Federal Employee Disability Information: Among friends

So, in the cackle of laughter and the roar of a campfire, or perhaps in the hazy heat of summer outside by the swimming pool, or wherever; among friends, enjoying an afternoon, a late morning, an early evening or into the twilight hours when children whisper sweet sounds of snoring dreams and even the dog has had enough of the friendships, especially where table scraps are no longer offered and a wagging tail barely invites a pat on the head, and certainly no more tummy rubs no matter how many times a hint is dropped; and so the vacant stares begin to take hold and the late-hour goodbyes begin to be offered.

Among friends; and yet there is an uneasiness; perhaps you learned something about one of them that you never knew before; perhaps, that couple you knew from high school or college, of whom you and your wife have always said, “Oh, not them!” Life brings unexpected traumas and turmoil, tumultuous events and interventions that one never plans for.  People whom you thought “would never” – whatever the blank narrative that follows that phrase or conceptual construct – suddenly do, are or will become.

We fail to recognize, always too late, that it is the unpredictability of life that is the predictable, and when we become ensconced with the settled comfort that guided Parmenides in his philosophical outlook, and recognize the perspective of Heraclitus, then can we take a step back and plan for that unexpected travail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal or Postal position, it is precisely that sense of “being among friends” that can become problematic.

When to inform the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal workers of the intent to file; what to say, how much to divulge and in what form; to what extent this or that individual, supervisor or manager is allowed to know; what prying eyes will have access to sensitive medical information; and who are we among – friends, foes or somewhere in between?

These are questions that will have to be confronted and sensitively danced around and about, for in preparing, formulating and 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, the questions are often not, “Are we among friends?” but rather, “Who are our enemies”?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The option of nothing

The path of least resistance is often to simply do nothing.  To make an affirmative choice is sometimes a painful one involving sacrifice and steps taken which will determine an outcome, later to be judged by retrospective insight, as to whether it was the “right” one or a “wrong” one.

To negate, refute or otherwise do the opposite, and to say “no” in the choice-making process, is also an “affirmative” one, if only in the negative sense.  It is still a call made, a judgment asserted, and while the “no” may not be able to arrive at a retrospective viewpoint as to whether it was the “right” one or the “wrong” one (precisely because, in the very negation of making a choice, one may never see any further consequences, but merely a nothingness that prevails from the option to not do that something, which is essentially a double-negative that results in nothing).

The worst option to assume is to allow lapse to occur – to do nothing, neither affirmatively nor negatively, and allow outside circumstances to determine the course of fate.  In taking such a path of least resistance, two things occur: First, you have left it in the hands of circumstances, and failed to take any affirmative steps in the allowance of lapse; and Second, the fact that you will never know it was a good or bad idea to allow for the lapse means that you have forsaken the entire decision-making process, and thus you disengaged yourself from the importance of life’s major participation.

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 or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the Statute of Limitations that imposes a restriction upon post-separation filing is One (1) Year.

Thus, the law is as follows: Upon separation, whether by termination or resignation, of a Federal employee, that Federal employee has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If the Federal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement within 364 days of the separation from Federal Service (give yourself at least 1 day, just to be on the safe side), then no harm is done.

If the Federal or Postal employee determines not to file (i.e., a negative – affirmative decision), then so be it, and after the 365th day, that Federal or Postal employee is forever prevented from asserting his or her rights under the Federal Disability Retirement laws, acts, statutes and regulations.

If the Federal or Postal employee simply does nothing – neither making an affirmative or a negative decision, and simply allows for the time to lapse and the opportunity to pass – then the path of least resistance has been taken, with the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement: Recalibrating the Reset Button

Preparing for life’s vicissitudes can be a daunting task.  Some never acquire the skills necessary to accommodate the winds of misdirection; others stumble through like a drunken sailor walking down fate’s gangplank, seeing the end but failing to adapt in time to prevent the calamities forewarned.  The very few somehow manage to engage the transformation, like a chameleon who responds to the surrounding environment by becoming invisible within the subtleties of life.

Change is the inevitable essence of life.  From alterations occurring from growth — from birth to adulthood, then to aging decay — to the physical universe of constant transformation; the world is represented by the various metaphors and symbols of permanence and change, of Yin and Yang, of Parmenides and Heraclitus, and in modernity, of the recalibration of the reset button.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her present career, it is precisely that fear of change which precludes one from engaging in the necessary steps required to adapt, transform, and reset.

If insanity is defined as performing acts of failure repetitively, then the world must by definition be insane, and the Federal or Postal employee who continues down the same path despite all of the headwinds and warning signs present, should be placed in a straightjacket and confined to the halls of antiseptic whitewashed rooms.  Change is always difficult; but it is a necessity of life.  It is the life spring of a vibrant community; and its opposite is a parallel universe of decay, decrepit degradation, and destructive degeneration of death and desperate deterioration (and so, why is the alliteration of negation so rampant with the letter “d”?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a step in a changing direction.  It takes the Federal and Postal employee out from the insanity of repetitive failure by allowing for a recalibration of the requisite reset button, and to potentially engage in a future which leaves behind a past replete with hostility and increasingly adverse attitudes.  It secures a base annuity such that one can survive; then, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to work in the private sector and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

As change is necessary to the survival of any organism, so stagnation is the result of resistance to transformation; and like the putrid waters of stillness filled with microorganisms waiting to destroy the abdominal walls of the unsuspecting traveler, the Federal or Postal employee who refuses to recalibrate the reset button is merely waiting for the day when the external order will force the change involuntarily, as opposed to he who chooses the day, time and moment of an inevitable fate which awaits us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Compartmentalizing

It may well be another evolutionary vestige to have the capacity to divide, separate, pigeonhole and compartmentalize; otherwise, the extreme bombardment of visual and auditory stimuli would be overwhelming, and perhaps untenable to one’s ability to process the volume and extent of the information needed to receive, analyze and comprehend.

What is relevant; what must be immediately attended and responded to; which sets can be procrastinated; where does this bit of data go to?  In this world of information technology, perhaps the human animal is best suited to amass and bifurcate into seamless paradigms of perceptual pinholes for proper processing.  But, of course, as with all things advantageous, there are elements of negative consequences.

For those who have limited capacity to effectively engage in such endeavors; and for those who suffer from medical conditions which limit and reduce such capacity.  Medical conditions tend to lower the tolerance for stress; and in this world of fast-paced technology, there is little room for empathy for those who cannot maintain the maddening spectrum of timeless busy-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the inability to withstand the level of stress is often the turning point of making the proper decision in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Some may whisper that he or she is no longer able to “hack it” in the real world; others may simply sneer or snicker with purposeless pride of pernicious penchant for punishing pointedness.  But the reality is that there is almost always an intimate connection between stress, the capacity to tolerate stress, and health.

Health involves man’s ability to compartmentalize; and whether through the evolutionary mechanism of survival of the fittest, where those who became best at separating the relevant from the unimportant; or just because those who are able to bifurcate and comprehend happen to parallel the course of history in developing the complexities of the information age; whatever the reasons, the time of ultimate compartmentalizing comes in the self-recognition that it may be necessary to identify the source of one’s deteriorating health, and to allow that to be the impetus and compelling reason to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire