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

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: What we have to do

In once sense of the phrase, it denotes a duty or obligation; in another, the foundational basis of a practical, pragmatic nature – of that which we do, simply because it needs to be done in order to survive, to maintain a certain standard of living, or because we believe it is the “right” thing to do.  Each individual must decide for him or herself, of course, as to the criteria by which to determine that which we have to do, and the “what” will often be placed on a wide spectrum of moral ends that are meant to justify the means by which to proceed.

What we have to do – it is also a phrase that is said when shaking one’s head, as in the whispering to one’s self in gritting one’s teeth or biting our tongue and engaging in a soliloquy of thoughtful silence, saying, “What we have to do.”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, despite the medical condition beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, it is a familiar refrain – of working through the pain, of trying to endure the paralyzing panic attacks or the heightened anxiety and depression that pervades, and to try and hide the medical condition and do what we have to do in order to economically survive – until it reaches that crisis point where the medical condition cannot be controlled, cannot be hidden, and comes bursting out like NFL players running through the tunnel from the locker rooms of one’s mind and body.

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, is just one of those other things that can be characterized as what we have to do.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition that begins to impede and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the filing itself of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is what we have to do, especially if the alternative is to stay at the job or walk away with nothing, which are actually no choices at all.

What we have to do – a familiar refrain for the Federal or Postal employee, and a necessary next step if you suffer from a medical condition that impedes or prevents you from performing one or more of essential elements of your job.  After all, you’ve been doing what you have to do all of your life, and this is just one more instance of it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Hardened hearts

They are unseen, but exist; and like zombies that wander through the nighttime skies as mere shadows in a one-dimensional universe, the concealment of hardened hearts can only be kept secret for a short while.  Where does the apex begin, and the downward spiral begin?  At what point does one possess a hardened heart, and does it insidiously creep upon one without one’s knowledge, conscious thought or deliberative realization?

We fight against it; we refuse to submit to it; but life happens, disappointments abound and the subtle cravenness begins to slowly, inevitably overtake.

Hardened hearts result from the encounters with life’s misgivings, and the more the misgivings, the harder the heart hardens.  Is it mere cynicism?  Does it emanate and originate from a single encounter, or must there be multiple clashes, butting of heads and piercing of hearts before the innocence of youth transforms into a meanness of spirit?

Hatred is an emotion that festers and eats away; and like flesh-devouring predators that feel nothing about their prey, hardened hearts shrivel into a latency of unfeeling behaviors.  It is a difficult road but a necessary one to take – to resist, to fight against, and to protect the purity of one’s soul.  Hardened hearts are the result of giving up, of losing hope, and of turning one’s back upon a society that has otherwise already given up on an individual.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the onset of that condition known as “hardened hearts”, the symptoms are quite noticeable: of bitterness; of anxiousness in going to work; of the recognition that one’s Federal Agency or the Postal facility does not show any loyalty towards you despite years and decades of dedicated work.

The diagnosis of a hardened heart, if the Federal or Postal employee suffers 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, may be to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In the end, hardened hearts are merely another happenstance of life’s misgivings, evidencing the cruelty of the world in which we live; but there are ways to avoid the final diagnosis of a mortality robbed of joy, and that may be by filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and “moving on” to try and save that last vestige of an innocent outlook upon life’s sunset of tears.

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 Disability Retirement: Mastery of Life

It is what we all strive for; as depicted in cult followings and media outlets, it is a state of representation attained through travels to the Himalayas, or after years of struggling in a Zen monastery (and engaging in Tai chi battles with inept masked ninjas) and gaining unexplainable enlightenment (why couldn’t the same happen in the living room of one’s own home?).  The truth is, the mastery of life is merely a mundane affair.

It is where one finds a rhythm within the daily obstacles of life, when recognition of distinguishing between a real “crisis” and an irritating problem is quickly resolved; and how bumbling through problems encountered in youth is replaced by smooth sailing with unruffled feathers in meeting obligations, confronting difficulties and engaging the monotony of daily living.

In the West, just when such a state of quietude is reached, society discards it all and favors youth over the aging, incompetence over experience, and slow but steady progress over fresh “new ideas” (which never are, but the discovery of which young people think they have been the first to encounter, as if the wheel on one’s car is an invention recently revealed).  This disregard and (ultimately) disrespect is magnified when a person is beset with a medical condition — precisely because being hit with a medical condition mirrors how treatment of the aged facilitates, but only at an exponentially quickened pace.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, this phenomena becomes a daily occurrence.

For years, we accumulate and derive the experience of plenitude and glean through trial and error, attaining a state of wisdom aggregated within the confines of one’s skull, with a loci traveling from home to desk, then back home again.  When a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee, one would think that a race would be on to preserve that body of knowledge, to contain it (as in futuristic movies) with aldehyde fixation in gentrified forms of cryonics in order to reserve unseen answers to unforeseen circumstances, all for the benefit of the “mission of the agency“.  But no — that is not what occurs.  Instead, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job (but normally not all), the tired routine is of commonplace doldrums of ineptitude and incompetence:  “get the bum out”.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and further suffers the fool resulting from that medical condition, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best avenue away from the madness of disregard.  But, then, perhaps we all have it wrong; perhaps filing for Medical Retirement through OPM shows and reveals that “mastery of life” we all seek, like the Shaolin Monk of yore who sought enlightenment elsewhere, and attained it within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

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