Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: The empty plaque

Somehow, they only retain their meaning and significance if there is an ongoing recognition of current accomplishment and recent reinforcements.  Commemorative plaques may provide a historical context of one’s abilities and talents, and even reveal a shadow of a person’s former self; yet, they also magnify the contrast between what once was and the current state of difficulties one faces.

The “plaque” that is placed prominently on a wall, or occupies a conspicuous space on one’s desk, should never be a “dead” object.  For, once the plaque becomes a forgotten piece of history, as opposed to a mere intermediate interlude on the way to greater heights of accomplishments, it becomes a reminder of a past now irrelevant and unimportant.

Plaques should be the middle portion of a life still to be lived and not the final, indelible stamp of cessation.  Moreover, in modernity, the realization that accolades, fame and yesterday’s recognition mean little-to-nothing in this fast-paced universe where thanks are for a moment ago and resting upon one’s laurels will leave you behind quicker than quick, leaves one with a hollow feeling of trembling insecurities.

The empty plaque is the one you hope will carry you through when nothing much happens, even when you know it will not.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 significance of the plaque becoming empty is quickly realized: Whatever accomplishments that were achieved yesterday is unimpressive to the Federal agency or the Postal Service; whatever loyalty you believed was forthcoming because of your loyalty given over so many years…well, don’t hold your breath.

In this world where commitment, loyalty and reliance upon plaques and other objects of recognition hold sway for barely a nod or a wink of time, it is best to begin thinking about yourself, and preparing, formulating and filing 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, is the first step in recognizing that the empty plaque sitting on one’s desk or hanging upon the wall became empty once your usefulness to the agency or the Postal Service became compromised by the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Functional architecture

It refers to those unnecessary trappings; but of course, the immediate question which follows is:  who determines necessity as opposed to aesthetic addendums otherwise of utilitarian vacuity.

The traditional approach in functional architecture is determined by the general principle that a building should be designed by the paradigmatic governance of the underlying purpose for which the structure should be constructed.  That is likely why government buildings are essentially drab and colorless, reflecting the purposive nature of a bureaucracy and administrative conduits.  The grandeur of the wealthy in pouring money into aesthetically pleasing facades, otherwise without any meaningful utilitarian basis, is a consequence of wanting to impress, as opposed to a functional capacity to reside.

In modernity, functionalism is akin to pragmatism, which is often seen as the heart and soul of this country’s success – of advancing towards the next technological innovation, accomplishing beyond the project paid for, and getting things “done” in order to calculate the worth and value of a person’s being.  At the cost of family, neighborhood, culture and normative constructs, we go for that which works, what pays and what can be sold.

Thus does the American model function on the motto of pragmatism:  Of what does it benefit a man if he cannot make a living from it?  And so the narrative goes that waves of immigrants gave up their native country, whether because of famine, wars, poverty or persecution, and traveled to a far-off foreign soil in order to carve out a living without the trappings once enjoyed.

But the concept of functional architecture can reach into other disciplines, as well – as in the composition of words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages of stream of consciousness.  One can, for example, add all sorts of unnecessary verbiage in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in response to the questions posited in Standard Form 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This can get one into what is often proverbially termed as “hot water”.  For, just as the three classic goals of architecture still remain relevant today – of utility, beauty and firmness (reflecting the conceptual generalizations of use, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and structural integrity), so the same can be applied in preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application in the statements made:  Writing to the point of the Federal Disability Retirement application (utility); being comprehensible and coherent, with a purposive narrative (beauty); and, finally, firmness (maintaining the structural integrity of the narrative by building the proper linguistic foundation in formulating one’s answers on SF 3112A).

Thus, as with most things in life, functionalism does not merely apply to the discipline of architecture, but can easily be transmogrified into the complex administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement.  As the fullness of life is an admixture of interconnecting experiences, so the principles undergirding architectural integrity can teach us lessons in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Resignation

It is both an act, as well as a demeanor.  In the former sense, the fulfillment is accomplished by the actual tendering of an offer to terminate a business or contractual relationship, with a declarative statement of unequivocal certainty.  In the latter form, a feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a concession to life’s hardships.  In either case, it is an act of withdrawal, whether by action via terminal certitude or in the wasting away of the soul’s inner flame of light.

Resignation, submitted as an act of defiance to one’s employer or as a private tender of retreat, is a statement of definitive intent, and one that negates the living embrace of Being.  In political circles and parliamentary procedures, there is often involved a game of dare and a play of obfuscation, like card players in a high-stakes poker game where the tendering of a resignation letter is not expected to be accepted; yet, such attempts at bluffing possess moments of backfiring, with the resulting end to promising political careers because of the inability to foresee substance from play-acting, or want of proper timing.  Resigning, and for what purpose?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and 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, the question of resigning from one’s Federal job or Postal employment should always take on multiple questions and conditions of “why”, “when” and “what for”?

What is the reason; why resign; when should the resignation be tendered; and what is the reason for resigning?  Is it because the doctor has recommended such a course of action?  Will the agency refuse to extend the LWOP status during the process of awaiting a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Will it allow for access to TSP funds during the process, in order to survive financially?  Or are there other justifying, pragmatic considerations to factor into the decision-making process?

These, and many other considerations, should be discussed, evaluated and objectively defined, before a resignation is submitted to one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  For, once the resignation is received, and an SF 50 is generated separating the Federal or Postal employee from Federal Service, then the 1-year Statute of Limitations begins to toll, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee has one year from the date of separation from Federal Service to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus, there are direct and irreversible consequences in the tendering of a resignation in the first sense of the term; as for the alternate consideration – of a demeanor more suited for a change of circumstances – that is up to each individual to embrace, and determine in an existential sense that any resignation from life’s beauty and worth of being, must remain a choice left only to the unidentified tombstones of unvisited grounds where neither hallowed voices are heard, nor hushed silence interrupts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Linguistic Labyrinth

Language is a labyrinth of paths.  You approach from one side and know your way around; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about.”  #203, Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Life is never a static construct; those who consider it so, are sorely left behind when the winds of change suddenly fill the sails and the slumbering ship awakens with a groan to pull free of its moorings.

Left behind are the days when a person could count on the vocation of the parent, or of a career singular throughout.  Instead, the economy forces us to adapt and reconsider; new skills are needed, or old ones refined and readjusted.  And the feudal days when the kindness of the squire was tested where lameness or debilitating accidents incurred the wrath of life, are bygones of past initiatives thrown to the howling wolves of predatory eyes lurking behind to take advantage of every slight and weakness revealed.

Language is like that, too.  We think that schooling ends when the diploma is handed out, at whatever stage of advancement; but the reality is that the true test of self-initiative begins at that very moment, precisely because liberty allows the freedom to choose between vice or value, where the former is offered freely to the youth who has been released from the shackles of parental control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who find themselves in a position where a career move is necessitated by an unfortunate accident or onset of a medical condition, the truth of Wittgenstein, and of life lived in a world of complexities, comes to the fore.

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 a difficult approach when the mandates of life’s ferocity coalesce in a tripartite convergence:  a medical condition; impact upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and the need to secure one’s future in order to attain a level of financial stability.

The unknown labyrinth of language becomes a maze of confusion when the Federal or Postal employee encounters the legal eligibility requirements mandated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to overcome the obstacles and hurdles in an effort to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Throughout life, the Federal or Postal Worker has approached the path of language from one opening; now, he or she must enter the gates of a bureaucracy which requires expertise and knowledge of a completely different sort, and without the assistance of an attorney, you enter the labyrinth of the unknown at your own peril.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: On the spectrum between fear and overconfidence

The “what ifs” of life tend to predominate; then, from the deep recesses of brute carnality, where evolutionary Darwinism remains wired in the DNA of a time when civilizations were yet to flourish, and where tea cups were merely in the imaginations of more genteel souls, a sense of uprightness, fortitude and strength of inner character dawns, and we walk out the door refreshed with a sense of deliberative purpose.  But it turns out that such fleeting flourishes of fortuitous firmness lasts but for a twilight, and then we desire to crawl back into the womb of our former skeletal selves.

Fear is how most of us live, despite the outward face of bravado and confidence.  We fear what others might do to us; how the economy is a mysterious force over which we have no control; of deteriorating health; of life itself.

Then, there are days when a calm sense of overconfidence prevails; without any reason or rationale, or perhaps we watched a movie or television show where a certain character manifested a bright and hopeful sunshine of unperturbed calm; but that was yesterday, and lasted but for a fortnight of winks and nods.  For the remaining days, we recognize that it was all an act; and so we live in trembling and fear.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, that placement on the spectrum between fear and overconfidence is well know, recognized, and familiar as the warmth of a mother’s caress.

What the agency will do; what coworkers conspire; what the next news of the deteriorating medical condition; these all fall in favor of the “fear” side of the spectrum.  Those “other” things which call for confidence in the future over and beyond — they come in a spatter of popping grease, and make us wince with the momentary pause of a tap of reality, and then disappear.

How does one escape that spectrum of unrelenting reminders?  For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker, there is always the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is not merely a benefit to be gained; rather, it is an opportunity to take the next step in life, to a beyond where future career and vocation choices may allow for productivity outside of the Federal Sector.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal worker who is under FERS, CSRS or even CSRS Offset, preparing, formulating and filing for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is the first step towards taking a turn away from the treadmill of that dreaded pinpoint of our lives, where we are stuck in the middle of the spectrum between fear and overconfidence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire