Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Time wasted

It all depends upon one’s perspective, doesn’t it?  For some, watching television is time wasted; for others, reading a novel, and even within that subset of opinions and viewpoints, it often depends upon “what” you are reading before the hammer of judgement is struck: If a beach-time novel, then it is a waste of time; if a classic, then you are utilizing your time wisely.

But what if you are, in fact, sitting on the beach enjoying the lazy lapping of waves, and merely want to get lost in the fantasy of a junk novel — isn’t relaxation a good use of one’s time?  When does “constructive” relaxation turn into time wasted — i.e., laziness?  Is it when the bare necessities of life are no longer attended to?

Of that proverbial brother in-law or other distant relation who is whispered about, who barely holds on to a job, is found spending more time at the corner pub than attending to one’s kids, or the one who constantly oversleeps, overstays his welcome or overstates his woes — is it just a guy who likes to relax, or is he a lazy bum?

Is there a mathematical formula in determining when time is well spent doing nothing, or is wasted?   Sort of like: Time multiplied by the extent of bare necessities required divided by the extent of need, minus particular circumstances that must be taken into account factored by 3.

Can a lifetime be wasted, and if so, what would be the criteria to be applied or imposed?  A wealthy person might contend: We have about 60 years or so to make our fortunes, and if a person has not done so within that timeframe, it is a lifetime wasted.  Some others might counter with: Amassing wealth is not the sole criteria of a worthwhile life; the fostering of human relationships, of making someone else more comfortable, or of even granting a dog some happiness, is what makes this life a worthy one.

Does a medical condition bring about a differing perspective?  For the wealthy person who makes enemies throughout and angers almost everyone with his or her single-minded focus while disregarding the feelings of all else, but who suddenly is hit with deteriorating health — does time take on a different meaning?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — is time being wasted by the struggle itself?  Does it appear that everything is an uphill struggle: of juggling doctor’s appointments, work, family obligations, etc.?

Preparing 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, may not be the best solution of all, but it may be the most prudent one, as time is not a friend to be wasted when it comes to one’s health and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: SF 3112C

As a “government form” it purports to provide guidance in general terms, and it is doubtful that the lack of clarity as to its purpose or utility will assist the medical professional into writing an effective report.

The plain fact is that SF 3112C is a confusing form — confusing both to the doctor or Nurse Practitioner who is presented with it, as well as to the FERS Applicant who is attempting to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  It refers to a “position description” being attached, but fails to provide the necessary explanatory nexus between the PD and the medical opinion sought.

What part of the position description should be focused upon?  Is it the entirety of the PD, portions of it, or just the “essential elements”?  Is it relevant whether a person can work part-time, full time, or an erratic combination of both depending upon the severity of symptoms that may arise periodically?  Is SF 3112C meant to confuse, or like so many “government forms”, is the language inevitably misleading because it is (A) meant to be that way, (B) unintentionally written in an unclear manner or (C) is meant to be wholly unhelpful because OPM doesn’t want to go out of its way to help the Federal Disability Retirement applicant?  Must the SF 3112C, the “Physician’s Statement”, be used at all?

If you are still working with the Federal Agency or on the rolls of the Postal Service, or at least not separated for more than thirty one (31) days, must the prepared physician’s statement be sent directly to your H.R. Office without first being reviewed and validated by the applicant?  The form itself certainly makes it appear so, but is that really the case?

In the end, the applicant who is preparing, formulating and filing a 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, must make some initial and important determinations concerning the substance and content of the application itself.

Forms are tricky; the laws that oversee them, often vague; but if you are relying upon instructions written and formulated by the very government agency that will be making a determination on your application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in the very law that governs Federal Disability Retirement, before you begin “filling” out forms or having your doctor fill one out.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Trauma of Change

There is comfort and security in the monotony of routine; for many, even a slight alteration in the identity of daily action presents a threat to the coherence of a world created and maintained.  Old men and women who suffer from the destructive forces of dementia rely upon it; homes which house the aging population, abandoned by obligation and freed from trust of children now grown, lean upon the crutch of sameness, as if sanity depended upon a universe determined to defy detour of deference.

But such clinging to the security blanket of daily recurrence is not relegated to the old; for most of us, reliance upon the monotony of unchanging sameness is what provides for reliability and dependability; alteration of environment is for the youth to encounter, as excitement of differentiation can only be relished by those who can accommodate change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, and where the symptoms and ravages of the diagnosed medical conditions begin to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the winds of change present a formidable challenge to one’s sense of equilibrium, perspective of stability, and calm feelings for a secure future.

Change is traumatic; and, moreover, unexpected and uninvited alteration of circumstances by force of unwanted imposition, is like being hit over the head by the proverbial hammer of life, and we kick and cry in protest as we are dragged down the avenues of change.  And, like the addict who must undergo the steps towards rehabilitation, there is a recognition of stages:  Of having a medical condition; acceptance of the medical condition; realization that the medical condition results in an unavoidable impact upon one’s Federal or Postal career; then, to undertake the pragmatic and practical steps in 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.

It is this last step which is often the most difficult — to actually take those “real life” steps in applying for OPM Disability Retirement; and why is this?  Because, so long as we only “talk about” things, there is still stability and sameness in the objective world; but once we reach out and connect “talk” with “action”, the trauma of change becomes real, and the recognition that the world we left behind as a child — of gnomes, fairies, and the knight in shining armor — were really mere pictures in a storybook stored in the lost memories of innocence and warmth of a mother’s womb.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Government Employment: The Beat of Life

Have you ever had a dream (or nightmare) where you are the only one out of sync?  Whether in a choir or perhaps playing an instrument, and everyone around stares with irritation or dismay, and no matter what efforts you expend, nothing seems to allow for a synchronization of movements, sounds or stylistic applications?

Or in other similar circumstances, whether in sports, dance, or other events requiring coordination of efforts and timing of actions, the personification of self reflects a complete lack of capacity to become a quiet pendulum of rhythmic beats.  And much of life is like that; there is a rhythm and a beat, and one day we wake up and everything seems out of sync, out of kilter, and no matter what we do, how hard we try, the beat of life seems to go on without us.

The phrase itself, “The beat of life”, of course, has a sense of double entendre; the first implying the rhythmic march of one’s existence, and the other denoting the thrashing inflicted through the existential encounters experienced daily.  Both, in either form, connote the consequences of the spectrum felt and the degree effectuated upon the soul of an individual.  Medical conditions tend to do that independently of any control we attempt to exert upon the environment surrounding us.  Control and our ability and capacity to determine one’s fate, is not confined or unique to the proverbial “Type-A” personality.

We all desire to be the master of our defined universe.  To lose control is to relinquish the beat and rhythm of life.   It is to be banished from the comity and security of the fiefdom we have ascribed and announced our liege to, and for which we have dedicated out lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the discovery of a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, is tantamount to a moment in a dream when the beat of life begins and ends.  The old rhythmic consonance of mellifluous comity terminates, and the new and adversarial relationship, both against the medical condition itself and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which fails to accommodate and refuses to cooperate, must be endured and confronted.

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, must be considered, precisely because a new beat must be found, and the band which played the tunes before can no longer comprehend the stylistic differentiation which you have now experienced, like a religious awakening expanding beyond the horizon one may have expected at the beginning of the journey.

But whether one lives a life in a small town and never leaves the security of the neighborhood born, or one travels through and traverses the cultural divides of the world, the beat of life one carries is somewhat like the backpack of the pilgrim, and for the Federal and Postal worker who must move on to the next phase of life, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM becomes a necessary step to allow for the beat of life to continue, lest you allow life itself to beat you down.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire