OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Miracles, Superheroes, and CGI

The reality of this technology-driven world is that miracles are now relegated to excused absences; modern theology has either explained away biblical references to the miraculous, or we attribute the beauty around us as the “miracle of life”, thereby undermining the common understanding of metaphysical intervention.

Further, the sudden advent of superheroes and their feats of bravery and physical actions which defy the general laws of nature, reveal to us that miracles and miraculous acts can be performed by humans of a similar origin but of a higher order.  Spiderman, Superman, Captain America, et al, seemingly do with ease what Moses asked but only through obedience and a lifetime of virtue.

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has merely perfected and made beautiful such acts of death-defying, counterintuitive and anti-gravity gymnastics; and the pulley-strings and cables no longer need to be manually erased.  Such super-human feats as represented in virtual reality counter the mundane reality of true human existence.  Yes, yes — perhaps it is all “just for fun” and we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.  But societal representation of who we are is indeed a serious matter.

The reality of life is that human frailty, misfortune and pain pervades the vast majority of everyday existence.  Just ask the individual who suffers from a medical condition, and the daily encounter with pain and progressively debilitating illnesses.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that the condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the daily absence of miracles and gravity-defying feats is superseded by just getting through the day.  No CGI imposition can change the pain; superheroes cannot come to save the day; the modern theological explanations cannot expunge the reality of daily encounters with a cruel world.

In the end, the Federal and Postal employee has the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and through this administrative vehicle of attaining a different and new stage of life, the reality of what is available can attenuate the expectations driven by the brave but virtual New World as presented by the moguls of Hollywood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Pretending to Be Healthy and Fit in the Federal or USPS Workplace

Pretending is a game considered healthy for children, in almost all societies.  It allows for the expansion of “creative energies” inherent in the growing psyche, and to allow for children to take on roles, encounter other situations of fictionalized circumstances, and confront fears without actual harm or potentiality for damaging the growing psychological turmoil which constitutes the make-up of each child.  Besides all of that, it’s fun.

But at some point in the growth of a human being, pretending has to become dominated by the reality of daily living.

Some have suggested that the world of stage, actors, movies and entertainment shows, reflects an individual and a society which never emerged from the state of pretend.  On the other hand, anyone who has known or been associated with those who prepare for an acting career, recognize the harsh reality of long days and hard work necessary for engagement in such a career.  It is, rather, the individual in our society, who continues to pretend long past the time when such pretending is fun, which is of the greatest concern.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, pretending that something is otherwise than that which is the harsh reality of one’s situation, will only exacerbate, magnify, and worsen the circumstances surrounding one’s case.

Pretending that one’s agency will not notice; pretending that one’s medical condition will go away; pretending that all will get better; pretending that…

The fantasy of pretend was to create a world of fun and laughter, and perhaps with some sprinkling of escapism; but when escaping the reality of the world results in the slow deterioration and destruction of what one has worked so hard for, then it is time to set aside the childish ways of pretend, and roll up those proverbial sleeves to contend with the world of reality.

If it takes pretending to go out and fight a battle to slay a dragon, at least such pretending will prompt one into action.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Initial Federal or USPS Disability Process

Many people get confused when they first consult with an attorney about USPS or Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Indeed, before consulting with an attorney, an individual who is faced with a medical condition which (1) is beginning to impact one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position and (2) will likely last at least a year — such an individual should first take the time to research various websites to “get the facts” about Federal Disability Retirement. 

I have had many individuals tell me that they didn’t even know that such a benefit existed; that when they were separated from their U.S. Government gency, the Postal worker or Federal employee was never informed that he or she could file for Federal Disability Retirement.  Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse; if you don’t file for disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS with the Office of Personnel Management within one (1) year of being separated from service with the Federal Government, you will have lost your right to file — forever. 

Furthermore, it is dangerous to “take comfort” in the fact that the Department of Labor/The Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs deemed you to be 100% disabled.  That “100%” disabled status may last a lifetime, or it may last only so long as your particular OWCP caseworker is working on your case.  The next caseworker may take it upon him or herself and decide that, Well, no, perhaps you are not 100% disabled, and perhaps sending you to a “Second Opinion” doctor (who, it just so happens, is receiving about 95% of his or her income expounding such “second opinions”) will result in a medical finding that you miraculously “recovered” and are able to go back to work.  Benefits cut off.  You waited a year or more after being separated from Federal Service to find this out, without having filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  You are then, unfortunately, “out of luck”.  Make sure that you file in a timely manner; make sure that you do not take comfort in being on OWCP rolls.  Don’t forget —  Postal or Federal Disability Retirement is an annuity that you can rely upon as a “base income” for your financial security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire