OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Before & After

In once sense, there can always be the identifiable spectrum bifurcated into the “before” and “after”, and the conditions, the context and the significant differences characterized by each.  There is the time “before” the 1929 stock market crash, and then the “after”.  There is the “before” period in Nazi Germany, and the “after” timeframe subsequent to defeat.  There is “before” television and “after”; there is the time period before X-presidency and after, and before the advent of the computer, the laptop, the smart phone, etc. — and after.

How can we identify and bifurcate based upon relevant contexts?  For example, one can point to the legendary bank robbers — of “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Pretty Boy Floyd”, “Baby Face Nelson”, etc. — and it is much fun to watch movies romanticizing such characters.  But how would they fare today in the era of cellphones and electronic tracking devices, modern technologies of security apparatus, etc.?  Could a person “get away” these days using the same tactics and strategies, or would any of the famous bank robbers have been smart enough to change tactics and adapt to this world of technological intrusion? Are the old bank robbers of “before” the new cyberspace hackers of “after”?

Before the Great Dust Bowl and the Depression was a country that was mostly agrarian and independent of the Federal Government; after, we became a nation where the greater populace looked to a more centralized nation.  Good or bad, we tend to view contexts upon a spectrum of “before” and “after”, and the same is true of individual lives.  “How” we view it all depends upon which events we consider as significant enough to posit as the bifurcating dividing point that separates the “before” and the “after”.

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 “before” is quite simple: Before the onset of the medical condition.  It is the “after” that becomes problematic, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in completing the process of the “after” so that you can go on to the next phase of your life and make the “after” the next “before” in a life that doesn’t remain stuck in the “before” of one’s medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Judgment and Discretion

In many ways, the two are inseparable; for, to make good judgments is to necessarily have the proper discretionary approach, and to possess the quality of discretion is the foundation for making good judgments.  It is discretion which allows for good judgment; good judgment that is dependent upon discretion.  To lack discretion, however, does not mean that one will necessarily make a bad judgment; but then, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is “right” twice in a 24 hour period.

The judgement to prepare and formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, should be based upon sound discretion in determining the available resources: Is there supportive medical documentation? Is the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service initiating proceedings to make staying in one’s job untenable? Has one’s medical condition come to a point where the Federal or Postal employee can no longer continue in one’s position?

These and many more questions are often at the heart of considerations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and consulting with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often the first test in determining whether one possesses the judgment and discretion to proceed on a path which will lead to a successful outcome.

For, in the end, judgment and discretion is just as much about understanding one’s limitations in knowing about something, as it is about knowing enough about something to have the judgment and discretion to seek good counsel and advice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Holding a grudge

Doesn’t holding a grudge imply a certain level of intelligence?  Do other species have the capacity for holding a grudge?  Certainly, some breeds of dogs do — of getting into a growling match, or one of those “baring the teeth and gnarling sounds”, but with very little harm done; but if it is not “finished”, will come back and engage in some more noisy combat until one or the other is satisfied that neither a grudge nor a kiss will any longer be necessary.

“Having a grudge” can last a moment or a lifetime; “Holding a grudge” is comprised of the tenure of the grudge being held, and not as to its intensity of feeling.  Some grudges may be sweet and delicious; others, a gnawing sense that does greater harm to the holder than to the one for whom it is held.  There is, in the end, a difference between a grudge and a sense of resentment, although the former may include the latter, but the latter does not necessarily entail the former.  Siblings and best friends are famous for holding grudges; it reveals the level of hurt and care that becomes deep-seated when once betrayal cuts and bruises.

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, it is often an easy path to find oneself on where one was once the Federal Agency’s “star employee”; then, a medical condition sets in, and suddenly the congratulatory accolades become silent, and unilateral actions are taken by the agency which begins to foment resentment…and a growing “grudge match” begins.

Administrative sanctions are imposed; a PIP is initiated; perhaps, even removal from Federal Service.  Yet, all along, you are thinking: “I have a medical condition; why are they treating me this way?”  Grudges, indeed, often are held because of mistreatment or maltreatment; and it is often worse when there is no face or name to be placed with the grudge, but merely a large Federal Agency or the Postal Service that cares not a twit about your medical condition.

The best thing to do in such circumstances is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and “move on” beyond the sense of resentment and grudge-holding that can destroy a life further than the medical condition itself.  Yes, holding a grudge does imply a certain level of intelligence, but to hold one for too long shows a significant level of stupidity, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tempering euphoria

Life presents a wide spectrum; it is the limitation of one’s mind that restricts the expanse of that endless stream flowing on either side.  Euphoria rises to the pinnacle of that swinging pendulum; the high that reaches, follows upon a subsequence reversal of the tidal wave, and comes crashing down in fits and tumults of dismaying turbulence.  Does it necessarily need to be contained?

In modernity, and in society generally, there is a level and pitch of discomfort when intense feelings and exuberant outbursts of excitement surpass a certain arc of acceptability; there is no rule or law governing the demarcation where acceptance, discomfort and outright rejection are dissected, but it is there nonetheless.  It is like the line between light and darkness created by a campfire in the twilight on a beach that reaches forever beyond the darkness of the sea; yes, somewhere the glow of the fire ends and complete darkness begins, but we can never perceive with clarity where that boundary lies.

Some neuroscientists ascribe to the view that the extreme of euphoria occurs when there is a simultaneous, concurrent activation of all hedonic trigger-points with the brain’s rewarding system of stimulus-responses, but surely many have experienced such a state without the coalescence of such a perfect storm?  As the antonym of dysphoria, it is perhaps another hidden vestige of our evolutionary past, where intensity of emotional response was necessary for survival in a state of nature.

In civilized society, however, tempering euphoria – except in limited circumstances of heightened stimulation within the privacy of one’s home and restricted to context-appropriate circumstances – is what is expected, presumed and demanded.  There is always somewhat of an experiential oxymoron when a person manifests an unfettered state of euphoria; somehow, we all suspect that behind the uncontrolled exuberance will follow a “down” state which closely aligns itself with depression and despondency.

Is there really anything wrong with unrestrained expressions of pleasure and happiness?  Or, are we just being old fogeys and fuddy-duddies when we raise an eyebrow to such unsolicited declarations?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have filed 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, the issue of tempering euphoria is applicable within the context of having contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Waiting for months upon tiring months for OPM to respond can be exhausting.  Then, when a decision is made, one can become overwhelmed by the sheer revelation of information, whether euphoric or dysphoric.

Why tempering euphoria is important, is because filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is a process, and must be seen as such.  There are many potential “stages” to the administrative process, and the bureaucracy as a whole does not lend itself well to emotional states of responsive exuberance.

In the end, it is not only civilized society that sees the benefit in tempering euphoria through normative means of behavioral reactions, but for the very sake of keeping expectations and emotions in check, tempering euphoria is a necessary mandate when dealing with the juggernaut of OPM’s indifference in the multiple stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Profiles in Discourage

It is, of course, an obvious play off of the 1957 Pulitzer Prize winning work (publication date of 1955), describing 8 U.S. Senators who displayed courage in the face of criticism (an inherent oxymoron?).  Whether or not, and to what extent, Kennedy himself wrote the work (Ted Sorenson, John F.’s speechwriter, finally conceded in his 2008 autobiography as much) has become historically irrelevant, for the legend has become the man, and has replaced the truth of clear lines that once constituted the demarcation between fantasy and reality.

Ancient references to “Camelot” and metaphors about some obscure “torch” being passed through a generational transfer of linguistic fluff, have all cumulatively obscured the stark nakedness of that which makes people and events accountable.  The irony of real life always goes well beyond any fictional attempt to deceive; at least, by designation ascribed, we know what to expect of the latter; but then, there wouldn’t be anything like irony without the absurdity of the former.

Look at the recent allegations of the murky money-trail from Malaysia as the source of funding for the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; how much more deliciously ironic can it get, where a movie depicting blatant corruption is paid for by the very manner in which the moguls of Hollywood are allegedly attempting to make a point about?  What prompted the short-cutting which undermines the title of the work credited to the 35th President?  Is it merely the old adage that the “ends justify the means” — and that not writing a work but claiming its authorship is allowable because the greater good of fame and the road to the presidency will account for such deception?

It is, in the end, the title itself which makes for the irony; for, in a work which describes the integrity and character traits of the subjects within, it is precisely the lack of such which presumes a contradiction without.  And that is the connection with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers of today — for the entities which employ them represent the “official” face of this country, and yet the way they treat Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers when Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, reflects upon a discernible and palpable profile in discouragement (the suffix is added to make the sentence grammatically correct, although poetic license has been taken in the caption of this blog with the title, “Profiles in Discourage” in order to remain consistent with its alter-ego of the work by JFK and Sorenson).

One could argue, of course, that because there is the statutory right of all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, therefore any maltreatment or mistreatment of a Federal or Postal worker based upon the medical condition becomes a moot issue.

But that is precisely the point — treatment of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker in the process of engaging the long and arduous bureaucratic process of filing an OPM Disability Retirement application, should reflect an integrity of cover-to-content.  For, in the end, it is not the cover, nor the first impression which matters, but like the historical characters which are insightfully described in the book itself, the title should always match its claimed authorship.  But, then, of course, we would be left without the delicious irony of man’s daily folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: The Quality of Input

We often forget that the quality, validity and accuracy of conclusions produced by computers will depend upon the input of information provided.  Thus, predictability of future weather forecasts are contingent upon present information selected, and the computational analysis resulting in the future paradigm is founded upon current constructs, analyzed through the cumulative data previously provided, with a dash of witch’s brew and a genuflection of hope.  In other words, the trash produced results from the trash collected; a rather self-evident tautology of sorts.

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, the issue of what information to provide, the amount of documentation, the precise wording selected, and the cumulative historical and current data introduced, will determine the statistical ratio of increased chance of success versus the possibility of an initial denial.

Receiving a denial from OPM is a down heartening experience, to put it mildly.  Expectations are that the subjective pain or psychiatric stresses which one experiences, will immediately be recognized and become translated into a societal benefit through a monetary annuity, especially as Federal Disability Retirement is an employment benefit offered for all FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset employees in the Federal system, and upon proof and sufficient information and documentation provided, one becomes eligible for the benefit.

The difference between preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, on the one hand, and computational analysis of information in other sectors of information processing, on the other, is that an intermediate human factor is present.

All Federal Disability Retirement applications are reviewed, scrutinized and evaluated for sufficiency by someone at OPM, and it is this very human element which remains the “X factor” in all Federal OPM Disability Retirement applications.  What can be done about it?  It is simply a reality which must be taken into account, processed and accounted for.  While bureaucratic and ultimately a rather depersonalized process, it is nevertheless an administrative system which must be faced.

It is as old as the ageless adage of yore, attributed to Isaac Newton:  What goes up must come down; or, what information is provided, is the basis of conclusions reached, and it is the quality of information in culling together a Federal Disability Retirement application which is paramount in achieving success.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Dissipated Dream, Delayed

It is an enjoyment and pleasure of the highest order, and yet costs nothing; if remembered, the visual residue can be stored in the safety deposit boxes of one’s memory, “as if” it actually occurred; and retrieving the memories can be as vividly regurgitated in the virtual reality of its existence, as that of having actually been there.

Dreams, if remembered, can be as real as memories of experienced events.  No, they cannot be videotaped (at least, not yet); and the money exchanged, the actions engaged or the people we meet in the fantasy realm of our self-contained consciousness, do not translate well in the harsh reality of everyday life.  And then we open our eyes, and unless we deliberately try and remember the images so vividly splashing upon the walls of our eyelids just before the flutter of opening them, they dissipate into the ethereal universe of some mysterious universal consciousness.  But what of the other sense of a dream — that of youth’s future endeavor and plans of greatness?  Of the many places desirous of visiting, the encounter with a kindred spirit yet to be fulfilled, and the pleasures of momentary categories of accomplishments?

Medical conditions have a tendency to dissipate such dreams, to scatter them across the cold and harsh tundra of reality, and to stamp them into the frozen plains of time.  But a dissipated dream need not be destroyed; it may merely be delayed.  Federal Disability Retirement can allow for that eventuality.  What others deem to defecate, one need not accept as the final word.  No, it is not the monetary payment of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity which will burst forth with riches of dreams delayed; rather, it is the opportunity to attend to one’s medical conditions, such that the medical conditions may be somewhat resolved, the nightmare put behind, and linear progression of life’s plans restarted.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should merely be a bump on the road.  While some Federal and Postal employees may consider the entire bureaucratic process of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to be akin to a nightmare of sorts, it is the path out of one’s rut of dreamless nights.

Dare to dream; never believe that the dream dreamed is a dissipated dream; rather, dreams of one’s subconscious, just as the childhood one of unrealistic plans for the future, should merely be a delayed embracing of that which is larger than the smallness of our fears.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire