OPM Medical Retirement Under the FERS System: Mistakes

We all make them.  Some, because of complicated issues, can never admit to them.  Perhaps you were shamed at one time in making them, and will do everything to cover up any mistakes, hide them, act as if you never made any, or otherwise avoid any indicia of being less than perfect.  Perfection as a self-image is never a healthy state of affairs; for, to err is to be human, and we are never anything less than the graven images we create for the mantle of worshipping.

Some mistakes, of course, are harmless and without any consequences; others, of greater impact, whether limited to the one having made them, or beyond to third parties; and still others, of an irreversible, permanent stain.

Admissions often need to be clothed with euphemisms: “Oh, it was a youthful indiscretion” (What? Even though the mistake was made while he was 40-some years old?); “It was not on purpose”; “It was a momentary lapse of judgment”; etc.  Then, there is the haunting shadow of an overbearing parent who never softened the blow: Instead of, “It’s okay; everyone makes mistakes every now and again”, but of — silence, heavy with judging eyes.  How we handled such responses from an early age heavily influences our ability to admit to them later on.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are seeking to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to keep the mistakes at a minimum, for the mistake which leads to a denial from OPM of a Federal Disability Retirement application can be one mistake too far, like the bridge which needn’t have been fought over.

While most mistakes are correctible, the one mistake which cannot be amended is to put blinders on OPM once they have seen something.  Like a Lockjaw who will never let it go, the clamp of OPM upon a mistake revealed is one which is difficult to pry loose.  To prevent this, contact a Federal/Postal Lawyer who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and thus minimize the mistakes from the outset through competent and effective legal representation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: The Facade

In its simplest definition, it is simply the frontal face of a building, expression or impression.  In its more insidious connotation, it is the mask which hides an ugliness within, and thus is meant to deceive.

Or, perhaps not even an ugliness, but of something secretive, of a necessity to cover, to conceal, to brush over in order that people will only notice the skin-deep impression left, the appearance upon first encounter, and not to notice the substance beneath or behind the facade.

Can a mask be kept on for long?  Will the concealment cover for long enough, or wide enough?  And long enough — for what?

Perhaps it is merely a smile to conceal grief; a smirk, to mask pain; or in reverse, of tears in order to contain disgust or anger.

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, having a “facade” is most natural, if not a necessity.  You want to seem “as if” — as if you are still able to do your job; as if nothing is wrong; as if….

At some point, however, the facade may not work, and you may have to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At that point, the facade which you wore so well may not be the mask you intended, for some may have come to believe that the facade was the actual you without the facade, in which case the facade may have been one facade too many.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement Law: Disappearing Fences

That pithy old adage; of “good fences make good neighbors”; it is a saying which old people used to say in delineating acceptable social norms; of an ethos which was generally known, frowned upon when violated, and reflects an antiquated time in our society when everyone “knew” their place.

In modernity, the large corporations have convinced us all that fences are unnecessary; that boundaries are meaningless; that bifurcations no longer apply. Instead, to be “connected” is of utmost importance, and loss of connectivity — even for a day, an hour, a minute — means that your entire source of self-identity may have become expunged from the ethereal universe.

It is all well and good for the wealthy to declare that there should not exist a “division” between one’s personal and professional lives; that your job should be enjoyed as much as in your personal sphere; or that taking calls, doing work, etc. while on vacation or on off-days is completely acceptable.  Fences have all but disappeared.  What was their purpose?

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, erecting and maintaining — even building new ones — is important; for, in the end, one’s “quality of life” begins with maintaining one’s health and well-being, but when that health deteriorates and cannot keep up with the demands of work, it might be time then to contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, if only to establish again that, indeed, good fences make good neighbors.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Attorney Representation for Denied OPM Disability Claims: The Appearance of Substance

It is like a Jonathan Franzen novel (apologies to those who are fans of his), as opposed to a Hemingway masterpiece (is the bias too obvious by merely connecting “novel” to the first writer as opposed to “masterpiece” to the second?).  The fluff is fairly obvious.  Pages after pages of meandering nothingness, wondering where the story is going, what the plot is, why it is that one is trying to make one’s way through a long and meaningless road?

The appearance of substance is always a problem.  How does one gauge it?  It is like the old adage of throwing away good money after bad — after a long investment of time in trying to read it, you hate to give up before you get to the end.

OPM denials in a Federal Disability Retirement case often “feels” like that — of long extrapolated regurgitations from medical records, then at the end, a mere statement: “It has not been shown that you suffer from a medical condition which prevents you from performing the essential elements of your position”.

So, either one of two things is going on:  Either the previously-quoted extrapolations self-evidently speak form themselves, or the OPM Medical Specialist simply wants an appearance of substance without having to explain or discuss the relevance of the extrapolated paragraphs.  Volume is not the same as substance; just compare a balloon as opposed to a boulder sitting atop a mountain in Colorado.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have received a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for his or her Federal Disability Retirement application, contact an OPM Medical Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider that the appearance of substance is no substitute for a substantive legal rebuttal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Future Planning

It is perhaps a redundancy to put the two concepts together; for, “planning” is almost always about the future (can one plan for the past?  Or, even for the present — as every moment of the present must by conceptual imposition tick the time for a future event), and thus the inclusion of the concept, “future” becomes an irrelevancy and an unnecessary conceptual appendage.

One can, of course, confuse some concepts — as in, for example, planning for one’s future funeral, or writing one’s obituary (which is essentially future planning but incorporating past events); or of writing a story about something which occurred in the past (as opposed to a science fiction story, which by definition would involve some future event).  So, one might simply entitle an essay, “Future” — but would that necessarily encapsulate “planning”?

On the other hand, to simply say, “Planning” would, by conceptual inference, necessarily involve the future, merely because we all presume that any “planning” would incorporate the future because of the absurdity of thinking that we could plan for what has already passed.

That being said, future planning is always a problem because of the very fact that it must involve “unknowns”, as every future cannot be completely and entirely predictable.  The future, by definition, is an unknown and unknowable quality and quantity; it is not quantifiable; it remains a mystery.  Otherwise, we would all be able to predict which numbers would appear in a lottery, what stock market picks will be winners, and even be able to understand what a “commodities futures” is/are.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffering from a medical condition necessitating a filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “Future Planning” can be difficult, at best.  How strong is your case; what is a realistic assessment of time frames involved; what can be done to enhance the chances of success; what will be a predictable amount of the monthly annuity; and many more questions, besides.

Contact a FERS Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the arduous process of future planning — or just planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foreboding Sense

Are such “feelings” valid?  Does it even make any sense to apply the criteria of validity to a “feeling”, or are there circumstances where a foreboding sense of things can be accepted as a confirmed truth?  Does an outcome-based application of the criteria determine the validity of a feeling?

Say, for example, an individual possesses a 100% success rate in confirming the truth of a foreboding sense — does it validate the feeling?  Or is it based upon the foreboding sense that is declared to others who can confirm it?

A foreboding sense of things to come can, indeed, be valid, both as an outcome-based, retrospective confirmation as well as a singular instance of validity based upon a person’s experience.  For, just as statistical analysis cannot refute the probability of something happening the next time (ask a person who was actually attacked by a shark, or hit by lightening, as to whether the statistical improbability of an event makes any sense), so a person’s foreboding sense of things to come can never be mollified until the passing of a non-occurrence.

Such foreboding, however, can sometimes be assuaged and tempered by greater knowledge gained, and for Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition is beginning to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue remaining employed with the Federal Agency, it may be time to consult with an attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a 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.

A foreboding sense of an impending event may be validated by an outcome-based perspective; or, it may be a subconscious capacity to sense something that our conscious senses are unable to quantify.  But of whatever the source, it is often a good idea to confirm the validity of such a foreboding sense, and for Federal or Postal employees who have a foreboding sense of one’s circumstances because of a medical condition, the assuaging potion of choice is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Today’s tomorrow

Yesterday’s today is different from today’s today, just as tomorrow’s imaginary today will be considerably changed from the actual tomorrow of tomorrow.  How to test that theory?  Just read a book, a novel, a short story when you are a teenager, an adult, a “mature” person or in your old age – say, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye or some other similar-type work, or even Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge or even a truer test like a children’s book — the classic Seuss series, The Cat in the Hat, etc.

Perspectives alter and become modified with time, age, experience and encounters with reality, bifurcating between the monster within one’s own imagination, the projection of fears, anxieties and trepidations, and the reality of the world that one finally engages.  The memories one holds of one’s childhood may soften and become tempered over time; the harshness of judgment one may hold of one’s parent’s – their actions, punishments meted, words spoken out of turn and thoughtlessly – may be modified as one becomes a parent as well and encounters the same difficulties, trials and tests; and so the yesterday experienced at the time may alter from the yesterday remembered and ensconced within the context of one’s own life experiences.

Today’s today, or course, is the reality we must always face, but of tomorrow’s tomorrow, can we set aside the suppress the anxieties and fears we project?  The real problem is almost always today’s tomorrow –  of that projection into the future, not yet know, surrounded by the anticipation of what we experience today, fear for tomorrow and tremble at because of all of the various factors and ingredients of the unknown.  Yes, it is today’s tomorrow that we fear most.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is the tomorrow that we consider and ponder upon today that makes for the fears to arise, the anxieties to develop and the trembling to occur.

How best to treat today’s tomorrow?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider 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, the first step towards assuaging the fears projected unto tomorrow before tomorrow arrives, is by taking affirmative steps today in order to prepare for tomorrow, and that first step is to consult with an expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement.

For, today’s tomorrow will come sooner than tomorrow’s today’s blink of an eye and bypass yesterday’s today in the memories of a childhood steeped in tomorrow’s yesterday.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The worthwhile life

Is that what we are all striving for?  Is the myth that never occurs the one that urges us on?  There are multiple idioms and pithy sayings by which “wisdom” is extracted and thought to be a solid foundation for acting and reacting in certain ways.  “No one ever says at the end of one’s life, ‘I spent too much time with my kid’”.  “Live for tomorrow and you will regret a month of Sundays”.  “Time spent at work is time away from family.”

Yes, yes, all of that is true, but one must still make a living, be productive, “make something of one’s self”.  That last saying – of essentially having one’s 15-minute moment of fame (that was Andy Warhol’s generation, wasn’t it?  Today, it has been shortened by microchips and technological speeds into the milliseconds, so it is no longer applicable) – is what people do, work for, strive to attain and act without shame to achieve; and if so, does that make it all “the worthwhile life”?

What ever happened to those who made it on to some morning show or other, who were interviewed for some act of insanity, some bold moment of fame that captured someone’s imagination somewhere in some unknown sector of a now-forgotten universe?

Recently, there was a “lower-tiered” author who died, who shall remain nameless to maintain a sense of decorum for the dead; and a certain number of books of this now-dead author was obtained, which had been signed and inscribed.  Now, the inscriptions were clearly to her children, and were written with a fondness and private display of affection.  The question that is naturally posed, however, is as follows: Why were the books, inscribed by a “somewhat known” author to the author’s children with such love shown, sold to a used bookstore?  How did they end up there?

From a reader’s perspective, the author may have been deemed a person with a “worthwhile life” – for, to be published, to be well-enough-known, and to produce books that were enjoyed and read; these would, in the eyes of the world, be considered “making a mark upon the world” and deemed to have had a “successful” life.  And, yet – the sad fact of the sale of a book, inscribed to the author’s children, sold for a pittance; it harkens back the pithy saying, in whatever form, that “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I didn’t work too much’, but there are more than a few who have said with a last gasp, ‘I didn’t spend enough time with my kid’”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, that is the point, isn’t it – that to “hold on to” one’s job despite the increasingly debilitating medical condition because one considers the Federal or Postal job to define one’s identity as a “worthwhile” person, is mere folly in the scheme of life’s gifts.

Health, and maintaining one’s health, should be fame enough in pursuance of a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Let the others in posterity of hope determine whether the worthwhile life has been lived, and by whom, but more importantly, for whom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Working to preclude

Aren’t most of us perennially, incessantly, constantly and by chronic despair in that “emergency mode” of operating through life?

We are working to preclude: Some imagined disaster; some trouble just around the corner; some depth of a hole we cannot dig ourselves out of; and some problem that we are thinking about that is developing that we are not yet aware of.  Few of us actually work with a positive attitude to build; fewer still with a confidence that tomorrow will bring some answers; and rarely, of that person who does not work to preclude.  Caution is the mainstay of a troubled past that left a child anxious, uncertain, self-conscious and entirely lacking of self-confidence.

That is why that wide arc of “self-esteem” training that began to spread about in the classrooms and throughout communities took hold – in the false belief if we just kept saying to a child, “You are worthy” or poured accolades and trophies just for showing up, that somehow we would counteract the deep imprints left upon the cuts and scars that were perpetrated by homes of divorce, emotional devastation and incompetent parents.

Working to preclude is often a form of sickness; it is the constant scrambling to try and play prevent defense, and how often have we seen an NFL game where the team that scores first and many times ends up losing because they spent the rest of the game working to preclude?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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 constant effort in working to preclude the Federal Agency from putting you on a Performance Improvement Plan (acronym “PIP”), issuing a letter of warning, or proposing a removal based upon excessive absenteeism, being on LWOP for too long, or for poor performance, leaves a hollow feeling of an uphill battle that can never ultimately be won.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a step away from working to preclude – it is, instead, a positive first step towards securing a future that is otherwise as uncertain as one’s efforts in working to preclude.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement Benefits: Signs

It is the title of a song by a group called, “Five Man Electrical Band”, first released in 1970, then re-released in 1971, and the lyrics intelligently portray a world replete with warnings, admonitions, commands and curtailing threats, demanding of us a conduct of conformity otherwise ignored unless backed by such direct mandates.

Of course, there are the other, more subtle signs that we either ignore or otherwise dismiss because of the quiet manner of reproach initiated.  Those subtle signs as evidenced by facial expressions; of a look unexplainable but surely existent with consequential meaning; or premonitions of rougher surf and winds blowing, animals fleeing to the relative safe havens guided by instinctive alarm; and of the rush of adrenaline raising the tiny prickles upon out neck and backs, in dark corners of unlit areas when sounds so distant precede the visual image of oncoming danger.

Do we pick up on them, or go through life disregarding unless and until the reverberations of such deliberate ignorance shatters the calm and quietude of our joyful resolve to remain blind behind a security of negation?  Those trite statements of permeable permissibility:  “He was a nice, quiet man,” said the neighbor next door after the devastation left by the referent cause; “I never saw it coming,” hoarsely uttered by the hospitalized individual in the midst of destruction and debris-filled lands; “Who would have thought…”  And, indeed, in this universe where thinking is paramount, and observation of subtleties a requirement for survival, it is that which we ignore that can harm and injure.

There are those in life who float through and must be protected by means of oversight and constant care; some drivers on the road (or, perhaps, most of them) have no business carrying a license; it is only because others avoid and careen away that survival without a dent, a bruise or a catastrophic collision carries forth an undisturbed pathway from point A to the destination of choice.  And so we have new signs to consider:  It is now unlawful to text or otherwise use a Smartphone in hand, while others who drive with one hand stuffing a cheeseburger in one’s mouth while drinking a coke with the other, and with that invisible third hand pushing buttons on the panel to change satellite stations – somehow, that is safer because the signs tell us so, or at least implicitly inform as to the priority of current concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are surrounded by signs – both subtle and direct – that it is time to move on, ignoring them will not make the underlying, substantive problems dissipate.  Having a medical condition is the first sign, but one which may have no significant impact; but when that medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, then such an indicia of life’s intersecting whisper should, at a minimum, be elevated to a “warning”.

And when the signs flashing from the Agency’s perspective – of warnings, threats, harassing actions and administrative sanctions – begin to blare loudly as more than just a passing blur of the speed limit which we all tend to ignore, but instead becomes planted prominently for you and all to see, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the signs indicated don’t result in those flashing lights in the review mirror forcing us to stop and be hauled before a magistrate to explain those actions of ignoring such signs which we knew, or should have known, needed to be followed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire