Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Myth of Upward Progression

We like to think that life is represented by a linear curve of upward progression; in reality, most of us reach an apex, then remain static and content in the late summer years of our lives.  There is nothing wrong with such a state of affairs; as contentment and comfort embrace a spectrum of stability, so the refusal of change and resistance to vicissitude are not indicators of laziness, as once thought in former days of youth where transition, sacrifice and relinquishment of stability were necessary for purposes of future advancement.

Most of us, within a defined minefield of progress and regress, remain within an invisible glass casing of immobility.  Perhaps there is a major financial setback in a given year; or, a promotion or cash incentive award had not been achieved; but in the year following, or the next beyond, it is attained; or an unexpected windfall allows for greater stability least anticipated and most gratifying.

In a sense, we delude ourselves.  But so long as we remain within a constancy of comfort, where an appearance of major retrogression cannot be palpably discerned, contentment prevails, and the bother of breaking new grounds, moving to a larger house, taking on greater responsibilities, adding to headaches and stresses, can be quietly forsaken, left with the self-satisfaction that quietude is a byproduct of a goal once sought for, and achieved without fanfare or celebration.  It is when the bounds of contentment are scattered, the barriers of satisfaction crumbling, when the call to action is suddenly a turmoil of exoneration, and peace as shattered glass stepped upon in bare feet of bleeding souls, that affirmative movement must then be spurred, leaving behind those spurned opportunities once thought cumbersome.

Medical conditions have a tendency to create such circumstances of unrest.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that the chaos of inchoate situations developing because of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition impacts upon the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the possibility and need for 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, becomes a reality which disturbs and perturbs the quietude of living contentedly.

When a medical condition disrupts that glass bowl of satisfaction, the myth of upward progression becomes shattered, because suddenly all that one has worked to achieve may be in doubt.

Most of us are happy to just find that small oasis within the turbulent oceans of insanity we designate as “civilized society”; but for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with a medical condition such that the medical condition threatens the very foundation of one’s hard-fought dreams and desultory circumstances, consideration needs to be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, if only to resist the temptation that static circumstances are a foregone conclusion, or that the myth of upward progression cannot be defeated by planning for the next great adventure in this, a universe of turbulence of unexpected turmoil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explicit versus Implicit

The former leaves no room for confusion or doubt; the latter, a bit of “wiggle room” where insinuations, hints and suggestive openings are characteristic invitations of open regards.  They are not mutually exclusive within a paragraph or even a sentence; they are, however, antonyms, and should be used with context-defined relevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the choice of either can determine the future viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Certainly, there are times in life when one chooses the latter methodology, for various reasons — perhaps being forthright and blunt is not the “right” approach; perhaps there is fear of offending, or mere laziness and sludge of confrontation prevents one from being straightforward.  In the legal arena, the former approach is preferable, if only to squeeze out the light of linguistic malleability and flexibility in supercilious argumentation.  But in the context of an OPM Disability Retirement packet, there will often contain multiple usages.

One’s Supervisor, in completing SF 3112B (Supervisor’s Statement), may present contradictory information by checking a box which is relatively unequivocal (is that an oxymoron — to use the terms “relatively” and “unequivocal” in the same breadth of a sentence?) but placing remarks implying the exact opposite in response to “explanatory” and more expansive questions.  Or, for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, in completing SF 3112A, the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability”, there may be a strategy in mixing both explicit statements and providing for implicit openings for meanings and connections.

Certainly, the “law” of Federal Disability Retirement allows for it; but one must always take care in addressing the nature, extent and susceptibility of statutory interpretation in formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Ultimately, as in most things in life, the former is preferable to the latter; though, wiggle room and the dictates social conventions may sometimes require one to be explicitly implicit in order to be inefficiently efficacious.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire