Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Playing with words

What does it mean when a person alleges that you are “just playing with words”?  It is like the non-lawyer public who charges that a certain criminal “was gotten off on a technicality”, whereas the universe of lawyers sees that as a tautology:  Of course the person was found innocent based upon a “technicality” — for, isn’t all of law just that: a technicality?

There is, of course, some kind of implication that seeps beneath the surface of such a charge — that there is an inherent dishonesty in the manner of speaking certain words; that there is an “intended” or primary meaning of the usage of certain words, phrases or concepts, and that when they are taken out of context, seemingly used for a different, perhaps nefarious or self-interested purpose, then one is “playing with words” because dishonesty must by consensus be the condemnation of words used as toys in the hands of a thief.

What would the negation of the allegation be: of a person who declares suddenly, “You are not playing with words”?  Is that the appropriate charge when a person is blunt — like the current political arena of this new breed who says outright that which others merely reserve thoughts for in the privacy of insular lives?

Is that what diplomacy is substantively about — of “playing with words” so that double and triple meanings can be conveyed, leaving everyone paralyzed and motionless because no one knows what everyone else is thinking — at least, not in any precise manner?

Or, perhaps there is a different sense, as in: Words once upon a time held a sacred status and when we demean, abuse or misuse words in a certain way, then we can be charged with “playing with words”.

Sometimes, there are instances in which meanings are “stretched”, or when conclusions that are declared in an unequivocal manner do not coincide with the findings made or the evaluative analysis conducted, and so there is a “disconnect” between fact-finding and conclusion where a person declares unequivocally:  They are just playing with words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, 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, may become a necessity.

In that event, recognize that the entire endeavor is a complex administrative and bureaucratic action that must engage the arena of “words” — and some of it may involve the “playing of words” in the sense that you may have to tinker with different sets of words where comfort and becoming comfortable with unfamiliar concepts and phraseology “come into play”.

When an individual — you — who suffers from a medical condition which you must then step “outside of yourself” in order to describe yourself in “objective” terms, then it can become an oddity which may seem like you are “playing of words”.  In such an event, it is often of great benefit to consult with an attorney so that the very person utilizing the vehicle of words in describing one’s self is not the same person “playing with words” as the very person who suffers from the descriptive words being played with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Next Steps

It is the previous step that determines the following one, and the one before that which closes the alternatives for multiple other pathways; in the end, sequence matters, protocol can make a difference, and how one takes the steps, in what direction, by what methodology — these are all important considerations to contemplate.  What the endeavor is; by what means one is attempting to achieve the end-result; and the manner in which the goal is reached; the attempt the take a short-cut will often result in only a short-lived gain, but often with long-term consequences that, upon reflection, made the short-cut pay a price greater than the worth of the gain.

Next steps are important; each step, whether previously taken or subsequently considered, are also obviously of significance, but one could argue that those already taken cannot be reversed or, if reversed or retraced, may complicate matters more, whereas the “next step” yet to be taken may impact all previous ones already established and thus must be considered in light of the consequences likely to ensue.

Whatever has already occurred in the past cannot be undone or, if it can, must be retracted with care such that any retrospective refashioning of previous actions taken will do no greater harm than that which has already been consummated.  It is always the “next steps” that are the crucial ones, for they will determine not only the efficacy of all previous ones, but further, will either validate or undermine all previous ones heretofore taken.

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 next steps you take may be the critical ones that determine the success or failure of the entire complex, administrative and bureaucratic process you are attempting to undertake.

What statements are made as reflected on SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the sufficiency of the medical reports and records gathered, to be submitted as Attachments to your Federal Disability Retirement application; whether you answer and address the issues concerning accommodations in the workplace sufficiently or in what manner; whether you have an adequate understanding and comprehension of your rights with regard to Federal Disability Retirement Law; these and many other “next steps” may well determine the future course of actions previously taken, ignored or otherwise not initiated.

Perhaps the “next step” should be to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the “next step” be the one that leads to an unforeseen stumble, where that next step leads to a misstep or the following next step after that cannot occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Comparisons

We like making them; somehow, it allows for hope and, unfortunately, its opposite, despair, but they are engaged in nonetheless, regardless of the potentialities pointing in either direction.  Comparisons allow for a judgment of who we are, what we have accomplished and what we believe are the acceptable societal norms and standards, and whether we have succeeded or failed in meeting them.

People watch the pablum of television shows that display the ostentatious arrogance of some wealthy individuals who know not the concept of “discretion” or any sense of humility in having attained the higher luxuries of life; yet, many continue to be fascinated by such tasteless shows of comfort, and compare themselves, their accomplishments and the artificial standards of normative achievements that somehow have pervaded people’s psyche.

Of course, the corollary of such an approach to life is to redefine the definition of what it means to be “successful”, and thus to lower the standards in order to be all-inclusive, and do this each time as more and more people need to be accommodated.

Either extremes on the spectrum of man’s favorite sport – of watching, observing and comparing – constitutes the reality of that which is required to attain a level of satisfaction in life.  Of course comparisons are going to be made – for, we live in a world where everything is relative, and one can only recognize and realize the multitude of opportunities and potentialities by comparing one’s own station in life with that of what others have achieved.

Concurrently, sometimes the definition that defines who we are, what is important and where one wants to go, may need some adjustments.  Objectivity is achieved somewhere in the middle, between the comparative observance of “what is”, and the need to tinker with the language game that defines what “needs to be”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the favorite past-time of Americans – of observing, comparing and judging – meets a heightened sense of anxious awaiting because of what coworkers and supervisors begin to do.

They compare your level of productivity to what others are doing, and what you were doing before.  An “accommodation” is nothing more than the redefining of one’s essential elements of one’s job; but even with the linguistic rearrangement of those essential elements, the constant barrage of the other side of comparing continues – of supervisors, coworkers, etc., and the entire agency and postal facility judging whether or not you are doing as much as everyone else.

In the end, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be necessary, as the sharpened knives of those comparisons may be too much to bear, given the innate nature of man’s cruelty in a world where medical conditions and disabilities are deemed to be comparatively unacceptable.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Netherworld between Sleep and Wakefulness

There is that moment of haziness, where sleep has not yet overtaken and consciousness has not yet been fully lost, where the philosophical abyss of Kierkegaard’s Either/Or stands in relation to knowledge, truth, insight and puzzlement, and where questions abound concerning the relationship between words and the objective reality of constellations clashing amidst bursting stars and black holes.

Sleep is a realm sought after; restorative sleep, a state of being which, without explanation or cause, we accept as a necessity of life’s conundrums.  Without it, or because of a lack thereof, functionality deteriorates, awareness becomes overwhelming, and the capacity to tolerate a normal level of life’s stresses becomes an issue of sensitivity and tearful breakdowns.  Sleep brings us to the other side of darkness; wakefulness, this side of paradise.

Whether because our genetic code has not yet adapted fully through the evolutionary process of survivability, or that technology outpaces the capacity of human intelligence to withstand the constant bombardment of stimuli upon organic receptors devised merely for hunting or gathering, we may never figure out.  Regardless, many are like the sleeping dead, where the netherworld between sleep and wakefulness remain unchanged, and profound fatigue, daily exhaustion and untenable mental fogginess and loss of intellectual acuity impacts one’s daily ability and capacity to make a living.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such an exacerbating and complex state of health, the reality of going through the day, of coming home exhausted and forlorn, yet unable to turn that profound fatigue into a period of respite and restorative sleep, is a reality faced with the concerns of being able to continue in one’s Federal or Postal career.

Sleep disorders are often secondary medical and health issues, following upon primary physical and psychiatric disabilities; but they can also be a primary basis for 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.

Whether diagnosed as Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, or a more generalized diagnosis of Sleep Dysfunction or Sleep Disorder, the impact upon one’s cognitive acuity as well as the physical exhaustion felt, which can lead to creating a hazardous workplace phenomena, the Federal or Postal employee who finds that the impact prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, should consider that the health issue itself is a valid one, and a firm basis for preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

One may, here and there, experience the phenomenon of entering that netherworld between the dark chasm of sleep and the full orientation of wakefulness, and know that drifting between one and the other is likened to the necromancy of human complexity; but when such a condition remains a constancy in one’s life, then it may be time to consider filing for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, lest the sorcery of life’s dreamworld waves the wand which withers the soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement: Recalibrating the Reset Button

Preparing for life’s vicissitudes can be a daunting task.  Some never acquire the skills necessary to accommodate the winds of misdirection; others stumble through like a drunken sailor walking down fate’s gangplank, seeing the end but failing to adapt in time to prevent the calamities forewarned.  The very few somehow manage to engage the transformation, like a chameleon who responds to the surrounding environment by becoming invisible within the subtleties of life.

Change is the inevitable essence of life.  From alterations occurring from growth — from birth to adulthood, then to aging decay — to the physical universe of constant transformation; the world is represented by the various metaphors and symbols of permanence and change, of Yin and Yang, of Parmenides and Heraclitus, and in modernity, of the recalibration of the reset button.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her present career, it is precisely that fear of change which precludes one from engaging in the necessary steps required to adapt, transform, and reset.

If insanity is defined as performing acts of failure repetitively, then the world must by definition be insane, and the Federal or Postal employee who continues down the same path despite all of the headwinds and warning signs present, should be placed in a straightjacket and confined to the halls of antiseptic whitewashed rooms.  Change is always difficult; but it is a necessity of life.  It is the life spring of a vibrant community; and its opposite is a parallel universe of decay, decrepit degradation, and destructive degeneration of death and desperate deterioration (and so, why is the alliteration of negation so rampant with the letter “d”?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a step in a changing direction.  It takes the Federal and Postal employee out from the insanity of repetitive failure by allowing for a recalibration of the requisite reset button, and to potentially engage in a future which leaves behind a past replete with hostility and increasingly adverse attitudes.  It secures a base annuity such that one can survive; then, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to work in the private sector and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

As change is necessary to the survival of any organism, so stagnation is the result of resistance to transformation; and like the putrid waters of stillness filled with microorganisms waiting to destroy the abdominal walls of the unsuspecting traveler, the Federal or Postal employee who refuses to recalibrate the reset button is merely waiting for the day when the external order will force the change involuntarily, as opposed to he who chooses the day, time and moment of an inevitable fate which awaits us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Insular Delusions

The advantages of holding one’s own counsel are multiple:  little internal strife; dictatorial rule; decision by fiat; complete control and dominance; no blame can accrue to others.  The downside, of course, are just as numerous:  no input from others; the limitation of new ideas, constrained by the perspective of one’s own thoughts and concerns; the fool’s impropriety of listening and following one’s own judgment; little to no brainstorming.

Judgement and decision-making by singular counsel has worked well in countries, corners and civilizations which respond subserviently to dominance and domineering.  But when the populace begins to realize that the emperor is not as wise as once thought (or declared by fiat to be by the dictates of the royal palace, issued in blaring tones and trumpeted daily in printed leaflets used by the peasantry for bookmarks and beddings), then the rumblings of a hunger beyond mere need and wants begins to pervade.

Insular delusions occur because the holding of one’s own counsel ultimately results in a circularity of logic and judgment, and unless new and fresh perspectives are allowed in, self-immolation is the resulting loss of vigor and vitality.  Further, when a deteriorating force begins to gnaw away, such as an unexpected medical condition, then sound judgment and rational perspectives give way to exaggerated and exponential quantification of fear and paranoia.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file 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 decision-making process should always include counsel outside, above, beyond, and objectively-attained, in making decisions about one’s future and security from the ravages pending by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Federal Disability Retirement is not just about securing one’s future; it is, moreover, a matter of establishing a capacity of reaffirming one’s potential in becoming employed, without penalty, beyond the Federal sector; of making sure that one’s accrued Federal time in-service is not for nothing; and to ensure that one’s rights have been protected in order to move forward into the future.

Insular delusions occur when an individual retains the sole counsel of one’s own accumulated wisdom; but as wisdom is not merely the aggregate of one’s own opinions and perspective, the delusions which follow are like the windmills of old where knighted grandeur resulted in the myth of Sisyphus, where the toil of rolling a boulder up the hill of agony left one depleted in the soul of the absurd.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire