OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Virtual Reality

Say a person says to you, “I was in Japan last night.”  You had just seen him the day before, and so you might quickly calculate how many hours it would take for a flight to Japan, how long he could have stayed there and then flown back; and, perhaps you would unduly confuse yourself by thinking, “Perhaps the time-zone shift is such that yesterday is today and today is actually tomorrow’s today because of the international time-zone shift”, or some similar nonsense as that which often confuses and confounds us all (in fact, isn’t that how we always feel when we must change the clocks for that “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” period?).

You study the person’s features and determine that he looks refreshed, without a hint of sleeplessness.  Upon coming to the conclusion that, No, it is not possible that your friend had actually gone to Japan and back, you say to him or her: “What do you mean by that?”  The person says, “Just what I said.  I visited Japan last night.  I went on a tour of Kyoto, a couple of shrines, saw the cherry blossoms and had a couple of meals and drank some sake and then went to bed.”  And you take that sliver of an opportunity — that phrase, “I visited” combined with, “then went to bed”, and with suspicious deliciousness as of a genius private detective who has singularly uncovered a mystery, declare: “Aha! You mean you were on your computer and took a virtual tour of the country!”  To which your friend says: “You can put it that way.  I say that I was in Japan last night.”

In this world where virtual reality and reality itself has been conflated, the words we use have similarly broken out of their previous state of rigidity.  Whether of “alternative truths” or misstatement of facts, the malleability of language has had to adapt and conform to the changes of reality.  Is there a distinction with a difference between a person who takes a “virtual tour” of a country, as opposed to actually, physically flying there and walking about the lost ruins of Peru?  To the question, “So, did you visit the Sistine Chapel while there?” — both and either may provide a detailed description of their independent and individual experiences, and do so convincingly; and even to the question, “Were you really there?” — the answer can be identical and yet truthful.

Yet, there are some things in life that still defy conflating virtual reality with the “real” reality — such as medical conditions.  For, “virtual” pain and “virtual” medical conditions do not impact the identical experiential phenomena of the “real deal”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a real medical condition such that the reality of that condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you may want to consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS .

Before you do that, however, consult with a “real” Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer, lest a “virtual” one provides you only with virtual advice, in which case it won’t be worth any more than a virtual dollar used to pay for a virtual meal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Life Well-Reflected

Such a concept can have a duality of meanings; from an outsider-insider viewpoint, or an objective-subjective perspective; of a life that reflects positively to others, such that a community views an individual favorably; or, an alternative interpretation is of a person who has lived one’s life carefully, with planning and thoughtful care.  Most of us live, or try to live, in the former manner; some few, unique in its rarity of form, carefully and thoughtfully plan first, then set out to accomplish goals and objectives in accordance with those plans.

Life’s unexpected vicissitudes, however, come in waves of unexpected and unplanned consequences, and rare is the exception that can accommodate and assuage the tumults that demand and compel change and circumstances that obstruct or otherwise alter the course of any given day.  That is why even a well-reflected life, with the best intentions of traveling a straight line between Point A and Goal B, can rarely be accomplished without some modifications along the way.  Instead, the “other” meaning of the concept — of a person who lives in accordance with principles and integrity no matter the obstacles that come one’s way — is true of the greater percentage of most of us.

We go through life keeping our commitments, doing the best we can, honoring promises and treating others in a fair and respectful manner.  Then, in the end, when the old man is rocking in the proverbial chair of honor, a community can say of him or her that the individual reflects well upon all of us.  It is rare to have a well-reflected life based upon careful planning, precisely because life just doesn’t “work” that way.

Medical conditions constitute a prime example.  They suddenly appear, wreak havoc upon the best-laid plans, and proceed to persist in their vehemence of obstructing, diluting and impeding every effort to to get to that Goal B.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impedes or prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to adapt to the changes that impose upon a “well-reflected life”.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a negative reflection upon a life well-reflected; it is just another “bump in the road” that requires further thought and planning, and the first step in a well-reflected Federal Disability Retirement application is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law Blog: The Trifecta

The bet must be precise.   Thus, it needs to be based upon extensive research, a knowledge of each of the elements, the circumstances surrounding the process; the quality of the expected environment; whether intersecting conditions will interrupt or influence; what other unforeseen confluence of intercessions may develop.  The finishers must be predicted in sequential order.  The trifecta is therefore a management of time, knowledge, expertise and sprinkled with a bit of luck extracted from the cauldron of a witch’s brew.

Federal Disability Retirement is somewhat akin to the trifecta.  Extensive research, a knowledge of the elements to be proposed, and a delineation based upon the compilation of another trifecta — the medical evidence; the statement of disability; and the legal argumentation — must be brought together into a confluence of coordinated and comprehensive consolidation of cogency.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, however, should not be based upon a spurious bet.  And, unlike the trifecta, a semblance of certainty should enter into the equation, such that the sequence of delineated data should compel the OPM reviewer to declare unequivocally and with unconcerned eloquence, “Of course!’ — and grant an immediate approval of the Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire