Federal Disability Retirement: Of poets and prophets

The definitional distinction between the two is fairly self-evident; it is in the interplay of what they do, how they go about it, and the content of their substantive utterances which blur the lines of differences.  And we all have to play both roles in life; of the poet, to speak a reflective voice of a world which can never be captured in its true essence; and in prophetic manner, in maneuvering through a complex universe fraught with dangers of unknown origins, encounters with malicious foes and devious evildoers; and it is with the combination of consolidating the advantages derived from either arenas by which we are able to survive.

Plato’s view of the former, though somewhat inconsistent (he simultaneously criticizes them, but will quote extensively from them in the same paragraph), is devastating because of their concealment of the true forms of entities; the Good Book, of course, is replete with the latter, with conjugations of the major and minor ones in placements of prominence or insignificance depending upon their current relevance and attributable validation.

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, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, embracing the roles of both concurrently becomes a necessity of life’s many features of conundrums, castaways and coercive calamities of creative chaos.

The fact is, most Federal and Postal employees never see themselves as either; yet, throughout life, you have always been both. As a poet, you have had to comprehend and convey an understanding of the world around in terms which utilize analogy, metaphor and imitative language; and as a prophet, you have had to plan for an uncertain future based upon an uninviting present, with little or no basis from past experiences.

Now, with a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to consolidate those very talents previously utilized, but within a spectrum of unknowing wariness, and to perfect the venue for the future.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is neither a science, nor a purely legal endeavor.  Many have tried to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, submitted it, and have had it denied, and perhaps even a second time with the same result; then, to turn to a craftsman for expert assistance.

There are both prophetic and poetic components which must be encompassed.  For example, creating the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must perform constitutes the use of descriptive analogies which must be given the living force of vibrancy, where pain and incapacity must jump from the stoic pages upon which they are written (the poetic); while legal criteria must be straightforwardly addressed, such as the need to prove that one’s medical condition will exist for a minimum of 12 months (the prophetic aspect).

All in all, the corollary and convex/concave aspect of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, must be carefully assembled.  It is, in the end, of poets and prophets for which we speak, and the innate need to bring out those characteristics from within; we all possess such inherent capabilities; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The reservoir of vitriol

Do you ever wonder at the seemingly inexhaustible volume of time people spend on expending and expiating their reserve of malice, hatred and sheer meanness of being?  Time and energy spent on gossiping about others; of planning conspiratorial devices to undermine fellow coworkers, or to initiate harassing administrative sanctions and bureaucratic snafus in order to make life tougher, more miserable and uncomfortable for someone else.

More modern cars have a warning indicator informing the driver that the low fuel has resulting in the use of the “reserve tank”; for those whose carelessness can result with inaction ad infinitum, perhaps the depletion of such should require a further reservoir, and on and on — except for the impracticality of finding room for further gas tanks.   Ultimately, it all amounts to the same source, doesn’t it?  Whether you call it a “reserve tank” or from the primary one, depletion results from the aggregate of all, and the warning is merely a reminder to the clueless, and an excuse to nudge.

Similarly, at what point does a reservoir for vitriol need a warning indictor to light up for the source of such malice?  Or is human nature such that his or her depth of evil is irrepressible, and possesses an infinite chasm of depravity?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered at the hands of an agency or the U.S. Postal Service, through harassment, intimidation and sheer vitriol, and merely because the Federal or Postal employee has committed the crime of suffering from a medical condition and therefore is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is time to consider the innate nature of human malice, and determine whether it is even worth staying in an environment and atmosphere of negative returns.

Yes, careers are important, but at what cost?  Of course financial certainty provides a semblance of comfort, but to what end?  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, is a step not just to “get away”, but further, to reach for a goal in which health and human sacrifice are not exclusive possessions of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Understand the essence of human depravity; the reservoir of vitriol is inexhaustible, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the malice of man is only beginning.

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

 

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Law

Technically, the law does not have to be applied at the administrative, agency-level of the Office of Personnel Management.  Let me clarify:  one likes to always think that when an applicant for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS is filing for the benefit, that the agency which oversees the application will review it with an overarching umbrella of criteria which is governed by an objective foundation deemed as “the law”.  Thus, in a perfect world, one might imagine an efficient line of technocrats sitting in cubicles, all with a reference book containing the relevant laws governing the eligiblity criteria for Federal Disability Retirement.  But that would be in a perfect world; and since such a perfect world fails to exist, what we have is an arbitrary sprinkling of various personnel, who collectively comprise the Office of Personnel Management, some of whom apply the law well, and some of whom apply the law less than competently. 

To some extent, the arbitrary methodology applied at the agency level is counter-balanced with the threat of a review by an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board, followed by a Full Review at the MSPB, then to be further appealed to at the Federal Circuit Court level; but it is nevertheless sometimes disconcerting that, at the Agency level, this peculiar animal called “the law” is not uniformly applied in all cases, at all times.  And sometimes rarely.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Developing a Case

In most cases, the normal process of disability retirement for the First Stage of the process is anywhere from 6 – 8 months; some fall towards the 6-month range; some take longer than the 8-month range.  The difficulty in most cases is that the potential disability applicant/annuitant obviously wants to get through the process as quickly as possible, most often in order to get a sense of security for the future, that he or she will have the certainty of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  All of this is understandable. 

The process — of preparing; of submitting; of waiting as it winds through the various Agency channels and finally to Boyers, PA and then to OPM in D.C. — is a process of high anxiety and anticipation.  Sometimes, however, cases must be patiently developed.  By “developed”, I merely mean that, at times, the doctor is not ready to provide the proper medical narrative report, or to state in explicit terms that a person is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her job, and that the medical condition will last for at least one (1) year.  Patience with the doctor as different modalities of treatments are applied, is often crucial in the development of a case.  My involvement in a case, even before it is fully developed, is preferred, only if to guide the client as the medical case develops, or — as is often the case — on issues involving how to respond to an Agency which is just as anxious for the whole process to begin and end, as is the client.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Helpers

Then, of course, there are those Human Resources and OPM personnel who have been, continue to be, and will always be, greater helpers throughout the process in assisting Federal and Postal employees to obtain disability retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS.  They are diamonds in a sea of hindrances and obstacles.  And when you come across such an individual, at any stage of the process, one must always express one’s gratitude.  One might argue that they are “just doing their job”, but what such individuals do is clearly beyond the job that they are paid to do.  No only do they assist in the process, but they “humanize” the process; and, especially when a Federal or Postal employee who has a medical disability receives not only assistance in the process, but guidance in providing help to ease and smooth the road to approval, it is indeed a pleasant experience to come across the human touch. A word of thanks to all such Human Resources Personnel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Social Security Disability

Under the rules concerning FERS disability retirement applications, one must file for Social Security Disability.  As most people already know, there is an interaction/offset between Social Security Disability benefits and FERS disability benefits, if both are approved (100% offset in the first year of annuity, 60% offset every year thereafter).  One would assume (dangerously, as it turns out), that if an application for Social Security disability is approved, that it would automatically render an approval under FERS disability retirement a “sure” thing.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The fact that Social Security has a higher standard of proof — where one must be considered “totally disable” as opposed to (under the legal standards for FERS) “disabled from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job”) — one would think that, legally and logically, if you have met the higher legal standard of proof, then the lesser standard would have been automatically met.  Unfortunately, because the two standards are applied in different, independent agencies, the fact that Social Security Disability benefits are awarded is not a guarantee that the FERS disability retirement application will automatically be granted.  However, there is clear case-law stating that OPM must consider the approval by SSD as one factor among many in the consideration of FERS disability retirement applications.  It is important to cite such cases in support of your application for FERS disability retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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