OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Full Plate

From childhood, we are taught to (A) place on our plate only that which we can finish and (B) to finish that which we have placed upon our plate.  In modernity, perhaps such a “rule” is no longer applicable or enforced?

The old ways are often from habits ensconced from experience — of the Great Depression where scarcity, and even the fear of it, perpetuated a need to be frugal; of limited supply resulting in a greater appreciation of delights, and thus of a punctilious attention to avoid wastefulness; and of a wider deference for fairness, that others should share in the bounty presented.

In older days, to delight in a bottle of coke (yes, those little vintage bottles placed in ice, where cane sugar was used and not corn syrup) once in a year was a treat, whereas nowadays many people addictively drink an extra-large coke every day, leading to the rise of diabetes and making this country the greatest exporter of obesity around the globe.

But back to the metaphor of the “full plate”:  From childhood, we are taught never to walk away without finishing what is put on our plate.  As we grow older, the metaphor of the full plate turns a different meaning — of the day’s work, the chores before us, the various responsibilities throughout the day.  It has become ingrained in us that we “must” finish what is put on our plates.

This is similar to the idea that police officers retain, in error, that every encounter with conflict must be resolved then and there — often resulting in making decisions which, in retrospect, might have turned out otherwise had you just walked away from it and came back to the problem later.  That is where modernity fails in its approach to life: Not every full plate has to be clean at the end of the day, both metaphorically and practically.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling to get through the day because of a chronic medical condition which no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in their careers because of a disabling health condition, that long-held sense of duty and responsibility that the “full plate” — a metaphor representing the sense that one’s job must be endured no matter what — must be finished, may need to be abandoned.

One’s health should always be a priority, in the end, and preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the only and best option left.  Yes, it is okay sometimes to not finish the full plate.  Yes, it is okay to sometimes leave things unfinished.  Metaphorically or practically, it is sometimes the best thing to do — to leave the plate unconsumed.

Contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether the full plate needs to be completely eaten, after all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Before Smartphones

What did we do?  Today, it is as if the obsessive is inescapable; but yes, there actually was a time before Smartphones; we merely are unable to remember, or refuse to recall, those days “before”.

We have all become obsessive.  We have to check to see if an email has come in; we eat at the table with it right next to the plate; it accompanies us in the car; at night, if we do not turn the volume down, it haunts and reminds us; the wiring in our brains has literally gone haywire.

“Grandpa, what was life like before Smartphones?”  Well — books read; a quiet evening before the crackling fire; time for conversations to develop; of recollections and reminiscences — and of memories confronted and challenged without someone taking out that Smartphone, googling the question and ruining the fun of simply trying to remember the name of an actor, the title of a book or the precise date of a historical event.

Before Smartphones, there was a life to be lived, a reality without surrealism, and a sense of belonging in a community where no one had his or her head bent down to be sucked into a device which no one asked for, and no one ever stopped to ask:  Do we really want to live this way?

For Federal Government employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition, consider this:  The Smartphone which controls your life can never replace the need to prioritize that which is foundational and most significant — of your health.  Consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits; for, even before Smartphones, there was life, health and the precious time spent before the debilitating medical conditions began to dominate.

Contact a FERS Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and take the time to consider that there was actually a life before Smartphones, as there can still be a life beyond the Federal Government job you occupy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Employees: The Person You are Not

We are, of course, both the person of whom we present, as well as the person we are not — not known as; not publicly announced; not revealed.  Much of the private life of those we publicly admire or hold up on pedestals turn out to be ugly and better left alone.  Things which have been hidden and concealed are done often for good reasons: the light of public display is not where the creepy-crawlies of one’s life should be.

The old adage is normally true: If you want to admire a public figure, don’t go looking under the rocks and closets, lest what is revealed might dampen your enthusiasm of admiration.  Yet, for the ordinary person, the person you are not is merely that part of you which not too many are familiar with, but which reveals the greater essence — of hobbies unknown; of kind acts not publicly shared; of a remarkable past undiscovered, etc.  We are never the person “just” as we appear.

That is why, for Federal and Postal employees 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 tawdry and uncaring attitude of one’s Federal agency or Postal unit when a person needs to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is often quite hurtful.

For, to be relegated as merely that person who wants to get a “benefit” while ignoring the lifetime of dedication to work and trying to do the best one can while struggling with a medical condition is to view the person in a one-dimensional way.  OPM has a tendency to do that — of treating you as the person you are not, especially when they deny you and characterize your application in a way that should not be.

Contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of getting your retirement benefits approved so that you can go on your way to being the person you are, and not the person you are not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer 
OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer

    

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The People We Knew

Life is short; or, as Hobbes would put it, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.  Of course, he was referring to Man’s “state of nature”, which constantly placed him in a war-like state with others, and in this time and era where we find ourselves contending and struggling, makes it appear as if we have re-entered such a state of nature.

This global pandemic makes it likely that, like major wars previously fought, we will know of someone, whether close or distant, who has either been infected with the corona virus, or who died from it.  The people we knew remind us of the frailty of health and the human condition.  We work all of our lives in order to meet a goal; perhaps of retirement, maybe of enjoying grandchildren; and even of slowing down a bit in order to “enjoy” the better things of life.

But like all plans, there are disruptions and interruptions, and the people we knew remind us again and again that work is not everything; it just happens to take up most of our time.

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, one’s health and the importance of maintaining it becomes of paramount focus.  There can be life beyond a Federal or Postal job, and filing a FERS Disability Retirement application may be the way to achieve that life.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the people we knew reminds us again that no job is as important as the health that we once enjoyed, and have now lost, as this time of a global pandemic reminds us daily with the people we knew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Perfecting life versus living perfectly

It is the latter which most of us do, or pretend to do, and which stunts the capacity to engage in the former.  And so that which we should be doing (the former) is prevented because of that which we are already doing (the latter), in a never-ending cycle of self-destruction.

Those Internet internecine attempts which include Facebook and Instagram don’t help in these matters, and perhaps exacerbate them exponentially.  For, in both cases, they encourage each one of us to “appear” to be living perfectly, when the whole endeavor of human existence should be a striving towards perfecting our lives — i.e., of recognizing the imperfect status of our current condition, having a paradigm towards which one strives in order to correct those defects, and thus towards the “end” of this prosaically-described “journey” of sorts, to be able to declare that “perfection” was somewhat achieved.

But — no — instead, we create an appearance, a facade, a dissembling image of one’s appearance and put forth a self-portrait of an already-achieved perfection: The perfect happiness; the perfect outing; the perfect couple and the perfect participle.

The origins of philosophy (i.e., Plato, Aristotle and those who followed) were always concerned with the differentiation between “Appearance” and “Reality”; in modernity, the two have been conflated, where one’s appearance is the reality of one’s existence.  By commingling concepts which were once clearly bifurcated, we prevent the capacity of human beings to strive to be better, to grow and mature towards greater fulfillment of one’s potentiality.

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, it is a familiar concept — of hiding one’s imperfections in an environment that demands perfection daily.  Medical conditions and their impact on a person’s life — these are considered “imperfections” in a society that demands nothing less than perfection.  Thus does the targeted harassment begin — to “punish” the very person who needs support, empathy and understanding, instead of the constant barrage of unneeded animosity.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not, in and of itself, be the perfect solution; but, as imperfect a solution as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may seem, the appearance of an imperfect solution may be preferable than the perfection expected but unattainable in a society that appears to be perfectly fine with imperfections pervasively perfected by appearances of concealed imperfections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The parade that fades

Parades are often forlorn events.  The pomp and circumstance that brings forth the loud serenade of trumpets, drums and cadence of disparate groups; the sequence of human colonnades marching to the beat of rhythmic blares where medals gleam in the glint of sunlight’s twilight; and when the speeches end and the parade that fades leaves but for the leaflets that once announced of its impending arrival, the hearts that once fluttered in anticipation of the marching band that lost its footing may but be a glimmer of tomorrow’s hope.

Parades celebrate, and the participants engage the public eye to put on a show of appreciation, but do they voluntarily come together, or are they merely compensated workers ordered to appear?  And when once the parade fades, what happens to those left behind, of the grieving widows and children left orphaned, and the pinning of medals that sang the mournful hollow of a priceless life?

Other lives march on; it is the forgotten ones that inhabit an earth that continues on in haunting groups of voiceless sorrow, for years on end without the recognition noted but for that singular day on the parade grounds, where glory once revived and then soon forgotten.  Much of life is like that, isn’t it?

Like a parade that is put on, lasts for a day, or perhaps merely a part thereof, and then soon to be forgotten except for memories that are seared with a grimace and graceless utterances of voices once remembered and now merely a fading vestige, if that.  What was the fanfare for?  Do we even remember? What was said in the speech now faded but for glory’s once grand applause?  Do we even care?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker’s attempt to continue his or her career because the progressively worsening medical condition itself is preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the end of one’s career may be likened to the parade that fades.

That sense of belonging; that feeling that life’s cadence included you in the marching band of the colorful parade; of being part of a team, with a sense of coherence and purpose; but like all parades, the day’s end ultimately comes.  Whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sinking feeling that the parade that fades may mean that there is no longer the trumpet’s blare or the drumbeat of life’s cadence is simply a fear within that does not reflect reality.

Tomorrow, the sun will still shine and the birds will yet sing; the grounds will still be there, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely changing the venue of where the next parade will be held, thus replacing the parade that fades at the end of this day alone.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire