Columbus Day 2022

Whether as Columbus Day or as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it is an official day off for Federal and Postal employees.  Does it matter what and how we ascribe it?  It has been many centuries since the voyage of Columbus; each child born today, and for many centuries past, can hardly be blamed for the ill-deeds of past generations.

That being said — if we are blameless — is it merely in the beliefs to which we identify, which marks the differences between us?  Certainly, for a Native American, it is irritating to hear someone claim that “such and such discovered America”; for, by definition, a land already inhabited cannot claim to have been discovered except by the inhabitants themselves.

But the argument is that the present society into which people are currently born, cannot possibly be blamed for the genocidal extermination of its indigenous peoples; and so, what can it mean as to whether or not one calls it “Columbus Day” or “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”?

The counter to that, of course, is that the reservations into which Native Americans were forced to accept, still reverberates with current loss of water rights, mineral rights, etc., and is a constant reminder of what was lost.  And it may be of some restoration of dignity to insist upon historical accuracy, where insistent inaccuracy is the basis for acrimonious inter-cultural relationships.

Yet, in this Post-Factual Universe where the Western approach of the Correspondence Theory of Truth once prevailed but no longer dominates, is there even a difference with a distinction?

For most, where the meaningful divide is between those who are overworked, barely able to make a living, and are stressed to their limits — which constitute the greater majority of individuals — and those who live a fairly carefree life of leisure (the greater minority of people), the fact of a day off, whatever you want to call it, is what seems to mean anything.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can enjoy the day to spend with their families and loved ones, Happy Columbus Day and Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2022.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement Law: Of Future Events

Are we the only species which imagines, worries, obsesses over — of future events as yet unfulfilled?  Do we create scenarios from “whole cloth” of events which might occur but which often never come to fruition?

Of course, the past is a good indicator of future events — a harbinger and foreboding of storms to come; the present, of predictors based upon current trends; and of the future, whether seen in the coiling bundles of anxious imaginations or steeped within solid predicates that cannot be ignored; and in the end, it is this species called “human beings” who engage in such folly.  But for such insanities, we would not have stock markets and commodities “futures” to bet upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who worry about their futures because of a health crisis which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her job, worries and anxieties about the future can be daunting, overwhelming, and obsessively of concern.

The future must be planned for; the present circumstances need to be dealt with in order to plan for that future; and the past actions of your agency are probably a good indicator of future events.

Contact an OPM Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin planning for your future by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS; for, in the end, it is up to the greater predictor of future events to embrace the inevitabilities of life’s misfortunes, taking the past into account, facing the present circumstances with a direct and serious assessment, and thus correlating the past and present to prepare for future eventualities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Performance Levels

They vary.  What are the indications of reduced, lesser or insufficient performance levels?  Perhaps for a professional race car mechanic, the mere sound of a NASCAR team’s engine, its vibrations, its volume, its purr, the sounds at high RPM or at idle — the performance level can be intuitively known from experience.

For the rest of us, it is a subjective drive, a feeling known day in and day out; we can push ourselves, but some days our performance levels are merely adequate; on other days, they surpass even our own expectations.  There are factors that impact upon our performance levels — the weather; whether we are sick or in good health; our moods; our energy and stamina levels for the day, the week, the month, etc.

Most of us are driven — whether by hope for the future, fear of what may come about if we do not meet expectation levels, or perhaps even by a mere desire to please.  When medical conditions hit, the inevitable decline of our performance levels follow soon thereafter.  There is a direct and inextricable correlation between our performance levels and the health that we find ourselves in, at any given point in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts our ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of our job, you may want to consider preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law and consider whether your health is more important than your performance level.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Postal & Federal Employee Retirement Attorney

  

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Covid-19 Impact

The residual impact of this global pandemic is yet to be seen.  More facts; more scientific evidence; more tracing studies will have to be engaged.

Yet, for many Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the direct impact of the Corona Virus has already been felt.  Whether having contracted the virus and been hospitalized; whether deemed a “high risk” individual because of other underlying medical conditions or because of a suppressed and compromised immune system; these and other factors may result in a Federal or Postal employee being prevented from continuing in his or her career.

In that event, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the appropriate course of action.

Consult with an attorney to discuss whether or not Federal Disability Retirement is the right next step during this Pandemic that has wreaked havoc over so many lives, and which will continue to do so for years and years to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Gov. Employees: Something Less

This is a country that has preached abundance for multiple decades, a couple of centuries, and certainly for a lengthy run on the concept: Expect more, not something less.  It has been touted as the flagship of opportunity, a place where dreams come true and hope abounds.  There has never been a view towards something less, for something less is an unacceptable concept to endure.

Commercials and television ads tout that we can “have it all”; that with a pill, things will be better; that if you buy a certain product, magic occurs; and if you whiten your teeth, everyone will like you better.  But what if life occurs where something less must be accepted?

Federal Disability Retirement pays 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year, then 40% every year thereafter.  It is something less than what a Federal or Postal employee makes, but certainly something more than “nothing”.  It then actually does allow you to make something more — for, on top of the 60% the first year and 40% every year thereafter, you are allowed to go out into the private sector and make up to 80% of what your former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Of course, your medical condition has already made you realize that life has to be adapted to with something less — something less than your full health; but Federal Disability Retirement does allow for something more, as well: Of a career beyond the Federal government.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and obtain the counsel and guidance of something more in dealing with a medical condition which has already resulted in something less — in terms of health and your ability to perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sorrow behind the facade

How do we know a person’s sorrow?  Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary?  Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.

There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow?  Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes?  But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?

Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade.  Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake.  The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken.  For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.

For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career.  There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time 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 is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.

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

 

OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: Tranquility times turmoil equals?

Alliterations often require deliberate disentanglement; for, the focus is often upon the consonant being repeated, as opposed to the coherence of the alliterated sequence of words.  Both can be attained, however – of coherence and of repetition without incomprehensible aggregation, and in this instance, the multiplying effect of the calm of one’s life by events beyond one’s control can easily result in turmoil that was never requested, never desired and remained always unasked and unrequested.

Tranquility x turmoil is the idea that we fail to enjoy the relative calm in our lives because of the anxiousness of knowing that all good things cannot last for long, and must come to an inevitable end, no matter how hard we try to remain the solitary stoic in life, regardless of the hermitage we seek and irrespective of the complications we shed in order to attain a Zen-monk-like livelihood.

That is when, for instance, a medical condition hits us and the complexities of the life we attempted to avoid come to the fore and become all the more magnified, times 10 in an exponential ferocity that we simply cannot ignore.  True tranquility, however, requires the ability and capacity to keep all things in perspective, and to resist the temptation to allow for the turmoil to overwhelm us.  Keeping in mind that the concept itself can never be reduced to a mere mathematical equation, the question then becomes: What is the multiplicand, the multiplier, and finally, the product?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, it is when the monotony of daily living (tranquility) becomes interrupted by the medical condition itself (turmoil), that the product of decision-making is forced upon one’s life.

There are multiple options, and none of them are very satisfying: The Federal or Postal employee may just endure and continue on “as if”; the Federal or Postal employee may get terminated or sanctioned because of excessive usage of leave, whether of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP, or a combination of all three; the Federal or Postal employee may ultimately believe that resignation from Federal employment is the only option left; or, the Federal or Postal employee may recognize that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the most viable conclusion to a mathematical equation that one never expected to have to calculate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire