OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Inside View

There is the “outside” perspective as opposed to the “inside view”, and that is the mistake people make in various sectors of life: The “outsider” believes that, from a position and perspective of detachment and therefore objectivity, he or she is able to better assess, evaluate and analyze the event, situation or conditions experienced than by those on the “inside”.

By contrast, the “insider” views the outsider with suspicion, contending that he or she has no idea about the experiences and existential difficulties faced by the insider, and that a detached, objective viewpoint which fails to take into consideration the subjective, “personal” side of things misses the essential point of the issue.

It is the tension which exists between the townspeople and the “out-of-towner”; the one who lives in a community as opposed to the renter or investor; or of the person who drives around the neighborhood admiring the green lawns, the peaceful nature and the tranquility of a community, hoping to one day purchase a home there without knowing the problems inherent — say, that the water is contaminated or that there has been a rash of burglaries on the rise in recent years.

How does one break the invisible wall between the inside view and the outside perspective?  When does the demarcation between the two disappear?  Do numbers of years living within a community determine whether an outsider becomes an insider?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application because of a medical condition which has come to a critical point where the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it often “feels” like one has all of a sudden become an “outsider” again — not only from one’s own agency or the Postal Service, but moreover, because of the complexity of the administrative procedures and bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — of the sense that the whole process is strange and detached.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a good first step in bridging the gap that widens when first encountering that feeling, in order to get an “inside view” of what it takes to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

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 well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Who we are

That is a rather presumptuous title, one might declare; for, it is always the “we” that others presume to know, as opposed to limiting the declarative within the restrictive confines of one’s self, family and surrounding community.

What is the great equalizer that allows for the collective plural pronoun?  Is it television (i.e., do “we” all watch the same shows and thus form a conglomerate of a universal consciousness)?  There was once a time when one could argue that a unity of convention existed — especially harkening back to the days when there were essentially 3 networks to choose from, and where all three were similar in content, thought and approach.

In modernity, is it the Internet?  But the worldwide “web’ is too diverse to narrowly formulate a cumulative effect of similar normative beliefs.

Perhaps that is why society in general is so diverse and fractured; where even a simple consensus amidst a small community cannot be reached, and how geographic differences have become exponentially and irreversibly altered and separated from one another.

Who are we?  Yes, the inversion substitution of the second word with the third makes the declarative into a query, and changes the entire subject matter.  It is, perhaps, both a statement and a question, and neither make sense, anymore.  And so we are left with a singular voice — of a monologue and an aside, or as in a play, a soliloquy, where the character asks the universal question, Who am I?  Am I the collective consciousness of my direct descendent, and does that have meaningfulness, anymore?  Why do we seek answers by purchasing and sending away “DNA kits”, as if the spiral spectrum of cellular anomalies would be able to answer the question which haunts us 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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the potential loss of one’s identity within the community of Federal and Postal workers is often the step that is difficult to take.

One’s identity, purpose, drive and dreams are often bundled up into an inseparable conglomeration of work and identity, and to separate from that self-identification is often a difficult venture to undertake.  But the danger, of course, is that you may be forcibly separated if you do not take the steps necessary to protect your identity.

The Agency will ultimately terminate you, and the harassment because you have taken too much Sick Leave, Annual Leave, FMLA or LWOP is inevitable.  Better that you file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits and retain a semblance of who you are, lest the Federal Agency or the Postal Service does that to you unilaterally, leaving you with the question, Who do they think they are?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Beyond the weekend respite

It is always something to look forward to: Whether the regular rhythm of the 2-day, the “extra” delight of the 3-day, and the deliciously unexpected 4-day weekend when the time of rest is doubled and by the end of it, you’d almost forgotten about the frenzy of your day-to-day work schedule.

Do we “make up” for sleep?  Those so-called experts who claim that loss of sleep, once lost, can never be redeemed, clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.  A couple of naps; an extra hour of dozing; of coming to a profound realization that the sun can actually rise while a person is still asleep, and that consciousness need not precede the earthly rotation that allows for a peek of dawn — these are all revelations that can come on the weekend.  But then there is Monday; or the day after the 3-day weekend; and the day after that.

Years ago, in the idealism of one’s youth, one resolved never to live like this: As each day is a gift from God, one should not lack the relish of living during the week any more than on the weekends.  Yet, that is the cycle that most of us accept — of a bifurcation of leisure/work, enjoyment/dread.  And, in the end, there is nothing wrong with such a distinction; except when there is a despised exaggeration between the two.

The weekend is meant to be the respite away; but when the respite engenders a greater fear and dread of the following Monday, where restorative sleep cannot be attained no matter how much slumber is embraced, and when pain and recovery can never attain a level of coherent balance, then it is time to reconsider: Is this how life is meant to be lived?

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 — and, just as importantly and concurrently, where beyond the weekend respite there never seems to be an end to the race for recovery — it is time to consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

When leisure is merely a time of suspension in the dreaded Mondays of work’s cycle; and where the treadmill of life’s spectrum between work and time-off is so out of balance that one cannot distinguish between the waking moment and sleep, or work and play because the medical condition is all-consuming; then, it is time to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the complex process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Resistance

The initial reaction to such a title is the obvious one: To what?  Of course, Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes immediately to mind — of every action having an equal and opposite reaction; thus, when one posits a “resistance”, the natural query must refer to its opposition, as in, “What is it that we are resisting?”

Throughout our “stages of life”, we either comply, conform, “go along with the crowd” — or resist doing so.  There are “middle” ways, of course, and yet to compromise and resist “half-way”, or in a half-hearted manner, often seems to ruin the whole point of any resistance, doesn’t it?

If one is to be a revolutionary, the point is to be one completely, or not at all.  During the Sixties, there was the famous line (often misattributed to Abbie Hoffman, the Beatles and others) which declared that the movement’s participants would “never trust anyone over 30” — spoken by Jack Weinberg in response to a hostile interviewer.  The underlying point of the statement is quite clear: By the age of 30, most people have “sold out”, conformed, lost their youthful vigor to resist; or, put more simply, accepted the status quo and have become cynical.  Yet, isn’t there a natural inclination to “belong”, to not stand apart from the crowd, and to be able to live a quiet, unassuming life?

“Resistance” can thus have a duality of meanings — it can imply that one is part of a movement involving resistance to the status quo or, even its opposite; that one resists change and is integrally a participant of the status quo.  Resistance to change is the greater dominating force.  Change is a fearsome entity where the unknown is to be avoided at all costs.  To be a part of “the resistance” that refuses to conform — well, that is best left to those under 30, unattached and without obligations and responsibilities.

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, resistance to change is often the factor that procrastinates, and keeps a person in a “muddle of the middle” where conditions deteriorate but one stubbornly insists upon maintaining the status quo.

But as medical conditions deteriorate and as the Federal Agency or the Postal Service persists in seeking change — by forcing the issue and initiating adverse actions in order to fill the position with a person who is able to perform all of the essential elements of the position — resistance to change must be replaced with becoming a part of the resistance: By preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM and forging ahead into a future yet unknown.

Remember —even Jack Weinberg became a class of individuals that he resisted, and went on to become a consultant and an adjunct faculty member; in other words, he was once in the “Resistance”, then became that opposite and equal force to fulfill Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill,Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

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 “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire