FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: How we fit in

Federal employees who don’t fit

Federal employees who don’t fit

 It is the misfits of whom we scoff at; of the random and discarded puzzle-pieces that seem to never find their proper configuration and therefore are cast aside before the picture is completed; and those square pegs that don’t fit into the round hole — whether, either the pegs must be shaved in order to conform, or the whole must be widened so that the peg can be dropped in; even though they don’t actually fit but remain loosely within the hole, but that’s okay because at least they are no longer seen as “not fitting in”.

In the end, the grind of life fatigues us.

We all conform, despite our initial resistance to such conformity.  The world requires conformity and predictability; and school, well, it is a means of ensuring the mass production of conformed groups who all think alike and behave in parallel fashion.  Every now and then, of course, a creative genius breaks away from the mold of artificial constructs; but in the end, even creative geniuses fall prey to the constant punishments meted out to those who dare to be different.

Federal employees who suffer from a medical condition and who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job — they are, essentially, misfits within a Federal system that cannot accommodate misfits for long.

Federal Disability Retirement is a pathway out of the mold that dictates how we fit in; it is part of the “system” of dealing with misfits so that you are no longer deemed a disrupting influence upon the smooth flow of the Agency’s “mission” or the Postal Service’s massive mail distribution system.  It is a long and arduous process by which various criteria must be met, and as such, the Federal or Postal employee should consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the Federal Disability Retirement attorney can guide you into seeing how you will “fit in” — into the system as a Federal Disability Retiree.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

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, it may well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Scoffing paradigms

Of course, such a title can have a double entendre or duality of meanings – that, in the first instance, the accent is upon the word “scoffing” with a lowering of one’s voice upon “paradigms”, and that would mean: One turns up one’s nose at the very idea of paradigms. Or, alternatively, if both words are of equally monotonous tonal undulations, then it could mean that the paradigm itself is one which scoffs at other paradigms, differing principles or contrary perspectives.

As to the first: There are those in life who declare that paradigms are unnecessary, and one needs to simply live life, take things as they come and forget about being able to comprehend “first principles” or other such nonsense. Indeed, that is the bestial side of humanity; animals and all other species live like that, and as the evolutionary perspective has won out and we are left with nothing but the biological counterview of life, so why not us as well in consonance with the rest of the universe?

The second meaning would presume the opposite: for, in order for a superiority of belief-systems beyond modernity’s feeble attempt at generalized equivalence of all such systems, there needs be certain paradigms that are objectively prioritized in significance, importance and relevance of application. In either meanings, while the emphasis upon the direction of the scoffer may differ, the central concept of “paradigms” remains throughout and consistently becomes elevated and magnified as the primary root cause.

Modernity has a dual problem (and many more, besides): On the one hand, nobody any longer believes in grand systems of philosophical import; thus, the Hegels, Kants and Heideggers of yesteryear will not become reincarnated in current or future times, unless there is a wholesale exchange of mindsets. On the other hand, we still cling to a tribal mentality – of wanting and needing to belong to a group that espouses illogical biases and discriminatory tendencies, if only to have some semblance of an identity unique from others; and so we embrace, by unconscious fiat or otherwise estranged ignorance, paradigms that we neither understand nor take the time to comprehend, but instead join in and defend by means of keeping company with other such ignoramuses.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, what becomes quickly evident during the process is that the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Facility will suddenly become encamped and invested in one paradigm, and you in an altogether different paradigm, and then the scoffing begins.

The Federal Disability Retirement applicant (you) are no longer amongst the “for the mission of the agency” paradigm, and you end up being a member of that “other” paradigm whether you like it, choose to, or not. Thus do you participate in the vicious cycle of scoffing paradigms, in either sense of the terms, without even knowing it. Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Overload

The comparative life is an illusion of sorts; Plato’s theme throughout is established every day, as appearances hide the reality beneath, and the allegory of the Cave – where shadows constitute the seeming truth and the truth appears as hidden seeming – is merely an archaic anachronism that has been vanquished, if merely because no one gives much weight to dead philosophers and nobody has the time for reflection upon questions that cannot provide answers instantaneously, as Google and High Speed Internet have allowed us to become accustomed.

Looking about on any street corner, or walking among the populace at large, one would believe that everyone around is able to handle the daily stresses of modernity, and that overload – whether of information, activities, responsibilities, financial, ethical, family, commitments, work issues, health concerns, etc. – are all performed, accomplished, completed and fulfilled with but a yawn.  Somehow, we all know it not to be the case.

Statistically, a great number of us suffer from anxiety, depression, intolerance to any level of stresses, with physical manifestations and somatic consequences impacting; and how many among the seemingly “normal” crowd require daily intakes of pharmacological assistance by ingestion with serious side effects to boot, but like the three towers which – when viewed from a certain perspective of alignment, appears as a singular entity – presents one sense-impression and then another when movement of the perceiver alters the vantage point, we persist upon a given viewpoint despite knowledge to the contrary.

Sensory overload is a daily problem, a persistent concern and a philosophical conundrum, precisely because we have given up the opportunity for reflection, repose and reconciliation with life’s major questions.  No, philosophy was never meant for the masses – the Socratic dialectic made that clear; but the questions posed were meant to always and perennially be asked, such that each generation would attempt to make heads or tails of life’s serious concerns.

Instead, we have been told that there are no such questions to be answered; that mythology died at about the same time Socrates took his mandated hemlock, and all information is good, available and open to the public through Google, and we can all be happy with the lot of life given to us.  Yet, the overload we experience on a daily basis, somehow doesn’t quite fit that paradigm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the burden of overload – of having to “deal” with workplace harassment; of contending with the debilitating medical conditions; of deteriorating health and the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue in the chosen job in the Federal or Postal sector – it may be time to consider 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, if the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you may be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is a long and arduous bureaucratic process that can take many stages in order to obtain, but the alternative may be of that appearance which defies the evidence of reality – like the Platonic Forms that represent the hidden truth behind the appearance of things presented – for, to remain without doing anything is to either continue to deteriorate in progressive debilitation of health, or to try and withstand the overload of life’s misgivings in a job which you can no longer do, or barely do, until the day comes when increasing pressure from the Federal agency or the Postal Service ends in a termination letter; and, that, too would be an overload beyond the ability to handle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The precarious self

Self-preservation is said to be high on the list of instinctive survival mechanisms – that which society cannot “un-learn” because of the inherent nature of such evolutionary entrenchment of DNA-coded characteristics.  It used to be that, whether in the mythical “State of Nature” as advanced and envisioned by Locke, Hobbes or Rousseau, or the more fossil-based models as posited by anthropologists, the individual who was widely considered as a precarious survivor was quickly extinguished from the gene pool either though acts of foolish daring or by neglectful carelessness.

Survival was, until recent times, always high on the list of priorities.

In modernity, we rarely even consider it, and that is why we cringe with disbelief at horror stories of sitting placidly in a café or restaurant when suddenly innocent bystanders are being shot at, or become the victims of an explosion where shrapnel and other ravaging debris aim at the human flesh – not for predatory hunger, but for mere destruction and devastation.  Laws become enacted and govern safety; mechanisms are put in place to prevent industrial accidents or massive catastrophes impacting a wide swath of population centers; these are all, in modernity, for the most part, avoided and of rare occurrence.

Thus, the precarious self has become an irrelevant concern, or not at all.  The incommensurate dilemma of an individual being lost in his or her own thoughts as he walks upon a den of wolves out to find and devour dinner, is not of a major concern; perhaps, the closest we may come to in considering the precarious self is of a person lost in thought who crosses the street without looking for oncoming traffic; but, even that, the new technology arming every vehicle with sensors which automatically prompts the braking systems are attending to that potentiality, as well.

It is, in the end, more in the arena of making mistakes, proceeding in ignorance and creating circumstances of irreconcilable self-destructiveness, that the concept even becomes applicable or comprehensible, in these days.  For example, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, does the Federal employee or Postal worker know enough about “The Laws” governing Federal Disability Retirement in order to proceed successfully?  Have you spent enough time to familiarize yourself with the statute, the case-law and precedents of recent import in order to successfully maneuver your way through the administrative process?

This is, whether one likes it or not, a highly bureaucratized universe, and the ability to avoid the precarious self often requires a great amount of investment of one’s time, energy and concentrated focus upon the details of daily, unavoidable complexities.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee falls under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something that requires avoidance of the precarious self, at a minimum; and, more than that, to maneuver around the precarious “others” as well – including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: False Promises

Is it an oxymoron?  If it is made, how can it be negated by untruth; for, if it is a nothingness at the outset which compels null and void the substantive content of the thing itself, how can it purport to be what it is while at the same time creating an abyss of meaninglessness?  A promise cannot be false if it is to have the very meaning of a promise; and yet, we know that there exists such falsity of posited assurances, if not proposed by dishonest individuals and con-men, then at least by unintentional or otherwise mistaken pillars of vain malfeasance.

False promises are not promises at all; they are likened to nonsensical statements, which are similarly non-statements precisely because of the meaningless nature of the declarations.  Just as Bertrand Russell’s playful cunning in the statement, “The present King of France is bald” – that is both nonsensical and allegedly violates the laws of logic (specifically the Law of the Excluded Middle) – so, false promises cannot exist as either falsehoods or as promises precisely because they negate each other in their very existence side by side.

But in the world of pragmatic affairs, we know that they are made each and every day.  We are promised daily, and falsely, by individuals, entities, agencies and organizations, whether with or without a handshake, sometimes in writing, other moments by verbal implication, and even every now and again sprinkled with a smile, a nod, a wink and a prayer.  Promises made have an expectation of being kept; and broken promises, like false ones, cut deep into the wounds of betrayal, and haunt us with a profound sense of anger and reeking with the vengeful fury of a violation well beyond mere resentment.  There are few things in life that compensate for false promises.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, Federal Disability Retirement is just one of the few compensatory alternatives to the expectation of a false promise made, implied or otherwise denoted.  Perhaps it was the long hours of dedicated and uncompensated time devoted; or the expectation that loyalty would be a bilateral avenue, as opposed to a unilateral desecration of implied trust.

In any event, one would have thought that “accommodations” would be made upon the interruption of a medical condition, when the medical conditions resulted in one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal position or Postal job.  But, alas, such accommodations cannot be made; the dedication of those many years, and sometimes decades, cannot be recalled but for yesterday’s contribution; and the promises seemingly made cannot be false when, all of a sudden, a question is fired back:  Is it in writing anywhere?  What or who ever gave you that idea?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often not just the best alternative, but the most prudent option remaining and still available – in rebuttal to false promises made, and truth declarations long forgotten and left behind in the corridors of remembrances no longer written in stone, but disappeared into the office shredder worth the value of the paper it was never written upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire