Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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 often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Landmines undetected

Landmines, or other similar devices left undetected, whether improvised to explode and damage, harm or otherwise maim and kill, are constructed and implanted precisely for the purpose of being hidden until it is too late — until, unaware and unconcerned, the unwary enters into the foray of the device and suffers from the resulting potency of mayhem.

Landmines undetected do exactly what they were intended for: to catch the target unaware, and to perpetrate the greatest extent of harm and destruction possible.  Undetected, they lay in wait in camouflaged veils of surreptitious decoys meant to project an aura of innocence and harmlessness, until it is too late.

Then, of course, there are those landmines which could have been detected, or should have been; where the unwary should have been easily apprised of the potential harm, but for whatever reason — apathy, ignorance, lessening of one’s resolve or suspicion, or whatever the excuse or reflective rationale — failed in the process and suffered the consequences.

The term itself — “a landmine” — is often used allegorically and metaphorically, to emphasize a point of danger, potential hazard or other undetected potentiality, whether concealed, veiled or ignored as irrelevant and insignificant.  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 landmines undetected in Federal Disability Retirement Law may become the very ones which lessen and diminish the chances for a First Stage success.

While most mistakes are correctible, the single greatest landmine that is left undetected, and which often results with the most dire of consequences, is the one that should have been known or otherwise thought of, but was left as a mere inkling ignored and unresolved.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is a good way to avoid those metaphorical landmines left undetected, and while the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may falsely believe that he or she is unable to afford an attorney to guide the Federal or Postal employee through the process, it is the very opposite thought that should be entertained — of failing to afford the prevention of a potential harm upon stepping on a landmine undetected — which should make one pause and reconsider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Sedimentary Structures

In interpreting geological formations by natural deposits involving complex strata of ahistorical significance, we are better able to conceptualize the environment, the impact of changes by weather, temperature vicissitudes, and organic alterations whether man-made or neutral in their deliberations. River flows and their swirls of changing directions; droughts, sudden floods, or the soft and natural flow of a forming inlet; these all impact and influence the sedimentary structures which form over time, unnoticed to an ahistorical perspective.

Why do we care of such things?  In the silence of nature and the flow of time, where a fallen tree downed by the directional change of forceful erosion, what difference does the depositing of dirt have upon the salience of human civilization?  As with most things of significance and import, it is the analogy discovered, the metaphor spoken, and the connections we encounter within the linguistic tissues of form-to-thought, reality-to-subjective insularity, and the utter abandonment of the correspondence theory of truth, which make for interest and relevance.

The way we think; our outlook on life; whether we retain a hopeful sense for tomorrow or a bitter despondency lost in yesteryear’s calamity of chosen obsessions; these, in their aggregate, formulate the apothecary of our lives. Building a dam; obstructing the natural flow; altering whether it is multi-directional or unidirectional; these all influence the coalescing of sedimentary structures. By recognizing how stratification of certain minerals dominate over others, we can acquire an abundance of wisdom in protecting our own health and wellbeing.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in his or her Federal or Postal career, where a 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 is well to behoove the natural formulation of sedimentary structures — and their relevance upon our perspective and insights.

Sedimentary structures form in certain ways, because we fail to be the vigilant gatekeepers of and for ourselves; and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in making sure that of the deposits we make in life, living and of unwanted soil within our field of fertility, we must first observe the natural flow around us before determine the best course of action in order to preserve the richness for future stratification of sedimentary accumulation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire