Federal Disability Retirement: The Certainty of Defeat

There is nothing more demoralizing than to “know” the certainty of defeat.  But that is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?  How does one “know”?  Certainly, one can balance the odds for and against; to take into account the factors which determine a statistical chance of success or failure; but does one ever have “certainty” in anything, or is it often merely a perspective of the glass being half full, or half empty?

Where the odds are overwhelming and objectively insurmountable: a 100-to-1 advantage that the opposing force has; a predetermined outcome that cannot be reversed; in such circumstances, then, what hope is there?  For, the only counterbalance to “certainty” is the glimmer of hope for some unforeseen “X-factor” that somehow saves the day.  On the other hand, it is the determination of “certainty” which extinguishes any flicker or flame of hope.

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, there is often the sense of an inevitability — a “certainty of defeat” — where the medical condition reveals a progressive march towards greater deterioration.

The counterbalance of hope is in the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement.  Yet, even that benefit — of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity — is not a certainty; it is, instead, a benefit which must be fought for.  The Agency which oversees the approvals and denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — does everything to try and find reasons to deny, deny, deny.

Does this mean that every application will face the certainty of defeat?  No — but it must be carefully prepared and effectively pursued.  To provide the greater counterbalance against the certainty of defeat, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement; for, as hope is the countermeasure to the certainty of defeat, so the lawyer is the one who can provide an objective perspective as to the potentiality for success.

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

 

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: Hope for Hope

There is hope; then, there is hoping for hope.  Hope alone is the ability to see the distance between Point-A and Destination-B;  Hope for hope is the capacity to picture in one’s mind that one may be able to view that distance between A and B.

Few of us are in the former category; for those in the latter, it is the little step between the two that remains a wide chasm that keeps growing each day.  The concrete plans that are made; a sense that there is a destination which is reachable; an idea to strive for, a meaning to live by and a clear perspective upon which one may abide by — these give hope.

It is when one lacks that hope, but is yet hopeful to attain it — that means that the spark of life, however faded or jaded, still remains, albeit in a flickering, fragile existence.  Perhaps it is as a result of a trauma; or the chronicity of a problem, a disabling medical condition that progressively and steadily deteriorates, where the soul becomes so battered and wounded that one is on the verge of giving up any hope for hope.

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, it may be time to consider filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is a long and arduous administrative process, and the process itself often picks apart a person’s hopeful reserves.  But it is a process which carries with it a hope for hope — away from the harassing nature of the Federal Agency, away from the constant battle against Postal Supervisors and Managers; and, in the end, it is the hope for hope that reinvigorates the belief that there is life beyond a career that has been slowly extinguishing the flickering hope that keeps one going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Reminders

What is the proper balance in a person’s life — between leisure and work; between thought and living; betwixt the physical and the psychological?  How much is “too much” in getting lost in the fantasies we surround ourselves with: Of watching the news; of enjoying a movie; of “doing” Facebook posts or “surfing” the internet?

Have you ever driven on a sparsely populated road or perhaps late at night when the lights of passing cars become a blurred memory of fleeting blindness, and upon arrival to your destination, you remember not a moment as to how you got there?  Perhaps you drove and did all of the proper things in the mechanical acts of driving, and yet you cannot remember yourself having engaged in the act of driving?  How much time is spent within the insular caverns of our own thoughts — whether when “thinking” or “cogitating”, or in watching a movie?

We fool ourselves into thinking that we are “living life” when in fact all we are doing is staring into a mass of illumination pock-marked with letters and punctuations.  Then, something inevitably “reminds” us — that we have to eat in order to keep from starving; that we have to respond to a real question posed by a real person; or in the mere act of needing to take out the garbage before it begins to rot beneath the kitchen sink.  And of medical conditions — they constantly remind us of our own mortality.

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 constancy of the imposition of the medical condition is a reminder that our deteriorating health is incompatible with continuation in the Federal or Postal job.

When the time comes where such “reminders” begin to dominate the life of the Federal or Postal employee, then it is no longer a “reminder” but of a jarring realization that no amount of getting lost in the distractions of life will change or alter the need: The need to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an attorney to determine if such a course is the best path of action for you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The messes we make

We observe the facade and conclude too quickly: Others live perfect lives; mine?  What a mess it is.

Have we evaluated all circumstances in an objective, rational fashion?  Isn’t the corollary and natural next question to be: That “other” person — what does he or she see when observing me?  Does the same conclusion follow: The facade which reveals calm and competence — It is a life nearer to perfection than my own; mine?

And so the cycle of discordant irrationality continues to feed upon itself.  And, of course, the Internet only further enhances and exacerbates such folly — of Facebook and Instagram, where “perfect” lives are lived in a 1-dimensional existence; of selectively chosen photographs of perfect couples, perfect meals, perfect vacations and perfect existences are somehow depicted in appearances of perfect lives.  Then, the truth somehow leaks out — this person just got a divorce; that person committed a crime; the other “perfect” person was publicly doing this or that, etc.

It is funny, that phrase — of truth “leaking” out, like a cracked glass that slowly seeps with agonizing revelations or a pipe that drips until the flooded basement overflows with a deluge of falsity.

The messes we make are often mere minor anomalies; they become messes when we try and contain them, hide them and act as if ours is the only mess in the world because comparing messes never reveals anything; everyone hides well their own messes; we just think that everyone else is perfect.

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 messes we make are often a result of failing to act.  The Agency is no fool — they see the excessive use of SL and request for LWOP; or the loss of performance acceptability; or the loss of attendance continuity, etc.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is not an admission of the messes we make; it is, instead, the truth behind the reality of the medical condition, and the real need to attend to one’s health, which should never be concealed, but openly acknowledged in order to move beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Lifetime Achievement Award

There is a sadness necessarily attached to such an award: It is an acknowledgement that a person’s worth has come to an end.  A life’s end is recognized when such an award is granted, and no one believes that anything further will be attained.  It is a dismissive award — a pinning of a goodby to the lapel of one’s mortality and an applause that soon fades because of achievements recognized and easily forgotten.

No one says of the recipient of such an award, “Boy, but does she have such potential!”  Rather, it is the very awarding of it which is the indicator that: The curtain is closing; the rocking chair is there in the corner; it is time to let others in the door; and, your time has passed.

What can it possibly mean for a person to accept such an award?  How can others determine the achievement within a span of a lifetime, and can it ever be rescinded?  What if, upon receipt of such an award, a person turns around and commits a heinous crime — do we then walk out of the ceremony shaking our heads and whisper to one another, “Well, he would have achieved it but for….”?  Isn’t that always the party-pooper conclusion, when we say of this or that: Except for; but for; if only…?

It is like saying that X was a great president except for Y, or that such-and-such was the best leader but for this-and-that.  To receive or be offered the “lifetime achievement award” is to declare the end of one’s life; to refuse it, is to embrace life and one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that filing for Federal Disability Retirement means that it is an “end” to something — somewhat akin to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award — such a thought should be reconsidered.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement is not an end, but a mere beginning: It allows the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon one’s health, and then to consider another vocation or career in the private sector by allowing him or her to make up to 80% of what one earned in the Federal sector, and continue to receive a disability retirement annuity. Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to “get the facts”, lest you become embroiled in the fallacy that Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The developing case

Some things need time to develop; “news stories” are often those animals — of events that are “still developing”; or of relationships and stories, ideas and categories of things still in stages yet of potentiality and not of actualized inertia. Children develop; medical conditions, as well, are always in stages of potentiality — whether of a worsening condition or even of getting better.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in that “netherworld” of a developing case, where a medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often nothing more frustrating than the feeling of being in a state of suspended animation — “suspended” because you know not what your status will be tomorrow or the next day; in “animation” because, although everything is still moving about and around, it is your career, your health and your life which is questioned and considered as questionable.

The developing case often involves multiple issues — of whether you have a doctor who will be supportive of your case; of whether you have the necessary time in service in order to be eligible; of whether you have given it enough time — and multiple other issues that, perhaps, cannot be affirmatively answered.  In such an event, guidance by an experienced attorney is needed in order to direct the Federal or postal employee through the maze of complex legal obstacles in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

Like most of life’s struggles, the developing case needs to be planned and prepared well, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law is crucial to the successful outcome of a goal which is known, but cannot quite be reached because the path towards that goal is yet developing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire