Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Flux

Life must of necessity involve change; otherwise, the definition of its corollary occurs, or at a minimum, a deadened spirit.  But the tripartite self-contradiction of life, death, and the security of habituated changelessness entraps us all: In youth, the excitement of constant flux energizes; in later life, the unwelcome changes and interruption of daily routine leads to turmoil; yet, as the negation of the mundane equals the non-existence of youthful energy, so the denial of needed change must of necessity result in a deadened soul.

It is, of course, a concept which is often associated with Heraclitus, who proposed that all is change, and inevitably so, as we cannot ever step twice into the same river.  Parmenides, on the other hand, introduced the contrary idea, that change is impossible and merely illusory.  Subsequent philosophers have melded the two, and compromised the bifurcated extremes, somewhat akin to the composite yin-yang embracing of the opposing forces of life.  But as resistance to change implies change itself, so surrender to flux may also indicate loss of will.

For Federal and Postal employees who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the impact from the medical turmoil must of necessity dictate some needed changes in one’s life, so the natural instinct to resist the flux of one’s career is a natural reaction.  But for the Federal and Postal employee who ignores the need for change, failure to foresee will ultimately result in changes being made by external forces, and not necessarily by choice.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is something that must be proven by the Federal or Postal employee who becomes a Federal Disability Retirement applicant.  It must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence; it must be affirmatively shown to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that one is eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

When a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the temptation is to first see the world as Parmenides did, and to resist change; but the reality is that change has always been in the air, and the metaphorical river to which Heraclitus referred has been eternally running through the peaks and valleys of life, quietly and without our realizing it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Pre-planned Life

Planning is part of our culture; from birth, to plan for old age; from the first entrance into a career, to consider the options for retirement funding; from the days of schooling, to determine the course of one’s career; and multiple intermediate pre-planning considerations, often mundane in nature, such as what to eat for dinner, how many children to have, where to live, etc.  Whether animals plan for the day, and to what extent, may be debated; what cannot be disputed is the extent and complexity in comparison to the pre-planning engaged in by Man.

But life rarely follows along the neat and uninterrupted course of a plan determined days, months or years prior; instead, the hiccups of life are what make for interesting interludes of unexpected turns and twists.  The proverbial nest egg may not have developed as quickly; one’s expectations of career goals may not have blossomed; a child may have come unplanned; or a lost puppy may have appeared at one’s doorstep.

Medical conditions are somewhat like those interruptions of interludes; they may not be as pleasant as some other hiccups, but they are realities which people have to deal with.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where medical conditions prevent them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to undertake two preliminary steps:  An assessment of the medical condition and whether it is likely to resolve within a year or less; if not, to investigate and become informed about Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

One of the elements which must be shown is that one’s medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  This can normally be easily accomplished by a doctor who can provide a prognosis fairly early on in the process.

And perhaps a third step:  A recognition that lives rarely travel along a pre-planned route, no matter what you were taught to believe, and more than that, that the value of one’s life should not be reflected by veering into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Value-Driven Life

Are expectations unrealistically embraced, adopted and concretized at the outset, without thoughts of malleability and alterations subject to changing circumstances? What happens when societal demands, whether explicit or implicit, clash with personal ambitions, to create a dissonance which tears apart the soul of Man?

The psychological chasm between what we believe our parents expect, what we desire, how we view the values as espoused in daily discourse with the world around us, becomes entrenched at an early age, and attaches to our psyche before we even have a chance to test the waters of reality. That is why most people find it difficult to adapt and to respond adequately to ever-changing circumstances.

Yet, the way in which we remain inflexible is a denial of reality; for, life rarely proceeds upon a linear direction without unexpected turns and twists. The love that we thought would be forever, ends in divorce and destruction; the career which we believed was the key to success, turns out to be a mere means to pay the bills; and the puppy that was to grow old with you, ceases to be before its time.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts and prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s job, the idea that life’s alterations must result in reactive responses different from the original course of one’s career, is not a new notion.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is obviously a career-changing, major decision to make. But the very fact that the benefit’s availability for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS, or 5 years under CSRS, at least allows for the option to be offered at all.

Options are avenues for responding to life’s reality of twists and turns, in real time, based upon real circumstances. The paradigm set as a child may be nothing more than a dream once enjoyed; but in growing up, those childhood dreams needed to be adjusted in order to accommodate the reality of our daily lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Events

Society often proceeds in starts and fits; from one event to the next; from a noted day off on a calendar; from that three-day weekend to the next; from a noted celebration; and time is then marked off and set in our minds as details to fill into the wide linear void of time. But chronicity of medical conditions counters such attempts to neatly bifurcate time into segments of comprehensible packages, precisely because there is no break in the duration of progressive deterioration.

Chronic pain is an equalizer of time; it negates and nullifies, and throws one into the deep abyss of a time when time did not exist; of a prehistoric state of being where sensation, events, environmental dangers and the necessity to survive by reacting consume and overwhelm any sense of segments of time.  Civilization and societal niceties create the neat packages of time-oriented existence; like pristine lawns in a suburban neighborhood, property-lines establish our lives like time-lines on an itinerary of a corporate employee.

How does one break that abyss of timelessness?

Federal Disability Retirement through the Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, allows for that recuperative segment of time in which a Federal employee may turn to, in order to break the chronicity of a progressively deteriorating medical condition.

At least Federal and Postal employees have that option.  For many in the rest of society, the niceties of a segmented life will continue to determine one’s ability to escape that prehistoric time of timelessness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Career-ending Event

One often reads and hears about a traumatic injury which suddenly and unpredictably ends the career of a certain sports figure.  Such stories evoke sentiments of empathy, for the potential which was never entirely fulfilled, and for the personal tragedy which befalls the individual, the family, and those who admired the talent which failed to reveal its fullness.  

But in everyday life, such tragedies occur in less spectacular ways; perhaps not as sudden and unexpected incidents or injuries as to bifurcate between the day before and the day after; rather, through a chronicity of time, over months and years of struggling, until a day comes when one must admit to one’s self that the chosen career-path must be reevaluated.  

The trauma of the life-changing event is no less significant to the Federal or Postal Worker than to a star NBA, NFL or NHL player.  For the Federal or Postal worker who has worked diligently, if not quietly and unassumingly, in the chosen career path — a recognition that his or her medical condition will no longer allow continuation in the vocation, has the identical reverberations as those more notably identified, in terms of financial, economic, personal and professional significance, relevance and impact.  

In fact, sometimes even more so — because one never witnesses the long and arduous struggle for the months and years prior to making the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, through the “quiet years” of using Sick Leave sparingly; of trying to maintain a semblance of competence and work-completion in the face of medical conditions which are never told, never spoken of, and never acknowledged.  

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel management, is tantamount to that “traumatic injury”; it’s just that such an event is rarely, if ever, written about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Changes

Changes in life occur at critical times, and whether the critical time-period is determined by the medical condition, or other events, what is always important is to take the affirmative steps yourself, as opposed to waiting for events to spiral out of control.  Rarely should one await for the Agency to “do something” which is advantageous to one’s situation.  In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is important to always be the one to take the lead on everything — from obtaining the proper medical documentation, to ensuring that the Agency is completing their portion of required forms, to making sure that a Federal Disability Retirement packet is fully and completed formulated, such that it will prove one’s case by a preponderance of the evidence and meet the legal criteria for an approval.  Time is of the essence in each Federal Disability Retirement case, especially when time conspires against one’s own interests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Life Changes

Major life changes occur at some point for everyone —  new births; deaths; marriage; major illnesses.  The trauma of a life-changing event such as a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is further exacerbated because of the financial impact that such a life-event can have upon a Federal or Postal employee.

While Federal Disability Retirement benefits do not fully make up for the loss of income (for FERS employees, it pays 60 percent of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years the first year, and 40% every year thereafter until age 62, at which point it gets converted and recalculated to regular retirement; while the Federal disability retirement calculation for CSRS employees is slightly more complex), it is at the very least a point of security — a base amount of income in which one can rely upon.

This is important, because with a major life-changing event, it is essential to focus one’s energies upon resolving, attacking, or otherwise handling that life-event, and not have the worries or distractions which take one’s energies away from focusing upon the one life-changing event.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire