U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board & Disability Retirement: The Quiet Case

There are a significant amount — of the one’s without a fanfare, no formal MSPB opinion, but nevertheless, a “win”.

Many Federal and Postal employees get to that Stage — Stage 3 — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  At this Stage, all reasonable attempts to persuade the medical specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management have failed.

At the First Stage of the process, you filed your best shot and provided the utmost of medical documentation, but they denied you, anyway.  Perhaps it was because your previous year’s performance ratings were excellent, and you may have even received a cash award.  Or, maybe the medical opinions of your doctors were not sufficient.  Maybe OPM wasn’t persuaded that your condition would last at least 12 months.

Whatever the reasons, you had to go through the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.  You gathered whatever else you could, and submitted it within the timeframe allotted.  You hoped for the best.  When the denial came — the Second Denial — you knew you were in trouble.  The MSPB?  How are you going to maneuver through that complex maze before an Administrative Judge?

And this is essentially the “last stop” — for, if you don’t win it here, you will likely not prevail at a Petition for Review, and going to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is prohibitively expensive, and likely not winnable.  Yet, the MSPB opens up a great opportunity — for, what most people don’t realize, is that it is an opportunity for “the Quiet Win”.

Before you ever go to a Hearing on the case; before you have to prepare your Pre-Hearing Submissions — it is an opportunity to listen carefully to the OPM Representative assigned to your case.  If you listen carefully, you will have the opportunity to quietly and behind the scenes, submit additional evidence which could result in that 2.5 Stage of the process — between the Denial of the Reconsideration Stage and the Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the MSPB.

Of course, it will help if you also have an experienced FERS Disability Retirement Attorney involved, who can help you through the “Quiet Case.”

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 Medical Retirement: Those Dog Days of Summer

Extremes desire the opposite extremes; and so these winter days of short sunlight, cold and unending spells where the chill cannot be gotten rid of no matter how high you turn up the thermostat — they wish for the other extreme, those dog days of summer.

July to August is the traditional period referred to as the Dog Days of Summer, of a starry constellation where hot temperatures force dogs and other animals to simply lay down and remain motionless in order to keep cool.  It forces the other extremes: Motion versus immobility; abundance verses lack; health versus?

Life is too often a contrast in extremes; one day, you are healthy and active; the next, debilitated and unable to move.  Or, is that just the fear?

The reality is more often a slow and progressive deterioration; the extreme is that, despite our failing health, we continue to push on in order to extend our careers.  The “extreme” is often our response to our circumstances, which then further exacerbates the problem.  Yes, we now may wish for the dog days of summer, but what would be best is the interlude of a Spring moderation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in one’s job or career, don’t wait for the next extreme — those Dog Days of Summer — but, rather, contact a FERS lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement benefits and see whether the Spring of a next phase might not be the better season of action and satisfaction.

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 Employee Disability Retirement: The Non-Existent Door

It is the door which should exist, but doesn’t.

The Non-Existent door includes: The one with the sign on it which says, “Office of Reputation Restoration Once the Truth Comes Out” — you know, the place where your reputation is restored after it turns out that things people said about you weren’t true, after all.  Or, how about: “Office of Refunds — A Dollar for Each Day Your Kids were Ungrateful”.  This is the office where you suddenly become extraordinarily wealthy for all of the effort you put into raising your kids, but where you never received any thanks.  Or, the door with the sign which reads: “Office of Body Parts and Replacements” — where you can trade in a bad back or a bum knee for a brand new one.

Well, such an office door does “somewhat” exist, in that a doctor can do their best to try and repair certain medical conditions.  Unfortunately, the science of medicine has not yet been perfected, and until it has, we have to continue to live lives which must take into account various medical conditions which are not ultimately curable, and have become chronic and restrictive.

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, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the only available response to the Non-Existent Door — the one which says, “Office Where You can Keep your Job despite your Medical Conditions”.

Contact a retirement attorney who specializes in Federal Employee Disability Retirement Law, and enter the door not of Non-Existence, but of an existence entitled, “Federal Disability Retirement annuitant”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

OPM Disability Retirement Legal Counseling: The Pantheon

It is the collective gods, or of great men and women, of either a religion with multiple deities, or of mythological narratives, or even of respected mortals; and, in their aggregate, they perhaps comprise the paradigm of that which a culture, a society or a civilization stands for.

Perhaps they represent the best of us — of virtue, of bravery, of moral foundations, etc.  Do we all carry about with us such an image?  Or, have we become so narcissistic that the only paradigmatic examples we view are those of our own accomplishments?

Certainly, we must by necessity have a “self-image” — but is that abstracted model of one’s self a true depiction, or merely another example of the collective pantheon of imagined gods?

Some of us had the good fortune of growing up with good examples; others, perhaps were forced to borrow from history’s great figures; but it is those who have no such paradigms to follow, who inevitably become lost when a crisis contorts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and lack a pantheon of examples to follow, a medical condition can become all the more devastating when there is no guidance or direction.  Human Resource offices are often unhelpful.  The information “out there” can be misleading.

For help, contact a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, it is not the imaginary pantheon of greats who will lead you into the future, but a knowledgable lawyer who knows the ins-and-outs of Federal Disability Retirement Law who can help guide you through the morass of a bureaucratic complexity known otherwise as the god of all bureaucraciesThe U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

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 Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The touch of life

People often refer to “the touch”; of Midas’ ability to engage in alchemy, now transformed into a metaphor for those whose every endeavor results in financial gain; or of that “soft touch” in the arena of basketball, where the swish of the net and the easy bounce which finds the diameter of the hoop always larger than the irascible target of our trying attempts.  But it is the “touch of life” which encompasses all of that, and more.

When most struggle with the morning fog of first dawn, and youth craves for the security of childhood but act with cynicism to protect their own pride; and pride itself, foolish in its heart, but where wisdom never finds refuge but for the mistakes made in trying.  The touch of life comes to the fore when wandering souls finally find restive quietude from the troubles of the world, and for a brief moment when time, history, and the troubles which beset, can be set aside in an orderly, systematic and rational universe of timeless peace and finality of purpose.

Wisdom is hard to come by; and in the midst of daily struggles, finding clarity of purpose is impossible, especially when troubles abound upon the horizon of life’s plenitude.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service harasses, intimidates and engages in unfair labor practices, preparing an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the only viable choice left.

Life often grants only limited options, but when we grumble and complain about the lack of alternatives, we merely delay and obfuscate the richness open to our own lives.  Instead, what the Federal or Postal employee needs to do, is to take that opportunity and prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.

Grumbling about fate not in the cards merely takes energy away from that which will work; and as America is a land of pragmatism, the home to William James and the only original philosopher from this country, it does well to recognize that the touch of life is not reserved to the magic of alchemy, but to the choices we wisely accept and forge forward upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The furrowed face

Does the palm reader tell from lines deepened and extended by time, or in the creases of birth and predetermined fate?  Do the ruts and chasms criss-crossing like doodling designs created by a madman mixing a cauldron of witch’s brew depend upon fate already set, or can the future be altered by choices one foresees?  And what of the face — the creases around one’s mouth, the ruts above the furrowed brow, or the fine filaments of timeless cuts around the eyes; do they tell a story of joy and promise, or of sadness and sorrow?

The furrowed face is but a moment’s expression; it is rather the corrugated painting, forever captured in the stitch of life’s experiences, which lasts in timeless bottles of floating memories, like butterflies caught in a web of deception where promises of boundless expectations and revelations of hope as sung from the loving tongues of mothers dreaming of tomorrow’s future for children yet unborn.

Time, experience, and confrontations of life tend to deepen the furrowed face of age.  As do medical conditions.  It is when the tripartite combination coalesces, that decisions need to be made, lest extinguishment of life become the goal of sorrow.  For, when a medical condition comes to the fore, it impacts one’s capacity and ability; when capacity and ability become impacted, then one’s work suffers; and when one’s work begins to suffer, the notice of employers, coworkers, and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to turn on its engine of harassment and adversarial modalities of meddlesome trickery.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service care not whether the ruts and grooves of the furrowed face deepen by the actions of an uncaring bureaucracy.

As Americans spend billions each year on health care and cosmetic products to enhance beauty and delay the inevitable lines of age, so it is often the best medicine to alter the predetermined fate of time by considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, when the furrowed face of life requires such a step.  Adulthood rarely spares any of us from the deep ruts of facial scars; and when there is a “baby face” in middle age, it often reflects deeper chasms and valleys within the psyche, where hidden traumas are screaming to be let out.

Federal and Postal employees who face the problems of work because of a medical condition have the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and begin planning for another stage of one’s life in the private sector.  Not everyone has such an option or an opportunity in the face of a medical condition which robs the Federal or Postal worker from continuing in one’s chosen career, but OPM Disability Retirement is that rare benefit which allows for further employment while receiving an annuity.

In that sense, the furrowed face need not be the last and frozen picture of a person’s future, and the palm reader may yet be tentative in predicting the final chapter of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire