Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Predictions

How did the first person accurately predict the oncoming change of weather?  Of course, some would contend that no one has accurately predicted such a thing, and would scoff at the thought.  Was it merely by observation?

Why did logic not overtake the attempt at prediction — of Hume’s contention that there is no such thing as a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, but merely a repetition of events that can be defied when, in the next instance, what one expected may turn out to be wrongly presumed?  Or of other events — of the outcome of a contest between two teams; of great horse races, the Triple Crown, or even of Olympic events: Can accuracy of predictions be statistically enhanced by observation, analysis, careful scrutiny and always with a bit of luck included?

And in the field of medicine — is a “prognosis” the same, or similar to, a “prediction” of sorts?  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, the requirements necessary in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset includes a “prediction” of sorts — a prognosis that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months from the date of the application.

This does not mean that a Federal or Postal worker must wait for 12 months to establish that the medical condition itself will last that long, but merely that the medical condition itself will last a minimum of 12 months from the time one applies for Federal Disability Retirement — which, as a practical matter, makes sense because it takes about the same amount of time, on average, to get an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and there would essentially be no point in filing if, upon an approval, you no longer suffer from the medical condition itself.

A “prognosis” is, indeed, a type of prediction, and most doctors will be able to provide “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” as to the lasting effects and enduring nature of a medical condition, based upon experience, analysis and clinical encounters.

Now, as for the weather…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The carefully crafted life

But that we could just write the narrative of our life, reflecting briefly upon our past, describing the present condition of being, but most importantly, to carefully craft the anticipated future of our lives in process.  What is revealed from one’s past is telling of a person’s character; of the present, a manifestation of the compass of one’s heart; and to the narrative of one’s future?  If the cultivation of one’s soul is the essence of the teleological process of life, the content of what we insert into the delineated poetry of future actions will uncover the truth in being of our damaged and tortured souls.

Would the script include fame and fortune?  Encounters with the common and ordinary, or of the arrogant dismissal of all but the beautiful and fortunate?  Would money always be written into the narrative of a future life, or ignored and instead replaced by peculiarities of fantasies, such as time travel, the ability to fly, or defiance of mortality and vanquishing of fear?

What one wishes for, like the genie who grants the dreams of youth, casts aside the veil we walk about with, and reveals all.  But the operative concept often overlooked is not about a crafted life; rather, that “extra” descriptive adverb which denotes painstaking caution and conscientious execution:  How does one “carefully” craft a life?  For, when wishes are offered and granted without constraint, the crafting itself becomes cast away as a mere byproduct and of irrelevant concern, like the human detritus flung out from a window of a speeding car down the highway of reckless disregard.

The care that one takes in crafting a life — now, that is an undertaking few of us attend to, despite every opportunity at every turn in the linear sequence of even the ordinary life of an individual.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, 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 positional duties, that opportunity is offered in a limited and defined manner — in the form of 2 pathways.

First, by being required to write one’s narrative on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability (where the Federal or Postal employee must describe, delineate and prove a sliced portion of one’s life concerning the medical condition and its impact upon one’s capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job); and Second, by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — thereby formulating the narrative which will determine the future course of one’s life and livelihood.

No, in either case, the Federal or Postal employee will not be able to receive a genie’s grant of unfettered wishes and requests; but that was always the thoughtless residue of a childhood fantasy, anyway.

For, in the end, the carefully crafted life is not one which has any room for the misspent daydreams of a forlorn childhood; rather, the truly substantive content of a carefully crafted life necessarily involves the Triumvirate of the T:  Trials, Triumphs, and some sprinkling of Tragedies; just refer back to Shakespeare, or of Milton and Melville; anything else was merely the storybook fairytales of a bygone memory left behind in the dustbin of a forgotten era.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Caution

It is the characteristic which precludes and prevents unnecessary harm, and allows for the survival instinct to flourish; yet, as with most traits, there are both positive and negative aspects to it.  Yes, the telltale signs of hesitation, trepidation in approach, care in proceeding, and sometimes outright flight, allows for the evolutionary dominance of survival of the fittest and the genetic propagation of a species on the rise.  In modernity, however, when the dangers once diverse in the State of Nature are no longer applicable, that same innate fingerprint can be the preventative modality of stunted growth.  What was once the thrust for endurance of longevity may now be the invisible thread which holds back.

Caution, as a philosophy of living, can indeed limit the potential for greater good.

Perhaps in finance, the conservative approach with steadiness of investment is the preferred methodology; in politics, the inane and incomprehensible mumblings which meander with linguistic elasticity and meaningless tropes, the pathway to elected office; and in the Federal Sector and the U.S. Postal Service, to “not make waves” may well be the quiet road to disregarded competence and allowable step-increases at expected intervals.  But sometimes life brings about change without the seeking our of disruptive interludes, and that is precisely what a medical condition does to a life of serenity and quietude.  They are life’s misgivings not asked for, and interruptions unearned.

There again, caution and hesitation go hand in hand, and making a decision about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is but a manifestation of a character trait which may have served you well up to this point, but which may exacerbate the collaboration of an unwanted triumvirate:  work, health, and one’s future security.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM often has a daunting sense of the unknown, and that is never a positive sign for the cautious by nature.  But nature’s course may not be the best, or even the wisest, avenue in this era of modernity; for, as the trait which allowed for narrow escapes in eons past, it is also the identical essence which may have delayed the promotion, interrupted the dream, restrained the hope, and dashed the fantasy which remained as an unscented residue quashed by a desire suppressed in the first chapter of that cautionary tale called “you”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire