Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Case Development

Are all cases at the same stage of the process?  Isn’t this the same question as: Are all people at the parallel stage of maturity?

As life reflects reality in varying aspects of their sliced proportions, so every case is not at the same stage of the process.  Many Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers find themselves at a critical juncture in their careers, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits has become a necessity and a step which can no longer be delayed.

Is every case ready for filing?  Likely not.  Should every case be filed, ready or not?  Only if the Statute of Limitations looms and necessitates it.  Is there anything nefarious in “developing” a case?  No.  However, there can be a slight distinction, subtle as it may be, in engaging a trail of medical documentation expressly for the singular purpose of establishing a Federal Disability Retirement claim, as opposed to doing it in order to seek medical attention.

Taking care of one’s medical condition, going to doctor’s appointments and establishing a consistency of compliance with a treatment regimen — these should all, first and foremost, be engaged in with the primary purpose of obtaining the proper medical care.

From that consistency of care, case development will follow; and for Federal and Postal employees seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, the proper time for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will come naturally as the case develops, which often needs the guidance and counsel of a FERS attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The messes we make

We observe the facade and conclude too quickly: Others live perfect lives; mine?  What a mess it is.

Have we evaluated all circumstances in an objective, rational fashion?  Isn’t the corollary and natural next question to be: That “other” person — what does he or she see when observing me?  Does the same conclusion follow: The facade which reveals calm and competence — It is a life nearer to perfection than my own; mine?

And so the cycle of discordant irrationality continues to feed upon itself.  And, of course, the Internet only further enhances and exacerbates such folly — of Facebook and Instagram, where “perfect” lives are lived in a 1-dimensional existence; of selectively chosen photographs of perfect couples, perfect meals, perfect vacations and perfect existences are somehow depicted in appearances of perfect lives.  Then, the truth somehow leaks out — this person just got a divorce; that person committed a crime; the other “perfect” person was publicly doing this or that, etc.

It is funny, that phrase — of truth “leaking” out, like a cracked glass that slowly seeps with agonizing revelations or a pipe that drips until the flooded basement overflows with a deluge of falsity.

The messes we make are often mere minor anomalies; they become messes when we try and contain them, hide them and act as if ours is the only mess in the world because comparing messes never reveals anything; everyone hides well their own messes; we just think that everyone else is perfect.

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 job, the messes we make are often a result of failing to act.  The Agency is no fool — they see the excessive use of SL and request for LWOP; or the loss of performance acceptability; or the loss of attendance continuity, etc.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is not an admission of the messes we make; it is, instead, the truth behind the reality of the medical condition, and the real need to attend to one’s health, which should never be concealed, but openly acknowledged in order to move beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Bridge to Nowhere

It is a metaphor which evokes images of hopelessness and futility, if such images can indeed be captured at all.  Whether of an attitude, a perspective or the existential reality of one’s personal circumstances, the question is, Why was the bridge to nowhere built to begin with?  There it stands, in mid-construction, suspended but unfinished, not leading to anywhere, not going in any particular direction, not coming from any place known.

It is often how we feel in the middle of our lives.  One has only to sit in a cafe, by a window, and watch the midday rush of people coming and going, seemingly with purpose, appearing with decisiveness, until you catch the gaze of someone passing — a knowing look, a pause, a hesitation; and at that moment of illumination, the stranger and you both know that the constant, ant-like activity is merely a whirl of coming and going upon a bridge to nowhere.

The furious pace of life; of rushing to get to work, working, then rushing to get home within a factory of people uncaring and unaware.  Then, when calamity hits — a medical condition that interrupts, intercedes and imposes its existence upon you — suddenly the routine of ferocious activity finds meaning in the very meaninglessness felt the moment before.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job because of a medical condition, the sense that one is driving upon a bridge to nowhere is common and troubling.  Of course one’s health should be a priority; and of course work, the “mission” of the Federal agency and the harassment that is initiated without empathy or understanding — all of that stuff should be secondary and subordinated to taking care of one’s health.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the recognition that the bridge to nowhere will not take you anywhere, and it is in order to regain that insight of meaningfulness that it is important to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in order to focus upon the importance of priorities shoved aside — like one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 job — the “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Things not likely to happen

It is not likely that tomorrow morning you will wake up and find that aliens have taken over the earth (although, if one were to read various supermarket tabloids, that has already occurred many times over, both while asleep and awake); it is not likely that you will win the lottery with that last dollar spent on running a random set of numbers (though millions each day shell out astronomical sums in the aggregate with dreams – and sometimes actual plans reflected upon – of what one will do “when” the improbable event will happen); and it is not likely that the email received the other day from some banker in Burkina Faso who wants a “trusted friend” to allow for a transfer of a cool $100 million and would allow you to keep half of it just because you happen to be the only person in the universe who has a bank account and can keep a secret, will actually honor such a request.

Nevertheless, people actually consider such fantasies, and to the detriment of those who do so with serious intent, harm themselves either by delaying what could be done, setting aside the reality of what needs to be accomplished, and turning over valuable time to endeavors not likely to happen.

Often, and unfortunately, medical conditions have that same characteristic – of things not likely to happen.  It begins by happening – of a medical condition that should not have been, or is seen to be “unfairly” targeting a particular individual, and a period of disbelief ensues where the question is, “Why me?  Why not the other guy, instead?”  Then, once the phase of acceptance comes about, one begins to adapt, compromise the levels of acceptability and quality of life, and modification of expectations surely follows soon thereafter.  Then, one hopes, prays, angrily shouts to the heavens or otherwise with quiet resignation begins to ruminate – yes, the medical condition may be unfair, but so is the lot of life we all live.

And the principle of things not likely to happen applies to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, as well, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, the things not likely to happen includes: The medical condition will just go away; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will just let things slide and be very understanding; the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service will actually accommodate your medical condition; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service will find you another job at the same pay or grade; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service will grant SL, AL or LWOP in unlimited amounts so that you can attend to your illness or medical condition; and the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service will show empathy, sympathy and understanding and make you feel “welcomed” while you endure one of the most difficult periods of your life.  Not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The limited reservoir

What if the reserve is limited, but we are never informed of it?  Perhaps the gods, fate or however the source of creation is defined, has placed a quota upon the extent of that which is expended, but we are never included in the corporate decision-making process – then, what?  Death, insanity or just plain debilitation and stoppage of activity; is that what we call “an unfortunate end”?

By “reservoir”, we normally mean that natural or artificial accumulation that is used for a specified purpose – the town’s water supply; a special cache of good wines; or perhaps, even that sixth player who is left sitting (a temporary “bench warmer” – though, perhaps in this climate of everyone being nice to each other, such terms are no longer considered appropriate) aside until a burst of fresh input is needed.

Concurrently, we expect that any depletion from the cistern is consistently replenished, except during periods of extreme droughts when we are forced to systematically make use of it with the justification that it is that for which we reserved it in the first place, and when times are better, we will take care in replacing that which seemed limitless just an eon ago.  And, why is it that when the main tank has been completely re-filled, we have a tendency towards excess and lavish spending, but when we hit the “reserve” indicator, suddenly we act with frugal caution and become responsible conservationist?

Is it because of our hereditary backgrounds as hunters and gatherers during a time of unknown and tenuous circumstances, when bodies hungrily stored fat in order to survive during those times of want and scarcity?

What if we are left with a limited number of words in life, and once expended, we become transformed into unnoticed mutes wandering across time, traversing the silence amidst others who have saved their reserve for future accessibility?

Life often “feels” like that – of having reached a point of depletion where the quota has been reached, the reservoir has been emptied, and the excess energy expired.

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 one’s Federal or Postal position, it often seems as if the reservoir needed in order to reach that golden mark when retirement age and cumulative years of Federal Service coalesce to allow for passing across the proverbial “finish line”, has been too early depleted.

Unfortunately, medical conditions hasten the reservoir of time, energy, patience and capacity to withstand the daily toil of workplace stresses and employment concerns, and there is often a need to access an alternate source of supply.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for that; it is a means to recognizing that the reservoir is limited, and that the medical condition has reached a critical point where replenishment is no longer an option.  Yet, even after a Federal Disability Retirement is achieved, the Federal and Postal worker can go out into the private sector and remain productive, and under the law, is allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays, and still maintain employment and receive the annuity.

For, while the reservoir of one’s life and talents may indeed be limited, it is the limitation of self-imposed stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge that the medical condition has reached a critical point, that often defeats and depletes long before the fuel gauge indicates a warning light of that ever-blinking “danger” point.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Indomitable Spirit of Pursuit

Preparation in pursuit of an endeavor should always embrace an uncompromising resolve to see it through to the end.  Such an attitude is quite different, and distinguishable, from mere stubbornness when the facts faced or the odds stacked clearly and convincingly manifest an inevitable defeat.  The former attitude prepares one to refuse succumbing to the innate fear and weakness inherently existent in us all; the latter, a failure of recognition beyond rational discourse and comprised of an obsessive impulse contrary to good form.

People often think that rationality encompasses merely the capacity to acknowledge a superior logical discourse, when it fact it must by necessity involve two further steps:  (A) the ability to recognize the weaker argument of the two, and (B) a willingness to accept that one’s own voice may not be the source of utterance of the stronger argument, and to accept and exchange the weaker for the stronger.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the disadvantage is of the weakened state, either physically or psychologically, that the Federal or Postal employee is in, throughout the process.

The calculus of the medical condition itself in factoring in one’s resolve, should never be underestimated.  The change of circumstances, the fall from grace in the eyes of one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the need to maintain health insurance, financial stability, etc. — all play to weaken the resolve of the Federal or Postal employee who pursues Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And, of course, OPM also knows this, and plays upon the knowledge that they hold all of the cards in a metaphorical poker game, and by waiting, may outlast the stubborn and the strong alike.

It is because of this that the Federal and Postal employee who decides that applying for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity through OPM is the best course of action, must retain throughout an indomitable spirit of pursuit, in order to counter the Leviathan-like capacity for oppositional dominance possessed by the adversary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire