Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: A Thousand Cuts

It is the classic question which allegedly reveals something about a person’s inner psyche: Of whether you would rather die from a thousand cuts, or quickly and instantaneously?  Of course, the third option is never allowed within the hypothetical, because to include it would defeat the whole purpose of the question: Of continuing to live, or even of a “middle” ground, where it is not quite a thousand cuts and not nearly immediately.

But implicit in the “thousand cuts” alternative contains the hope of surviving, anyway, doesn’t it?  For, presumably to inflict a thousand slashes implies that it would take a considerable amount of time, as well as agony, torturous pain and unimaginable cruelty imposed; but it is time of which we seek in order to have any chance of survival, isn’t it?

Time is what we seek; that tomorrow may be different from today; that a future beyond the apparent corner may be a destiny yet unknown; that, without tomorrow, there would be no flame of hope, and it is that flame — however weak, flickering or susceptible to extinguishment at any moment — that we guard because the looming shadows await to overwhelm and dominate, like the lurking stranger behind the facade patiently awaiting to pounce once the flame dies.

We can endure much, and the time of agony can be withstood so long as there is some hope for tomorrow; and it is when tomorrow offers no hope that then we might ruefully mourn the choices we made in suffering through the thousand cuts.

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 job, the endurance suffered can be liked to the torturous spectacle of being cut a thousand times.  Perhaps Federal Disability Retirement is that very flame of hope that will keep you going.

Consult with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and seek that goal of maintaining the flicker; for, without it, the tomorrow we live for may be extinguished by the other alternatives unimagined.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: False notions

We all possess them; some, more than others; most, of a harmless variety where — so long as they are kept private and unannounced like an illegitimate child kept from the knowledge of one’s spouse, friends and family — no consequences ensue from the mere “having” of them.  False notions can take many forms, and on the spectrum of held beliefs, so long as one never “acts” upon them or otherwise expresses them in polite society, they remain the eccentric uncle that visits periodically but for short stays, and always tries to remain unobtrusive.

Say a person believes that the earth is flat — yes, there are many such people, to the extent that there are contingents of “flat earth societies” cropping up everywhere — but moreover, not only that the earth is flat, but you also believe that martians live on the far side of the moon, that every book published in the world over is written by Shakespeare, and that there is truly a wizard of Oz that controls the mechanism of the universe.  What harm is there in believing any of those?

Perhaps some are false notions; perhaps others are not.  So long as they do not intersect with conversations in the public domain, or do not interfere in the daily activities of living one’s life, is there any harm to possessing, maintaining, retaining and ascribing to false notions?

Take it a step further, however, and insert the following hypothetical: At a “get together” with coworkers and other departmental or other office personnel, a conversation begins with a group of gathered men and women, and someone begins talking about a new book that has just been reviewed by the New York Times Book Review Section, and one of the individuals pipes in that it, too, was written by Shakespeare.

The first person says, “No, no, it was written by so-and-so”, but the second individual persists and insists, and an argument starts: “No, it was written by Shakespeare.”  “You’re crazy.”  “No, you don’t know a thing!”  “And you probably believe that the earth is flat.”  And on and on.  Now, the next day, everyone is back at work — has anything changed?

Holding on to the false notions has not disrupted the flow of productivity, and the fact that one’s false notions were inserted unnecessarily into the daily discourse of other’s beliefs and understanding of an individual, has not disrupted the objective universe of those who gained further knowledge of another’s belief system.  False notions, then, so long as they remain private, or even when inserted into the public domain but without objective interference, may remain unobtrusive.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, however, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a false notion can indeed have some deleterious consequences.

If you, as a Federal or Postal employee, possess a false notion of pride, or of loyalty to the Agency or the Postal Service at the expense of your health, and thus delay preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset employee, the impact of further delay or procrastination can impact your health.

False notions are fine to foolhardily have fun with, but when it intersects with your health, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Overload

This is a perilous time we live in.  Some would counter that it all depends upon one’s outlook and perspective; that for those who have an adventuresome spirit, a sense of excitement for the future, and a fearless attitude in facing challenges, such times as these are for the bold and independent-minded.

Youth, of course, has its advantages; having nothing to lose, they race blindly ahead without concerns for the consequences left behind.  Nostalgia for a time gone can be infectious and wasteful; there are too many things happening in modernity to allow for reminiscences to crowd in.

This is an Age of Overload.  We read about and watch popular series about a time past, of horses and buggies, of simplicity in living, and wonder how in the world did we become what we are today?  Is it all a grand illusion?  Were there as many problems, worries, concerns and angst-ridden days as these days?  Was life ever really simple where children danced daily through fields of wildflowers during summer months of lazy and carefree memories, like wistful shadows wilting on a rainy day where no one spoke in fearful whispers beyond the day’s journey of time?  Or was it always like it is today — of overload and constant flux, of working beyond hours assigned and never seeming to meet the day’s obligations or responsibilities?

Then, of course, those beset with a medical condition have an exponential effect beyond the human capacity to endure.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s position, the overload that occurs because of the impediment of the medical condition itself can be overwhelming and irreconcilable.

Federal Disability Retirement may not be the most optimal solution in all circumstances, but it is often the only choice remaining.  Either that, or the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position will have to simply endure, and often face the consequences of workplace harassment, increasing pressures and continuing deterioration of one’s medical conditions because of the added stresses.

In the end, it is this overload of stresses that defeats and destroys, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the only way to avoid the inevitable results of a society burdened with overload.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirements: The verse of 1-liners

Can a verse stand alone, isolated in its metrical composition, without preceding or succeeding contextual delineations?  Of what value can the singular have, without the surrounding aggregation of the whole?  Like a scrap or fragment of a larger narrative revelation, of archaeologists and anthropologists working with but a piece of the greater story, the verse of 1-liners forever echoes for a harkening of others to join.

John Donne poetically captured the sense of that isolation, and Thomas Merton wrote a reflective narrative upon that very theme; but there we are, still left with the hollowness of an island’s separation, revealed by a lack, concealed by non-existence. We can, of course, always pretend that nothing came before, and there is no need for the after; but, somehow, such a vacuum of emptiness left alone in the quietude of a vast sea floating amidst the morass of a lonely singularity, doesn’t quite fit the narrative we all seek.

And it is not merely the personhood; it can be in the context of one’s past, where the currency of experiential encounters would lack meaning without an untold yearning for the future, and nothing to rely upon of what we recognize as the prefatory period of living.  Perhaps that is why people seek to unseal adoption records and search for the origins of genetic lineage; of why hope for a more promising tomorrow is necessary for the healthy preservation of every human being; it is because, without a connection to the past, nor a window of hopeful vision for the future, human beings are left with being a mere verse of a 1-liner.

There are monks and hermits in lonely pockets of isolated caverns, where meditation upon the consciousness of self or the wider phenomena of collective discoveries is attained by deliberate seeking of a singularity for solitude’s sake, in hermitages jutting out from cliffs afar; but that is rare, much like the monophonic sacredness of the Gregorian chant, reverberating across the valleys of our own sense of isolation and despair.

Or, perhaps that verse of a 1-liner (note the singular grammatical ascription, now, as opposed to the plural as reflected in the title of this narrative) can possess a gemstone of wisdom, and in that event, it can stand alone in the strength of its own lack of plurality. But for the rest of us, we recognize that it is the support of the greater whole that gives meaning, purpose and relevance to the lives we mold and hope to embrace.

That is why, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to a point of realization and recognition that the medical condition which developed, and which has come to a crossroads where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and therefore will cut short the career of one’s choice, the option to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a final admission that one will no longer remain as part of a greater stanza, but become separated as a verse of a 1-liner.

Isolation and separation are concepts alien to a social animal; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, that concession that the verse of 1-liners has arrived, is indeed a difficult line to accept, but nonetheless a necessary one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire