FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: SF 3112C

As a “government form” it purports to provide guidance in general terms, and it is doubtful that the lack of clarity as to its purpose or utility will assist the medical professional into writing an effective report.

The plain fact is that SF 3112C is a confusing form — confusing both to the doctor or Nurse Practitioner who is presented with it, as well as to the FERS Applicant who is attempting to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  It refers to a “position description” being attached, but fails to provide the necessary explanatory nexus between the PD and the medical opinion sought.

What part of the position description should be focused upon?  Is it the entirety of the PD, portions of it, or just the “essential elements”?  Is it relevant whether a person can work part-time, full time, or an erratic combination of both depending upon the severity of symptoms that may arise periodically?  Is SF 3112C meant to confuse, or like so many “government forms”, is the language inevitably misleading because it is (A) meant to be that way, (B) unintentionally written in an unclear manner or (C) is meant to be wholly unhelpful because OPM doesn’t want to go out of its way to help the Federal Disability Retirement applicant?  Must the SF 3112C, the “Physician’s Statement”, be used at all?

If you are still working with the Federal Agency or on the rolls of the Postal Service, or at least not separated for more than thirty one (31) days, must the prepared physician’s statement be sent directly to your H.R. Office without first being reviewed and validated by the applicant?  The form itself certainly makes it appear so, but is that really the case?

In the end, the applicant who is preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make some initial and important determinations concerning the substance and content of the application itself.

Forms are tricky; the laws that oversee them, often vague; but if you are relying upon instructions written and formulated by the very government agency that will be making a determination on your application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in the very law that governs Federal Disability Retirement, before you begin “filling” out forms or having your doctor fill one out.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: The wave of unwillingness

Watching waves along a seashore is indicative of the rhythmic cadence of life’s daily encounters; the rolling regularity of repetition, then for some odd reason — or none at all — a sudden rush of an unanticipated surge that changes the expectations relied upon.

Human will is a peculiar characteristic; it is not quite a conceptual principle, nor even a sensation; it is an inner force emanating from deep within one’s psyche, energized at various times, inert and dormant at other.  When does the wave of unwillingness appear?  Like that rhythmic lull which is suddenly overtaken by a surge that is unexpected, it appears in life with a sudden vengeance.

For most of life, we are willing — whether to be helpful, to be generous, kind, passing things by and allowing for things to occur without much resistance.  Then, a medical condition begins to gnaw at one’s health — at first, perhaps just an inkling of troubled waters ahead, then a persistence that fails to abate.  By sheer will do we get through each day, overcoming by power of driven insistence and persistence, until one day the wave of unwillingness makes us stop, ponder and consider: How many more days can the power of one’s will continue like this?

Medical conditions have a way of wearing one’s will down.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to overwhelm with the wave of unwillingness — where the body becomes weary and fatigued; the mind begins to lose its clarity of purpose — it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective 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.

Remember that the wave of unwillingness did not just come about without accompaniment by other waves; it is just that the rhythm of the daily onslaught of stresses, the lack of care for the medical condition that continued to deteriorate, etc., came to a critical point where you could no longer avoid the reality of what the disease, injury or condition was trying to tell you: The human will, while resilient, can withstand only so much, and one’s health often contributes greatly to the ability and capacity to get one to a certain point in life, and when a critical juncture is encountered where the wave of unwillingness begins to overtake and overwhelm, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you may be able to once again enjoy the lull of rhythmic waves that create a symphony of sounds like the lullaby of a childhood’s warm memories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing 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, the reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Still Life

The meaning can evoke a duality of concepts; of the artistic mode, where self-contradiction is inherent – for, it is often in depictions of inanimate objects, presented in combinations not normally seen in true living circumstances, that the artist arranges in order to capture a semblance of that which is never, or rarely, encountered.  Or of the alternate implication:  Once thought to have been deceased, the realization that there is yet a soul to revive, an aspiration to embrace, and hope again to realize.

Both, however, have something in common:  A frozen placement for all of eternity to encapsulate; the organic matter from which to work with, endure through and contrast to the opposite – of Nothingness devoid of any purpose, teleology or construct of animation; and the two together will posit a compound concept of contrasting contradictions:  loss of movement, but gain of Being.  But, then, that is so often true of daily living, isn’t it?

There is a contradiction in what we do; on the face of it, we appear to be “doing something”; but deep within the recesses of our thoughtful doubts, we know that we are failing to accomplish the hope of our dreams, the aspirations still surviving deep within our hearts, and the very failure of moving towards that which we desire, diminishes our inner selves and begins to slowly, insidiously shrivel the core of our souls.

Medical conditions tend to have that effect, and when the “outside” world begins to confirm that which we fear, the shriveling effect becomes accelerated on an exponential scale where proportionality of judgment becomes askew and fails to meet the expectations of our own essences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to pervasively impact all aspects of life – home, recreational, work and relational – the danger is that of a Still Life painting:  the combination of events and objects are not what they are supposed to be, and the encounter with “real” life no longer allows for further movement.

We become stuck in a painting arranged by someone else, and more and more, we lose greater control over our own destiny.  And in the alternative meaning of that concept – that we “still” have some life in us – is where taking the pragmatic steps toward preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset comes into play.

Still Life does not have to prevent movement where there is still life; and for the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer able to advance because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, it is the Still Life painting which represents the impetus that there is still life to be lived beyond one’s Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Peripatetic Nature

But for a rarity, we seek its very opposite; consistency, stability, and the duration of longevity; these, we believe, provide for that which we didn’t have ourselves, yearn for, or seek to give to our own offspring.  In domestic legal proceedings, we hear tell of incongruent arguments where, in the midst of separation, the parties delineate what is in the “best interests of the children” — of remaining in the family home, maintaining a stability of regularity, etc.

From our limited micro-perspective, the loss of constancy when contrasted with the length of one’s own mortality from birth to death, is but a linear insignificance in comparison with the age of the universe.  Conceptually, we recognize this; and yet we constantly fight against it.  Our forefathers maintained a single job from youth to death; then, someone thought of the idea of “retirement”, and suddenly there were mandatory age requirements and proposals floating about concerning the “golden years”, all the while keeping pace with mass constructions of nursing homes and home healthcare services.

The incongruity and self-contradictions are palpable, but somehow we get away with it all.  Is man a seeker of stability, or does he possess a peripatetic nature?  Beyond such a question is the tendency to reject and resist being “forced out”.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the persistent harassment, the hostile work environment created, and the progressive insistence of pernicious pettiness invoked to make life unpleasant — these are all signs to acknowledge that one must “move on” with life.

It is difficult enough to deal with a medical condition; harder still to attend to it in conjunction with work-related pressures.

Stability of purpose is often what we thought we wanted; and for the peripatetic traveler, perhaps moving to another phase of life is an easy thing; but for the rest of us, change — even recognizing the necessity and inevitability, especially for the Federal or Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is something that is hard to accept, given the true nature of man, even if we all think of ourselves as Aristotelian philosophers.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: A Series of Refinements

Age does not necessarily result in greater wisdom; rather, for many, it merely sits in a puddle of stale intransigence.  As well, palpable advancement on a linear scale occurs only in the context of the capacity to make progress, but remains in a state of limbo without an intermediate causal impetus.  Throughout life, it is the refinements made which make for differentiation.  A minor tweak here; a self-reproachful reminder here; for, very few begin the journey needing a complete overhaul, but merely a readjustment and cleaning of those spark-plugs gone bad.

Thus, when a medical condition hits an individual, it often becomes a crisis of identity; for, throughout, up until the point of realizing that a change in career may be necessitated by the unexpected health condition, the thoughts and plans always included a series of minor refinements, and nothing more.

But Federal Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal employees is, in fact, nothing more than a greater series of minor refinements; it is the focus upon the change which transforms it into a traumatic event of sorts.  For, in the end, it is precisely those series of refinements made throughout the course of one’s life, which has prepared one for the vicissitudes wrought by unexpected circumstances; throughout life, we prepare for the next storm; wisdom is merely the ability to recognize the inevitability of change, and through a series of refinements, to adjust accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must 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, the need to file an OPM Disability Retirement application through OPM is often looked upon as a crisis-embroiled act.  And, indeed, it is certainly a troublesome venture, one fraught with headaches, obstacles and administrative confusion; but in the end, it is a step necessitated by circumstances beyond one’s control, and merely another in a series of refinements required by life’s bumps and bridges, and one which requires some amount of wisdom in going forward into the bureaucratic nightmare of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire