FERS Medical Retirement from OPM: Those Verdant Peaks

The metaphor of life as comprised of “peaks and valleys” is an appropriate one of changing circumstances; but within those peaks and valleys, the further question concerns the qualitative valuation of the circumstances lived.

One can find one’s self in the “lower valleys” of circumstances, but within those valleys, is the vegetation and fauna green and lush?  Or, has Summer come and gone with the luster of Spring behind?

Those verdant peaks in life can quickly pass, and when we look back after a period of distance and reflection, it may well be that while the circumstances of where we find ourselves are less than favorable, the people around us with whom we are — may make it worthwhile.

Medical conditions impacting Federal employees and Postal workers daily create circumstances where those verdant peaks of life suddenly become the darker valleys of challenging days.

Fortunately, within those darker valleys is a benefit called, “Federal Disability Retirement”.  It is a benefit available to all Federal and Postal workers under FERS who have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service.  At a minimum, the benefit allows for those darker valleys of challenging days to have a view of a future verdant peak.

Contact an Retirement Lawyer who Specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law, and begin the climb from the lower valleys of one’s circumstances toward those verdant peaks where the view below is from the past left behind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Failing to Act

Ours is a society of inertia.  We talk a lot; move around much papers and information; sit and post on various social media outlets; watch movies and shows; and within that flurry of seeming activity, we satisfy ourselves that we are doing things which matter.  But when it comes time to act, when action actually actuates — we so often fail miserably.

It is as Heidegger once quipped — that we have our distracting projects in life in order to avoid thinking about substantive issues and the inevitable.  There is a time to act — of initiating a course of action; of taking preparatory steps; of formulating a plan for the future.

For Federal employees and U.S.Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows you to continue in your Federal or Postal career, the time to act is now.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of reversing the usual inaction of inertia, and refute the customary approach of failing to act.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Worker Disability Retirement: Form-filling

There are the two sets of Standard Forms in a Federal Disability Retirement Application: The SF 3107 series, and the SF 3112 series.  Both are necessary in order to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The first set (SF 3107) merely requests basic information throughout the multiple pages — i.e., name, address, organization, date of birth, social security number, questions on life & health insurance, etc., as well as certifying the summary of your entire federal service, etc.

It is the second set of forms (SF 3112) which is specifically pertinent to the Federal Disability Retirement process — questions involving your medical conditions (beware of what and how to list them); what impact the medical conditions have upon the Federal or Postal job that you do (the need for establishing a “nexus” between the two); as well as any accommodation efforts provided by your agency (know what the term “accommodation” as a legally viable attempt constitutes, for many people are confused about the issue).

Ultimately, Federal Disability Retirement is far more than mere form-filling; for, most anyone can fill out the first set of forms (SF 3107 series); it is the second set (SF 3112 series) which inherently sets out the basis of a viable Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS: Giving Up

It is, and historically has been, an option of last resort.  There are those, of course, where it is simply never an option; at whatever cost; sacrificing whatever means; it is simply not a consideration to be entertained.  Is such a “principled” approach ingrained within the DNA of an individual, or is it merely a trifle of stubbornness which prevents a person from giving up?

It is certainly not a character trait which is taught; in fact, more of the opposite is true.  We tend to teach our children the pablum of perseverance: “Keep at it, and one day you will…”; “Don’t give up; you’ve only just begun” (a paraphrased lesson for young children of what the American revolutionary, John Paul Jones, purportedly stated, “Surrender?…I have only just begun to fight!”); and other such lessons where the fine line between intelligent perseverance and fatalistic stubbornness must often collide.

Yet, there surely are times when it is prudent to give up — and perhaps come back to fight another day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of his or her position, “giving up” may be a matter of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Of course, “giving up” may also be the thought when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a person’s FERS Disability Retirement application, as well — but in the opinion of this writer, that is the time when the approach of John Paul Jones should be taken.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether or not “giving up” is a prudent option to consider, given your unique circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Best of Plans

We do what we can with the tools we are given.  We are given a certain time-frame — say, 60 years or so, half a century, several decades, etc., in which to make our “mark” in the world, to gather our resources, accumulate what fortunes we can muster; and within that contest of living a “life”, the make the best of plans.

All plans are, as Mark Twain likely noted, made to be subsequently abandoned; for, the foibles of human folly dictate that the best laid plans must always adapt to the reality of changing circumstances.  However, we make them nonetheless.  Why do human beings have such a need, a desire, a proclivity for making plans?  Do other species engage in such extensive efforts to map out the future, or do they just “live for the moment”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the best of plans must by medical necessity change and become adapted to the new reality of one’s medical conditions.

Consideration yet must be given for one’s future, and preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one of the changes within the framework of another best of plans: To consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of restructuring the best of plans…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Human Nature

There are other “natures”, of course — of a dog’s or a cat’s; or of a vulture’s, and perhaps of lower order species which we barely give notice to: of spiders (except when they crawl near to us), mice, grasshoppers and frogs.  For species we deem to be less intelligent or possessing the capacity for “free will” (i.e., making decisions and performing acts outside of a predetermined view of what they are “supposed to do”), we tend to have an opinion of, “X does Y because that is the nature of X to do Y”.

Thus, when we read about a traveler who went to a game reserve and got mauled by a lion whom the traveler thought — just a moment before —was “friendly” enough to approach and take a close-up picture of, we shake our heads at the fact that the individual ignored the clear and visible sign which read: “Caution —Do NOT leave your vehicle. Dangerous Animals” or some similar preemptive warning.

Then, of course, there is “our” nature — of Human Nature.  What is it?  We are an animal species which is able to adapt, possess the talent for a thousand things but remain mediocre in all of them.  We cannot run as fast as a cheetah, nor have the ferocity of a lion; we cannot fly like the birds, nor have the venomous bite of a snake.  Yet, we can build cars which can outrace a cheetah, create weapons that do greater damage than a lion’s claws; we can build airplanes that travel greater distances than birds and manufacture bullets that pierce flesh beyond what a snake can deliver.

Of course, we like to think of “human nature” as being, as Aristotle would put it, “rational” first, and vicious somewhere down at the bottom of the list.  But wars, the devastating trails of what we leave behind — they attest more about Human Nature than our rationality.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the issue of Human Nature as one comprised of cruelty, retribution and back-stabbing is probably not a surprise.  As your medical conditions worsen, you may have noticed a lack of empathy and a growing sense of animosity and contentiousness from your Agency or the Postal Service.

Chalk it up to “Human Nature” and the capacity of human beings for lack of qualities which — while we may like to think of as comprising the essence of humanity — comes out at the worst of times.

Consider, at such a point, whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement might not be the best option available, and consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Reirement under FERS: Dylan Revisited

The British have the Beatles; America has Dylan.  Martin Scorsese’s ongoing documentaries covering the life of Bob Dylan (“No Direction Home” and “Rolling Thunder Revue”) reveals the obvious differences as well as depicting interesting tidbits of entertainment value, for those even remotely interested.

Dylan is the quintessential American — of the lone troubadour; the composite of a self-made star from multiple personalities, including Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters; and despite playing off and on with “The Band”, forever the loner — remote, distant and undefinable.

Bands come and go — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., and when they disband and disburse, some individually go on to similar heights of fame; but of Dylan, he has always stood apart with his soulful voice, his trance-like story-telling, and the enchanting universe of words conveyed on the airlift of music that brings one into a lyrical fantasyland.

In the end, Robert Allen Zimmerman remade himself from the outskirts of a rural town into the spotlight of musical genius over a span of a time when cultural revolutions were shaking the very foundations of a country at war.  We all yearn to be like him — if not for the fame, then for the uniqueness that becomes apparent when you listen to his voice: Not quite on beat and never able to be defined.

Whoever “Zimmerman” was, we will never know; for what we know is the folklore surrounding even the whispered utterance of “Dylan” — a name and word which provokes images, stories and memories that have cluttered the shadows of a legend like the barnacles encrusted on the underside of a drifting boat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the tragedy of the medical condition can be likened to the duality found in Dylan Revisited — that the person who is beset with the medical condition is not the same person who once forged ahead with a promising career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, the Dylan of today is not the Zimmerman of his past, just as the Federal or postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is not the same person as before the medical condition, and the whole point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to get back to a place where we can define ourselves within the uniqueness of who we are and were.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Silence

Whether of the historical novel by Shusaku Endo or of the film adaptation by Martin Scorsese, the powerful images evoked (or provoked?) by the contrast between noise heard and the silence following can be felt only with the “before” and “after”.  The novel itself is Endo’s masterpiece, although he has written many; and, of course, Scorsese has a long list of accomplishments and commercial successes, but Silence is not one of them— at least not by commercial standards.

It is a serious movie with few bright moments; of contracted theological arguments and disputations revealing cultural chasms so deep that only a simple metaphor can make it comprehensible; of an agonizing series of endless torture; of the anguished, linguistic divide apparent between two countries which fail to understand each other because of the subtleties of language’s disconnect.  And then there is — silence — in contrast to noise; of a “before” and an “after”.

And the questions which foretell of the quietude: Does the lack of God’s intervention mean that there is no God?  Does “speaking” of denying and renouncing, or the act of stepping upon the image of God, determine one’s faith, or can faith be alive within the silence of one’s inner soul?  Can the Peter-like character, Kichijiro, remain a “faithful apostle” despite his breaking of his silence in actively renouncing and apostatizing?  And who has the greater faith — the priest who grudgingly passes judgment each time the apostate comes for confession and forgiveness, or the one who renounces but then confesses and asks?

In the end, Silence is too heavy a movie to be considered “entertainment”, and most people will not want to spend an evening watching a movie that has little joy and less to laugh about; for, the pain that is experienced by so many in this world in the silence of one’s own suffering is torturous enough without asking to view an even greater expansion of such pain and silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, similarly, suffer in silence 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, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consulting and being guided by an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is likely the wiser course to take, as the bureaucratic morass that one must be guided through can be likened to the foreign country that the priests in Silence had to endure — through the pitfalls of dangers and caverns of unknown territories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Lifetime Achievement Award

There is a sadness necessarily attached to such an award: It is an acknowledgement that a person’s worth has come to an end.  A life’s end is recognized when such an award is granted, and no one believes that anything further will be attained.  It is a dismissive award — a pinning of a goodby to the lapel of one’s mortality and an applause that soon fades because of achievements recognized and easily forgotten.

No one says of the recipient of such an award, “Boy, but does she have such potential!”  Rather, it is the very awarding of it which is the indicator that: The curtain is closing; the rocking chair is there in the corner; it is time to let others in the door; and, your time has passed.

What can it possibly mean for a person to accept such an award?  How can others determine the achievement within a span of a lifetime, and can it ever be rescinded?  What if, upon receipt of such an award, a person turns around and commits a heinous crime — do we then walk out of the ceremony shaking our heads and whisper to one another, “Well, he would have achieved it but for….”?  Isn’t that always the party-pooper conclusion, when we say of this or that: Except for; but for; if only…?

It is like saying that X was a great president except for Y, or that such-and-such was the best leader but for this-and-that.  To receive or be offered the “lifetime achievement award” is to declare the end of one’s life; to refuse it, is to embrace life and one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that filing for Federal Disability Retirement means that it is an “end” to something — somewhat akin to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award — such a thought should be reconsidered.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement is not an end, but a mere beginning: It allows the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon one’s health, and then to consider another vocation or career in the private sector by allowing him or her to make up to 80% of what one earned in the Federal sector, and continue to receive a disability retirement annuity. Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to “get the facts”, lest you become embroiled in the fallacy that Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Relating negative events

Bad things come in pairs, or is it triplets?  Is there a tendency to relate and categorize in terms of color, logical sequence, similarities and characteristics?  Is the Kantian model of imposing categories upon an otherwise orderless universe the reason why we relate negative events in bunches, like grapes growing upon vines waiting to be picked?  Or do bad things happen in combinations naturally, as a law that cannot be avoided?

When we learn that others have been speaking ill of us, or of unkind statements and gossiping rumors spread about, do we not then consider the look of those around us and begin to suspect that the facial frown was directed at us, the distracted individual is not merely lost in his or her own thoughts, but is deliberately ignoring and shunning us, and even the dog that was once friendly is heard to emit a low-growling sound of unfriendly disposition?

Relating negative events is a natural response to a world that is orderless, and one that can be cruel — a perspective that is easily and readily confirmed by the uncaring attitude not just from an impervious universe, but from those who pretend to be out best friend, as well.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the Universal Law that dictates relating negative events becomes unavoidable: Suddenly, because you have taken too much SL and have requested FMLA, you are no longer the “golden boy” (or girl) who can be relied upon, and next comes the leave restrictions; the “Memorandum of Warning”, and then even a PIP; and what next?

Termination is the target for the future.

All the while, the “negative event” was the deterioration of one’s health, which then set into motion all of the other negative events which became related one to the other.

Bad things, unfortunately, happen in bunches, and it is important to initiate a “positive” element and infuse a “good” thing into the middle of those bunches of negative events, and preparing, formulating and filing 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, is that positive step one can take for one’s self in the morass of relating all of those negative events that seem to have occurred without your consent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire