OPM Medical Disability for Federal and Postal Employees: Comparisons

Does it help to make them?  Do we take comfort in judging the relative plusses and minuses in making comparisons — as in, X has A, B and C, but I have, in addition, D and E, and therefore I am more fortunate that X is.  Or, is it a comparison of one’s conditions, as in: “Boy, at least I don’t have X like Lisa does”, or “At least I am not in Y’s situation”?

To the extent that comparisons remind us of that which we are blessed with, they allow for a certain level of utilitarian value.  But there is a negative side to it: Of jealousy engendered by comparison, or of discontent resulting from making one.  Rousseau, of course, makes that point throughout his “Social Contract” analysis, of the purity of man’s intentions in that fictional state of “nature” that we were once in, but where society’s accretions of materialism created the artificial emotional response of discontent and jealousy.  But compared to what?

It is important to make the fair and correlative comparisons which are relevant — as in “apples to apples” and not “apples to oranges”.  For, it is the uniqueness of each entity, object or situation to be compared with the singularity of another that makes for a proper comparison.

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 inadvisable to compare one’s case to somebody else’s.  For, the proper comparison is not to evaluate one’s medical condition and the severity of one’s medical condition to that of another person’s medical condition; rather, the proper comparison in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to compare one’s medical condition to the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, comparisons made must always take into account the relevant connections which relate not just in terms of similarities, but as is the case in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in what the law allows for and considers significant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: The Port

It is the Roman Stoic, Seneca the Younger, who wrote that, “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable”.  It is, in the end, the essence of Stoicism — of living life without complaint and without being impacted by the hardships of the objective world, all the while clinging to a path of virtue unfettered by worldly concerns.  That is why the quote above — of the internal “self” in contrast to the metaphor of the objective world: the winds which guide the ships — encapsulates the essence of the philosophy of Stoicism.

In modernity, it matters little from whence the winds come, for we engineer our own direction through engines and mechanical devices which propel the marine vessel by the power of our own creation.  But of that time when ships relied exclusively upon the breath of gods that blew the winds which filled the sails — it was a time when we relied heavily upon the favor of fate and nature’s appeasement.  Yet, even today, whether by the propulsion of machines invented or reliance upon prayers of guidance, no wind is favorable until and unless a person knows where he or she wants to go.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her position, it is important to make a determination as to “where” one plans on going before determining the “how” of the approach.  If a medical condition has clearly begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then where one must “go” becomes clearer: You cannot continue to stay at the job precisely because the medical condition prevents you from doing so; and so FERS Disability Retirement becomes the option by default.

The next question, then, is the “how”, as in — How does one get from point A to destination B?  Consult with an attorney to discuss the further particulars of your case; for, in the end, whether you believe in the philosophical tenets of Stoicism or not, once you realize the port to which you wish to sail, you need the favorable winds of counsel from an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to help guide the sails of your journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Boundaries

We set them for a reason: To prevent future conflicts; to establish clearly when trespasses occur; to allow for the maintenance of compartmentalization in order to preempt overlapping potential conflicts; to teach societal conventions in a safe, artificial context; to demarcate the lines of acceptable behavior, etc.

Boundaries are set in law, in conventions, in neighborhoods, communities, nations and continents. Remember when we learned in Geography Class about the various countries and their disputed boundaries?  Or of early lessons where we were told not to cross the street unless a school safety guard bade us forward?  And what of mental boundaries — of not answering the phone after a certain hour; of boundaries that prevent us from working ourselves to death; of not responding to emails after “work hours” (is there such an animal, anymore?), etc.

And those subtle boundaries we all seem to learn — of conventional behaviors acceptable in society, including invisible ones of “personal space”, of declarations in public both allowable and prohibited; and even of eye contact, how much is offensive, to what extent a “look” becomes a “stare”, etc.

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 may be time to cross the boundaries into considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions themselves have no boundaries, know no boundaries and respect no boundaries.  It becomes all pervasive — crossing into one’s personal life, and disrupting one’s career and work life.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider re-establishing those important boundaries that keep in place the lines of sanity necessary for one’s own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Our Collective Responsibilities

Is it a redundancy to place “our” before the “collective”?  Or, inasmuch as “our” can mean 2 or more individuals together, whereas “collective” might imply a more expansive spectrum of diffuse aggregation, that the second word “adds” something to the first?  Do we even have such a thing, and what can it mean in this day and age — of modernity where individuality and uniqueness are banished but where selfishness and the focus upon “me” abounds?

Collectivism is for the masses; for the elite, the garnered wealth and guarded possessions are carefully defined; that is why we give lip-service to capitalism but secretly desire bankruptcy and failure upon the super-wealthy.  Does a community owe us anything?  Do we owe a community our loyalty?

Say a person lives in a “town” of 5000 people — small enough to be called a town but large enough where not everyone knows everyone else by name.  Is there a “sense” of a community, and in such a community, is there an aggregation of a unified social ethos where we help our fellow neighbors out whenever the need arises?  Or, does everyone still spend more time on their Smartphones with virtual “friends” on the other side of the continent?

Workplaces are like small communities; they have all of the ingredients of a small town; of friendships developing and animosities seething; of sadness and gratitude and the entire spectrum of emotional upheavals felt; and yet, the underlying sense if isolation is so prevalent, as in every other community across the globe.

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, anymore, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may be the necessary next step.

Don’t think that your coworkers have a sense of “collective responsibilities” in helping you out; nor should you rely upon your Human Resource Office to possess a conscience in assisting you; unfortunately, in this era of collective isolationism, what you will likely find is a collective sense of abandonment where everyone is simply out for his or her own needs, and that is why consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is the first step you should take — to protect your own self-interests, inasmuch as no one else will be looking after your interests in this world were “collective responsibilities” has been abandoned in the name of the greater good of social media.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from OPM: The Fun of It All

Is that the point?  Do we live because there is a balancing of accounts, and so long as the right side of the ledger has enough checkmarks on the “leisure” side of life, where fun, joy, entertainment and self-satisfaction retain more fulfillment than on the left side (i.e., where work, drudgery, misery and repetitive monotony are recognized) — then, it is all “worth it”?

Do we continue on because of the “fun of it all”, or do most of us merely endure life, barely acknowledging the futility of our efforts and the inevitable melancholy of our lives, paused and interrupted only by the temporary suspension by sleep or daydreams?

We whisper our fantasies: “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if…”.  It is the “Ifs” of life that transport ourselves from the reality of our condition into transferences of fantasies where for a brief moment a virtual reality replaces the starkness of present circumstances.  “If only I had a million dollars” (although, in this day and age, with inflation and the monetary devaluation of purchase power combined with the exponential increase of modern life’s consumer appetites, such a paltry amount barely makes a difference, anymore); “If only I had done X when I was younger”; “If only I had invested in such-and-such stocks”; “If only …”.

Like the overused reference to Sisyphus and the rolling boulder that never ceases, the toil that forever must be embraced and the daily grind that always remains, the fun of it all was always a misshapen goal that was never to be. Obligations in this society are no longer recognized; duties are easily abandoned; there remains only the barrenness of an isolated existence.  Where was “the fun of it all”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to prepare, formulate and submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, even if one’s Federal or Postal career was never sought based upon the illusion that life and a career should be pursued for the “fun of it all”, if the medical condition has stripped away even the illusion one once possessed, then it is time to seek a remedy for a replacement illusion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Cadence of Life

We all “have” one, or at least sense it; and when we do not, it means that the tune to which we march is so coordinated that we don’t even realize that there is one; for, it is only when the song is “out of tune” or the marching footsteps are out of sync that it becomes apparent that the cadence of life is left askew.

There are days when the cadence of life is so perfectly attuned that we need not pause to consider it; then, there are other days when everything is out of tune — when the feet trip over one another, the dexterity of hands become all thumbs and nothing seems to work and the cadence of life has been disrupted.  Most days are somewhere in between upon the spectrum of daily living — of being in tune most of the time but with disruptions and pauses; “pregnant pauses”, at that, which make for embarrassment and disjointed agonies of trepidation and concern.

We say things like, “I feel out-of-sorts” or perhaps a slight cold or “bug” has infected us; but whatever the cause, we know that we must get back into the step of things and march along with the rest of the crowd, lest the band leave us and the quietude of isolation engulfs us with a fear of loneliness.

Medical conditions — whether of illness or injury — can likewise disrupt the cadence of life, and 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, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits — to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — is one step towards regaining that step to bring yourself in cadence with the cadence of life once lost, and now to be found.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire