OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Appropriateness

How does one learn it, and if one never recognizes its opposite — inappropriateness — does that then shield one from recognition of its negative consequences?  Is it the suddenly silence of the room, the averted eyes of those around, or the pink flush of a blush that suddenly tells of the inappropriateness of what was said, or done?  But what of its antonym — do we learn only when someone else says, “Yes, yes, quite appropriate“, and if so, how did that person learn what was or wasn’t?

Is appropriateness merely a human convention, an artificial construct that allows for a mindless continuum that barely retains its relevance beyond the insularity of a self-contained characteristic?

For federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee is under FER05S, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the appropriateness of what to include in a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a question of discretion and experience.

What evidence, beyond the obvious medical evidence, can and should be filed?  What should be included in one’s Statement of Disability as required on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  How much personal information, historical facts and background data should be “appropriately” included in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  Should family members, friends or coworkers provide a statement, as well, and is it “appropriate” to do so?

In the end, appropriateness is a concept that should be tailored by the context of the action, and it might be a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney before preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, as such a consultation would certainly constitute an appropriateness under the circumstances, and may well be inappropriate to fail to do so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Whole is greater than the sum

The “full” adage, of course, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and connotes the idea that the interaction of the various components or elements constitute, in their entirety, a greater effect and impact than the efficacy of quantifying the singular components in their individual capacities added merely together.  It is the working in tandem of individual components that creates a greater whole than the sum of its independent parts, and this can be true whether in a negative or positive sense.

One has only to witness a crowd of individuals working together, whether in riot control or as a military unit, to witness an active, positive impact or, in a negative sense, a pack of wild dogs attacking their prey — working in coordination, circling, attacking in conjunction with one another, etc.  Medical conditions have a similar negative impact; we tend to be able to “handle” a single health crisis, but when they come in bunches, we often fall apart at the seeming enormity of the impact and the dire perspective it engulfs us with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of being overwhelmed, where the medical conditions seem to take on a whole greater than the sum of their individual components, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, it is necessary to recognize the dominance of the greater whole in order to focus upon the elements which have taken on a lesser role — like taking care of one’s health.  Prioritizing matters is important, and when one’s health has taken on a secondary status and where the compendium of medical problems have taken on an exponential effect deleterious to one’s well-being, the Federal or Postal employee should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such a consultation may prove Aristotle’s wisdom to be correct — that the whole of such a consultation is greater than the sum of their individual words combined, or something close to that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Disadvantage of the I-Thou Perspective

People tend to expect the best results; and when a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the applicant who is unrepresented and prepares, formulates and files the Federal Disability Retirement packet on his or her own believes that an approval is forthcoming at the First Stage of the Process.  Yet, often unaware and unbeknownst to the Federal or Postal applicant, the lack of separation between the I-Thou construct fails to provide a proper perspective of objectivity.

Allow me to expand and explain:  As the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition (the “I”) is the same person who prepares, formulates and files the Medical Retirement application (the “thou” from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), any sense of objectivity is often lost because the I and the Thou are one and the same person, and the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition is simultaneously the same one who is seeking an approval of the OPM Disability Retirement application.

Of course, that same scenario is repeated even if the application is filed through a Federal Disability lawyer (in the sense that the Federal or Postal employee still seeks to obtain an approval from OPM) with one major exception:  there is another “thou” perspective included and involved — that of the Federal lawyer representing the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved.

Objectivity is a crucial component of a Federal Disability Retirement application; that is why so many “silly” mistakes are injuriously embraced without self-knowledge or with disengaged awareness.  It is like the cook who loved the taste of arsenic, and thought that everyone else should as well; and so he sprinkled the deadly poison onto his own food and enjoyed the taste of his own creation, only to slowly die from the feed of his own foolishness.

There are many “kinds” in the arena of foolish endeavors:  There is the “quantitative approach” (“I sent them thousands of pages of treatment records”) which fails to ask the question, Who will read it all?  There is the “trusting soul”:  “I just signed a release and had them send it all directly to my Human Resource Office”.  Then, there is the person of naive disbelief:  “How could they not approve it with the medical conditions I suffer from?”

The problem with all of these is the lack of objective perspective; the I-Thou connection is now given the distance, separateness and objectivity necessary to determine the viability and effectiveness of each and every piece of the puzzle needed to put together a proper Federal Disability Retirement application.  Are there ever any guarantees in life?  No.  Can a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement laws make a difference?  Yes.

Fortunately, unlike the metaphor arising from the cook and the salsa of arsenic, there are multiple stages within the administrative process of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and a denial at the First Stage of the bureaucratic pathway is not irreversible, and does not result in the inertia of life rendered by ingestion of substances otherwise tasty but harmful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: Fatigue of Life

There is clearly a distinction to be made between the general fatigue which life blows upon us all; like the child left to play outside in days of yore, and comes back with the grime of healthy dirtiness, the imperceptible layers of life’s hardships cover everyone, like the light dusting of snow overnight revealed in the morning dawn of a winter’s day.  But the profound fatigue which overtakes one from the daily battle against an incapacitating medical condition, is a difference which cannot always be adequately described, if ever.

The medical condition itself creates a circumstance of unique debilitation; the fight against it, whether without one’s conscious involvement — as in the soundless battle of healthy cells against the invasion of marauding maladies, as opposed to the exertion of willpower to continue on in engaging the daily living of life’s challenges — is of somewhat irrelevance, inasmuch as the combination and totality of one’s entire being is always and every day in the midst of the fight.

It is that subtle distinction which the healthy person is unable to understand; it is not life’s fatigue which prevails upon the sick person; it is the sickness itself, in addition to the fatigue of life.

For Federal and Postal workers who must contend not only with the daily grind of life’s routine, facing the bureaucracy and administrative headaches of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency (if still with the agency or otherwise not separated for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a challenge beyond that foray of the day’s entanglement with the world.

Federal and Postal employees must do the everyday things that all of us do:  attention to personal needs; work, if possible; interaction with family, neighbors, coworkers; and beyond, the fight against the medical condition itself.

Filing for Medical Retirement through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to face another of life’s challenges, beyond the daily routine and call of one’s duty and commitment to everyday life.  And since defeat is never an option, and giving up is not in the American character of perceived self-image; whether one is faced with the fatigue of life, or of life’s challenges beyond the general malaise of daily living, it is how we face the cup of gruel we are served, which will determine the future path as yet unknown, as yet unsettled.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Employees from the Postal Service and Other Federal Agencies: Things That Go Bump in the Night

The nightmare of filing for FERS Disability Retirement in times of financial, emotional, and medical needs

Whether or not childhood fear and traumas have a long-term impact in determinable ways upon reactive capacities later in life; to what extent regularity of behaviors, consistency of habitual living, and early imprinting mechanisms influence subconscious firings of synapses, remains within the mysterious realm of esoteric knowledge investigated and analyzed by the coalescence of science, philosophy and psychology; but it is the lay person who must, during the process of unfolding discovery and wisdom, live the consequences of actions impacted by others.

Sometimes, however, it is not what others do, but rather, circumstances which manifest of untold trauma and misery, for which no explanation but a shrug of one’s shoulders can presume.  Medical conditions fall into that category.  How one reacts to it; the extent of the impact upon one’s life, livelihood and future; and the preparations one must undertake in order to secure the betterment for one’s life when once you get beyond the condition itself, if ever; these are all concerns and pathways of responsibilities which fall upon a person who suddenly finds him or herself with a medical condition of significant magnitude.

Whether physical in nature — where orthopedic pain, limitation of flexion and movement; chronic pain, profound fatigue, or neurological issues resulting from disc desiccation, internal derangement of joints, etc.; or of psychiatric issues encompassing the many complex diagnoses, including Bipolar Disorder, pain and anxiety issues, Major Depression, depressive disorders; it matters not in the end, for either and both impact those decisions which one must make in determining the pathway of one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must always be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For Federal Disability Retirement, preconditions and pre-existing conditions matter not; it is not like an OWCP claim where the focus of query may attempt to undermine a claim based upon the origin of the condition; and so the “how” and the “why” are not relevant issues, as in “how did it happen” or “why did it occur”?  The relevant inquiry does not encompass the “time before”; it does not delve into the deep reaches of one’s damaged psyche, or of preexistent traumas in the far recesses of damaged lives.

Whether or not things go bump in the night when once we become adults matters less, than the experiential trauma of having to deal with present issues that impact one immediately.  Taking care of life’s interruptions is a necessary component of living, and for Federal and Postal workers whose future avenue of livelihood is impacted by a medical condition, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement is of paramount importance.

Bumps always tend to occur in the night; it is what the “thing” is that we must identify and resolve, and what bodes for the uncertain future into which we must venture.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire