Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

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 necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sign Posts

Whether used as a noun or a verb, the second grammatical appendage can have multiple meanings: as a stick of lumber; as an activity placing information, warning, directional declarative or similar linguistic affirmations; and the combination of the two words can be read only within a greater contextual enlightenment depending upon what meaning is meant to be conveyed or how the inflection and accent is emphasized.

As a mere stick of lumber, it is a rather boring concept, even when attached to the first word, “sign”, precisely because the focus is upon the “post”, and so the emphasis goes directly to the sturdy piece of wood and not to the interests of the information posted.  If, on the other hand, one means to connote a different linguistic avenue – of different and varying posting of signs, then our interest is tweaked because we are immediately drawn into the various and wider universe of warnings, directions, admonishments and disseminated information useful to everyday living.

Sign posts are meant to guide, warn, betray or inform; and between the spectrum of the duality of linguistic translations, there is a natural reflection to life’s everyday humdrum itself.  For, like the analogy between information posted or merely a stick of lumber, living life is likened to a wide spectrum of activities mirroring boredom and repetitive monotony, and those instances where sudden tumult and excitement makes for an interesting day.

Being healthy can be viewed as a form of boredom; it is like the person focusing upon the stick of lumber, even if there are signs posting some warnings.  And, correlatively, when sickness and debilitating medical conditions occur, the viewpoint and perspective alters dramatically, such that the monotony of the piece of wood is now replaced with the blare of the warning, admonishment and legal declaratives, and life becomes a tumult, not merely a lapping wave but a tsunami of devastating impact.

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 the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the alteration of the perspective – whether seen as a “eureka” moment, a modified weltanschauung, or some reflective recognition of changed circumstances – the point is to shift the focus from the stick of lumber to the sign post itself: the job, the harassment, the constant antagonism and acrimony in the workplace – these are all the stick of lumber; one’s own medical condition, dealing with the doctors, the deterioration of one’s physical, emotional and mental capacity – these are the “signs”.

What we focus upon will determine the course of one’s future; and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the combination of both words as a compound concept: of recognizing the sign posts, and dealing with it accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Balance of Information

Most administrative entanglements involve some measure of balancing.  How much information to provide; determination of that which constitutes satisfaction of the request; whether, and to what extent, the information is sufficient to complete the transaction; and other similar analytical evaluations prior to submitting the compendium of data.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers struggling to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s agency (if still on the rolls and not separated for more than 31 days), and then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (unless one has been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, but not more than 1 year, as all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be submitted within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service), the key component and measure is the effectiveness of Standard Form 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The act of balancing begins upon an initial review of the questions posed by SF 3112A.  While other forms require basic information concerning one’s personal data and the agency for whom the Federal or Postal employee works (e.g., SF 3107 series, including Schedules A, B & C), the SF 3112A is the linchpin of it all.  Care should be taken in answering the questions; reflection upon the character and extent of the data provided; editing and review of any final submission.  Too much, or too little.

The Goldilocks principle should always be applied, and when served in just the right amount, the true test of the balance of information has been finally met.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Extreme Fatigue

The phrase itself can denote at least two connotations of conceptual paradigms, depending upon which word the emphasis is placed upon:  of an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that is experientially devastating to an exponential degree or, that one is so depleted and tired from the constant state of the extreme.

To experience extreme fatigue is to have a medical condition; to be tired of the constancy of crisis after crisis, is to live an existence which cannot be sustained forever.  Both states can be experienced simultaneously, especially when a medical condition occurs, because the debilitating effects of the disability begins to take its toll upon the individual’s mind, body and soul, and further, because outside reactionary influences tend to make an imbalance upon one’s perspective.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who is experiencing both forms of the phrase, it is probably time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

When an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and tiredness beyond mere overexertion begins to overtake, it is an indicator that the medical condition is taking its toll.  When the daily circumstances of one’s life tend to be interpreted as a constancy of extremes, like the proverbial “boy who cried wolf” once too often, and the daily events become skewed to such an extent that one becomes overwhelmed by the persistence of events, and where the extraordinary becomes the daily norm, then it is also a sign of portending causes to recognize.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an option of the extreme, although it may be one of the few and limited alternatives left for the Federal or Postal worker who has been struggling to maintain a linear level of normalcy for years on end.

Rather, it is a recognition of human frailty, and the limits of endurance, and ultimately a choice of reflective wisdom in recognizing when the extreme of life’s circumstances begin to take its toll, the resulting impact is often the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion beyond mere tiredness, and where the signs become clear that time is not on the side of health, but where health must accept the timeless constancy of changing extremes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pretending

It is the creative imagination which ultimately separates man from his counterpart; and, in the end, those costumes we display, and wear as vestiges of who we were, what we have become, and how we want others to appreciate us — in the aggregate, they reveal either our pretending selves, or at the very least, our pretentiousness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the extension from childhood through adulthood is best personified in the ability and capacity to “pretend” — assume the role of the loyal civil servant; march on in quiet suffering; brave through in silent grief the turmoil of a progressively worsening medical condition.  But when “pretend” encounters the reality of pain and self-immolation of destruction and deterioration, there comes a point in time where childhood fantasies and dreams of want and desire must be replaced with the reality of what “is”.

That annoying verb, “to be”, keeps cropping up as an obstacle of reality, forever obstructing and denying.  Reality sometimes must hit us over the head with harsh tools of sudden awakenings; for the Federal or Postal worker who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the wake-up call is often the alarm-clock that rings after a long weekend, when rest and respite should have restored one to healthy readiness on the workday following, but where somehow the face of pretending must still remain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire