OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Confronting Reality

When are the times we try and avoid it?  Is that the line between sanity and the “darker world”?  If we avoid it more than we embrace it, does it constitute a step beyond eccentricity and fall into the category of bizarre behavior?  If that were the case, how many of us would meet that definition?  Does engaging in entertainment — whether of the couch potato type or of the active one — constitute avoidance?

Say a person binge-watches a certain television series for 72-hours straight, then sleeps for another 72 hours; such a person has certainly “avoided” the reality of life’s responsibilities, duties, obligations, etc.  But would we deem such a person to be insane?  If he were a bachelor who has no commitments or responsibilities, and acted in such a manner during “vacation time” or during a period of unemployment, we would perhaps not give it a second thought.  But say the same person had a toddler whom he neglected for those 100-plus hours — then, of course, we would consider it as irresponsible behavior, if not criminal neglect.

“Confronting reality” is often deemed the antonym of “avoiding reality”; it is something we all do — both confronting and avoiding — and crosses the diving line between “responsible” and “irresponsible” behavior.  Of course, the latter is sometimes necessary in order to refresh one’s self in order to engage in the former, and so we embrace entertainment and leisure activities in order to adequately prepare ourselves to cross over from one to the other.

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 his or her position, confronting reality is often delayed in order to try and extend one’s career with the Federal government.  Often, early on in suffering from a medical condition, it becomes quite clear whether or not the Federal or Postal worker can continue in his or her chosen career.  This is the point where “confronting reality”, however, clashes with the desire to avoid it and to instead embrace the make-believe universe of “What ifs” — What if things improve?  What if the Agency or Postal Service is willing to be patient?  What if they can accommodate me?

Consult with an attorney experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for as difficult as it may be in confronting reality, it is the reality of the law that will help you avoid the pitfalls which you will surely want to avoid in the days to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS OPM Disability Retirement: Of Imprints in the Sand

They fade away quickly and become part of the landscape that once was; and when we try and grab a handful of sand and squeeze the collective grains within our closed fists, the finery of each pours from every crevice left open like the hourglass that counts the moments lost.  Whether by the winds that shift the dunes afar or the lapping waves which erases the imprints once boldly made, the residue of our existence by natural necessity fades and ultimately disappears.

Mortality for most is a scary thought; immortality, a dream and fantasy desired; and within the spectrum of the two extremes is the daily imprint in the sand of human existence.

During that brief moment of appearance upon the sands of our lives, we all have to make decisions both of major consequential effect and minor residual impact, on a daily basis.  Plans for the future; getting the day’s chores done; actions that may impact others; inaction that reverberates to others; and throughout each, the pause and hesitation that reflects indecision may be a further factor in the imprint upon the sand, whether of lasting impact or momentary indifference.

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 imprint in the sand that has to be considered is:  Is continuation in this job and career possible? At what point should I file for Federal Disability Retirement? How will it impact my life, my finances, my ability to get a job in the future? And of imprints in the sand — will my decision have any consequences beyond the disappearance upon the dunes, any more than being separated from Federal Service or the Postal Service?

To understand the procedure, the impact and the residual consequences, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Law, lest the imprints in the sand of one’s life becomes a permanent and irreversible mistake that cannot be reversed like the sands that slip within the hourglass of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Excellence and mediocrity

Are the two identified only by comparative existence?  Can one abide in pure mediocrity throughout a lifetime, only to be fooled into thinking that excellence has been achieved, but on the day before extinguishment from this universe, be visited by pure excellence that suddenly compels one to realize that all along, only a ho-hum level of mediocrity had been attained?

Conversely, can one maintain a level of excellence without a comparative standard against which one may know what “mediocrity” consists of?

It is like the grammatical elevation learned in former school days, of “Good”, “Better”, and finally, “Best” — how does one identify the last in the tripartite series unless there is a comparison against that which is lesser, and how does one ever realize the progressive nature of one’s endeavor unless there is improvement to realize?

One may argue that excellence cannot exist except and “but without” the coexistence of mediocrity, and thus the corollary must also be true.  Isn’t that the problem with everything in life — excellence, once achieved or realized as a goal, becomes a hollow voice of regret when once mediocrity is the standard to which one is reduced?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has reduced one’s ability and capacity to perform one’s Federal or Postal position and duties to a level of mediocrity and struggle just to maintain a lesser standard below what one has become accustomed to — of excellence in all arenas, including health, personal life and professional goals — the reduction resulting from one’s deteriorating health is often accompanied by a sense of having become a “lesser” person precisely because one has known the “better” and the “best”.

“Good” is not enough, anymore, because “better” and “best” have once been tasted.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may not be the “best” answer to all of one’s problems, but it is the better solution to the Federal employee or Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, especially when the “good” is merely an exercise in mediocrity where once stood excellence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Dickens, Salinger & Capote, Continued…

One could easily spend a lifetime on each, separately; of the first in the trilogy, he mercifully died before the advent of the industrial revolution, whence he may have witnessed even greater upheavals of economic unrest and labor turmoil; of the latter two, they were contemporaries who followed divergent paths — with Salinger left in the hermitage of his insular world of fears, paranoia and distrust of a world which had offered only experiences which validated such churning for a tortured soul, and for Capote, a premature death prompted by a life of public destruction.

Today, we embrace the sophistication of paying strangers to listen to our meanderings of troubled psyches; for the three in question, the times for acceptance of such ways remained unkind and untested.

By standards of modernity, the childhood experiences of Dickens would have caught the attention of social services and the authorities in tow to save the poor boy; but then, we likely would never have had the pleasure of knowing his miscreant characters strewn throughout the ghettos of boundless imagination.  Of Salinger, who turned more towards mysticism in order to feed the slow withering of his wanting woes, the need to flee from the cruelty of the world resulted in the greater insularity protected only by the memories of his haunting past.  Of the three, it was Capote who openly laughed at the scorn of the world, and like the Clowns and Fools in Shakespearean tragedies, we watched as a major figure committed public seppuku in a slow and agonizing fashion.

They represent, unfortunately, the manner in which most of us live; either of haunted pasts and tortured presents, or of ongoing meanderings in troubled waters.  Then, when a medical condition hits the seemingly clean and linear timeline we live and embrace, the disruption becomes magnified with an even greater exponent of sorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer because of 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 positions, the need to file 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 becomes part of the tragedy of human life.

A life cut short is one which failed to be fulfilled; and, similarly, a career shortened is one which failed to accomplish its stated goals.

But, sometimes, it is of comfort and substantive contribution to see that others — even major figures like like Dickens, Salinger and Capote — had to endure the torture of life’s fated despair.  For, in the end, there is little dissimilar in the human essence of all three in relationship to the rest of us; each suffered, lived a life of fated misery, and had to “deal” with the cruelty of the world, thereby validating Hobbes’ description that man’s life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Alliteration of Life

Cathartic calamities caused creatively cannot cooperatively contain characteristic contents clearly coordinated contumaciously.  Sometimes, the insistence upon form can result in the nonsensical loss of clarity in substance; life often reflects the absurdities we establish by convention and societal imposition, and we pay the price for it.

Life is like being a letter in a series of alliterative words; we are helpless in being attached, but cannot dissociate ourselves, separate one’s self, or otherwise excise the offending aspect.  We are forever wedded like the proverbial two peas in a pod, with an incessant but futile search for a seam to burst out.  The problem, too, is that it may all sound proper and profound; but beneath the surface of consonant melodies and mellifluous motions of letters harkening back with pleasantries of sound, sight and solace, the reality of it is that the emperor with no clothes needs to be called out, lest the closeted secrets remain dormant.

Medical conditions tend to make of life an alliteration of sorts; squeezed between the implanted word in front and crushed by the one behind, we are left without choices in being a pawn in the cycle of life’s fate.  Like the word that sounds melodious as it rolls off the tongue of the creator, we keep trying to fit in despite the absurdity of the substance and content.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a metaphor of life is well-known.  Despite being stripped of dignity and design, the Federal or Postal worker suffering from a medical condition is treated as half-human, half-worth and half-baked.  They are relegated to the corner office, the basement of windowless reserves, and raked over the proverbial coals to perform menial tasks meant to humiliate and defeat.  But it all “sounds nice” — the courageous attempts by the agency to accommodate; the superficial empathy shown by supervisors and managers; it is all meant to soothe.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often seen as just another daunting task, an obstacle placed in front of the already-stretched limits of the Federal or Postal employee; but then, what choices are there?

Like the alliterative words caught between others just because of the consonant attached, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition represents the alliteration of life, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely another reflection in the pond of life, provided productively as previous payment portending possible potentialities progressively purchased.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire