OPM Medical Retirement: Life’s mortgage

We all know well the concept behind it – of borrowing against the object itself, in order to “half-possess”, occupy and enjoy it presently against a future promise that it will be paid over an incremental period of time.  Sort of like life itself, or at least of one’s health.  Borrowed time; life’s mortgage; banking on a better tomorrow; relying upon a promise being kept based upon today’s favorable circumstances over a lengthy period of time well into a future we can never be certain about.

Yet, because the collateral is the object itself – normally, the house that is being mortgaged – the loaning institution actually doesn’t take any gamble at all, even if the value of the collateral plunges below the agreed-upon amount to be paid; one is still obligated, no matter what.

It is sort of like life’s challenge itself – of the promise of a promising life based upon an anticipated health that will last until the day when one is suddenly gone.  But life doesn’t always work that way, just as the mortgage, lien and promise of financial growth doesn’t quite always fold out as planned, like the scrolled blueprint that keeps trying to roll back into an obscured cylinder with each attempt to lay it flat.

Sickness occurs; health deteriorates; the 30-year mortgage that was promised at the onset of the contract signed doesn’t unfold as anticipated, and sometimes a default occurs – like the health that deteriorates and the career that must be ended.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, based upon the idea that recognizes that while a long-term commitment to a career is reasonably anticipated, there are instances where such a commitment may need to be modified in the event of failing health.  Unlike the bank’s position in a mortgage-relationship as lender-to-borrower, however, it is not quite all that one-sided.  There are options still open.

Thus, because Federal Disability Retirement requires only that a person be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position being occupied, the Federal or Postal employee is allowed to go out into the private sector and work at a job somewhat dissimilar (so long as there are “essential elements” which are not identical to the former Federal or Postal position), and make up to 80% of what the former Federal or Postal job pays currently.

For, in the end, life’s mortgage is unlike the home mortgage where the lender holds all of the proverbial cards; at least for the former, the great thing is that the reliance is upon the capacity of man’s ability, and not upon the fine print hidden within the banker’s contract.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Asylum

As an active noun, it can mean the protection accorded to a migrant seeking refuge and escape from persecution; in a passive sense, it is an institution with a historical connotation of ill-treatment and mistreatment, imposed against the will of another who may be unable to care for oneself.  In either implied denotations, it reflects a protective refuge, either against the outside forces by within, or in response to inner spirits imagined without.

In rarer moments of perceptive translucence, one sees the need for the imposition of both definitions upon an allegedly sane universe.  Like the story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor’s New Clothes, it isn’t until we stop ourselves and pause for reflection, like the boy who shouted out that, indeed, the Emperor is wearing none, that the need for an asylum is everywhere to be discovered.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers observe and witness such an event each day, every hour.  For Federal employees with a medical condition, and Postal workers who suffer through the agony of daily turmoil because “management” will not allow an injured worker to be accommodated, the abuse and misuse of people — the very resource of civilization which should be protected like precious gems to be admired and revered — is palpable and ultimately inexcusable.

Federal Disability Retirement should not be the final refuge of asylum seekers, but it often is.  It isn’t that Federal or Postal workers turn at the first opportunity to seek the protective walls of escape, but Federal and Postal workers often have no other choice.  If allowed to recuperate and regain one’s sense of equilibrium and repose, it may be that the wealth of experience and knowledge gained through years and decades of work could be re-channeled, but Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service rarely see it that way, and instead view all individuals as merely short-term investments.

Asylums are built to protect, but when the patients have run amok and control the very institutions designed to provide the refuge needed, it is then time for the Federal or Postal worker seeking assistance in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, to contact an attorney to escape from the madness of antiseptic walls crawling with imaginary creepy-crawlies — or those who control the levers of power in the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Time Was, When…

Reminiscences represent a harbinger of the state of existence and the mental attitude of individuals; once engaged, they reveal the past-oriented focus, as opposed to the future dreams of youth.

Do young people reminisce?  At what point does one engage in such leisurely exercise?  And the spectrum of historical context, or the lack thereof — does the limited span of a past life determine the narrow course of future remembering?

It is always a danger to place too glowing and positive a light on the past; for, as present circumstances may be a pocket of discontent, so the warped perspective may, by contrast, create a fictional scenery of the past by unknowingly diminishing and extinguishing less notable events once experienced.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are subjected to the hostility of one’s own agency because of the manifested impact of a medical condition upon one’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is natural to embrace the refrain, “In the good old days”.  Health often brings that careless attitude of flippant fortitude; it is when we have something that we unknowingly take for granted, and when it becomes diminished, or is suddenly gone, the human tendency of regret and return of rectitude begins to pervade.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the pathway out of the muddle of reminiscence; there is, perhaps not yet known to the Federal or Postal employee, life beyond the Federal government or the Postal Service.  If too much time is spent in the past, then the robber barons of yesteryear pervade in the present, to rob one’s future.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not merely for escapism from a current “bad” situation; it is to secure the future such that there will be one, where one day in the twilight of a life, one can look upon the current negative circumstances and begin with the reminiscence of, “Time was, when…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire