OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Boundaries

We set them for a reason: To prevent future conflicts; to establish clearly when trespasses occur; to allow for the maintenance of compartmentalization in order to preempt overlapping potential conflicts; to teach societal conventions in a safe, artificial context; to demarcate the lines of acceptable behavior, etc.

Boundaries are set in law, in conventions, in neighborhoods, communities, nations and continents. Remember when we learned in Geography Class about the various countries and their disputed boundaries?  Or of early lessons where we were told not to cross the street unless a school safety guard bade us forward?  And what of mental boundaries — of not answering the phone after a certain hour; of boundaries that prevent us from working ourselves to death; of not responding to emails after “work hours” (is there such an animal, anymore?), etc.

And those subtle boundaries we all seem to learn — of conventional behaviors acceptable in society, including invisible ones of “personal space”, of declarations in public both allowable and prohibited; and even of eye contact, how much is offensive, to what extent a “look” becomes a “stare”, etc.

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 be time to cross the boundaries into considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions themselves have no boundaries, know no boundaries and respect no boundaries.  It becomes all pervasive — crossing into one’s personal life, and disrupting one’s career and work life.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider re-establishing those important boundaries that keep in place the lines of sanity necessary for one’s own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Workers: Beaten

It is a strange word.  In the past tense, it implies that nothing can be done about it.  When applied to an individual, it describes a haggard portrait of profound hopelessness.  It is the past participle of the verb “beat”, but when the “en” is added, it has a modern connotation of hollowness, of a sense of utter futility and nihilism that cannot be overcome.

Did Sisyphus have that perspective?  As he rolled the boulder up onto the next and endless precipice, did his shoulders sag, his head and eyes remain downcast, and was he forlorn and without hope?  Of course, Camus refashioned the anti-hero into such a figure of futility, which is what existentialism declares life to be: Meaninglessness with the freedom to choose meaning; futility from which manufactured human activity can originate.  Whether that can actually be accomplished, or whether Camus, Sartre and the whole bunch of those French Existentialists who sat around at street cafes and deliberated about the times of dangers and rebellion during the Nazi occupation, now seems like a far-off dream.

Today brings about a new set of problems.  No longer from an occupation force, nor even an identifiable enemy; in modernity, the daily stresses of technology — of simply trying to make a living; of the constant barrage of information; of demands in daily life which stretches the ends of human capacity; and then, when a medical condition intrudes, interrupts and interferes, it all seems to be so overwhelming that we suddenly feel “beaten”.

The beaten individual is the one who has reached his or her limit of human capacity; it is when the intersection of life’s demands exceeds one’s tolerance for sustaining the stresses of everyday life.

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 position, it may be well past the time that one should have, but still must, file for Federal Disability Retirement.  Do not wait until the term “beaten” applies; instead, try to beat the beaten, and consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, lest you hear someone whisper to another, “Oh, that person — he/she is beaten.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Living Life’s Lessons

It is a conundrum to speak in such terms; for, one must step outside of one’s being in order to reflect upon “living” as something separate and distinct from what one does within the insular consciousness of one’s life; and to learn the “lessons” of life, and to live such lessons, is to have the capacity for detachment from a third-person perspective and not to be lost in the first-person consciousness.

Most of us simply “live life” without having a conscious sense of having an outsider’s perspective on how it is that we are “doing it”.  We believe that we are good at what we do; that we are efficient and fairly competent; and though there may be some mistakes made along the way, we can passably waive such moments away with the dismissive truism that, “Well, to err is human; to forgive, divine” — a line from Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Criticism”.

The concept of living life’s lessons must necessarily entail a more objective view of ourselves than the purity and insularity of one’s life as lived from a personal-pronoun “I” perspective.  It requires the capacity to “step outside” of one’s self, to view the self as a third party, to then apply lessons learned both from life’s gifts as well as misgivings, then to adjust that “other person” accordingly, and only thereafter, to proceed to step back into the self and proceed with the modifications and adaptations proposed.  Otherwise, we just blunder through as most people do, and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers seeking to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, “living life’s lessons” and the capacity to step outside of the first-person and into the third-person is an important element for preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  For, to have an “objective” viewpoint is essential in putting together a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application — in writing one’s Statement of Disability; of recognizing the sequence of events, medical conditions and evidentiary legal citations to include; and, more importantly, in maneuvering through the complex administrative process of a bureaucratic morass.

In the end, living life’s lessons may come down to simple adages that one has already learned, but perhaps forgotten — not the least of which is that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: When once…

When once the dream was left unfulfilled, and yet the future appeared so boundless and promising; when once the time spent was so precious as to bring memories and tears of joy for the privilege to live; when once the rains came but not to dampen the sorrows of yesteryear, but to wash away the scars of today’s longing; and when once, there was a time forever bottled so that tomorrow would be remembered as a mere passing thought, and the day after a haven for memories yet to be forgotten.

When, once, we took for granted that which we never think about, reflect upon, and youth’s folly continued for a day and a dawn only to be wistfully forgotten when once the call from Mom’s flustered voice shouted at us to come in for dinner, when the crickets were still singing their mournful melodies in the quiet of evening’s end.

Looking back can hold one back, especially if the remorse of what once was makes you pause in a day when even an hour cannot be spent whittling away the time that cannot be recaptured.  There is time enough for remorse and regret; time yet to remember and recall with nostalgic warmth for days of yore; but as the world turns in the “here” and “now”, the daily grind of duty’s call and obligations which cannot be avoided, must first be attended to.

“When, once…” is to be set aside until the last breath when the drifting dreams of yesteryear’s pausing regret begins to foreshadow today’s memories of a bygone time.

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, time remains of the essence, and while sickness and deteriorating health may freeze one into desiring a time of remembrance back, “when once…” — it is not the right time, yet.

This is still the time to fight on; it is the moment to preserve and protect; and while a Federal Agency or a Postal Facility may have dampened your spirits or attempted to make you into a downtrodden employee whose best years are behind you; nevertheless, it is time to assert your rights and carry on the good fight.  Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you as a Federal or Postal employee are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a good part of that fight to preserve and protect your rights.

Why should you fight for them?  Because, when that time comes when you say to friends or family that, “When, once…” — the “filler” should be: “When, once…they tried to deny me, I fought and won.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Trials of error

Normally, of course, the common usage of the terms involve the combination with a conjunctive — of trial and error, implicating a process whereby the latter term triggers the former (i.e., the “error” forces us to engage another round of trials, which then may lead to further errors resulting in further trials, etc.) into a potentially lengthy repetition of attempts, each with the advancement through possession of greater knowledge gained from the errors identified and witnessed.

The concept as it stands, however, implies something further:  of the experience of each error and the process within such error and what the error may implicate.

Human beings have an expansive capacity to “move on” quickly beyond errors made, and perhaps that ability of adaptability is an evolutionary advantage for a species that makes a fair number of errors that, in other contexts and within other species, would spell the extinction of the species itself.

Errors compounded go beyond the experience of the trial itself; sometimes, errors lead to other errors, and thus the “trials and errors” in their aggregate allow for greater knowledge and adaptability depending upon the nature of each error and of many trials.  But it is the trial of the error that often needs to be paused, and allowed to ponder upon, before going on to the next trial, lest the lesson from any one error has not been sufficiently learned before a further trial is engaged.

Sometimes, of course, the trial of an error, if not sufficiently comprehended and reflected upon, is the very reason why further errors of judgment follow, precisely because not enough time has been spent upon the nature of the error itself.

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 is important to recognize the trial of an error — for, with a Federal Agency or the Postal Service, one is encountering a behemoth of intransigence when attempting to garner any sympathy or loyalty.

Medical conditions themselves are “trials” enough, and when a Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins the process of punishing the Federal or Postal employee for taking too much SL or LWOP, or even invoking FMLA rights, the “error” is not so much the trial of patience, but rather, in thinking that the Federal Agency or the Postal Service was ever on your side to begin with.

While a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a strictly “adversarial” process, one must always consider whose “interests” are being looked after in each trial encountered:  the interests of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, or of one’s own?

The trial of error often begins with a mistaken identification of a more fundamental error on the part of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, and for the Federal or Postal worker contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the first step in preventing the greater trials of multiple errors is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire