Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Cower v. Cowardice

To cower paints a word-picture of crouching or retreating in fear.  Cowardice, on the other hand, is the cumulative character of a man or woman, wrought upon through a lifetime of milestones and the reactions to each.  The latter can represent the aggregate of the former; the former may be, but is not necessarily, a singular action symbolizing the former.

Sometimes, there is a basis for being fearful.  Fear is quite obviously an evolutionary instinct which has a survival value attached; how one responds to the overwhelming stimulus of fear will often determine the value of such survivability instinct. But to cower in response to a given circumstance, a sudden crisis, or an unforeseen emergency is not to conclude cowardice; it is, as Aristotle would point out, merely one indication in a lifetime of red flags determining the linear value of one’s essence.

For the Federal or Postal employee who must face the crisis of a medical condition, such that important decisions must be faced, made and lived with, the step to Federal Disability Retirement is one fraught with the fear of the unknown: for one’s future, one’s vocation, and one’s financial security. To cower in confronting such a major decision is understandable; it does not indicate a character of cowardice. Facing a medical condition takes fortitude and clarity of mind, and in the midst of dealing with the crisis itself, it is often difficult to make cogent decisions ancillary to contending with one’s health issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a daunting task which requires mental acuity and intellectual stamina. In one’s weakened state, it is often advisable to have objectivity and good counsel. To cower in the face of a challenge is sometimes understandable; but to reveal cowardice is unnecessary, especially when the Federal or Postal employee who must decide upon the issue of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can turn to competent assistance to guide one through the complex process of the administrative morass.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Fear & Darkness

The veil of darkness provides a contrast; for the predator, it allows for an advantage in stalking its prey; for the prey, the shimmering shadows reverberate of the unknown, but still, if one remains calm and quiet, an equality of disadvantage is allowed for, in that the predator must maneuver through the identical lack of visual acuity as they prey.

The singular equalizer for both predator and prey, in the calm shadows of darkness, is fear.  For the former, waiting and hoping that fear will flush out its prey by making a noise or venturing out thinking that a different location will provide for a safer haven; for the latter, it is the extent of one’s imagination which often leads to defeat; of fear instilled and mixed with images of what may happen, what could be out there, and where will it all end?

Why nightfall stirs the deep recesses of one’s imagination is a mystery; and even in the midst of civilized society, in the safety of one’s home, as one attempts to turn to the refuge of sleep for restorative relief, it is often then that thoughts of fear pervade in the dark of night, and in the void of one’s mind.  Such fear reaches back to the days of primitive life, and is complicated by the unknown.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s job performance; and where supervisors and agencies have been stirred to initiate adverse actions or discussions have already occurred of such dealings, it is often those primitive chasms from times past, of fear of the unknown, which must be countered with systematic and pragmatic steps to secure one’s future.

Man, in his essence, has not changed much over time; those in power still act as predators, and prey upon the scent of weakness.

Federal and Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, in order to escape the predatory practices of one’s agency.  Ultimately, the modern equivalent of the veil of darkness is ignorance, and in this case, not knowing the law and one’s rights is often the greatest harm suffered by Federal and Postal employees; and the modern equivalent of fear?  It is still the stepping into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Lives of Trepidation

Most of us live lives of subtle trepidation.  Whether borne of childhood experiences of insecurity or fears, psychologists and mental health professionals can perhaps shed some light upon a theory or proposed paradigm of explanatory adequacy.

In adulthood, it turns to reticence and self-limitations, where avenues are deliberately avoided and potentialities remain consciously unfulfilled.  It is all well and good for others to declare such pithy catchphrases, such as, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” and other such banners and choruses intended to lift up one’s spirits; but the reality of the harsh world around us more often than not confirms, magnifies and reinforces the very fears and anxieties which limited us in the first place.

Thus does one begin life with inborn fears, and stumbles about and experiences confirmations by the harsh reality which we encounter on a daily basis.

Medical conditions, whether physical or psychiatric, tend to magnify and delimit those subtle trepidations.  For the Federal and Postal Worker who finds him/herself with a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, may be the best option and choice to take.

It is perhaps one avenue where a benefit does not confirm one’s subtle trepidations of life, but rather, counters it by allowing for a modicum of security, while pursuing another vocation, and concurrently allowing for that rehabilitative period of quietude in order to recover from one’s medical conditions.

It is well that such a benefit exists for the Federal and Postal employee; for, as a subset of the greater society which has no such availability to the benefit provided by Federal Disability Retirement, the “rest of us” must trudge along with those subtle trepidations and make our way in this harsh reality of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: “What If” Scenarios

The problem with “what if” scenarios is that they rely upon fear.  What if I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the agency then removes me?  What if I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and OWCP decides to send me to a Second-Opinion doctor and begins the process of trying to get me off of their rolls?

Fear and the anticipation of unknown future events is often the trigger-mechanism to prevent a person from acting.  The fallacy of making decisions based upon such fear factors, however, is an obvious one:  The agency can begin the process of removal with or without the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement (because of one’s medical conditions, his or her attendance, overuse of sick leave, less than full performance of duties, etc., is normally quite obvious to the agency already, anyway); OWCP can send the Federal or Postal employee to a second-opinion doctor or cut off benefits arbitrarily with or without the Federal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and in general terms, “what if” scenarios can occur even if the event in question is never pursued.

Fear is the factor which bullies, totalitarian regimes, and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service relies upon.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely the great equalizer against the fear factor.  That which can happen regardless of a triggering event, will occur anyway; so the logical conclusion should be to decide to file for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits in order to acquire the “safety-net” against the future possibility (and probability) of adverse actions which the Agency is already likely contemplating.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Pragmatism & Angst

Pragmatism is a peculiarly “American” brand of philosophical outlook and approach; unique because it reflects the character and personality of the general population, of looking at things not in terms of understanding it, attempting to discern the underlying essence beneath the qualities and appearances; rather, to look upon success in terms of workability.

To that extent, the European sense of “angst” is often missing in the American character, because there is amiss a sense of struggling over knowledge concerning the substance of a thing.  Such an approach brings to fore the reputation that Americans are merely celebrated merchants, coming to the marketplace to trade and barter, with nothing profound to say or add.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one can ruminate over the potentialities which lead to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application to an extent where one become paralyzed by the possibility.  At some point in the process, pragmatism must trump the angst.  Too many self-corrections can lead to immobility and paralysis of thought and action.  Perhaps there does not exist the “perfect word” or “complete sentence” which adequately describes one’s physical pain, mental confusion, or the nexus which describes how one cannot perform one’s job.  It is likely that no one at OPM will ever fully comprehend the terrible ordeal which the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant is going through.

While many are immigrants from the “old country”, the great thing about arriving to the “new country” is that the angst which once was, is now left behind.  Sometimes, it is time to become pragmatic, and simply file.  Most things can be further supplemented and amended at a later date.  That is the beauty of America — of having second chances over and over again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Garnering the Differing Perspectives

There are varying and (sometimes) competing perspectives, which must be garnered for a cooperative totality of perspectives — including the perspective of the Agency, the Office of Personnel Management, the applicant filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, and the doctor.

The doctor, of course, is naturally suspicious of the entire process.  That is why it is crucial to explain the process, the distinction between OPM Disability Retirement and other processes such as SSDI and OWCP.

There may even be an underlying hesitation because of the suspicion of a contemplated lawsuit.  If the doctor is a surgeon, he or she might be suspicious that the reason why you are asking for a medical narrative report is because you want the doctor to admit that the prior surgical intervention was unsuccessful, and that such an admission will be used to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Without addressing the issue directly, by explaining the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — what it entails; what is needed; why and how it is different from other processes — will ultimately benefit the applicant and the entire process by garnering the support of the doctor.  Explanation and understanding is always the best avenue to easing the mind of suspicion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees: Doctors Do Want to Help

It is rare that a treating doctor fails to help, or refuses to help.  Yes, “getting involved” in a “legal case” is not only a headache, but for a doctor, it is often an intimidating experience, and many doctors have become “gun shy” over the years because of the negative experiences which have befallen them when getting involved in the legal side of his or her medical practice.

Look at it from the doctor’s viewpoint.

While one may fully understand the distinction between Federal Disability Retirement issues under FERS or CSRS, and those “other” issues (i.e., OWCP/FECA Department of Labor cases, or personal injury cases, etc.), from the treating doctor’s viewpoint, they are all “legal” issues.  And, from the doctor’s perspective and prior negative experiences, once you stick your neck out on behalf of a patient and get involved in a case, one never knows what it may lead to — court, depositions, cross-examinations, etc.  But there is indeed a difference and a distinction between those “other cases” and filing for Federal Disability Retirement cases.

To soothe the feathers of a doctor is important; to take the time to explain the process is vital; to make the job of the doctor as efficient and non-threatening is the key to a successful Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire