OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: What Kind of World?

It is one thing when chaos is rampant within one’s life; but when the “objective” world turns into a pandemic of chaos, we feel helpless, out of control, without hope.  For, the reliance that one has upon the world “out there” is the following: Within our own lives, there is always some amount of chaos — of divorce, a medical crisis, a family tragedy, etc.  But we still believe that the greater world retains some semblance of order and continuity, and thus do we rely upon the calm that surrounds and the rationality of an objective universe.

When that crumbles, as well — when the outer, objective universe becomes a flashpoint of people dying, a pandemic infecting, of men and women in strange space-suits carrying bodies to the morgue, and where the economic deterioration becomes seemingly endless; well, then the reliance upon the outer, objective world can no longer be, and chaos reigns both within and without; we feel helpless.

Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition already understand that feeling.  You cannot rely upon your own health; and, as it turns out, you cannot rely upon your Federal Agency or the Postal facility to be supportive.  You ask yourself: What Kind of World?  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement is meant to allow for some semblance of stability — of a base annuity to secure your future so that you can focus upon getting your “inner” world in greater order, regardless of what kind of world is offered by the “outer world” that can no longer be relied upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Federal Employees: To Feign Normalcy

What a strange concept; and stranger still, that so many people must actually engage in it.  It can occur and be implemented in variegated circumstances: Of having done something which impels a guilty conscience, but being forced to act “as if” everything is fine; of being with someone you would rather not be with, but pretending that all is well; or even of having a tragedy occur but, because public conventions require an unemotional facade, to paint that “brave face” and enter the public arena.

Do other species engage in it?  Does a lion who prowls about nonchalantly (but whose inner motivation is to find its prey and chase it for its dinner meal) “feign normalcy”?  Does a dog who desires a treat but knows that begging too vociferously will receive an admonition as opposed to the intended outcome, “feign normalcy”? (Yes, because I know that my own dog does that).

And what about the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and must come in to work because the Agency or Postal Service will not extend his or her LWOP beyond what the FMLA allows for — does he or she “feign normalcy” despite the pain or anxiety experienced?

For Federal employees or 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 job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, to “feign normalcy” is simply another way of realizing that things are not normal, and the “feigning” engaged in is another layer of trying to fool one’s self, one’s body and/or one’s mind into “thinking” that everything is alright, when in fact it is the underlying condition which must be attended to — and that, in fact, is the really normal thing to do, instead of pretending that the abnormal is the normal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The option of nothing

Inertness for a human being is always an option; although normally a default choice, it is nevertheless an alternative one chooses, rather than what we state to ourselves in justifying the negation of doing something: Just disregard it, and it will go away.  The default is embraced once the choice is made to do nothing further.  Governments are great at that, and ours in particular — of kicking the proverbial can “down the road” and letting the next generation of voters decide upon the non-decision of critical goods and services, all the while talking a good game about what “needs to be done” and “should be done.”

The question that remains unanswered throughout is always: Is the option of nothing the best option? And further: Do we always have to take the best option, or is “letting it go” and disregarding the option to affirmatively make a decision on an important matter sometimes “good enough”?

One can always avoid these latter questions by positing the conditional of: “It all depends” upon the particular circumstances, and that may be true to the extent that, in certain situations, the option for nothing is the better option given the other options available.  In general, however, inertness is merely the lazy man’s out, or an avoidance that is emphasized by a desire of negation — of not wanting to make a decision at all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of ones’ Federal or Postal job, the option of nothing will normally exacerbate matters.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a long and arduous path through multiple administrative facets which requires expertise and thoughtful planning in maneuvering beyond the bureaucratic morass.  Because of this, the option of nothing is really not an option at all; it is, instead, a self-harming decision that can have dire legal consequences resulting from the inaction.  As such, consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits becomes a critical step in a Federal or Postal worker’s “next step” in deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the option of nothing is no option at all; it is merely the non-option of inertness, which ignores the greater option of doing something about that which needs to be done.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explanation & Justification

At what point does an explanation begin to sound like a justification?  Is it when it becomes apparent that there is a personal stake involved?  Does the objectivity of an explanation lose its own justification when it becomes clear that the intended explanation crosses over into an attempt to justify the personal actions or beliefs of an individual?  Can an objective explanation justify a person’s actions without appearing as a justification; and do all justifications involve a personal stake, such that it goes beyond mere explanatory exposition?

Are all justifications “merely” an explanation with a personal stake, and are all explanations ultimately a justification for someone, somewhere, about something?  Why is it that an apparent explanation that turns into an obvious justification suddenly loses its credibility and sense of objectivity?  Is credibility itself gained if a third party provides the justification for someone else, such that there is no “personal stake” involved, and does such a third party’s explanation just as quickly lose his or her credibility if there is a “personal” relationship connected with the person for whom the explanation & justification is being made?

There is certainly a fine line between an explanation and a justification, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a medical condition such that 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, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option to choose from — and, when completing the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it is well to keep in mind the distinction between “explanation” and “justification”.

Always keep in mind the words of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Explanation on SF 3112A is good; explanation that begins to bleed of justification may raise some red flags.  To mitigate the distinction between the two, the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to lend credence to an objective approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Holiday Season

We are entering into that period of respite; of the contradictory clashes of duality in purpose, paradigms and expectations:  to “be happy” during a season where one is forced to conform to a standard no one quite remembers was ever met in the history of mankind; of rushing to “get everything done”, while supposedly being reflective, meditative and contemplative upon the season of new birth and magical fantasies; of responding to cheerful salutations contrary to one’s nature, reflex and possible genetic disposition so ingrained that the forced smiles hurt the resistant flesh around one’s mouth; and, all the while, to act “as if.”

“As if” the religiosity of the event still matters while we stand in line to follow the incessant promptings of the commercialization of that which we are admonished to recognize as a “sacred” time of sacraments and benedictions; “as if” kids can still believe in something when throughout the rest of the year the cynicism of hopeless trope pervades and dominates; and “as if” the heart is really where the mind should be, when rationality is overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil of one’s life experiences, the present hope gone and replaced by tomorrow’s sorrowful cries for yonder residue of ashen dust as the angels of lost years flew by in a whirlwind of timeless escape.

Yet, as we were once young and the trials of childhood memories forbade but a glint of hope, we remember trying to stay awake and listening, with but hopeful ears and fleeting dreams, of the footsteps of Santa upon the roof above, knowing that the tears suffered in years long gone could be embraced by a singular touch of a hopeful tomorrow.

The Holiday Season is upon us – with all of its inherent stresses, the clash of psychology between hope and expectations, and the further problems now upon those who actually believe that someone else’s Instagram truly represents the reality of life’s perfection, where there is none.  Yes, yes – everyone will be given that trope of wisdom:  Slow down and enjoy the season; it is not as important to receive, but to give; if everything doesn’t seem perfect, relax and enjoy the company surrounding; if you are getting too “stressed out”, then – what?

Often, it is actions beyond words which result in the first steps toward a “feeling” of accomplishing something, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to take the next step towards getting beyond the medical condition that has become chronic, and away from the constant harassment and condescending remarks about not “carrying your weight” at the workplace, 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 often the necessary first and next step in reaching a goal known but not yet materialized.

It is somewhat like the “Holiday Season” itself:  we are “supposed” to be cheerful, but what cheer can be found in rushing about to buy trinkets from sweat factories made in foreign lands?  The key is to find the quality of life in the small steps we take, and as with both the Holiday Season and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is those first and foremost necessary steps – baby-like though they may appear – that will result in the accomplishment of a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Employee Medical Disability Program: Potluck

It is where everyone –  family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and even those who don’t want to, but feel the pull of obligation by the sheer weight of embarrassment or shame – brings a dish of something to the occasion, gathering or congregation of confluence.  That is both the rub and the drub, isn’t it?  We never know what is brought to the event; and for some, slinking in unnoticed with empty hands, and once there, who asks what the contents of the contribution consisted of – which can easily be dismissed, in any event, with an inane response of, “Oh, this and that, you know,” and walk away knowing that good manners will prevent any further query of suspicion.

There are always three elements (just three?) to the concept of a “potluck” meal:  (1) If sufficient numbers are invited, the likelihood of a grand and satisfying feast will aggregate (of course, the better preparedness would assign various categories to each invitation – i.e., invitees “a” through “d” brings entrees; “e” through “k” desserts; “l” through “r” side servings, etc.), (2) While some overlap and duplication might occur, the statistical chances are that a wide variety of random amalgamation will be the result, and (3) the greater the participation, the higher statistical chance of success.

It is of this last element that applies to Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, regardless of whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, it is the “other side” of the shotgun approach – of allowing for multiple input, various hands and uncoordinated resources, that implodes with an inconsistency of strategic focus.

Medical conditions are interruptive enough; the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, often results in a parallel inability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

That being said, “help” and “assistance” of the non-legal type may come from spouses, family and friends –  voices which neither know the pain of the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, nor are familiar with the legal pitfalls and consequences attending to each procedural and substantive step of the process.  “Help” is always a “good” thing; but in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “potluck approach” may be the least desirable of methodologies to engage – unless you simply want a good and hearty meal in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire