disrupts that glass bowl of satisfaction, the myth of upward progression becomes shattered, because suddenly all that one has worked to achieve may be in doubt.

Most of us are happy to just find that small oasis within the turbulent oceans of insanity we designate as “civilized society”; but for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with a medical condition such that the medical condition threatens the very foundation of one’s hard-fought dreams and desultory circumstances, consideration needs to be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, if only to resist the temptation that static circumstances are a foregone conclusion, or that the myth of upward progression cannot be defeated by planning for the next great adventure in this, a universe of turbulence of unexpected turmoil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Excision & Expiation

Sometimes, the former must be engaged in order to save the whole, lest the lesser segment spreads to infect the greater; while in different circumstances, of contexts involving spiritual offenses, the latter may suffice through acceptable acts of contrition or penance paid through rote words of sincere atonements.  In other instances, the act of the latter may account for the former, while the satisfaction through the former may be sufficient to complete the latter.

Excision is to surgically sever and remove, and then to discard and alienate from the body of which it was once a part; while expiation is to similarly remove, but which can still remain as a part of one’s history of misdeeds.  Both are acts engaged in for purposes of atonement beyond the present state of existential negativity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, despite the ongoing flagellation compounded by one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service upon the aggregation of negativity impounded through one’s deteriorating medical condition, continue to endure the proverbial adage that when it rains, it pours, consideration should be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In many ways, filing for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the duality of acts involving excision and expiation; for, like the former, approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity by OPM results in a separation from that very body of which the Federal or Postal employee was once a part of; and like the latter, it resolves the ongoing conflict and struggle between the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, and the Federal entity or the U.S. Postal Service, in terms of work left undone, dissatisfaction because of lost time, excessive use of Sick Leave, or exhaustion of FMLA benefits, etc.

From the perspective of the Federal agency or the Post Office, excision is the preferred methodology, as the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can then replace the separated employee with someone else.

From the perspective of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, the approval of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit amounts to an expiation of sorts, as rendering a benefit to make it all worthwhile, for the years of dedicated service and sacrifice given, and a recognition that those achievements and accomplishments have not been for naught, despite what the last remaining years where deteriorating health and progressively debilitating medical conditions wrought upon one’s reputation and employment relationships.

Excision and expiation; they are the dual forms of atonement for the Federal or Postal employee who takes the affirmative steps in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, when it becomes apparent that loss of physical or mental capacity in the face of impending health conditions is not a basis for surrendering to the inevitable vicissitudes of what life brings to the fore of man’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Whispers of Time

Sometimes, in the deadened silence of night, thoughts beyond our daily routine creep into the shadows of the subconscious; or, in the quietude of rustling leaves, a harkening which is lost but for the whispers of time.

Is it true that there are signs, voices, foreboding elements around which warn of impending events beyond the pragmatism of our technologically-driven society?  Did epochs of yore possess knowledge beyond what we discover on Google?  Put that way, the simple answer is, “yes”; but if characterized as engaging old spirits through acts of necromancy and boiling bones, hairs and organs in a cauldron of witch’s brew, then our doubts begin to ponder.  Is there a “middle ground” — of recognizing that animals have an innate sense of danger which we have lost, or where the scent of impending prey pervades, which we once may have possessed a heightened alarm for, but which society has stamped out through the callous indifference of civilized comportment?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who wait for finality of judgment prior to beginning the process of 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, it may be that the Federal or Postal employee shuns and casts aside that quiet “inner voice” which tells one, “This cannot go on.”

We tend to do that.  Man has an unlimited and vast capacity for self-justification and rationalization, often to the detriment of self.  And that quiet voice of foreboding need not be something mysterious or even sinister in timeless sorcery; it could merely be our bodies telling us that, whatever hope our treatment modalities may be holding out for, the inconsistency between the medical condition and the positional duties required by the Federal or Postal job can no longer be maintained.

Truth is always magical, if not bluntly pragmatic; and while the days of magic have been lost when once the whispers of time succumbed to man’s landing on the moon, where romances and imagines faces converted to mere dust in the dustbin of history, there still remains room for the person who stops, listens, and pauses, if not for the oncoming train warning of impending catastrophe, then at least for the quiet warning signs that continuing in the same vein may not be the wisest of paths to take.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire