Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Joy and trials

It is the defining of life itself; of the spectrum across a wide range of peaks, valleys, proverbial mountaintops and chasms of tumults like a groan beneath the terrain of the earth.  We attempt to avoid the latter and quantitatively expand the former, thinking that if we fill our experiences with joy, the trials will be lessened or the impact less eventful.

There are gauges of summer, the plateau of fall; we sense the discontent of winter and the exhilaration of spring; and like the subtle pull of the orbs afar that impact the tides and moons of horses galloping in the night, the shudder of sensations unfelt and the future yet untold make anxious of us all.

Joy is the experience of human beings; trials, the objective world impinging upon the subjectivity of our daily refrain.  Can we even have one without the other?

We posit fictional hypotheticals that probably never were; of Rousseau’s “State of Nature” where savages roamed in scant loincloths without a care in the world; and of paradise lost like Milton’s foreboding of a utopia now crumbling into the dystopian paragon of untruths and Orwell’s misinformation where totalitarianism becomes the choice of self-immolation.

As Being cannot mean anything without its opposite, Nothingness, so is it not the trials of life that magnify and make relevant the joy felt on any given day?  Can one truly exist without the other?

And yet we attempt to minimize and diminish the latter in thinking that we deserve the former.  But as the inane philosopher now long forgotten once stated with annoyance and greater impertinence, “It is what it is”.  Whatever that means.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are experiencing the “trials” period of one’s life because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the attempt to jump over and across the great divide so that one can get back to the “joy” part of life’s offerings by trying to “work with” the Federal agency or Postal service, or to “seek an accommodation” with one’s Federal department or Postal facility, there is another proverbial adage that comes to mind: “Banging one’s head up against the wall.”

It is often the case, unfortunately, that in order to get from the “trials” to the “joy” part of life, the Federal or Postal employee will have to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee wants to or not.

For, in the end, the truth of the matter is, the “trials” part of life is something you have little or no control over – such as a medical condition; it is only the “joy” part of the deal that you can assert some dominance over: by taking the affirmative steps to file an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Extending the Vibrancy of Life

Much of life is spent in avoidance and protective retreat; it is only in the ignorance of youthful exuberance that we recklessly run into the streets without looking for oncoming traffic.  Sports reflects the truth of that human essence; it is not an accident that we witness the repetitive folly of gaining an early lead, only to act in fear of losing and thereby fulfilling the prophesies of our own making.

The question, then, 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 positional duties — is it an option to remain?

If the answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, then the two other choices harken: File for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or wait until the agency fires you or forces you to resign.  If the latter, then the Federal or Postal employee still has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the date of separation, whether through termination or separation by voluntary (or “forced”) resignation.

Avoidance of the issue will not do; at some point, either the decision to move forward in life will be made by the central actor in the cast (you), or by the supporting residue surrounding the play (the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service).

In the end, the vibrancy of one’s life is not determined by blindness or disregard of one’s circumstances, but by recognizing the steps necessary to enliven daily value.  One’s career and the extension of worthwhile work is always important to one’s life, but when a medical condition begins to exacerbate and devalue the substantive content of one’s life, then it is time to move beyond and search for an extension of that vibrancy of life.

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 often a “first step” in achieving and resetting that youthful exuberance we once felt, but lost along the way, precisely because it allows for a base security of the foundational needs of living:  an annuity obtained, then time to recuperate from one’s medical conditions and determine a course for the future.

One need not be looking back with fear of losing the game, as the repetition of sports history will reveal; rather, the future still can hold the key to extending the vibrancy of life once grasped, but somehow lost in the morass of our busy lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Life We Perceive

The state of having an epistemological privilege in the first-person singular, means that we occupy a unique position of knowledge, cognition, perception and viewpoint.  Concurrently, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that others have a similarly extraordinary vantage point, and that no matter how hard we may try, we will never truly understand the depth and complexity of the “others” who surround us, whom we encounter, and who pass by our field of vision in the greater context of life’s coincidences and happenstance meetings.

That we may never be able to fully understand another human being is not a sin; that we fail to care to at any given moment, is merely a fault; but that we callously disregard despite indicators of greater suffering and turmoil so evident that the trembling whispers of human frailty touch upon tears of sorrow, shows a misuse of that unique position of epistemological privilege.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal job, the impact is such that one must often consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus to end early one’s chosen career in the Federal sector.

One would expect, despite the unique position of epistemological privilege which everyone occupies, that some semblance of empathy or caring could, or should, be expected.  Instead, the Federal or Postal employee in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often encounters greater resistance and bureaucratic turmoil than statistically experienced in other similar administrative endeavors; and can this be attributed to mere mathematical calculus of acceptable differentials?

It is doubtful, because it is precisely in the recognition that perversity of intent is also found uniquely in the human animal, and even in cases of suffering and trauma, when medical conditions clearly present to the life we perceive a state of grief greater than simple sympathy, but beyond pain, suffering and turmoil of body and mind; even then, the complexities of jealousy, envy, spite and cruelty, overwhelms the soul who knows not the inner depths of depravity within the human makeup.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire