Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Deviating and adapting

How does one deviate or adapt, if one is approaching something anew?

Such concepts as modifying or altering a methodology presumes that one has encountered the process before, and thus it stands to reason that a person who has never previously experienced something before can hardly be expected to provide new insights when the experience itself is new to the individual.  That is why we often refer to a person’s ability and capacity to “think on his or her feet” — meaning, to quickly encompass and adapt to new and fluid circumstances, despite a lack of familiarity with an onslaught of speedy changes.

Deviating, of course, can be a negative component, in that it may imply altering from a true-and-tested course of action, and unless one is certain of one’s confidence in a new path taken, there may ensue disastrous consequences when following a rebellious path that can lead to the unknown.  Many a trailblazer who knew not the way of the unbeaten path have perished by starvation or thirst.

On the other hand, we consider the capacity and ability of “adapting” to be a positive characteristic, in that it implies a characteristic of being able to respond to external circumstances that are changing, and requires a willingness to bend with the winds of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the dual concept of deviating and adapting comes to the fore precisely because of the need to change — both on the Agency/Postal Service’s side, as well as from the perspective of the Federal or Postal employee.

For the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, the issue of deviating and adapting comes about in terms of “accommodation” — for, it is necessary for the Federal Agency and the Postal Service, by force of law, to “deviate” from the former ways of behaving, and to “adapt” to the medical conditions and changes that the Federal or Postal employee is undergoing.

From the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee, deviating and adapting may encompass a wide range of issues in terms of accommodations — whether the situation and conditions posed are temporary or permanent by nature; whether the medical conditions suffered are able to be accommodated at all, either temporarily or permanently; and whether attendance is an issue; of how much SL must be taken; of FMLA issues and extensions of LWOP beyond, etc.

In the end, deviating and adapting from the “norm” may not be possible, in which case 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 become necessary.

For all Federal and Postal employees, what is important to remember is that suffering from a progressively deteriorating medical condition will require deviating and adapting, and that may include the need to have expert legal guidance by an attorney who has previously had the experience in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that any and all deviations and adaptations can be initiated from the perspective of previous experience, and not as a trailblazer off of the beaten path where getting lost in the complexities of Federal Disability Retirement Laws can lead to disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The buttons we believe accomplish

We believe, on faith alone, that pushing a button does the deed; and then we go on with life, and nothing really has changed but the belief in our own self-satisfaction.  It is that virtual world of computers, light switches, garage door openers and even the disc-like appendages to our shirts and sweaters that lead us to conclude that all such contraptions are of equal weight and value.

We see the cause-and-effect of the garage-door opener — of pushing a button and seeing the door slide open, then another push and it reverses course.  We push buttons on the computer keyboard, and with each tap the screen changes, or concludes with the deed completed; and of “buttons” on a shirt or sweater, we appreciate the invention that holds two sides of a separated apparel together to enclose our bodies with a warmth of a material embrace.

What does it mean to accomplish a deed with a mere pushing of a button?

We have been habituated into such thinking, and it is this disconnectedness that allows for society to continue to move “as if”.  It is only when we encounter the counter – belief that all of a sudden the world of buttons begins to sow some seeds of doubt — as when the boss comes and says, “Why haven’t you sent me X” and you respond, “I emailed it to you last week “ (it isn’t quite the same to say, “I pushed the button that accomplished the deed”).  “But I never got it” is the response which prompts you to go back and re-press the button, hoping somehow that doing so a second time will make a difference that the first time did not.

This time, however, just to be doubly sure, you go back and ask your boss whether he received it (not, again, “did my second button-pushing work?”), thus verifying the causal connection that had failed to occur previously.

What made the difference?

Somehow, in the ethereal universe of circuitry and magic we have no clues about, there exists a causal chain that “works” and “accomplishes” deeds — just like the garage-door opener that issues an immediate gratification of causation.  But that all of life would allow for such instantaneous confirmation — and of buttons we think accomplish.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a consideration to file 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, the buttons we need to push are many, varied, and long in waiting.

Whether they comprise of the metaphorical “buttons” to get people moving, or of emails that need to be sent, confirmations that require a response — what we do know, throughout, is that the reality of one’s medical condition has a discernible difference both of reality and of urgency when it comes upon the need for causation to occur.

The buttons we think accomplish remain somehow in that “other world” of magic and the unknown; the medical condition that remains is somehow the reality of the “now” that constitutes pain and suffering; and that is why preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is of greater importance than the buttons we believe accomplish.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing 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.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Between balance and perspective

Between the two is a chasm often unnoticed, where the preface to either and both may be a skewed outlook or a myopic view of an issue, a trope of a trolley of hardships gone uncontrollably berserk; and once a person “gets over” the emotional turmoil of a reaction steeped in feelings, sensibilities and angst, then a certain condemnation of “balance” may arise, which then allows for a different “perspective” to develop.

Balance is often thought to come after perspective, as if the former is the more important conclusion to arrive at, whereas the latter is merely likened to the prefatory problems encountered to begin with.  But balance merely provides the spectrum; the weights at each end may now allow for a proper judgment and determination, but only as to the quantitative bunching of problems to be faced.

Perspective, on the other hand, allows one to take a step back and review the qualitative potentialities of a consortium of issues otherwise unavailable without the weighing of all issues simultaneously, to be evaluated, analyzed and judged upon.

It is that pause and moment between the two, however, that allows for the former to result in the productivity of the latter, and without that split, abbreviation and semicolon of reality, we may jump from the proverbial frying pain into the fires of our own making.  For, we like to think of ourselves as “rational” (whatever that means) and imbued with a capacity to view things in a “balanced” way, thus allowing a reasoned “perspective” upon all matters of importance.

In the end, however, do we ever follow the advice of sages long past, dead anyway, and suspected of gross negligence by the incomprehensible garnishment of society’s lack of empathy and understanding?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suddenly, or over a period of time, 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue is often one of balance and perspective – how do I make a “right” decision that balances all of the issues involved?  And what is the “proper” perspective to arrive at, given all of the jumble of issues – whether legal, real, imagined or feared?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important decision to make from any perspective, and in order to arrive at a “balanced” judgment on the matter, the Federal or Postal employee needs to allow for that pause between balance and perspective to include a third-party voice to intervene and provide some advice; the only question is, will that comma or semicolon that allows for soundness of judgment be from a friend or cousin who may not have a clue, or from an experienced attorney who may be able to fill in the gap between the balanced perspective in making a proper decision?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foreground-background

Perspective is always an important component in all that is seen, done and accomplished.  For, without it, a self-contained sense of importance in light of irrelevance and insignificance always seems to dominate.

Seen from afar, standing in the background, can we always determine that which constitutes the background, as opposed to the foreground, of an individual or perspective some distance away?  Does a myopic vision constrict and further complicate, where we miss the details some distance beyond and make assumptions and presumptions to the detriment of a more “balanced” viewpoint?  Or, what of “tunnel vision”, where the peripheral views are restricted, and we are left with a centrality of focus but lacking in taking into account the contextual surroundings often necessary to determine a more accurate assessment?

In appreciating a painting or a photograph, does shifting one’s vantage point make a difference, even when the reality of the object observed reflects a one-dimensional canvas covered with colors and pigmentation which alters not despite nearness or farness of viewpoint?  Of the child who has not yet figured out the difference between a bucket and a photograph of a bucket – and raises himself on his tiptoes to view what is inside of a bucket upon a table, and does the same when viewing a picture of one (or in a supermarket line in trying to discern the cleavage of a magazine’s cover), is it important to recognize the distinction between foreground and background, and if so, at what age and why?

How does one attain a level of balanced perspective, and who determines when such achievement is arrived at?  Are we just born with the capacity and ability to calculate, assess, evaluate and analyze, and the natural outcome of conclusions derived are to be entrusted merely because “it is so” and the innate character of inherent superiority of man’s solutions can be applauded?  Does unwavering certainty by tone of voice and utterance of words deserve no suspicion of questioning?  Or, if a person comes along and says confidently, “Trust me”, we are to do so merely because – what?  If we walk through a dark forest and see afar a clearing where the sun has opened a spot of visual beauty, does it matter what constitutes a foreground as opposed to a background when the undisturbed scene asks not a question of impertinence or care?

In every situation, one’s background should be taken into account, in determining the relevance of the foreground to be assessed.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who intends on preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the importance of “how much” background to impart must be balanced with the foreground to be detailed, and it is always the combination of both which will determine the ultimate effectiveness in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Foreground provides for the content of a background inserted with instrumental brevity, and too much background can dominate to make the foreground appear less compelling.  Perspective is always important, and a reasoned balance between background of a case, providing contextual information to understand the foreground of the narrative, is essential in the effective formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: When we used to speak of meaningful things

Perhaps the negation of ideas trickles down, just as water from a crack in the roof tiles; of Derrida, Foucault and the deconstruction movement after the lengthy period of disillusionment represented by the French Existentialists headed by Camus and Sartre; for, if meaning constitutes parity and the loss of hierarchies and paradigms in crumbling corners of inconvenient truths, then Orwell’s prediction of how totalitarianism will infect society with the tools of our own making, will come about sooner than we thought possible.

Let us not speak of Logical Positivism and how the expungement of ethics and metaphysics from kitchen table discussions resulted in the loss of meaning, value and truth; for, if validity of a statement is determined from on high in the ivory towers of Russell, Wittgenstein and Ayers, et al., one has only to look at the state of British society today to realize that while the island continent allowed for profundity of thought in the isolation of its heyday, its impact and influence should have remained contained in order to spare the rest of mankind.

There was a time when we used to talk about meaningful days.  Oh, it doesn’t refer necessarily to what is said, but more as to the discretion of what is kept silent.  For, it is the pause between thought and spoken word which reflects the depth of thoughtfulness; and, in modernity, the comma of silence between the typed garble considered a sentence, and the push of that button which shoots it into the eternal space of the Internet.  Just take a cursory preview of random Facebook and Twitter pages; of the inane, the insane and the intemperate; there was once, long ago, a time when work and toil to put bread on the table prevented the leisure of thoughtlessness allowance for indiscretion of a spoken word.

To be wrong is one thing; most mistakes are correctible and even forgivable; it is the engagement of lack of thought, discretion and unadulterated vacuity of breathtaking stream of words spoken, shared and disseminated without care, which destroys the society of binding values and becomes replaced with angry shouts of rights and privileges, and more so by those who engage in the self-immolation of devaluating acts.

Greater quantification of information does not implicate knowledge, leaving aside the concept of wisdom; instead, as Orwell knew so well, words mean something.  We tend to think that the more said, the greater volume of voice, and the increased amassing of a library of information, somehow leads to a smarter society.  It is, instead, quite the opposite, and the negative effect of thrashing about to escape from quicksand; the more we say, the stupider we appear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to understand that obtaining a cogent and effective medical narrative, in conjunction with preparing a compelling Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, are the two mainstays of a high-octane Federal Disability Retirement packet which increases the chances of a successful outcome.

Federal and Postal employees who are seeking to file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits need not worry about speaking or discussing meaningful things; the tragedy of a medical condition, by its very nature, is a significant event which impacts upon a life, a career and a future.  Yes, there was a time when we used to speak of meaningful things, but those days are over — but for the intersection of human lives when words really matter, and lives are actually lived.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire