Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Life on Hold

There are periods in our lives when life is seemingly “on hold”.  Of times when we know not what to do; of careers that have hit a brick wall; of unhappiness over present circumstances; perhaps even of deteriorating family relationships that fail to reveal a glimmer of hope for improvement; and of a medical condition that becomes chronic with the realization that we must accept it, live with it, and endure the accompanying symptoms for a life-long struggle.

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset (though rare are the latter two these days) is often a movement forward to break out of the mold of life being on hold.

When a Federal or Postal worker realizes that the medical condition suffered will simply not go away, and it prevents and continues to deteriorate in that aspect of preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of being stuck in a “no-man’s land” is understandable.

From the Agency’s viewpoint, it is often a period where they are unsure of what to do with you.  They act with a timid sense of empathy (or perhaps none at all); they will sometimes be somewhat “supportive” of your plight; but in the end, you know that they will replace you with someone who can perform all of the essential elements of the position.

Life on hold is a time of uncertainty and trepidation; preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a movement forward; it allows for some certainty to be adjudicated in a world where everyone else seems to be in a mode of “fast-forward” while you are stuck in the timelessness of a deteriorating medical condition.

Life on Hold — it is a time when decisions need to be made, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job because of a medical condition, a time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Biding time

Inmates in correctional facilities do it; criminals in wait; patients in doctor’s offices who have been informed that there will be a short delay because of an emergency procedure that the physician had to attend to; and most of us in general who live life anticipating disasters, tomorrow’s unfortunate events or the next day’s calamity to come.

We all bide our time in living our lives, and it is the time of biding that is wasted away until, near our deathbed, the expected outcome of disaster never came, the calamity never developed and the corrosion of life never materialized.  It is one thing to wait on another person; another altogether to engage in the patient virtue of sitting motionless or passing the time away in anticipation of something beyond; it is quite another, and perhaps unique, that human beings actually actively engage in the activity of “biding time” in order to start a process.

Vengeance often takes biding of time; planning for a future definitely requires biding time; and old men and women in nursing homes have nothing better to do than to bide one’s time.  To live life biding time, even at the horizon of one’s twilight in elder states of despair, is no way to exist.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of, have already begun the procedural steps to, or otherwise are in the middle of the administrative process of preparing, formulating or filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “biding time” during this complex administrative process is to have “a plan”.

It is a long, arduous, difficult and time-consuming process.  Even after it is successfully filed, the time waiting upon a decision just at the First Stage of the administrative process can now take a very, very long time, and how one plans to bide one’s time during this long process is something one needs to consider.

Will you remain on LWOP during this time?  Will you resign, get terminated, and will you work at a private-sector job while waiting for OPM’s decision?  Will temporary loss of health insurance be a consideration?  If it is denied at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, will that mean that you can endure the lengthy second Stage, the Reconsideration Stage?  And if you have to go and have a Telephonic Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which will take a minimum of 120 days beyond, will that still be within the plan of attack in biding time?

Hopefully, one’s Federal Disability Retirement filing with OPM will go smoothly; but in the event that all of the proverbial bumps on the road are encountered in your particular journey, it is important to consider the extent of biding time during the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: The face in the mirror

Some avoid it; others run to it like an obsession that cannot be abandoned; and for most, it is merely a daily habit that must be tolerated.

The face in the mirror that we view in order to “present” ourselves to the world is the one we are born with, attempt to alter in multiple ways throughout different stages of life – perhaps by artificial means ranging in spectral thunders of surgical alterations, color-dying, parting the hair on the left side instead of the right; trying to cover that growing bald plate that shines like a heavenly orb not needing the assistance of the Hubbell Telescope from afar in galaxies far and wide; of make-up, lipstick colors and hair-style alterations; and yet, somehow, it is those eyes that stare back that seem to pierce within.

And what of that image we hold; was it the imprint from our youth that forever became frozen in the timeless synergies of our inner consciousness?  Does the reflection in the mirror last, for some, for only a second, such that we have to run back to it – whether by the closely-held compact in the purse, the reflection in the store window, or even that oblong shape of a car’s side contraptions – and reassure ourselves that it has not changed much since the last encounter?

Or is it the image we continue to hold onto as that innocent child of long ago who forever swore that neither time, old age nor ravages of bygone years would ever defeat the compliments received and which we hold so dearly?

It is, in the end, the eyes – what Plato described as the windows to one’s soul – that tell the tale of a person’s past.  Does it haunt?  Does it enliven?  Will it glitter and sparkle like the moon’s reflection upon a summer’s pond in its tranquility of calm?  Or does life bring such sorrow within the chasms in between, where the haggard look befalls and betrays the unhappiness residing within?

We need not look in the mirror to gather much that we already know, and yet we keep going back and speaking to that ghostly appearance reversed in proportionality as the negative photograph that smiles when we smile, cries when we cry, but feels not the inner pain that grows with each day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are at a point in their lives that filing for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, it is a critical point to consider when you look at the face in the mirror – for, the reflection seen is often not the “real” person that stands in front of the mirror, and the “appearance” is never the essence of the inner soul concealed.  That is the sad truth when dealing with the Federal agency or the Postal facility; they all see “you” as “that person who has a medical condition and is no longer as productive as he/she used to be”.

That is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often becomes a necessity, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – because the face in the mirror is just that – a reflection of unreality – that doesn’t ever reveal the truth of one’s potentiality in a universe that barely cares beyond the appearance of reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Of venal and venial injustice

That a single vowel can radically alter the meaning of a word is not surprising; rather, it is the simplicity of the reduction – from one constituting an onerous sense of the corrupt, to a mere insignificance of action – that demarcates the chasm of definitional differences between the two.  Both are adjectives; but of the former,  often associated with corruption involving bribery and characterized by a mercenary motive, while the latter is of a pardonable offense, minor on a scale of wrongdoings, and merely bordering on the barely noticeable spectrum of sins acknowledged – it is the difference of the singular vowel – the “i” which constitutes the reflection back upon the personal “I” who acts upon the violation that determines whether the offense is minor or major, that divides the two.

The originating context of a venal act almost always involved corruption relating to an exchange of consideration – and, for whatever reason, it was that underlying motive of engaging in an act of illegality for the sake of money, that exhibited a greater evil by the participant.  Perhaps such an origin of retreating repulsiveness is Biblical – of that treachery committed in exchange for the thirty pieces of silver.  Translated into English, the personal pronoun inserted in lower caps in the middle of the word, stuck between two consonants, evinces a guilty conscience inflamed deep within the troubled recesses of a soul’s agony.  And what of the noun which the adjective modifies – does it add, amend, enhance or otherwise alter?

Injustice is a malleable concept.  Words were once confined by strict adherence to meanings; no more, as society has allowed for the gymnasts of linguistic pole-vaulting to tinker unabatedly.  As the negation of the root term “justice”, it has become recognized as any feeling of unfairness encountered, as opposed to the more concrete embodiment of society’s clear mandate in a process of upholding a morally superior stance, confirmed by age-old rules and procedures, inviolate as reflected in the symbolism of a blindfolded lady impervious to the winds of bias, prejudice or venal means.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker who is daily being bombarded with harassing conduct by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, both forms of injustices are encountered:  Venal injustice, at the hands of an agency which may be plotting to dismiss and terminate; and venial injustice, at the daily toil of enduring slights and demeaning whispers by coworkers, supervisors and others unnamed.

Medical conditions occur through no fault of the Federal or Postal worker suffering from them; yet, Federal agencies and U.S. Postal Service employees treat such Federal and Postal workers as mere fodder for committing injustices otherwise unaccounted for.  Perhaps there is a heaven where ultimate justice prevails and where venal sins and venial acts are sifted between to determine who is issued a valid passport for migration through those pearly gates; but, until then, there is the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and where obtaining an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is neither a venal act, nor a mere venial outcome, but an injustice turned around for the Federal or Postal worker who cannot otherwise perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Potentiality extinguished

Aristotle addresses the concept well; of the inherent nature of being not defined merely by the state of current existence, but encompassing the finite potentiality of what it is yet to be, as well as being based upon the historical lineage of origination.  Only within the context of that truism can children be treated as more than mere commodities of sweatshop workers, as in the days of Dickens and the Industrial Age empowered by the need for cheap labor; and on the other side of the spectrum, the old and infirm whose contribution to society has reached its apex of productivity, and is slowly receding into the sunset of former days filled with youth and vigor.

Without the argument of potentiality progressing linearly towards actualization, we are left with Camus’ world of the absurd, the loss of any sense that the Phoenix would rise from the ashes of forgotten civilizations, and the eternal loss of beauty reflected in a fluttering butterfly caught in the quietude of restless twilight, with wings shorn and shredded by timeless envy when humanity disappeared, love was forever forgotten, and the laughter of children playing in the sand no longer brought a smile upon the grandmother sitting in a rocking chair of timeless hope.

Organizations tend to do that; modernity almost guarantees it; and the unstoppable march of bureaucracies and administrative agencies possess a subtle manner of extinguishing that innate potentiality with which we once glowed like an insatiable torch bright upon a conquered hill.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once viewed his or her career in “that way” — of a limitless expanse for doing good, in accomplishing important and relevant missions, and abiding by the complexity of the system but always with a hope that one can impart significant change from within — often become disillusioned and disengaged, once the bump of reality impedes upon the dreams of yesteryear.

And for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the dent of stubbornness encountered begins to wear upon the soul of hope.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only route available when the incremental insidiousness of resistance to change, adaptation and responsive loyalty is spoken of with silence and increasingly hostile and punitive actions; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who is no longer wanted by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must recognize that the potential for the extinguishment of potentiality exists in reality, and it would be a real shame to allow for such potential extinguishment to become an actualization of fated potentiality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire