FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: Reality T.V.

That we would have the imaginative capacity to invent such a medium and attract countless millions to sit and passively view the saga on a picture screen tells much about our species.  To be persuaded to suspend disbelief and discuss it as if it reflects a reality and can be designated as such, unmasks the myth of representing the pinnacle of the highest order.

Perhaps it is pure escapism which propagates the widespread popularity of such shows; or our desire to believe, which is that essence of being that caricature encapsulated by the quote often misattributed to P.T. Barnum, the greatest “showman” that ever was, who allegedly said that there is “a sucker born every minute.”  That the quote itself is associated to a fellow showman — a precursor to the television shows of modernity purportedly engaging in the make-up world of a reality no one has ever witnessed nor seen but through the dumbing influence of the idiot box, is appropriate and predictable.

What countless hours of wasteful time spent voluntarily barraged by datum destructive of digitally devoid dalliances; and yet we continue to add to their popularity.  No other species has the time, inclination or patience to sit for hours each day, tens of hours each week, in engaging an activity where the prerequisite is to suspend disbelief and become inert objects in a universe alive with activity.

Environmentalists often argue that the food we consume no longer provides the nutritional value once inherent, precisely because the biological dynamism once part of the soil of the earth no longer contains the living contingencies now depleted.

Inertness is everywhere around, and like the dystopian stories which have more recently become popular, the deadening of souls has been but a reflection of our own actions.  We invite most harmful things voluntarily — even reality which is unreal.  The one element we never “invite” into our lives, of course, is a medical condition; yet, when it appears and attacks, it often leaves us unable to face the very real reality of its debilitating and progressively deteriorating effects.

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 positional duties, the need to file 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, requires a suspension of disbelief, as well.  For, there is often that period of not quite believing that “you” will not be able to return to work, continue on in the career, or overcome this “temporary” setback.

Real reality is often rather uninteresting, especially in a world which provides entertainment that excites a deadened soul; but when that real reality becomes a reality such that the inertness of life’s reality must contend against the entertainment of Reality T.V., then it is time to push the “off” button of that technology which invades the hurting soul, and begin the hard road of real reality by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, in order to save some semblance of a future reality hopefully not dystopian in its surreal reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Which Forms, How to Fill Them Out, and What to Put

Filling out forms is a part of life.  At some stage in our lives, we are required to complete forms.  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 positional duties as a Federal employee (which encompasses the full spectrum of positions, from secretaries, administrative assistants, to scientists, Information Technology Specialists, 1811 Law Enforcement Officers, etc.) or a U.S. Postal worker (including Craft employees, Managers, Postmasters, Supervisors, etc.), preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.

Thus, the act of “form filling” must be confronted.  On computers, of course, if you have been completing online queries, the “autofill” option may be presented.  But the limitation of such an option, and the unavailability of that choice, should become readily apparent when attempting to complete the various “Standard Forms” required of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For any remaining CSRS employees intending to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, the series embodied under the designation of SF 2801 must be completed, along with the SF 3112 series.  For all of the rest of the Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who came into Federal or Postal Service after around 1985, and who are under FERS, the SF 3107 series must be completed, and as well, the SF 3112 series of standard forms.

Thus has the question, “Which Forms?” been answered.  As for the remaining two questions:  How to fill them out and What to put —  the “how” is, to put it mildly, with care and trepidation; the “what to put” is too complex to elucidate in this forum.  The series of “informational” forms — SF 2801 series for CSRS employees and SF 3107 for FERS employees — are fairly straightforward (e.g., full name, date of birth, Social Security number, agency name and location, military service, etc.).

It all comes back to the SF 3112 series which becomes problematic — for that is where the Federal and Postal employee must “prove” the nexus between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions by which one is prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  For that, the Federal and Postal employee must go “outside” of the boundaries of the forms themselves, and consult documentation obtained from the doctor, and make legal arguments based upon wise counsel and advice.

As with much of life, it is never as easy as a bureaucracy promises; indeed, the complexity of life is in the very bureaucratization of administrative forums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Peril of Bypassing Process

Efficiency negates process naturally; or, if not in pure extinguishment, a progressive curtailing of the methodology of reaching from initiation Point A to finality of journey at Point B.  Additionally, when American Pragmatism combined with capitalism of the tallest order sets about to attain the greatest return in the shortest time possible, with minimizing effort and curtailing human toil, it is the end-product which is the focus, and the profit to be gained.

Relational interaction is thus cast aside; craftsmanship, the care of an artisan, and the sense of community abiding in the very linear compendium of efforts expended — they no longer matter.  That was the essence of Marx’s complaint — that the disaffected worker no longer possessed any connection to the product of his or her toil, and the separation from process resulted in the alienation of meaning.  It is, indeed, a perilous journey to forego the process; for, “how one does something” is inextricably tied with “how well one does it”.

As process is the means to get to the result, so shortening the time, length of effort and expenditure of resources, is the natural inclination, and defines that for which American efficiency has been universally praised.  For bureaucratic and administrative matters, however, it may just not be possible to curtail the conditions of one’s journey.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file 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, the desire to short-circuit the process and to forego the patience needed in order to survive the bureaucratic morass of one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then the requisite wait at OPM, is often a painful result unhappily faced and unpreparedly encountered.

Bureaucracy by definition finds its purpose for existence in the very complexities of its own creation.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS is a process which cannot be curtailed, and any attempt to circumvent or otherwise alter the administrative and procedural content of the methodology of the journey itself, is done at the peril of the person who ponders such posturing of heretical penitence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: Avoidance

It begins with a subtle turning away, perhaps; reduction of contact, lessening of coincidental interactions, etc.  The fact is, in an office environment, or out in the proverbial “field” of employment, if a coworker or supervisor wants to get a hold of you, they normally can, and with aggressive intent, quite quickly.  But suddenly and in a spiral trajectory of avoidance, people begin to shun and shove aside.

It’s not like the medical condition is contagious, or will by some mysterious process of osmosis spread like a viral wildfire merely by standing next to you; but that is how it is perceived and attributed.  When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, whether the person is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the palpable sense of ostracizing begins immediately.

Loss of productivity; being placed on a PIP; developing a reputation for being on the wrong side of an agency’s favor; these are all of the ills which portend; and the greater the degree of avoidance by fellow workers, the increasing pressure of evidence to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement.  Federal Disability Retirement is a process which can take many months, and is ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The inevitable is written in the rosters of future events; avoidance merely delays that which will come about, anyway; and procrastination exponentially compounds the cumulative problems aggregated by neglect.  Thus does avoidance work to wound, and rarely to enhance, the fragile future of the Federal or Postal employee in securing one’s financial stability, by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from U.S. Federal Agencies: Creatures of Leviathan Proportions

Leviathan is both a mythological sea creature, as well as the title of a famous book authored by Thomas Hobbes. It represents that uncontrollable entity of gargantuan proportions, unstoppable and thoughtlessly destructive. It takes on many forms, many faces; or none at all. It is an entity of nondescript characteristic, and engulfs countless lives marked by unidentified graves.

For the Federal employee and the Postal worker who is lost in the bureaucratic shuffle of loss of identity, the concept of a Leviathan is both familiar, daunting and dismaying. There are countless tentacles of agencies and departments within the Federal Government, the largest of them including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Justice, The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and the umbrella Department of Defense, to name just some of the larger ones.

Becoming a part of the mission of those, or any of the multiple lesser ones, can be an exciting venture. But when a medical condition begins to reduce the stature of one’s potential accomplishments and contribution to the mission of an agency, it becomes easy to get lost in the very size of the agency. Most such agencies have a centralized Human Resources Department, such as a “Civilian Personnel Advisory Center”, which is another faceless and gargantuan bureaucracy.  Personalized Human Resource offices are being gobbled up by the Leviathan of so-called efficiency of centralization; the “personal touch” is left on the side of the road to bigger is better.

For the Federal employee and the Postal worker who needs to file a Federal Disability claim, it is precisely that “personal touch” which is often needed, but is lacking because of the Leviathan of modernity.  Then, of course, the very agency which makes the decision of an approval or a denial — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — is itself a sea creature of sorts.  Difficult to access and even more of a problem of finding information concerning one’s case, the Leviathans of the modern-day world must be constantly battled and confronted with effective swords and shields.

When a Federal employee or Postal worker suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, it is important to understand the nature of the beast, and the fact that one’s own agency is merely one of many, and the modern-day David in a world of Goliaths may need more assistance than a mere handful of stones.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire