Federal Disability Retirement for FERS Employees: Future Planning

Planning itself, of course, by definition necessarily involves the future, but fails to delineate the span or the nature.  A life involving strictly the present and nothing of the future is considered reactionary.  Animals appear to live in this manner: of sleeping when tired; eating when the food appears magically in a bowl and placed upon the floor; and going outside when either the need arises or the master begins to bounce a ball for no other reason than to throw it afar with an expectation that the dog will go and chase it.

An unplanned meal is often disastrous and the option availed will normally be the default position: a carry-out.  One cannot without thoughtfulness go through the day until, sometime around 6 or 7 in the evening, suddenly perk up and say, “Well, what shall we have for dinner” — and expect a three-course meal to suddenly appear, unless you are of the wealthy-class and pay for a chef somewhere in the south wing of your mansion.  Or, again, the default position for an unplanned future is to engage the convenient route: to access the services of others.  Thus: if you don’t have a butler or a chef, then a carry-out from a nearby restaurant may be the best next thing.

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, future planning beyond the next hour may be a necessary mindset in order to successfully maneuver through the bureaucratic morass of the administrative procedures encapsulating and controlling the multiple stages of the process.

Part of that planning should involve a consultation with an Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Law.  Future planning involves actual planning; and it is the “planning” part that secures the stability of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Bridge to Nowhere

It is a metaphor which evokes images of hopelessness and futility, if such images can indeed be captured at all.  Whether of an attitude, a perspective or the existential reality of one’s personal circumstances, the question is, Why was the bridge to nowhere built to begin with?  There it stands, in mid-construction, suspended but unfinished, not leading to anywhere, not going in any particular direction, not coming from any place known.

It is often how we feel in the middle of our lives.  One has only to sit in a cafe, by a window, and watch the midday rush of people coming and going, seemingly with purpose, appearing with decisiveness, until you catch the gaze of someone passing — a knowing look, a pause, a hesitation; and at that moment of illumination, the stranger and you both know that the constant, ant-like activity is merely a whirl of coming and going upon a bridge to nowhere.

The furious pace of life; of rushing to get to work, working, then rushing to get home within a factory of people uncaring and unaware.  Then, when calamity hits — a medical condition that interrupts, intercedes and imposes its existence upon you — suddenly the routine of ferocious activity finds meaning in the very meaninglessness felt the moment before.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job because of a medical condition, the sense that one is driving upon a bridge to nowhere is common and troubling.  Of course one’s health should be a priority; and of course work, the “mission” of the Federal agency and the harassment that is initiated without empathy or understanding — all of that stuff should be secondary and subordinated to taking care of one’s health.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the recognition that the bridge to nowhere will not take you anywhere, and it is in order to regain that insight of meaningfulness that it is important to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in order to focus upon the importance of priorities shoved aside — like one’s health.

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

 

Federal Disability Retirement: A Return to Basics

Every few decades, there is a “new” movement which upholds the divinity of returning to the foundational core of one’s existence:  of going back to being a farmer; living a life of an ascetic; stripping away all “unnecessary” accretions and accoutrements deemed as vestries of comfort and “bourgeois” by definition (whatever that means); or, in common parlance and language more amenable to the ordinary person, living more “simply”.

The perspective that such a “movement” is somehow “new” is of itself rather an anomaly; but then, each generation believes that they have discovered and invented the proverbial wheel, and all such past epochs were mere ages of primitive imbecility.   And, perhaps, we are once more in that familiar circle of life, and such a movement has beset the quietude of modernity, again.  As such, let us return to the basics:

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “foundational” eligibility criteria needs to be met:  For those under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System — or the “new” system sometime around 1986 and thereafter), the Federal or Postal employee must have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service in order to apply.  For those under CSRS, the accrual time is 5 years — and, as such, anyone under CSRS would presumably have met that basic requirement, although a CSRS employee with a long “break in service” could potentially fall short, but that would involve a unique set of circumstances rarely seen.

Further, the Federal or Postal employee who sets about to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must either be (A) a current employee (in which case he or she would file first through the agency’s Human Resource Office, then to be forwarded to OPM, (B) if not a current employee, then separated from service not more than 1 year (as the Statute of Limitations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement requires that a former Federal or Postal employee file directly with OPM within 1 year of being separated from service), (C) if separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days, then to file with one’s former Agency, and (D) if separated for more than 31 days, but less than 1 year, then refer to (B) and file directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania.

These are some of the “basics” in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  There is much, much more to the entire process, but then again, if one were to expand too far astray from the foundational core of the “back to basics” movement, one would be a hypocrite for allowing the complications of life to accrue beyond the essential elements of life — of water, food and shelter or, for the Federal and Postal employee filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bridge between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Structural Problem

It is what we never want to hear, and fear most:  that statement from an “expert” who informs us that it is a “structural problem“.  Not cosmetic; not superficial; not unessential; but that word, concept and image which goes to the very heart and foundation of the damage:  the center of the universe.  When the damage occurs there, and the rotting vein of progressive deterioration touches upon that central nervous system, then it becomes “structural”, and all of the rest may come falling down in a sudden dustheap of crumpled carcasses.

So long as it involves only the peripheral concerns, we keep telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter, that the foundation is still solid and they are mere extremities of lesser concern.  We do that with pain and other irritants of life.  And with medical conditions that don’t double us over or completely debilitate us.  So long as there remains a semblance of structural integrity left, one can go on and continue without regard to the symptoms which become telltale signs of impending doom.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has arrived at the point of finality where one can no longer just venture forward, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the best remaining option.

We wait because it is in the very nature and essence of procrastination that the inevitability of ignorance, neglect, disregard and sidestepping can delay the confrontation with that which we fear to know, refuse to acknowledge, and take comfort in detracting from the encounter with the truth of established verifiability.  As with science, the flat earth, and the view from a geocentric universe, no one wants to be told that there is a structural problem.

Too often, the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a point of needing to admit that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is and has become a necessity because he or she has worked until the last straw was placed on the back of the proverbial camel.

Medical conditions announce harbingers of events to come, by symptoms calling for attention and attentiveness.  While the news from the architect that the problem is a “structural” one may not be welcome, it was always an indicator that the inevitable was on the fast-track of necessity and predictability; we just turned our heads aside in hopes of another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Quiet Subtlety of Excellence

Failure blares like a discordant trumpet in a confined space with no exit; success flows like the quiet stream on the other side of the mountain, barely noticed.  In law, it is the appeal, and the written order issued therefrom, which receives the attention of the daily press.  Yet, if one pauses to consider:  The reason for the appeal, is the lack of success at the trial court level.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find themselves the target of workplace hostility because of a medical condition which now prevents them from performing one or more of the essential elements of their job, it is often a surprise that they have become a focal point of interest.  The quietude enjoyed for so many years, in relative anonymity, is actually a reflection of one’s outstanding performance throughout the years.  It is because of the threat of departure — of the “failure” to continue to support the agency, or to provide ongoing efficient contribution to the U.S. Postal Service — that results in the sudden and unwanted attention.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who cannot perform all of the essential elements of one’s job anymore, is an option which must be considered precisely because of the limited alternatives offered or provided by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Health should always be the primary concern; maintenance of one’s health, the focal point of endeavor.

And just as importantly, to maintain that quiet subtlety of excellence in the next important step of one’s life — to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

All these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has dedicated him or herself to the excellence of combining career, family and personal relationships; when the time comes to attend to one’s own medical difficulties, it is important to maintain and continue that standard-setting record of accomplishments, by ensuring that one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement claim reflects what has always been known all along, but has only received the murmurings of a muffled fanfare — that quiet subtlety of excellence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Different Perspectives during the Federal Disability Retirement Process

Inform an individual that you suffer from Hansen’s Disease, and one might get a benign reaction, perhaps a blank stare. Convey to the same individual that you have contracted leprosy, and it is likely to evoke an expression of revulsion, and perhaps a discomfort bordering on flight.

What we say; how we say it; the social stigmas attached; and the cultural sensibilities and conditionings constraining how we become predisposed to act and react, are often determined by the perspectives which are brought to the fore.  Leprosy is the common term for Hansen’s Disease, but with it, an entire historical perspective replete with stigmas and tales and images of disfigured and contorted features and physical characteristics surround the former term, but rarely accompany the latter.

Whether and however termed, it remains one and the same. For an individual who suffers from a disability or handicap, society’s reaction similarly remains consistent and uncaring. And while laws and regulations may provide a semblance of minimally protective measures, it cannot prevent individual insensitivities from surfacing.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the reaction of one’s agency or department is often tantamount to informing them of either contracting leprosy, or of Hansen’s Disease.

Normally, unless a compelling reason exists otherwise, such information should be limited, and restrictively revealed only when the necessity arises, precisely because of the type of reaction one can expect from the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Perspectives differ; differing perspectives may often surprise; but the one similarity abounding in human nature is not too different from the beastly perspective from whence we came; and that is of the herd instinct targeting the weakest and most vulnerable — in this case, the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire