Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Concurrent Issues

Rarely is there a single issue, whether in life generally or within the esoteric arena of legal battles.  There are sub-issues; corollary issues; issues that appear to be minor footnotes that may later present greater problems deserving wider attention; issues that seem to pervade but of which no one ever directly confronts.  The proverbial “elephant in the room” phenomena is the issue that people avoid and try to ignore.  Such issues can be averted and circumvented for a time, but they often come back to haunt and interfere.

We all selectively choose the universe we want to operate in; the problem comes about whenever we interact and interface with others (which is almost all of the time), and the “other person’s” chosen universe clashes and contradicts the one in which you want to reside.  Conflicts of interest in business settings or financial transactions; differing dreams, hopes and plans for the future when two or more people get together; contradictory expectations and incompatible roles which cannot be accommodated; these, and many more, involve concurrent issues that cannot be easily smoothed or resolved.

In Federal Disability Retirement Law, there are often parallel legal issues that the Federal Disability Retirement applicant brings to the fore — of workplace harassment issues; Performance Improvement Plans; Suspensions and Terminations; do these and other concurrent issues have an impact upon a FERS Disability Retirement application?  It all depends.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and discuss the concurrent issues that might — or might not — intersect and interfere with a Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is best to go into the bureaucratic morass with open eyes and a good sense of one’s chances at obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity, lest the elephant in the room suddenly rampages through the kitchen where the good china is kept.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Playing with words

What does it mean when a person alleges that you are “just playing with words”?  It is like the non-lawyer public who charges that a certain criminal “was gotten off on a technicality”, whereas the universe of lawyers sees that as a tautology:  Of course the person was found innocent based upon a “technicality” — for, isn’t all of law just that: a technicality?

There is, of course, some kind of implication that seeps beneath the surface of such a charge — that there is an inherent dishonesty in the manner of speaking certain words; that there is an “intended” or primary meaning of the usage of certain words, phrases or concepts, and that when they are taken out of context, seemingly used for a different, perhaps nefarious or self-interested purpose, then one is “playing with words” because dishonesty must by consensus be the condemnation of words used as toys in the hands of a thief.

What would the negation of the allegation be: of a person who declares suddenly, “You are not playing with words”?  Is that the appropriate charge when a person is blunt — like the current political arena of this new breed who says outright that which others merely reserve thoughts for in the privacy of insular lives?

Is that what diplomacy is substantively about — of “playing with words” so that double and triple meanings can be conveyed, leaving everyone paralyzed and motionless because no one knows what everyone else is thinking — at least, not in any precise manner?

Or, perhaps there is a different sense, as in: Words once upon a time held a sacred status and when we demean, abuse or misuse words in a certain way, then we can be charged with “playing with words”.

Sometimes, there are instances in which meanings are “stretched”, or when conclusions that are declared in an unequivocal manner do not coincide with the findings made or the evaluative analysis conducted, and so there is a “disconnect” between fact-finding and conclusion where a person declares unequivocally:  They are just playing with words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, preparing, formulating and filing 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, may become a necessity.

In that event, recognize that the entire endeavor is a complex administrative and bureaucratic action that must engage the arena of “words” — and some of it may involve the “playing of words” in the sense that you may have to tinker with different sets of words where comfort and becoming comfortable with unfamiliar concepts and phraseology “come into play”.

When an individual — you — who suffers from a medical condition which you must then step “outside of yourself” in order to describe yourself in “objective” terms, then it can become an oddity which may seem like you are “playing of words”.  In such an event, it is often of great benefit to consult with an attorney so that the very person utilizing the vehicle of words in describing one’s self is not the same person “playing with words” as the very person who suffers from the descriptive words being played with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Age-based worth

That is the ultimate hub of it all, isn’t it?  Age is always a factor, whether a society enforces protective measures, anti age-discrimination laws, or simply deny the underlying existence of the subtleties that conceal the unfairness of it all.  What is it about age that compels people to judge the worth of others based upon it as the singular criteria that determines value?

If a person is expected to be at the “end” of one’s life — say, nearing 80 or 90 years old — is that person’s worth any less than the newborn who enters upon this world with the same expectancy as that old codger’s past remembrances?  Why do we consider it an honorable gesture if, on a ship that is about to sink, the older men make sure that children (and women) are the first to fill the lifeboats and rafts before considering themselves?  Are their lives not worth of any greater, equal or identical value as the young ones who benefit from such unequal conduct?

Perhaps, in modernity, such gestures of chivalry would no longer apply, and the more current perspective of “first come, first survive” would be the rule of the day.  In a society where criteria of worth and value have been cast aside and where each individual is considered without regard to age, race, ethnicity or origin, is perhaps the better approach — but is that true in all contexts and circumstances?  The fact that there should be no discrimination based upon age in the workplace — does it mean that the same rules should apply in the sinking-ship hypothetical?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing 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, age must always be a consideration because of the automatic conversion to regular retirement at age 62.  On the other hand, the time that a person is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of service when the recalculation occurs at age 62, and so the extra percentage points will be of great benefit no matter how old a person is.

The laws seem always to favor the younger, and age-based worth is often a consideration in engaging any and every sector of life, and that is no different in considering filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Comparisons

We like making them; somehow, it allows for hope and, unfortunately, its opposite, despair, but they are engaged in nonetheless, regardless of the potentialities pointing in either direction.  Comparisons allow for a judgment of who we are, what we have accomplished and what we believe are the acceptable societal norms and standards, and whether we have succeeded or failed in meeting them.

People watch the pablum of television shows that display the ostentatious arrogance of some wealthy individuals who know not the concept of “discretion” or any sense of humility in having attained the higher luxuries of life; yet, many continue to be fascinated by such tasteless shows of comfort, and compare themselves, their accomplishments and the artificial standards of normative achievements that somehow have pervaded people’s psyche.

Of course, the corollary of such an approach to life is to redefine the definition of what it means to be “successful”, and thus to lower the standards in order to be all-inclusive, and do this each time as more and more people need to be accommodated.

Either extremes on the spectrum of man’s favorite sport – of watching, observing and comparing – constitutes the reality of that which is required to attain a level of satisfaction in life.  Of course comparisons are going to be made – for, we live in a world where everything is relative, and one can only recognize and realize the multitude of opportunities and potentialities by comparing one’s own station in life with that of what others have achieved.

Concurrently, sometimes the definition that defines who we are, what is important and where one wants to go, may need some adjustments.  Objectivity is achieved somewhere in the middle, between the comparative observance of “what is”, and the need to tinker with the language game that defines what “needs to be”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the favorite past-time of Americans – of observing, comparing and judging – meets a heightened sense of anxious awaiting because of what coworkers and supervisors begin to do.

They compare your level of productivity to what others are doing, and what you were doing before.  An “accommodation” is nothing more than the redefining of one’s essential elements of one’s job; but even with the linguistic rearrangement of those essential elements, the constant barrage of the other side of comparing continues – of supervisors, coworkers, etc., and the entire agency and postal facility judging whether or not you are doing as much as everyone else.

In the end, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be necessary, as the sharpened knives of those comparisons may be too much to bear, given the innate nature of man’s cruelty in a world where medical conditions and disabilities are deemed to be comparatively unacceptable.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Perspectives, now and then

We all have them; and, like opinions and other discarded detritus unworthy of further consideration, we can replace them with others.  It is what Plato warned against in his allegorical narrative about the shadows against the Cave walls, and how the true form of reality was presented only after we were unshackled from our lying eyes.

Perspective, now and then, or “now” as opposed to “then”, can change.  It is the “now and then” and how you interpret that dependent clause that often matters.  Is it something that comes along once in a blue moon, or a changed, modified and altered perspective that differs now, as opposed to that obscure “then” – perhaps in youth, in early adulthood or in middle age?  When does a perspective remain constant, wise, worthy and consistent with reality such that we can grasp a hold of “it” and never let go? Or, are perspectives changeable, mutable, subject to reality’s compelling of alteration based upon the fluid circumstances of life’s misgivings?

In law school, there is the classic lesson taught in Criminal Law 101, where the professor has two actors come into the class all of a sudden, struggle, argue, then a loud “bang” is sounded, and one of them runs and the other falls dead.  Then, the students are asked to write down what they saw.  The notoriety of eye-witness accounts being so unreliable is quickly shown by the disparities revealed.

Nowadays, of course, with body cameras and video mechanisms running nonstop , we are subjected to a replay of scene after scene, and perspectives can change – except, of course, as to camera angle; what is actually seen no matter the constant replay; and of when the “record” button was pushed and how much contextual evidence had been left out before, or sometimes even after.

Medical conditions, too, alter perspectives.  Sometimes, when “subjective” medical conditions such as chronic pain or psychiatric conditions of depression and anxiety are never noticed until the severity became too great to bear, the other side of the perspective has to do with believability and veracity of acceptance.

Remember that there is always a difference between having a medical condition, and proving it.  That is why in preparing, formulating and filing 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, the Federal or Postal employee must take into account the differing perspectives, now and then (in whichever form and whatever context) of your medical condition, how others see it, how it is proven, how your agency or the Postal facility views it all – in other words, perspectives far, wide, now and then, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The factors to consider

Whenever a problem arises, are you the kind of person who immediately rushes headfirst in order to “solve” it?  Are you like a first responder who by necessity, duty or conscience of being, sprints to save and runs to resolve?  Or, in contradistinction to circumstances that require thoughtless effort but urgent actions, do you consider the factors and ask the question, What criteria must be applied?  What would be considered a resolution of the problem, as opposed to a temporary cessation of a crisis-driven implementation?

The two are somewhat dissimilar, of course, in that the first example often does not have the luxury of pausing for a query, and the latter may allow for an ebb of questioning.

Thus, one would not want a philosopher pondering the conundrum of existential posits when the primary pipe draining sewage away from one’s home has a crack that is growing into an open fissure.  On the other hand, if repetition of recurring problems have haunted for some time, and the solution appears to require something beyond mere pragmatic settlement but a higher order of principled restraint, the factors leading to an overarching criterion may be mandated for a more far-reaching solution.

This is true in much of life.  There are many who repeat the same thoughtless actions only to find that the temporary solution comes back with ever greater fervor; few who ponder the underlying principles; and lesser still of a community of thoughtful cadavers who awaken from the slumber of daily monotony to consider the underlying factors that gird the first principles of life itself.

What factors need to be considered?  Where do we go from here?  Can we live on such reduced income?  Can we make it to the age of retirement, or the required combination of service time plus age, and still be in good enough health to enjoy some semblance of a retirement?  Will my agency continue to harass, employ mechanisms of onerous leave restrictions, and ultimately impose the sanctions of constant workplace hostility, and can I survive them all?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a crossroads of sorts, where the medical condition, the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and the pressure that can no longer be withstood with the coalescence of such onerous burdens, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in resolving the repetition of a horrendous culture of dismay.

Life is never perfect, but when a problem which appears persistent and chronic will not simply go away because being a first responder is not the right solution to the difficulty, then the Federal or Postal employee must consider the factors that underlie the problems which constitute the principles inherent, and move forward with pragmatic steps towards a brighter future for tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Intrinsic Value

There is, at the outset, a question as to whether such metaphysical distinctions of esoterica have any relevance, anymore.  The ivory towers have all lost their sheen; civilizations have now embraced the comfort of relativism in the West, excepting those outliers who cling to antiquities of thought believed to merely be vestiges of a prehistoric era; and all such bifurcations of minutiae are considered mere word games designed to enhance and promote the ability and capacity for further social engineering.

Perhaps in the pragmatic world of options trading, there remains a definitional need to distinguish between “intrinsic” value and “extrinsic” value; where the nature of the option being traded constitutes the former, and the circumstances and previously-unknowable factors impacting upon the value of the trade itself defines the latter.

In real life, the philosophy of pragmatism itself has dissolved the principles once touted; the Aristotelian differentiation of ascribing value based upon its inner sanctity, as opposed to a derivative preciousness contingent upon other entities or circumstances, was once accepted as a given.  But such metaphysical distinctions have been cast aside upon the trash heap of historical irrelevance, and one rarely hears, anymore, about such highfalutin concepts, as they are now considered outmoded, irrelevant, or worse, pompously presumptuous in a world where only the politically powerful, the super wealthy, or the “beautiful” people are allowed such exemptions of conversational engagements.

One might still argue, in this present age where the force of logical argumentation has been replaced with the volume of vociferous condescension intolerable to auditory quietude, that a great work of art has intrinsic value recognized intuitively, no matter the extrinsic cirumstances.  But if a dystopic universe prevailed, and there was but one person left to visit the last burning embers supporting a museum left as a testament to humanity’s former greatness — but, where, no food was left, and starvation was the remaining mechanism for death of this last poor soul — would the salvaged Rembrandt have any “intrinsic” value, leaving aside the issue of extrinsic worth (of course, human nature being what it is, such a sole survivor may still have the imaginative inner strength to recognize that there may be a future still, and scurry off with such masterpieces in the hope that the future may hold a better day).

Metaphysical principles which once held some meaning, significance and defined linguistic purposes, have now given way to daily blatherings of “I feel” and “I sense”, where, in each such utterance, it is the “I” which defines intrinsic value, and the subjectivity of sensing and feeling enhances the contingency of external worth.  It is, in many ways, a sad loss for all of us, that we should rely upon such subjectivity of an objective-less concept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the loss of any meaningful discussion between the intrinsic worth of X, or even the differentiation from the extrinsic value of Y, results in a universe where we are all treated as “means” to an end, and never just an “end” in and of itself.

That is why protective laws are necessary — precisely because we have lost any semblance of viewing one another as worthy because we belong to a greater principle called “humanity”.  But that is the practical world in which we live, and to which we must abide.

Filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement is the best option left, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Thus, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the pragmatic course for future security.  It is in that, where intrinsic value will be found, in the consolation of a future security otherwise lost in the extrinsic void of an unsympathetic universe.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Pursuing the Daily Divide

The bifurcation of our lives is a habit of accepted normative behavior; for most, it is the simple divide between one’s personal life and professional endeavors; then, there are sub-categories of complicated spectrums, where criminal activity is pigeonholed from a daytime semblance of respectability, or deviant behavior is concealed from one’s reputation and facade of societal refinement.  Those separations make for ease of transition, or used to.

More and more, in modernity, the dividing lines have become obscured; work is performed from home, and personal, more private affairs are discussed and disseminated in the workplace.  The great equalizer of the daily divide is a medical condition.  For, when one leaves one’s home, you cannot leave behind the condition and pursue your professional life untouched; instead, because a medical condition is pervasive, remains with one until cured or kept in control or concealment, the stigma of the condition remains throughout.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it becomes apparent quite quickly as to whether one can maintain the daily divide, to what extent, and whether effectively or not.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service have little room for patience, and less space for empathy or an accommodating outlook (used in a general sense, as opposed to the term of art which “accommodation” implies in the legal field of OPM Disability Retirement).  It becomes apparent quite quickly that the daily divide — of separating one’s personal life from the pursuit of professional endeavors — cannot be maintained, and it is time to divide the daily divide by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Life is rarely a neatly-packaged ordeal, and the many years that we were able to fool ourselves into thinking that the daily divide would allow for an undisturbed bifurcation between the two universes, reveals the fragile nature of our own creations of artifices that remain shaky in their very foundations.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often the approach of a pragmatist; the divide between one’s professional endeavors and one’s personal life was never anything but a cognitive dualism concocted by clever cheats; life was, and remains, the bundle of complexities entangled in the web of unpredictable mysteries, as is the human being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire