Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Concurrent Issues

Rarely is there a single issue, whether in life generally or within the esoteric arena of legal battles.  There are sub-issues; corollary issues; issues that appear to be minor footnotes that may later present greater problems deserving wider attention; issues that seem to pervade but of which no one ever directly confronts.  The proverbial “elephant in the room” phenomena is the issue that people avoid and try to ignore.  Such issues can be averted and circumvented for a time, but they often come back to haunt and interfere.

We all selectively choose the universe we want to operate in; the problem comes about whenever we interact and interface with others (which is almost all of the time), and the “other person’s” chosen universe clashes and contradicts the one in which you want to reside.  Conflicts of interest in business settings or financial transactions; differing dreams, hopes and plans for the future when two or more people get together; contradictory expectations and incompatible roles which cannot be accommodated; these, and many more, involve concurrent issues that cannot be easily smoothed or resolved.

In Federal Disability Retirement Law, there are often parallel legal issues that the Federal Disability Retirement applicant brings to the fore — of workplace harassment issues; Performance Improvement Plans; Suspensions and Terminations; do these and other concurrent issues have an impact upon a FERS Disability Retirement application?  It all depends.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and discuss the concurrent issues that might — or might not — intersect and interfere with a Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is best to go into the bureaucratic morass with open eyes and a good sense of one’s chances at obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity, lest the elephant in the room suddenly rampages through the kitchen where the good china is kept.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Accommodations

In everyday, common and familiar usage, what does the word “accommodations” mean?  It is to go out of one’s way in order to meet the needs of someone else.  It is to try and allow for another person to fit in, to find comfort or to be allowed to remain even though some extra effort may have to be expended.

In legal terms, especially in Federal Disability Retirement Law under FERS, the term “accommodations” has a similar meaning and import.  It is that “something” which the Federal Agency or the Postal unit must do such that a person who suffers from a medical condition or disability can continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  It may well be that the Federal Agency or Postal Service is unable to accommodate the medical condition and, try as they might, a determination and conclusion is made that no such accommodations exist, or can be allowed for, because of the nature, extent and severity of the medical condition itself.

The “accommodation” question is one of the hurdles that must be overcome in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is a complexity in Federal Disability Retirement Law that poses many problems and greater questions.  Is the accommodation permanent or temporary?  Will it allow for the Federal or Postal worker to perform the essential elements of his or her position?  Can a future supervisor “take back” the modification allowed for, or does it become a permanent feature of the position description?

These and many other questions surround the issue of agency efforts for reassignment and accommodations, and in order to obtain clarification and move forward in a Federal Disability Retirement application, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Beyond the shutdown

What does it mean for the government to “shut down” because the Congress and the President were unable to come to a budgetary agreement?  It is often the question that is focused upon, but may be the wrong one.  The more relevant issue concerns the events that will occur after the cessation of the shut down.  What happens afterwards?  For, everyone assumes that the government will come to some sort of budgetary reconciliation, and that there will ultimately be an end to the deadlock.

The House and Senate will finally pass a spending bill, whether of a temporary, continuing resolution, or of a long-term bill that addresses the various issues each side is fighting for.  With that assumption in mind, the question becomes, What happens beyond the shutdown?

Essentially, nothing dramatic, other than that the bureaucracy of the Federal government will experience greater delays, and the shutdown merely becomes interpreted as a slowdown for goods and services, much like the picture painted of a local grocery store closing for a week, a month or many months, and where shoppers would have to find another venue to obtain their wares.  The difference between the private-sector shutdown and a Federal government shutdown, however, is that the former often allows for its competitors to take advantage of the situation, whereas the latter has no such “competitors”, as it is the only “game” in town.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “what to do” with the shutdown should be approached with the following questions: Do we assume that the Federal Government will “reopen for business” at some point?  The general answer is: Yes.

With that assumption, should we just proceed with preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Again, the general answer is: Yes.

The “private” sector continues to operate, and so the doctors who need to submit medical reports and records can still be accessed; the standard forms still need to be prepared, and the faster one is placed into the “waiting line” for determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the quicker the “product” of an approved Federal Disability Retirement benefit will accrue, once the doors of the Federal Government and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are again opened for “business as usual”, beyond the shutdown that occurs from time to time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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 process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Meaning of life

Most of us are too busy to pause for air, reflect upon theoretical, hypothetical or philosophical issues that have little to do with day-to-day living or earning wages in order to maintain a certain standard of living.  Every now and then, however, when the tumults of life’s encounters reaches a pinnacle of unsolvable problems such that the stressors exceed the barometric pressure allowable for the human psyche to withstand, there is a compelled stoppage, a mandated cessation and a forced condemnation to rest.

It is, in short, called a “medical condition”.

It is when we become debilitated, destroyed, distraught and disillusioned that we begin to ask such universal, exhaustive and unnatural (by this term is meant with a rhetorical question:  What other animal in nature asks such questions, and thus do we posit them as “unnatural”) to the core queries that, as Bertrand Russell once wittily quipped, is likely the result of indigestion.

What do we mean when we ask such questions; of looking up at the ceiling with furrowed eyebrows and inquiring, “What is the meaning of all of this?”  It is, of course, the focal point of “this” that one must then turn to, for such a word is obscure, undefined and like a blank space to be filled, can be interpreted in an eternity of ways depending upon the context of the query.

Is the “this” referring to the pain, suffering and debilitating medical condition being experienced?  Is it about the “unfairness” of it all and the fact that others seem to be roaming this earth carefree, careless and thoughtless as to one’s pain, whether physical, emotional or cognitive?  Or does the “this” reference the connection of all of that striving, the hours and commitment to work – of a loyalty to a Federal Agency or the Postal Service who cares not about your medical condition, may not have even noticed your absence (at least for the time being until someone finally notices the pile of work backing up on the desk of that…what was her name?) and likely thinks of individuals as mere cogs in a wheel, replaceable and fungible.

In the end, Russell was probably right; such questions about the “meaning of life” are beyond the comprehension of any level of rationality, belief or coherency that has any real impact upon our lives to make a true difference.  What really matters, in the end, is not that “philosophical” query about the meaning of life, but about human contact, relationships, and securing a future for ourselves and our families.

To that end, preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is an important next step for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer continue in the career position of his or her choice.  For, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application actually does answer the question, “What is the meaning of ______”; it may not be the grand concept of “life” itself that completes that blank, but it sure beats walking away with nothing by obtaining an annuity to secure one’s future so that other things in life may be enjoyed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Life’s ruinations

The poetry of a fork in the road sings to us from those innocent days of childhood voices; of life’s beginnings, the promise of future longings, and those lazy summer mornings left far behind in dusty coves where love’s forlorn memories linger in misty waves of lapping thoughts.  Life has a way of beating us down.  A wise man once said:  If you don’t like the way the day is going, stick around, as everything changes over time.

We tend to focus upon the trials of the moment, as if there is no tomorrow, and perhaps that is a “good” thing, if we think that life is a linear progression (or regression, as it were) of experiences unfolding and eternally unending.  What does it mean to have a “proper perspective”, or a “balanced view” of life?  In the living moment of travesty and despair, can one reach beyond on either side in order to view the middle from afar?  Or are we so wrapped up in our own troubles that we can never quite see beyond the travails of our own creation?

We have lost the capacity to maintain vigilance as the gatekeeper of incoming information and data; instead, we are like rudderless vessels, being thrown to-and-fro by the waves of data-overloads, forever accosted by the connectivity for which we pay dearly in terms of money, loss of soul, and depleted creativity.  We cannot think for ourselves, anymore, because we have Google and viewfinders to guide our ways; and we no longer map out our road trips because we have electronic guiding devices to do that which we have lost our way in attaining.

For every second we have been promised that we would save with the advent of a new electronic device, Jim Croce’s time in a bottle would have been filled tenfold, if only we had stuck to the revolving voices emitted by the crank of an antique phonograph.

Life was once a promise of a future hope and unrealized cacophony of mirth to be reached; now, the darkness of life’s ruinations overshadow us all.  There are no promises or instructions of “how to” when we are born; only a meandering sense of anarchy by which we are shoved into and respond by the seat of our pants.  In the end, life’s ruinations are determined by the choices we make, and are well within the control of our willpower to map out fate, destiny and the avenues of alternatives offered.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who see the coming signs – of increasing harassment, administrative pressures and managerial sanctions – it is time to begin preparing.  Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if and when a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset becomes disabled as a result of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, is a necessary step in sidestepping and avoiding those pesky forks in the road which represent life’s ruinations.

In such instances, Google won’t help, and even an expensive GPS device won’t be of much use.  Instead, it is an individual choice to be made, and the time is ripe when you realize that life’s ruinations are often the result of procrastination and delay in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM forthwith.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Of spare things left in the world

We don’t seem to have a capacity to share of those things which we have no need, anymore.  Does scarcity of resources result in “doubling down” in ways formerly described as miserly in deed?  Does the free market principle of supply and demand explain the loss of social grace in responding to need?  What ever happened to the spare tire, the jingle of spare change, and the ephemeral absence of spare time?  Has society come to a criss-cross of contending forces, where the explosion of population growth, the rise of the middle class in developing nations around the globe, coupled with the exponential depletion of finite resources, have cumulatively coalesced to an incandescent compromise of character crisis?  Does the lack of everything mean that we can spare no more for others, or provide assistance in the event of need?

As for the spare tire issue, the fact is that modern technology has extended the wear of tires, and many people have lost the knowledge or skill to use a jack or a lug wrench.  This, combined with fear of scams and roadside robberies, in conjunction with the durability of today’s tires, has resulted in the widespread consequence of calls for help defined as a cellphone dial for professional roadside assistance.  Further, society has deemed that any caricature of a ‘damsel in distress’ is tainted with a misogynist attitude; and we certainly would never want to be charged with an ‘ism’ at the cost of helping another.  And of spare change?

Homelessness has been relegated to either a non-existent phenomenon until a different political tide rolls in, or has otherwise been linguistically redefined as an alternative lifestyle.  What remains, then, is our spare time — which we have no more of, despite the constant drumbeat to the contrary that the aggregate of modern technology is always supposed to ‘save us time’.  Isn’t that what we are told each time a new gadget is foisted upon us?  That it will save time so that we have more time for greater and more important things — like politicians who suddenly leave office or fail to seek another term in order to spend “more time” with family.  Right.

The fact is that we are left with very little of anything, anymore, other than to stare vacuously into the fluorescent chambers of computer screens and smartphone apps.  Yet, spare time, spare tires and spare change — while apparently mere arbitrary anachronisms of antiquity, alas, fading into the dim light of change itself — reflects a community of sharing now lost as art was once a defined form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the idea of sparing a person a break, has gone the way of other spare things.  Neither the Federal agency nor the U.S. Postal Service has any spare time to spare anything, anymore, and certainly no more than the rest of society can spare.

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, can be likened to the spare tire in the back of the trunk, which is always there but forgotten but for the time of crisis or need.  When the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to OPM is like getting out that spare tire.

The problem is, as most people have lost the skill to use the ‘other’ implements hidden beside the spare tire — like the jack and the lug wrench — so the proverbial roadside assistance may be required.  As for spare change and spare time?  Pockets are a requirement for the former, and future fashion will determine the necessity of an antiquated design, as will inflation and online banking for the need of coins or paper money at all; and as for the latter, we are told that we have more of that than ever before; just not enough to spare for others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: A Pedigree of Choices

There are still some parts in the world where line of descent and lineage of genealogy matter; certainly, for spectacles such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the origins of breeding, the line of winners, and the genetically pure tree of aristocratic connections matter still.  But humans are different; or so we like to think.

We are repulsed by the very idea of placing substantive significance upon birth rights, yet we fawn all over royal births and deaths; we deny the importance of name, lineage and legitimacy, yet grope with incestuous perversity for information of scandal and bastardly genealogy; and while we feign to act disinterestedly in matters blared in tabloid newspapers, somehow they continue to sell well, and the supermarket lines are crammed with such addictive fare, alongside candies and covered chocolates.

Pedigree is to the dying aristocracy what the economy is to today’s worker:  slow death, and fading into an unknown abyss.  That has been the beauty for democracies around the world — the choices given, the opportunities provided, in a universe where lineage, heritage and genealogy matter less than the chance to thrive.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has become an impediment, it is the pedigree of a different sort which must be considered.

Pedigree in a narrow sense is that which constitutes the DNA of bloodlines; in a more general sense, it is the recorded ancestry which determines fate, but which in the modern era we have been able to free ourselves of, and with deliberative intent, force the issue.  Thus, when we talk about a pedigree of choices, it is meant to denote the reaching branches of multiple paths to consider, from a singular trunk of limited origins.

Federal Disability Retirement is one such branch, reaching out into a different direction.  For the Federal and Postal employee who 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 positional duties, it will often seem that future choices are as limited as the former system of feudal paucity of exclusion except for name, blood and descent by birth.

But the modern pedigree of choices is determined not by the tree of ancestry, but in the tree of knowledge; and as Federal OPM Disability Retirement is a choice available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS employees) and 5 years (for CSRS employees), it is incumbent upon the Federal or Postal worker who thinks that a medical condition is as self-limiting as the former constraints of pedigree, to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as the pedigree of choices.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Causal Contingency

If X, then Y; but the problem is that most of us want to skip over the predicated contingency, and move directly to the conclusion without the necessary and sufficient satisfaction of attending to the prerequisite of X.  The consequences of such inaction, or impatience in order to achieve the end-goal, is that when the subversive act of avoidance and disregard results in the inevitable and disastrous compulsion of causal catastrophe, we then attempt to “make up” for “lost time”, and quickly engage in band-aid devices to try and rectify the original misdeed.

Some things in life just don’t work that way; in fact, despite the insistence by millennials that longterm foundations don’t matter (either because the gods are dead, life is absurd, or self-centeredness will get us through the day), it is the artisan and the craftsman who, when the technological innovations and newfangled fads whisper into the fading glow of yesterday’s moonshine, retains the longevity of sustenance and substantive accord.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the inclination is to panic, to rush around like a chicken with its head lopped off by a prowling owl of the dawn skies, and to quickly formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it through one’s own Human Resource Office (if still with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service or, if separated but not more than 31 days thereafter) or directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (if separated for more than 31 days but not more than 1 year after the separation or termination date).  But the operative word in such a scenario is ensconced in the term, “prepare”.

To achieve an effective Federal Disability Retirement application outcome, one must prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits.  To jump over the “preparation” part, and to merely formulate and file, results in the disastrous outcome foreseeable and foreseen.  Just ask Jack, who still reels from the burn marks as he tried to jump over the candlestick.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire