FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: A Lifetime

Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t it be?  Or, do we feel obligated to append a dependent clause, as in, “A lifetime of achievements,” “…of having accomplished X, Y and Z”, or even: “A Lifetime devoted to…”.  Must there always be the subsequent appendage, or isn’t living a lifetime enough in and of itself?

Was Aristotle right in depicting human beings (and everything else in the universe) as possessing a purposive reason for existence; or, as the French Existentialist had declared, does existence precede essence, and instead of being fated with a predetermined destiny and an inherent basis for being born, we can simply “make up” the reason for our essence and thrive in whichever direction we choose, in whatever endeavor we decide upon?

Is simply having a “lifetime” not enough?  Must we always have a reason and rationale for our existence?  Or, is it enough to have an ending, like Yasujiro Ozu’s tombstone which simply has the characters of “Mu” — “nothingness”?  Ozu certainly “accomplished” much; as a director, he is recognized for his quiet brilliance and insightful dialogues, as well as depicted scenes of serenity and human conflict.  In the end, it was merely a lifetime, and nothingness followed except in the minds of those whom he left behind.

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 his or her job, the “thing” that often compels the Federal or Postal worker into working beyond what the medical condition allows — i.e., of “working one’s self to death” — is a sense that having a lifetime is not quite enough.

There is the “mission” to accomplish, or the work that needs to be completed, etc.  But when it comes to the critical point of choosing between one’s health and such a perspective of accomplishments, there should be no indecision: Life itself is precious, and one’s health is the foundation for a life.

At that point, filing for FERS Disability Retirement makes sense, and consulting with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be the next step after realizing that a lifetime is, indeed, sufficient.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Changing Lives

The phrase can have multiple meanings, depending upon the emphasis given to the words.  On the one hand, it can imply an affirmative, active meaning — of some individual or organization implementing steps in order to alter the course of another’s life.

In this sense, it may be that a problem has been identified — for example, higher rate of drug addiction in a community; increase in crime rates; an intersection with a greater incidence of traffic accidents, etc. As a result of an identified problem, a person, group or entity goes about “doing something” about it — i.e., petitioning the city council to put a traffic light at the intersection; forming a community-watch program to reduce the crime rate; intervening and educating the community about drug addition, etc. Thus, the phrase “changing lives” in this sense can be characterized as an “active” involvement where X is impacting upon Y.

In another sense, it can remain inactive — as a passive onlooker who recognizes that there are alterations occurring in the lives of individuals.  Every day, changes occur in the lives of everyone about.  One may quip that such a manner of meaning is rather inconsequential, inasmuch as it is a given that lives must by necessity change and encounter adaptations every day; for, it is a tautology to include in a single breath the terms “life” and “change”, just as it is a redundancy to refer to the weather without admitting vicissitude.

Changing lives is to be presumed.  Life’s daily turmoils require it; it is an inevitability which cannot be avoided.  The greater question is: How do we respond to the changes?

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 issue about changing lives can take on a third meaning — that one’s life, career and employment status must by necessity undergo an alteration and modification.

The changes wrought are forced by an uninvited force — the medical condition — and the circumstances which mandate change cannot be controlled — of the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  How the Federal employee responds to this necessary change is where the relevant next step takes on greater consequences of potential harm.  What you don’t know in the changing life may harm you, and that is why consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law prior to initiating those next steps in changing lives, is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Knowing where your dog poops

It may seem like a minor thing, but such seemingly insignificant knowledge often represents a metaphor for greater and more relevant factors.  What happened the previous day can set the tone of how the next, succeeding day will turn out.  There is, in life, a repetition and rhythm that is fairly predictable; and when that monotony of comforting recurrence is suddenly gone, one’s world and the universe of dependability can suddenly appear shattered and unreliable.

Dogs tend to poop in the same area, and their “habit” is fairly predictable — much like human beings. Knowing where your dog poops in the back yard is important if you accompany them in the early morning hours of the following day.  As the old adage goes, you don’t want to “step in it” — whether in your back yard, in someone else’ yard, or in a public park where some inconsiderate individual didn’t “curb’ their pet.

Life itself is a metaphor for things common, and knowing where your dog poops — or where all of the dogs of the universe have relieved themselves — is a lesson about trying to keep yourself out of trouble, embarrassment, discomfort, or a combination of all three.  For the most part, we learn in life to do just that — to avoid certain areas; to keep away from certain trouble spots; to remain reserved and cautious.  But then, there are other issues that crop up that we have no control over — such as a medical condition or an injury that occurs over which we have had no say-so, no control over, and certain ones which we could not avoid.

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, the constant striving to know where your dog poops — of trying to hide from the wrath of a supervisor, or of hoping that your agency will not notice how much SL or LWOP you have taken; of the work that hasn’t been done because of your medical condition; of trying to avoid being noticed too much for fear of retribution — in other words, of trying not to “step in it” — can become exhausting and daunting.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the “perfect” solution, but it is a step towards regaining some semblance of balance in one’s life so that, when you are approved for Federal Disability Retirement, you will once again know where your dog poops, even if it is dark, in the middle of the night, and the dog itself is unsure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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 of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: House versus home

What is it about terms that possess those subtle distinctions that evoke emotions that can be differentiated between “objective” and “subjective”, or distant versus close, impersonal as opposed to affectionate?  Advertisers, of course, play upon such words, and pollsters apply research results as to the emotional input received by throwing in certain words, terms, concepts and voice inflections as opposed to others.

Thus, a “house” is some impersonal structure that may or may not be occupied; whereas, a “home” is where one’s memory resides, of warmth and gaiety, cookies fresh out of the oven and a swift kiss on the forehead when a boo-boo occurred that brought tears to the little child’s rosy cheeks.

“Friends” are reserved for the special smile that knows the secret; an “acquaintance” is still the arms-length feeling of perhaps, but not just yet and maybe; and the tear that is shed in the quietude of a theater’s relative darkness is the one that is let loose when amongst those who are close and secure; but the house that sits beyond can never be the home that warms one’s memories unless the childhood memory runs through the kitchen where aromas of love and cookies can embrace the hurts that were left behind long ago.

What words we use; the emotions which accompany the choice of our language games; and the vehicles of communication that leave hollow the empty vessels within out hearts; these are the breadcrumbs that fall to the wayside and leave us empty within the souls of our being.

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 positional duties, the feeling that one’s Agency or the Postal facility one works at has suddenly become a “house” versus a “home” is a natural one.

No longer are you the valued employee, but just “that one” who takes too much sick leave or LWOP; you are not the golden boy or girl who did a great job last year, but the one who is placing a burden on other workers because you have been absent; and while your performance reviews remain as they were, it is only because apathy continues to prevail, not because anyone has actually noticed how you are struggling despite your medical conditions.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only option left, in order to return to one’s home, as opposed to the house that is visited and has become empty of any feelings or fond memories of childhood dances through the empty halls of a soul that is left hollow by the cruelty of those about and around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Tolstoy unedited

To read his works often entails utilization of descriptive metaphors, such as “tackle”, or “spend the summer” doing it, or even, “It has taken me a year to reach the midpoint”.  To have read Tolstoy’s major works is a kind of initiation into the upper echelons of cultivated sophistication; how many fakes and phonies there are, can only be guessed at, but some would estimate that nearly half of those claiming to have read “War and Peace” or “Anna Karenina” either failed to complete the rite of passage, skimmed or skipped major portions of either or both, or simply studied carefully the Cliff Notes in the secluded corner of nefarious midnight travails.

But consider the original, unedited version; what the Editor of such works must have had to contend with, just to get it sorted, compiled and drafted into a coherence of acceptability — all before the time of computers, cut-and-paste buttons, and leaving aside the untenable temperament of the author for whom suggested changes meant a challenge to a duel and likely emitting as a response a stream of unedited vitriol spiced with torrents of epithets unheard of in polite company.  But even Tolstoy must have known that his own works required further care and attention, like a child soiled and helpless in self-care; that no form of Art — regardless of its egomaniacal source and unmatched brilliance of the narrative creativity — could be stomached without correction, crafting and splicing of untethered verbosity.

Tolstoy, left unedited, would have required greater metaphors than those we already adopt, and perhaps would have been thrown into the dustbin of untranslated works stored in the vast warehouses of uninterpreted voices.  The parody to a life lived, of course, reflects a parallelism which everyone recognizes, but few undertake.  How one lives a life, also, requires constant perfecting, further editing, and persistent splicing.  The unedited version of any life would be left with an undisciplined mess, unfettered calamity and unconstrained egomania of purposeless vacuity.  Meaning can always be discovered in every life, but it is the cultivated perfection of a disciplined self which constitutes the essence of human uniqueness.

But there are interruptions in living, beyond the control of one’s will and fated determinism; a medical condition is one example, and for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 the Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes of utmost importance.  However, one must take care in preparing, formulating and filing an effective SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability — as so many people believe that the Tolstoy format of an unedited diatribe is as effective as the abridged version of a work of Joyce.

There is always a balance and a “middle ground”, whether in Life, Art, or in the effective submission of 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.  Art often reflects Life; Life is too often lived in an unconstrained fashion; but in either case, in preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application, it is important to recognize that Tolstoy unedited is as onerous an undertaking as a Federal Disability Retirement application left unfettered by purpose, application, and the careful compilation of meeting the criteria of law and life itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire