Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Threatened Order

One’s orderliness of life is dependent upon the next person; and like the proverbial domino which stands precariously wedged between the one previous and the one subsequent, the universe of stability is dependent upon the static nature of the surrounding environment.

Thus, in the antiseptic neighborhoods around the country, the quietude of the next door neighbor ensures the peacefulness of one’s heart.  If a violent eruption or turmoil occurs next door, and the flashing lights of law enforcement blink through the closed blinds and curtains of your house, you feel violated.

The principle has been tested and verified, that one’s own order in a physical, as well as psychological sense, is only as secure or vulnerable as that maintained by the next person.  For, we do not view ourselves; we view the world around us, and especially our peers, neighbors, coworkers and extended families, and it is by judging the stability of our surrounding environment by which we determine the security of our own lives.  That is why when a person becomes disabled, it threatens the relative peace and security of supervisors and coworkers within the agency, and they react accordingly.

In advising Federal and Postal Workers throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question which is often asked is the timing of when to inform one’s Supervisor as to the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the time to inform should normally coincide with the actual event of filing, unless there is a valid reason to preemptively inform the agency.

The reaction of an agency is rarely different is substance from one’s neighbor or relative; the disruption of one’s antiseptic and ordered life is seen when a blemish occurs upon the landscape of a cosmetically airbrushed photograph.  When a slight rumble is heard, one looks immediately to the domino standing to the fore and the aft, in the known language of shipmates drifting rudderless in the vast sea of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: For What Do We Expend Our Lives?

Expenditures can be extracted in a monetary sense; but one can also expend effort, emotions and cognitive exertion, too.  We think too narrowly in terms of financial gain or loss, but in every transaction, there is a cost to be paid in terms of human extraction.

The ultimate question, then, within the context of so much busyness and activity, comes down to a fundamental issue:  For what reason?

Heidegger sought always the question of Being, and noted that most of human activity is merely an excuse to avoid the ultimate issue of our own mortality, and the question posed herein is a close cousin of such a foundational inquiry.  Is it for a momentary respite of quietude?  Is it for a flash of a manic moment?  Does happiness constitute a pause in an otherwise dreary existence?  Is it all worth it to receive a hug from one’s child, or a kind word from a stranger, or the warmth of tongue from a puppy asking for your attention?

There is poetry in life, and moments of incremental advances of worthwhile sketches;  but if one merely lives for the negation of X, then one should consider a change in direction or course.  For example, if happiness is defined by a temporary escape from pain, then one’s life is bundled up by the negation of a negative (remember one’s math days — of two negatives equalling a positive?).

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that life has become a treadmill of daily pain and medical turmoil, and where weekends and days off are merely expended to recover from the weeks and months of physical trials, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

For what does one live?  Surely not for the condescending feedback from a bureaucracy or agency; it must be for more than that.  Otherwise, the price paid far exceeds the benefit received. Federal Disability Retirement is an option available for all Federal and Postal employees who have at least 18 months of Federal Service.

Let not life be a question of avoiding one’s mortality; or, for that matter, to allow for life’s expenditures to exceed the value of the product purchased.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Balance Tipper

Life requires a series of fine tuning and adjustments; of the balance between work and leisure; when children arrive, of determining priorities, of managing time and recognizing that the things which seemed important to us previously, need to take on a lesser role; of allowing for enough flexibility in order to maintain an equilibrium within a fast-paced world.  But the substantive content which requires controlling the balance of one’s life is not always that which is asked for; it is only the choosing in order to maintain the balance, which is within one’s control.

Sometimes, such choices involve an admixture of good and bad; other times, the options may be severely limited to only negative ones.  For Federal and Postal employees who are beset with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, there comes a critical point of making hard choices.

The balance has already been influenced negatively; the greater amount of one’s time is already being spent on managing the imposition of one’s medical condition; whether in avoiding pain, in going to doctor’s visits, in sleeping excessively, etc.  The proper balance between X and Y has already been “tipped” because of one’s medical condition.

Some other avenue of choice must be gotten, in order to re-balance the content of one’s life.

For Federal and Postal Workers, there is always the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  It is the ultimate balance tipper — in order to allow for the Federal or Postal Worker to have the restorative quietude to attend to one’s medical condition, and yet have a semblance of economic security in order to survive.

Federal Disability Retirement — a balance tipper in a world which often imposes upon our lives, where choices are limited and options narrow the substantive content of what can be done in order to maintain the proper balance in our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Angle

Angles are formed by two rays sharing a common endpoint; or, alternatively, it is defined by an attempt to achieve an end through indirect or artful means.  Both definitions tend to share a common thread — of not being “straight” with the intended goal.

In the 1954 classic musical, White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, there is a scene where Crosby notes that “everyone has an angle” — referring to the manner in which they were invited to review the duo sister act of the two eligible ladies in the movie.  While Crosby’s character in the movie had no problem with people having their personal angles in attempting to achieve an end, the rest of the world generally sees it quite differently.

It is precisely because there is a suspicion that hidden motives, unspoken intentions, and deliberately obfuscated reasons are veiled behind the overt actions of individuals, that people tend to be wary of others.  Newspaper stories abound with con artists; junk mail folders are replete with offers of bank transfers and “deals” to be made; and “free gifts” are rarely without strings attached.  It is because of suspicions of magnified proportions permeating our society, that the level of empathy parallels the societal degree of suspicion.

It is against such a backdrop that Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s capabilities to perform the essential elements of one’s job, that one must contend with the high sensitivity of societal suspiciousness.

With stories of fraud and abuse concerning Social Security Disability benefits; and with a stagnant economy and shrinking public sector funds, Federal and Postal workers under FERS or CSRS who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must battle against the backdrop of daily societal interludes.

It is indeed unfortunate, but people now view everyone else from the vortex of one’s angle; and however steep the angle might be, may determine how skewed one’s vision is; but for the Federal and Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is ultimately the facts which are on the side of the applicant, which will prove the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Cold

“Cold” is a word with multiple meanings.  It can refer to the temperature of one’s environment; an infectious malady of common origins; or the emotional unresponsiveness of someone.  It can even be an adverb delineating the complete knowledge or mastery of a subject, as in, “He knew it cold”.

But temperatures can be countered; common colds have multiple remedies (though one wonders if any of them are effective, as opposed to bed rest and drinking fluids); and the adverb form is merely an informal allowance of language in a vernacular left for the younger generation.  We are thus left with the state of emotional paralysis — identified in one’s own being, or in another.

For the injured or ill Federal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such an appropriate identification of the concept and definition related to the emotional reaction (or lack thereof) by one’s own agency and one’s co-workers should be expected.

While it is a welcome and unexpected surprise if one’s agency and co-workers respond otherwise, it is simply the nature of human beings to respond with a herd mentality, and for the most part, once the Federal or Postal employee reveals the intention to depart from one’s agency, the common response is one which can only be characterized as “cold”.

Why must it be this way?

There is no adequate explanation.  But for the Federal and Postal employee under FERS or CSRS, who has had to endure the often unthinking bureaucracy of the Federal Sector, such lack of warmth merely exacerbates the dire situation of one who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is, indeed, a puzzle; for in the harshness of winter, where the cold winds blow, the emotional coldness of one’s workplace is somewhat akin the common cold — a nagging sense that something has gone awry, but most Federal and Postal employees know that cold, anyway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Tendencies and First Impressions

First impressions are funny animals; while potentially misguided and fraught with errors, they are difficult to shake off because of our natural inclination to form them.  Tendencies, on the other hand, are established over time, and tend (sic) to reliably reflect a routine of repetitive behavior.  In both cases, they are difficult traits to get rid of, sort of like a nagging cold or a hairball in one’s throat.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, both traits are important to recognize.

First impressions — and from knowledge gained over time:  one’s agency; how will one’s supervisor act or react; one’s treating doctor; the extent of support one will receive; they will be the initiating basis and foundation in determining whether to go forward or not.

Tendencies — one’s own; is procrastination a problem?  Is avoidance an issue, such that it is best to jump into the process, knowing that delay is an identified enemy of one’s own best interests?

One’s formed personality and characteristic traits are established early in life; it is the remainder of our lives where we work to understand them, and to undo, supplement, or learn from those early first impressions and tendencies molded into our very being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Difficulty of Coordination

From the time one is born, coordination becomes a matter of survival: from maneuvering in the awkward ambulatory manner of humans on two legs as opposed to four; to trying to excel in sports and other competitive endeavors where there are always others who have greater physical abilities; to a world which demands multitasking and where singularity of performance is considered inadequate.

Then, when a medical condition suddenly hits, the learning curve of the individual takes on a magnified and crippling proportionality.  Suddenly, it is not a matter of attempting to coordinate two or more efforts; it is effort enough to accomplish a single task.

Further, for the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is the additional task — beyond the physical coordination of work and worry — to coordinate the multiple elements in compiling a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Thus, from acquiring sufficient medical evidence and documentation, to completing the proper forms in order to meet the minimum eligibility criteria, to meeting deadlines and all the while, for many, continuing to work in order to survive.

Coordination is an ability which must be continually learned. On top of it all, for an effective submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, reference to the prevailing laws governing Federal Disability Retirement issues should be made.

In the end, while the ambulatory beginnings of a toddler may have been the easiest to overcome, it turns out that it is merely the foundation for all future courses of challenges and obstacles to face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Expectations

Puppies are special creatures.  They give their loyalty and love unconditionally, and only ask to explore the world we present within the constraints we define.  They are expected to grow old with us; and when they die young, it is a tragedy beyond comprehension.  To cease before one’s time is difficult to bear, precisely because one’s expectation is that the next generation will carry forth where the previous one left off; and so we view the world in this logical, sequential manner of linear progression.

The puppy grows; he may not live as long in terms of human dimensional existence, but we expect our companion to accompany our linear presence.

Careers are formed that way.  We expect incremental progression; for the Federal and Postal Worker, step increases and annual recognition through monetary incentives for the valuable work which is performed.  But life has a way of interrupting our expectations; and just as the life of a puppy may suddenly and without reason end through an accident or illness, so a career may be cut short because of reasons beyond one’s control.  When life’s harshness intersects with human expectations, a change of one’s linear thought processes must occur.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have met the minimum eligibility rules of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS) and 5 years (for CSRS employees).  It is that benefit which must be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for those whose expectations have been cut short because of a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

As the precious life of a puppy may unexpectedly encounter the harshness of the world in which we live, so the Federal or Postal employee may face the same hardships; however much we may try to cushion and protect, both for the Federal and Postal employee, as well as for that special creature.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Harm of Linguistic Impurities

The integrity of the law is kept intact by the careful scrutiny of compliance, via oversight by guardians whose responsibility it is to maintain, challenge and question the diversionary attempt, however minor and in what seemingly inconsequential modalities, such imperceptible excursions into areas outside of the linguistic purity of the law, regulations and case-law interpretation when attempted.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, it is the Federal Agency itself — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — which often must be kept “in check”.  For, it is precisely those “allowances” of language which provides for licenses not otherwise granted which, if left unchallenged, will continue to repetitively reappear in subsequent decisions rendered for future Federal Disability Retirement applicants.

Thus, in a Federal Disability Retirement denial, it may be that a decision of denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application may state that the medical evidence “does not show that your medical conditions kept you out of the workplace altogether”, or that the diagnostic testing did not establish that the Federal Disability Retirement applicant “had a disabling disease which caused a disablement which incapacitated” the individual — implying, thereby, a standard of medical disability far above and beyond what is necessary for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such misstatements must be challenged and refuted; otherwise, the integrity of the law is left soiled and smeared, and future attempts by Federal and Postal Workers may be harmed by the careless allowance of linguistic impurities to surface and fester.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Approaching a Reconsideration

The proverbial definition of insanity is to engage in the same repetitive activity with the expectation of receiving a different result.  While such a definition may not provide a clinically accurate or legally acceptable formulation, it does implicate the chaotic character and the futile act of responding in a particularly fruitless manner.

For Federal and Postal employees who have attempted to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, and have received an initial denial, the process of having OPM reconsider one’s case must be approached in a 2-tier manner:  First, one must meet the “deadline” of filing for Reconsideration with OPM within thirty (30) days of the denial, or upon receipt of the denial (although, to be on the safe side, it is best to use the former date as opposed to the latter);  next, with the box checked to indicate submission of additional medical documentation, to then gather, prepare, compile and submit additional medical evidence within thirty (30) days thereafter, unless a further extension is needed and requested.

However, one should also understand that in an OPM Reconsideration case, it will not be the same Case Worker who will review the case, but it will be reviewed thoroughly by someone else as if it had never been previously reviewed. As such, there is the confounding conundrum of a dual anomaly: The First Case Worker who issued the denial based the denial upon certain specific points; yet, what the First Case Worker denied the case upon, may have no bearing upon what the Second, Reconsideration Case Worker will evaluate the case upon.

What does one do? Whatever one’s answer is to this complex conundrum, do not engage in the proverbial act of insanity; better to get some legal guidance than to spin one’s wheels in an insane world of futility.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire