Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Life on Hold

There are periods in our lives when life is seemingly “on hold”.  Of times when we know not what to do; of careers that have hit a brick wall; of unhappiness over present circumstances; perhaps even of deteriorating family relationships that fail to reveal a glimmer of hope for improvement; and of a medical condition that becomes chronic with the realization that we must accept it, live with it, and endure the accompanying symptoms for a life-long struggle.

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset (though rare are the latter two these days) is often a movement forward to break out of the mold of life being on hold.

When a Federal or Postal worker realizes that the medical condition suffered will simply not go away, and it prevents and continues to deteriorate in that aspect of preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of being stuck in a “no-man’s land” is understandable.

From the Agency’s viewpoint, it is often a period where they are unsure of what to do with you.  They act with a timid sense of empathy (or perhaps none at all); they will sometimes be somewhat “supportive” of your plight; but in the end, you know that they will replace you with someone who can perform all of the essential elements of the position.

Life on hold is a time of uncertainty and trepidation; preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a movement forward; it allows for some certainty to be adjudicated in a world where everyone else seems to be in a mode of “fast-forward” while you are stuck in the timelessness of a deteriorating medical condition.

Life on Hold — it is a time when decisions need to be made, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job because of a medical condition, a time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Hope of escape

Perhaps it is a weekly lottery ticket purchases; or the novel that is periodically worked on but never gets completed; or even a notion that there is a distant relative who will one day meet mortality and leave a legacy of a magnitude beyond the capacity to exhaust; but of whatever dreams, fantasies or mathematical improbabilities, the mere hope of escape is often the fingernail that allows for sanity to remain, for motivation to continue to abide, and of a spark of incentive to spur onward and forward.

It is only when the cornered animal is left with no route of escape, or when an enemy battalion can neither hope to survive nor be allowed to surrender, that an unimaginable end may be considered.

Hope is the flame that abides for humanity’s safeguarding of happiness; of escape, it is something we all do, and often to the detriment of relationships that we have.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from various medical conditions, such that those medical conditions continue to prevent or otherwise impede the Federal or Postal employee’s ability, capacity and resolve to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the hope is always there that the medical condition will resolve itself, or that the doctors will come up with a new cure, or perhaps even that a miracle will occur that tonight’s dream will awaken to a pain-free tomorrow.

Short of that, however, the hope of escape means that the medical condition will continue, but the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job must be discontinued either through (a) resolution of the medical condition (unlikely), (b) accommodation by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service of the medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee may continue to work (again, unlikely), (c) resignation or termination because of excessive use of leave, inability to maintain a regular work schedule, deterioration of the medical condition or being placed on a PIP (likely), or (d) file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset (inevitably).

The hope of escape still abides; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the hope by consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, thus empowering a potential escape from the vicious cycle of work-related harassment, deterioration of one’s health, and the constant concern for the security of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The complex simplified

Ultimately, that is the reason why we hire experts in a particular field.  Life has advanced with such complexity that everything has become particularized into specialized fields where focus upon a subject becomes narrower and narrower.

The days of former times when the neighborhood doctor came and made house visits with his black leather bag are no longer existent; instead, we go to the doctor’s office, and only then to be referred to countless and whatever other specialists for further consultation and diagnosis.  The “general practitioner” is merely the gatekeeper; once inside the gate, there are multiple other doorways that must be approached, entered, and traveled through a maze of further developments of referrals until the “right one” is finally connected to.

Law has become the same as medicine; no longer can one simply hang up one’s shingle and “practice” law in every generality; rather, the legal field has become such a conundrum of complexity that the best approach is to first understand what legal issue needs to be addressed, then to locate a lawyer who specializes in that particular field of law.  From the lawyer’s perspective, it is a job of taking the complex and simplifying it such that the layman can comprehend the issues at hand, the approach that will be taken, and the resolution offered.

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 issue is encompassed by the developing need to think about the future and to adjust and adapt to whatever benefits are offered for the Federal or Postal employee in such circumstances.

The benefit of “Federal Disability Retirement” is not often even known by Federal or Postal employees to exist.  However, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is certainly an option to be considered.  It is, however, a complex administrative process where adequate and sufficient medical documentation must be gathered, where certain key elements and points of law must be addressed, and if it is not carefully formulated, can have dire legal consequences without careful review and processing.

As with so many things in life, having a legal representative advocate for your case becomes a necessity where the complex is simplified, but where simplification does not mean that it is simple –merely that it is indeed complex but needs to be streamlined so that it is cogent, comprehensible and coherent in its presentation, substance and submission.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Biding time

Inmates in correctional facilities do it; criminals in wait; patients in doctor’s offices who have been informed that there will be a short delay because of an emergency procedure that the physician had to attend to; and most of us in general who live life anticipating disasters, tomorrow’s unfortunate events or the next day’s calamity to come.

We all bide our time in living our lives, and it is the time of biding that is wasted away until, near our deathbed, the expected outcome of disaster never came, the calamity never developed and the corrosion of life never materialized.  It is one thing to wait on another person; another altogether to engage in the patient virtue of sitting motionless or passing the time away in anticipation of something beyond; it is quite another, and perhaps unique, that human beings actually actively engage in the activity of “biding time” in order to start a process.

Vengeance often takes biding of time; planning for a future definitely requires biding time; and old men and women in nursing homes have nothing better to do than to bide one’s time.  To live life biding time, even at the horizon of one’s twilight in elder states of despair, is no way to exist.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of, have already begun the procedural steps to, or otherwise are in the middle of the administrative process of preparing, formulating or 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, the key to “biding time” during this complex administrative process is to have “a plan”.

It is a long, arduous, difficult and time-consuming process.  Even after it is successfully filed, the time waiting upon a decision just at the First Stage of the administrative process can now take a very, very long time, and how one plans to bide one’s time during this long process is something one needs to consider.

Will you remain on LWOP during this time?  Will you resign, get terminated, and will you work at a private-sector job while waiting for OPM’s decision?  Will temporary loss of health insurance be a consideration?  If it is denied at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, will that mean that you can endure the lengthy second Stage, the Reconsideration Stage?  And if you have to go and have a Telephonic Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which will take a minimum of 120 days beyond, will that still be within the plan of attack in biding time?

Hopefully, one’s Federal Disability Retirement filing with OPM will go smoothly; but in the event that all of the proverbial bumps on the road are encountered in your particular journey, it is important to consider the extent of biding time during the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Living beyond chance

Perhaps we engaged in it as children: making sure to skip over the jagged cracks in the sidewalk; turning suddenly in the opposite direction, believing that fate and determinism would be defied if an unexpected act were to be embraced; and later, the purchase of a lottery ticket, or to become more seriously addicted to gambling.

Chance provides the thrill of the unknown; but it need not rise to the level of daily obsessions in order to be caught in the delicate web of its enchantments; indeed, in fantasizing daily for circumstances to alter, becoming lost in daydreams of living a different life, or imagining subconsciously of occupying another, we surrender ourselves to the nirvana of chance and the enticement of make-believe, leaving us forever in the neutral rut of illicit anticipations never to be realized.

But problems rarely just go away on their own; and no matter what the chances are that fate and karma coincide to provide alternate universes of better circumstances, it is ultimately the affirmative will of the individual which makes the difference before the now and the moment thereafter.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the intransigent situation of waiting for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “act” in either accommodating the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition, or to otherwise do something positive to resolve a hostile work environment ongoing because of the medical condition and the deterioration of one’s health, is to leave one’s circumstances to the winds of chance.

It must be by the affirmative steps taken by the Federal or Postal employee, to force the issue, and begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that “things” actually happen.

The fickleness of chance should be left behind, like childhood notions of gnomes hiding behind green hamlets of dream-filled universes; for the ugliness of the adult’s world requires us to live beyond chance, and the future depends upon awakening from that warm and cozy slumber of fate determined by avoidance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Plans, purposes and pivoting positions

The first in the series indicates the human endeavor of imagination and creativity, unique sets of binary forecasts projecting into a beautification of one’s future; the second, the qualitative and substantive core which motivates and impels the preceding characteristic and transforms it from mere ethereal musings into a concretized formulation of action; and the final element of the tripartite aggregate represents the capacity and ability of a person to remain adaptable, malleable, ready to take into consideration new data and conform appropriately, such that the originating plan is never abandoned but merely evolved into a pragmatic reflection, yet driven by the underlying impetus based upon strength and character.

It is the last of the three which is often the most difficult in this society of rigidity and unforgiving iconoclasm.  Bureaucracy does that to people, as the Leviathan of administrative growth and conformity to identity of purpose leaves little room for imagination and creativity.  We like to fool ourselves by pointing to the vast number of books published, or to “new plays” being produced off-and-on-Broadway; or to the innovations attained and announced in the world of technology, medicine and legal precedent, then pat ourselves on the back with self-praise and delusional despair.  But reality confronts us otherwise in the daily encounters with ordinary people.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the direct conflict with the ways of repetition and customary machinations of administrative malfeasance come to the fore.

Agencies rarely, if ever, desire to accommodate; they do not see the value of retaining Federal employees who have served with dedication, honor and reliability for these many years; and, instead, are willing to forego the minimal alterations to workplace requirements and engage in a termination fight in order to retain its mindless inscrutability.  Plans are meant to be changed — and for the Federal or Postal worker, the entrance of a medical condition, whether physical, psychiatric, or a combination of both, should so alter the plans.

Purposes can be adaptable — and so they should, when the medical condition enters the equation.  And those pivoting positions first learned in playing the game of basketball?  They teach us the valuable lessons not only to elude the opposition, but in order to gain the advantage of a position of strength where weakness was once thought to prevail.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire