Help with OPM Disability Retirement: Wintertime flowers

What do you tell a young child who tries to plant seeds in the fall, and when asked about the activity, responds, “I want flowers for the winter and am planting them now so that they will bloom by the time the cold comes”?

Do you: (A). Laugh and tell the child that he or she is being foolish, (B) Explain to the child that flowers don’t bloom in the wintertime, (C) Direct them to the proper plants that will produce the intended effect or (D) Let the child discover for him or herself as to whether such an effort will have any positive results?

Clearly, options A and B would not assist the child in learning and advancing one’s knowledge of the world (Answer B, while generally the case, ignores the greater effort required in explaining that some flowers do, indeed, thrive in the dead of winter or, alternatively, that this particular region is not conducive to certain plants); and choice D, while perhaps allowing for a greater lesson to be learned — may instead attain the wisdom of the harsh reality of the world through explanation and discussion.

Explanation and a proper understanding of the circumstances, context and limitations of one’s activities in light of the surrounding universe is the key to gaining wisdom and knowledge.

Given that, Choice C would obviously be the “best” option towards greater understanding.  Thus, it is not merely the vacuum within which what one is doing that matters; rather, it is the effective interaction between one’s activities with the greater world beyond that produces a balanced comprehension of one’s place in the universe, how one can be effective and even influential.

Camellias are wintertime flowers that continue to thrive despite the harshness of the environment; whatever the genetic make-up that allows it to remain in bloom while others wither or die, their hardiness in environments others hibernate from and shun is a testament to the reality that, indeed, there are such things as wintertime flowers.

That is sometimes a difficult reality and lesson to learn — for we too often categorize times of our lives in similar ways: In extremes where it is an “all or nothing” proposition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, it is important to understand that the end of a Federal or Postal career does not necessarily mean that it is an “all or nothing” proposition.

There can be life even in the wintertime of one’s career; for, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the individual to work in the private sector, the state, county or municipal job, and continue to receive the OPM Disability Retirement annuity, so long as you remain under 80% of what a person’s former Federal Salary pays, and to the extent that it is medically justifiable that there is a distinction between the former Federal job and the non-Federal job.

Like wintertime flowers, you just have to find the right circumstances in order to thrive in the season of your life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Once upon a time…

There are such fairytales, as well as reminiscences of a bygone era; or, when a traumatic event in one’s life bifurcates a “before” and differentiates from the “after”, such that we wanly smile and with eyes distant for yearning of a time now gone forever, we whisper to ourselves, “Once upon a time…

Old men do that; grouchy grandmothers relegated to nursing homes and old people’s enclaves; those who have variously been diagnosed with “personality disorders” or other such general umbrellas that allow for living in a previous timelessness of shallow memories; but the uniqueness of the phrase is that, for old people and other grouches, to whisper, “Once upon a time…” is to look backwards; whereas, for children, when the story begins with, “Once upon a time…” – it is forward looking, to a world of imagination and creativity.

Yes, the story itself may have the setting of a time before, but within the child’s imagination, he or she is projecting forward in the wayward paths of creative fantasies.

Then, of course, there are people who are beset with medical conditions – such as Federal or Postal workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position occupied, and who whisper in a soliloquy of sorts, “Once upon a time…

Such reminiscences bifurcate a time “before” and a time “after” – where there was life before the onset of the medical condition, and the living hell after the medical condition became, and remains, a chronic state of being where pain, discomfort, inability to attain any restorative sleep, and profound exhaustion and fatigue sets in.

For that Federal or Postal worker who suffers from such a medical condition, that the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes also a kind of a “Once upon a time” moment.  For, once an OPM Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee no longer needs to struggle with the essential elements of one’s job, perhaps the Federal Disability Retirement annuitant can look back and whisper, “Once upon a time…” – but like the child who states it with a forward-looking smile.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Cost of Character

Being daily denigrated is an expected course of treatment for some; for those who perpetrate it, the sport of demeaning is often thoughtless, reactive, and toxic to the core, and reflects a fundamental void in one’s own life; and for the victim of such caustic characterization, the incremental pounding to one’s ego, self-esteem and capacity for abuse results in diminishment of the identify of worth by small slices of reduced stature.  Such attacks may be overt and direct, while others may be subtle, privately targeted, and intentionally out of the earshot of witnesses.  In both cases, the damage can be devastating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must confront this type of daily abuse in the workplace, the avenues of outlet are complex and varied.  Complaining or filing lawsuits often results in the mere circling of the proverbial wagons around the perpetrators, and suddenly an invisible fence appears where the victim is the “outsider” and the caustic character the one needing protection.

For those Federal or Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and who receive the brunt end of such ill treatment because of the medical disability which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to deal not only with the toxicity of a hostile work environment, but concurrently with the underlying medical conditions, makes for an admixture of overwhelming circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and only course of action left.  For, to stay becomes an untenable option which impacts and further deteriorates one’s medical condition precisely because of the toxicity of the environment; to walk away and do nothing is an act of idiocy, given the years already invested in one’s career; and thus the alternative of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the most enlightened of choices to be made:  It allows for the recuperative period away from a denigrating source of pain, while securing a foundational annuity for one’s financial security and future.

We often talk daftly about “character” and the need to “stick it out” when the “going gets tough”.  But the cost of character is the price paid by the Federal or Postal employee who must withstand the onslaught of a bureaucracy which is faceless and relentless, while at the same time dealing with the deteriorating health administered by a medical condition which will not just go away.  The cost of character means nothing if the essence of one’s worth is not protected, and filing for, and securing, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is meant to do just that:  pay for the cost, and safeguard the character of worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Faking it

We often judge the complexity and sophistication of a species by evaluating the extent of negative capacities.  Thus are humans considered to be advanced creatures because of the capability of lying, subterfuge, dissimulation, pretense of behavior, and other such undesirable characteristics. But other species can “lie” as well, if one accepts faking matters and circumstances as constituting that sort of advancement of evolutionary behavior.

Predators can “act like” they are asleep, or even dead or noticeably unaware, in order to lure the prey into a somnolence of cautionary approach.  Birds can mimicry others; and chameleons can adapt and change in order to engage in subterfuge.  But the true test of sophisticated advancement is the ability to defy an inevitable reaction to a cause, and to simultaneously suppress it.  As pain is a natural alarm system which the body necessitates a reaction to, so the act of concurrently concealing it requires an enormity of self-discipline rarely found in species other than in humans.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition engage in such subterfuge on a regular basis.  Whether in attempting to extend one’s career for a period greater than self-interest, or of necessity to survive among the pack of hyenas comprised of Federal agencies, their cohorts and co-conspirators, the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, faking it becomes a daily routine requiring self-containment and discipline of an extraordinary capacity.

Filing 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, is an avenue of relief where the threshold and intersection between concealment and level of pain can no longer be tolerated.  It is the exit by which Federal and Postal employees find where once there was none.  For, in the end, the predator wounded and laying in wait for the injurious cause to approach with lesser caution, in order for the prey to become the aggressor, the danger is that one may wait too long and bleed to death, and unknowingly reverse the intended fortunes of the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Causality

Worker’s Comp requires it; Social Security disregards it; and OPM Disability Retirement shifts the issue into a different arena.  “Causality” encapsulates the relationship between two or more events, where one is thought to result from another, or put a different way, where “responsibility” for a given effect is attributed to a prior conditional occurrence fulfilled as sufficient to warrant as being the “cause” of that event.

In a Federal OWCP case, administered through the Department of Labor, one must prove that the injury or medical condition was “caused” as a workplace incident or occurrence, such that the “event” occurred or was somehow connected to the employment itself.

For Social Security Disability cases, causation is normally not an issue, since the basis for eligibility is not concerned with any singular event, but rather, whether the person filing for Social Security Disability benefits meets a standard definition of being “totally disabled” from gainful employment.

For Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is not one of causation, but rather, the relationship between one’s medical condition and the attributable impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Thus, there is, in a different sense, a case of causality to be made, but the relationship between A and B has shifted, where it matters not “how” it occurred, but rather, “whether” the medical condition prevents (causes) one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

In the end, causation in a Federal/Postal Disability Retirement application is irrelevant in the traditional sense that one normally accepts, but the shifting focus of causality is important to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire