FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Unending Cycle of Relapse

It is merely from a perspective of combined incrementalism with an admixture of hope and self-delusion that people talk about a “relapse”.  The plain fact is, most medical conditions follow a fairly predictable and linear path of progressive deterioration, with critical junctures of static chronicity, and marked by charted moments of quietude interrupted with a fury of vengeful prose.  If a business graph were to depict the pathway of most medical conditions, the ups and downs of the jagged lines would mesmerize and confuse us with contemptuous puzzlement.

We assure ourselves that we are “getting better”, when all the while we continue to ignore, procrastinate, explain and justify all of the indicators and warning signs of downward decline.  An increase in the medication regimen, explained by mere temporary need; greater pain, with reference to some minor activity recently engaged in; and so the self-justifying conundrums are thrown as explanatory deliberations, when the bodies suffer so despite the words offered as sacrificial animals to the gods of thunder.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this phenomena of parsing words despite facts which fly in the face of reality, is often born of necessity and a false image of self, society and servitude to the “mission of the agency” or the Constitutionally-born importance of the U.S. Postal Service (circa Benjamin Franklin, thank you).  But health has a funny way of  defying self-justifications of ineffective prose, and poetry and thought never curtails the unending cycle of relapse, precisely because what we do to our minds, bodies and souls accounts for little when misuse and unintended abuse prevail.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who fails to make one’s health a priority first, then all other considerations of secondary import, the need to file 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, often becomes a victim of such unending cycle.

To suffer a “relapse” is merely an attempt to justify that which the body or mind was merely telling you all along.  Yes, sometimes the quiet whispers in the deadened silence of night can be ignored and disregarded; but it is those haunting quietudes which perturb and disturb despite our best efforts to ignore, which roar back to engulf us when least we expect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Beginning the Federal Disability Retirement Process

The Chinese proverb, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, is meant to remind us that looking at a process in its entirety can result in self-defeat even before starting, and every daunting journey must begin with the small, almost insignificant, effort of initiation.

Facing a bureaucracy and an administrative process can feel like that metaphorical journey of a thousand miles.  The multiple and complex standard forms to complete; the legal criteria to meet; the need to gather, compile and consolidate the medical documentation into a linear, coherent whole; and all of this, in the face of voluntarily reducing one’s income by applying for an annuity and having to deal with the debilitating medical condition from which one suffers.

But the successful way to approach the entire administrative process known as Federal Disability Retirement, is to bifurcate it into workable portions. The SF 3107 series (reissued in May, 2014, where previous editions are now outdated) is merely informational in nature.  It is is the SF 3112 series of forms which one must take care in preparing and formulating, and especially SF 3112A, which requests for detailed information concerning one’s medical conditions, the impact of the medical conditions upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job; and other pertinent information needed to convey compliance with a legal criteria established through many years via legal opinions issued by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Yes, it is a difficult process, and one which can be eased by legal advice and expertise. But as with all journeys, to look upon the landscape and obstacles as mere hindrances to overcome, will serve one better, than to stand at the foothills and refuse to begin the journey at all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Progressive Deterioration

The concept of progress normally implies a positive trajectory of events; but when combined with a negative idea, it reverses the trend.  To deteriorate in a progressive manner is to turn the concept on its head; it results in the upward trend spiraling downward; it reverses what should be, and transforms the positive into a negative statement.

The progressive deterioration of a person’s health can be an insidious, incremental and slow trending of the state of one’s being.  For the Federal or Postal employee who is experiencing such a phenomena, that experiential state of being becomes compounded with decision-making events which only exacerbates and complicates:  Am I taking too much time off from work?  What impact will this have upon my agency? How will the work get done while I take off?  What will be the response by my agency?

Such questions must always be in the context with the progressive nature of one’s medical condition — will it be a chronic and intractable deterioration, or will the negative trend at some point be reversible?

Cessation of the trend itself might be the acceptable point of positive inclination; reversing the trend in order to become better, healthier, stronger, etc., would be the greater goal.  But if the trending sees no end in sight, then considerations for the future must include the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

The linear trending of decline is the indicator of those peripheral future actions which must be concomitantly taken, in order to help support the negative trend.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a parallel course of action in order to support the trending declination, and one which should be considered in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: That Sense of Doom

It can often be noted in the quivering voice at the other end of the telephone line (or, would it be more accurate to state, in the modern vernacular, at the “other end of the satellite signal”?) — that sense of impending doom that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will encompass.

But such a sense of the negative is a misguided view of Federal Disability Retirement.  For, the Federal or Postal Worker who is contemplating such a course of action should recognize and realize that it is essentially a positive endeavor — one which will allow the Federal or Postal worker to start a second vocation or career, and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

Federal Disability Retirement is merely an acknowledgement that there is an inconsistency between one’s medical condition and the type of job in which one is currently employed; it does not preclude one from working altogether, unlike the stricter rules and regulations involving Federal Worker’s Compensation benefits (OWCP/Department of Labor) or even SSDI (with a much lower cap in one’s ability to earn additional income).

And that feeling of doom?  It is like what the British Philosopher Bertrand Russell once quipped when asked about the source of one’s anguish when confronted with a metaphysical conundrum:  “It is likely merely an upset stomach”.

OPM Disability Retirement is an avenue which should be seen in a positive light, and that sense of doom one often feels should be set aside, and the reality of one’s situation and the brightness of one’s future should always be emphasized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Proper Endpoint

Matching the proper pairs of life’s “things” likely begins at an early age; it is a tool and ability which is perhaps developed, as opposed to an innate characteristic naturally existent like breathing or sleeping.  Have you ever come across someone who wears two different-colored socks?  And when the issue is inquired about, the response is:  “What’s wrong with that?  They match perfectly!”

Logic, sequential production, and causal connections do not necessarily arise from an innate sense of life; and that is precisely why Hume’s argument concerning the lack of a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, despite repeated observation of the same or similar circumstances, fails to give rise to an absolute confirmation of causality.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, it is necessary to understanding the strategic and logistical causal connections in preparing, formulating and filing for such benefits.  Thus, questions such as:  What is the endpoint? — is a necessary and important one.  By such a question, one will be forced to encounter the obvious and the not-so-obvious: Success and approval is the obvious; how to get there; what are the necessary elements to prove, etc. — are some of the basic “not-so-obvious” issues.

Even the logistical ones concerning endpoints:  Who to send the packet to, when, and within what timeframe?  Endpoints require answers involving preceding beginning points.  The ultimate answer prompts the intermediate questions.  While public display of different-colored socks may be somewhat inconsequential, properly preparing, formulating and filing a OPM Disability Retirement application may require greater tools than the ability to make color differentiations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: And Beyond…

Can you remember a time of health?  A time in the past when you were pain-free, able to have the cognitive acuity to focus, concentrate, and attend to the details of a task?  A time past is a reminder of the potentiality of a time-future.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the central point of the administrative process should always be kept in mind:  to reach a point in life where one can have a recuperative period of rest, restorative time, and multiple days beyond pain and ill health.  But just as the “gestalt” moment in a psychological awakening is not the end of the story, but merely a slice of life in a greater context of historicity, so the various events of the administrative process in preparing, formulating, filing, and finally obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is not the end of the narrative for the Federal or Postal employee seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

There is life beyond; as such, obtaining an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application is merely the beginning of the next step, and not the “end” of anything.  An approval from OPM is a goal worth achieving; but such a goal is merely an intermediate step in a greater cause:  of attaining a state of health, somewhat like the “former” self of yesteryears; of planning for a brighter future in a second vocation; and to be able to enjoy one’s family, friends, and the circle of those closest and most important:  those who have been loyal, even when loyalty revealed a disappointment in those whom you depended upon, and thought you could depend upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire