Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Ordered lives

There is, first of all, chaos and disarray; and whether from a biblical worldview or the natural paradigm of a universe formed from a massive energy source that exploded with such force as to hurl a spinning residue of astronomical proportions into far galaxies that resulted in the starry heavens we witness today; it is from the opposite of a placid tranquility that we experience the ordered lives of everyday existence.

There are, of course, the extremes of the spectrum – of that person who is obsessive and compulsive about the “ordering” of one’s life, where every teacup and saucer must be placed in the cupboard within precise millimeters of one another, and no angle of a picture on a wall must be allowed to circumvent the geometric consistency with the right angles of the corners; or, by contrast, the slob who believes that pants, plants, underwear and empty pizza boxes belong in the same corner of the bedroom as expensive china and puppies who snuggle in bathroom showers.

Somewhere in between the two extremes upon the spectrum of life, exists the ordinary person of ordinary means, who wakes up each ordinary morning to go about in ordinary ways; all within the constraints of ordered lives.  All, or most of us, like, enjoy and look forward to some semblance of order in our lives.

Chaos is good for an exciting moment; monotony of discourse for the rest of the day requires that sanity mandates a certain sequence of events, and that is why dystopian stories of a universe in disarray after a nuclear war or some other disastrous consequence of political missteps left in the hands of incompetent world leaders allows for small-budget films to be successful in scaring the hell out of us all.

Divorce, death, illness and tragedies disrupt the otherwise sought-after ordering of lives left peaceful; medical conditions tend to do that, don’t they?  They interrupt the tranquility that we so seek with quiet resolve; and then the medical condition becomes a chronic state of existence, and more than just a nuisance, they interrupt our plans, our hopes, and the essence of our ordered lives.

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 the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the interruption that ensues from the disruption of a medical condition, resulting in the breaking up of one’s ordered life, often comes to a point where consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is an employment benefit that is “there” for Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  And, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may come at a time when the previous state of ordered lives is sought after again, if only to reach a destination where chaos is no longer the new norm of everyday existence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The timeworn tale

Are there such things, or just the boorish attitudes of impatient whims?  Are adages, quips and kernels of wisdom never perceived by eyes afresh, or do tales told ever-incessantly by husbands through the course of lasting marriages, or by grandpa at each visit to the chloroform-smelling nursing homes where coughs and sputtering are interrupted by stories regurgitated between gasps filled with oxygenated rasping, merely bore us all?  Of timeworn tales – where do they come from?  When do they end?

Is there a garbage heap of stories no longer told that old men and silent women visit, and leave behind the narratives no one wants to listen to, anymore?  Is it that we no longer have the time, nor the patience, to act “as if” for the benefit of old geezers and pitiable wheezers and instead, rudely interrupt when the tale begins, by saying, “Now, now, you’ve already told that one – many times”?

Yet, a perkiness of interest, a raised eyebrow, and a playful wink to the relative across the table; and the kindness shown to the children at the table, despite the 50th or 100th time told, that we could spend the time together, take the same monotony of predictability, but turn it into an occasion of joy “just because” – just because the person telling it is worthy, and we show how much we value life’s dignity above time “wasted” by the effort we invest upon the individuals we claim to care for.

We have no time for pity; no energy left for patience; and certainly, no stamina remaining for moments beyond our pleasurable self-fulfilling wants and desires.  That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee prepares one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, with the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, along with the evidence of supportive records and medical narratives, there is no hush of anticipation by Agency supervisors, managers or coworkers.  Yours is merely another timeworn tale that they want to quickly bypass.

But the point, of course, is to get the “Administrative Specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the agency that makes all decisions on a Federal Disability Retirement application – to see beyond that timeworn tale of one’s medical condition, disability, and inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For, that Administrative Specialist is the “hard one” to persuade – having read thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of such timeworn tales.  It is thus the job of an attorney who has done this many times, who possesses the power of words in the narration of a compelling tale, that often makes the subtle but necessary difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Holiday Season

We are entering into that period of respite; of the contradictory clashes of duality in purpose, paradigms and expectations:  to “be happy” during a season where one is forced to conform to a standard no one quite remembers was ever met in the history of mankind; of rushing to “get everything done”, while supposedly being reflective, meditative and contemplative upon the season of new birth and magical fantasies; of responding to cheerful salutations contrary to one’s nature, reflex and possible genetic disposition so ingrained that the forced smiles hurt the resistant flesh around one’s mouth; and, all the while, to act “as if.”

“As if” the religiosity of the event still matters while we stand in line to follow the incessant promptings of the commercialization of that which we are admonished to recognize as a “sacred” time of sacraments and benedictions; “as if” kids can still believe in something when throughout the rest of the year the cynicism of hopeless trope pervades and dominates; and “as if” the heart is really where the mind should be, when rationality is overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil of one’s life experiences, the present hope gone and replaced by tomorrow’s sorrowful cries for yonder residue of ashen dust as the angels of lost years flew by in a whirlwind of timeless escape.

Yet, as we were once young and the trials of childhood memories forbade but a glint of hope, we remember trying to stay awake and listening, with but hopeful ears and fleeting dreams, of the footsteps of Santa upon the roof above, knowing that the tears suffered in years long gone could be embraced by a singular touch of a hopeful tomorrow.

The Holiday Season is upon us – with all of its inherent stresses, the clash of psychology between hope and expectations, and the further problems now upon those who actually believe that someone else’s Instagram truly represents the reality of life’s perfection, where there is none.  Yes, yes – everyone will be given that trope of wisdom:  Slow down and enjoy the season; it is not as important to receive, but to give; if everything doesn’t seem perfect, relax and enjoy the company surrounding; if you are getting too “stressed out”, then – what?

Often, it is actions beyond words which result in the first steps toward a “feeling” of accomplishing something, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to take the next step towards getting beyond the medical condition that has become chronic, and away from the constant harassment and condescending remarks about not “carrying your weight” at the workplace, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary first and next step in reaching a goal known but not yet materialized.

It is somewhat like the “Holiday Season” itself:  we are “supposed” to be cheerful, but what cheer can be found in rushing about to buy trinkets from sweat factories made in foreign lands?  The key is to find the quality of life in the small steps we take, and as with both the Holiday Season and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is those first and foremost necessary steps – baby-like though they may appear – that will result in the accomplishment of a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The mortality reminder

When does mortality become a concern?  Certainly, not during the youthful vigor when the future holds bright concurrent with the cellular construct yet expanding and multiplying.  Is it with the first encounter that reveals vulnerability?  And what is defined as a “healthy” sense of it, as opposed to an obsessive conduit to a dementia of nihilism?  Does a “close shave” necessarily haunt everyone, or does it matter as to the sensitivity of a soul that such karma encounters?  What “reminds” one of a future terminal, as opposed to becoming an all-consuming journey to avoid the ultimate consequence?

Whether for future promises of glorious defiance of it (Christianity and similar belief systems) or of denial of the substantive reality we face by it (Hinduism, Buddhism and similar negation-bases faiths), the treatment of how it is approached, the methodology of embracing or rejecting, and the paradigms constructed in order to answer the underlying metaphysical queries, are “projects” which Heidegger has identified as those very endeavors to avoid the inevitable.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from chronic, debilitating, or otherwise delimiting medical conditions, such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the brush with the question of mortality becomes a reality precisely because vulnerability from the secure world one has previously taken for granted, becomes threatened with each day passing in the empirical experience of contending with the medical condition itself.

Medical conditions remind us of our mortality.  Certain and specific conditions tend to exponentially magnify it tenfold:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (in nightmares, intrusive memories and recalling of traumatic events); Major Depression/Depressive Disorder (by the loss of stamina and the overwhelming sense of despair); Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which may include suicidal ideations and panic attacks (via the heightened sense of intolerance to work-place stresses); and those physical conditions which result in chronic and intractable pain, from multi-level degenerative disc disease, cervicalgia, myofascial pain syndrome; Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as the ongoing list which every attempt to become “all-inclusive” always fails to mention, precisely because there is never a single right answer to the mortality reminder.

The key is often missed because the focus is misdirected – it is not so much the medical condition itself, but the impact of that medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties:  that is the essence and foundation of a successful Federal Disability Retirement application.  But more importantly, it is that “nexus” which is the key to the mortality reminder, and that which prompts the Federal or Postal employee into a spur to action:  Prepare the Federal Disability Retirement application well; formulate the foundation for Federal Disability Retirement carefully; file the Federal Disability Retirement application in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Employee Medical Disability Program: Potluck

It is where everyone –  family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and even those who don’t want to, but feel the pull of obligation by the sheer weight of embarrassment or shame – brings a dish of something to the occasion, gathering or congregation of confluence.  That is both the rub and the drub, isn’t it?  We never know what is brought to the event; and for some, slinking in unnoticed with empty hands, and once there, who asks what the contents of the contribution consisted of – which can easily be dismissed, in any event, with an inane response of, “Oh, this and that, you know,” and walk away knowing that good manners will prevent any further query of suspicion.

There are always three elements (just three?) to the concept of a “potluck” meal:  (1) If sufficient numbers are invited, the likelihood of a grand and satisfying feast will aggregate (of course, the better preparedness would assign various categories to each invitation – i.e., invitees “a” through “d” brings entrees; “e” through “k” desserts; “l” through “r” side servings, etc.), (2) While some overlap and duplication might occur, the statistical chances are that a wide variety of random amalgamation will be the result, and (3) the greater the participation, the higher statistical chance of success.

It is of this last element that applies to Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, regardless of whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, it is the “other side” of the shotgun approach – of allowing for multiple input, various hands and uncoordinated resources, that implodes with an inconsistency of strategic focus.

Medical conditions are interruptive enough; the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, often results in a parallel inability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

That being said, “help” and “assistance” of the non-legal type may come from spouses, family and friends –  voices which neither know the pain of the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, nor are familiar with the legal pitfalls and consequences attending to each procedural and substantive step of the process.  “Help” is always a “good” thing; but in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “potluck approach” may be the least desirable of methodologies to engage – unless you simply want a good and hearty meal in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The wrong target

What if you are involved in the highest levels of competitive marksmanship – say, target shooting by a rifle, or crossbow, or bow and arrow, or even by a pistol.  You shot throughout the morning, and hit the bulls eye every time; your opponents try to keep up with you, but at each level of competition, there is a slight deviation here, a centimeter there, and systematically, the competition is “eliminated”, and you are left standing at the podium of the “winner”.

As the trophy is brought out, the Chief Judge who is about to present the awards and ceremonial crown, pauses, reflects for a moment, and declares:  “Sorry, but it turns out that you were shooting at the wrong target each time.”  They then present the accolades to the “runner up”, who was shooting on the same range, aiming at each turn at the target set up in his or her respective lane of sightings, and seemed to follow the protocol as set up by the competition and the committee of judges.

You go and question the judgment of the judges, and especially address the Chief Judge, protesting:  “What do you mean?  I shot at the target that was set up.”  “But you shot at the wrong target.  Your target was the one in the lane next to you.  You shot in Lane A; you were supposed to be in Lane B”.  And you argue:  “But that is irrelevant.  Lane A is the same as Lane B, and there is no difference between the two.”  And the Chief Judge says:  “Look at your designated Card Assignment:  It states without question, ‘Assigned to Lane A’.  Yet, you shot all targets in Lane B”.  You persist in arguing:  “But what difference does it make?  It is the same target whether I am in Lane A or Lane B?”  And the kicker from the Chief Judge:  “In life, you can’t just do what you want; you have to obey the rules.”

Who is right?  Would it matter which lane one is assigned to, and whether obedience to the protocol and adherence to the “letter of the law” is followed, when the substantive point of the whole process – hitting the target – is clearly accomplished beyond the competence of all others?  We often encounter that anomaly in life – of the seeming conflict between the technicality of the issue (the “minutiae” otherwise unnoticed by the rest of the population) and the general adherence based upon common knowledge and boredom of repetitive protocol.  It may well be a trite redundancy, but when a “technicality” is involved, then a technician is the one to call.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of the “wrong target” and the “technical violation” of the rules is appropriate to recognize and consider:  For, in Federal Disability Retirement Law, as in many other facets of legal wrangling, making sure that the larger compass of hitting the “right” target, as well as keeping within the proper lane of technical legal issues, are both equally important in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “wrong target” is the agency; the “right target” is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The “technicalities” encompass the statutes, laws, regulations and legal opinions as rendered by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Courts on issues pertaining to Federal Disability Laws litigated as precedents.  And, who is the proper “technician” to call?  An attorney who is experienced in fighting the cause for Federal and Postal employees, to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire