OPM Medical Retirement: Empathy: What it Says About Us

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article, there was a story about 3 people who died — of professional individuals who had purchased cocaine, but where the “product” was tainted with fentanyl and perhaps some other deadly additives.

Why was it so difficult to feel a sense of empathy for these people?  The fact that they all seemed “privileged” — of having good jobs, being young and having all of the alleged “appearance” of having social, professional and financial advantages — seems to come into play.  The judgment we make is: It was their “choice” to buy the drugs, to take them, to understand the chance they were taking, and so….

Yet, how are they any different, substantively, from the child who grows up in the “projects” and is daily surrounded by drug dealers, criminals and bad parenting?  What is the substantive difference between the two?  Why do we have empathy for the child who grows up with disadvantages and succumbs to them, but not for the ones who seemingly have all of the advantages in life, and yet, squanders them and descends to the level of those who have always been without?

Empathy is a funny animal; and moreover, it probably says something about us when we show it for some, feel it for others, and yet for those “others” — none at all.  Which is a lesson for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from an injury or disease, and who have shown a sense of loyalty to their Federal Agency or Postal Unit for many years, and expect to find some sympathy when they file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the FERS system.

Perhaps you believe that you will receive some modicum of empathy from your Agency or Postal Service.  Don’t.  And when you do not, don’t begin ruminating about it; for, in the end, it says something about your Agency, and not about yourself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: Before and After

Do you remember those old pictures on the advertising pages of various magazines?  Or, perhaps they are still there?

Whether for diets, some “Atlas He-Man” powder to build muscles; where the “before” picture is always grainy and indecipherable; whereas the “after” photograph is of a beaming, smiling, clearly and visibly an ecstatic person, satisfied and happy with the product and the end results.

comparison of the two — the person “before” and the individual “after” — is always of dubious quality (at least with respect to the “before”), and triggers the question:  Is it the same person?

But the question itself is somewhat irrelevant — for, of course, in one sense, it is not the same person; the person “after” is different because that is the whole purpose of the advertisement, to convey to the reader that the person “after” is a different person from the person “before”, and the photographs are meant to show you the difference.

So, is it false advertising if the person photographed in the “after” picture is not the identical person as the one shown “before”?

In one sense, it obviously is, because the advertisement is trying to persuade you that the product being sold is what caused the change, and surely if you photograph the “before” person as being the same — but now different — as the “after” person, some semblance of subterfuge was engaged in.

On the other hand, if the whole purpose of the advertisement is to convince you that both the “before” person and the “after” person (both of whom presumably used the product being sold) are, in fact, “different” from one another, then how is it that there is any falsity in the advertisement?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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, clearly — and without false advertising — there is a difference between the “before” and the “after”.

Before the medical condition, the Federal or Postal employee was a vibrant, productive worker.  After the chronic medical condition — well, the clear necessity to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under the FERS system tells the whole story.

Contact a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Medical Disability Retirement Law, and let not the dubious advertising of those “before” and “after” photographs in those old ads detract you from pursuing the need for FERS Disability Retirement benefits before the after of the debilitating health conditions worsens and goes too far.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Ordinariness

That is what most of us are; but at the very beginning, should it be acknowledged, or is it better to puff up the ego when young, and allow for one to engage in the self-delusion of “otherwise”?

There is some comfort to it; yet, we all like to stand out from the rest of the crowd, and certainly, when trying to win the heart of a life-partner (yes, the term used in modernity, as opposed to the antiquated ones such as “spouse”, “husband”, “wife”, etc.), we strive to not be tagged with such a mundane label.  To be “ordinary” is to not be extraordinary.  But therein lies the comfort — of the warmth of being amongst others; as the sheep surrounded by the flock and not the loner out in the pasture, the sure target of wolves and other predatory eyes.

Moreover, when life takes a negative turn, no one wants anything but the yearning for ordinariness.  It is when we equate ordinariness with mediocrity that the sin of self-flagellation sets in.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS becomes a necessity, “ordinariness” is something you yearn for — to live the ordinary life without a medical condition; to continue your career in the Federal government; these, and much more, constitute the extraordinary life of the ordinary.

It is all a matter of perspective.  And so there it is: For most of us, being ordinary merely means that we accept our station in life; for in the end, it is the ordinary which runs the engine of society, and even though the Lamborghini may zoom past us, we all get to the same destination no matter in which car — the ordinary or the extraordinary.

Contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of embracing ordinariness, which is the location to where we all want to return.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Attorney Legal Assistance: The Intended Goal

Every now and again, we see a video clip of the goal NOT intended — of a running back turned around and making for the wrong end zone; of a basketball player stick his or her leg out to block a pass, only to have the deflection make an arc and swish into the wrong basket; and other similar deviations from the intended goal.

Later in life, people forget to evaluate and analyze first what the intended goal is, before hazarding a lengthy trek towards the conclusion — i.e., years later, do we look at it and say to ourselves, “I should have…”.

OWCP under the Federal Department of Labor is one such animal where the intended goal is often overlooked.  OWCP is not a retirement system; instead, it is a benefit meant to return the Federal or Postal worker back to work.  FERS OPM Medical Retirement, on the other hand, is a system where one’s medical condition will allow the Federal or Postal worker to become eligible for early Federal or Postal Disability Retirement.

You can actually obtain an approval for FERS Disability Retirement while receiving OWCP benefits; you just can’t receive TTD and a FERS annuity concurrently, but you can have the FERS Disability Retirement approved but inactive.

The process for both is rather complicated, but if the intended goal is to retire early because you will never be able to go back to your former Federal or Postal job, you may want to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Yes, yes, OWCP pays more — for the present — but FERS Disability Retirement continues to build your retirement system by counting the years you remain on Federal Disability Retirement until age 62.

Contact a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement, and begin to process of evaluating and analyzing the intended goal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Seeking Stability

It is what gives us hope and a sense of self-confidence: Stability.  How we seek it out; what is needed to maintain it; what satisfies the criteria for each individual; these are the questions that compel each of us in seeking stability.  Stability may differ for each individual.  For some, it may be satisfied by the certainty of a career.  For others, the requirements may involve family, friends and other relationships — that “internal” sense of stability that allows for greater chaos within the external world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and where that medical condition prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, seeking stability within the context of an unstable work environment becomes of paramount importance.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and stabilize the uncertainties that surround your career which has been impeded and made difficult from a medical condition which is beyond your control.  For, that which is beyond your control is the very foundation of instability, and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may be the road’s end in seeking stability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
FERS Disability Attorney

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Reactive Responses

By haste do we regret; by unthinking actions do we abide the fool.  Have you seen the sign often placed at the Clerk’s window at the local courthouse?  It will read something to the effect of: “Your procrastination does not create my emergency”.

Reactive responses, whether based upon a “real” emergency or one which seemingly appears so, are often the basis for later regrets and irreparable damage.  It is like the rule that everyone should follow in sending emails or posting comments on the Internet: Wait a day; sleep on it; set it aside for later consideration.

Few emergencies are rarely so; most are merely in the minds of the individual, burning like a forest fire out of control, but yet distant enough to suffer no lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the reactive response is often the fatal one.  Unless it is to meet a statute of limitations deadline, or to respond to an issue with a specific timeframe, most considerations which arise in a disability retirement application are rarely true emergencies and can be thoughtfully approached and resolved.

Contact a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest haste results in waste and the thoughtless action reverberates with unintended consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Federal Disability Attorney

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The gods of modernity

Each era has its false gods — of Greek ones that explained the mysteries underlying the universe; of religions that conquered by the sword; of Philosophers and Kings who ruled with an iron fist; of Freud, Psychoanalysis and other ghosts in the machine; and in modernity, of youth and the cult of the young, and perhaps of the authors of self-help books who have cornered the market on wisdom replaced.

The gods of modernity are different from those of a generation ago; the “I” and the “me” that pervades on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; of the perfect “me” who takes selfies at every opportunity to reinforce and remind of the hollowness of the gods we make of ourselves; and in the end, the loneliness that one is left with when the screen is shut down and one is left with the reality of facing one’s self in the loneliness of a perception that cannot be faced in the mirror of one’s own reflection.

And of the other gods of reality: Perfection in perception.  But what happens if perception must encounter reality?  That is often the problem with a medical condition — for, medical conditions remind us of the ugliness of the world around: of mortality, vulnerability, and the loss of societal empathy for all things imperfect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows one to be “perfect” in the workplace, and where the essential elements of one’s job can no longer be met, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that the focus of one’s life can be redirected in order to regain one’s health.

The gods of modernity — of a career, of never-ending competence and productivity in one’s Federal or Postal job — must be replaced with a revaluation of what is truly important in life: Health, sanity, and some semblance of caring.  And while securing a FERS Disability Retirement annuity may not be the answer to all of life’s ills, it will at least secure a future in order to focus upon getting better, and perhaps reorienting one’s focus upon a future that may be different and better.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

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, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire