FERS Disability Retirement: Square peg in a round hole

You know the old adage; it is when a person is trying to do something that is frustratingly obvious that it cannot be done, yet persists in it despite the reality of resistance.  The truism itself by necessity requires one of three courses of action: You either cut off the edges of the square peg in order to shape it into a form where it can fit into the hole, or you smooth the edges of the circular hole and widen it such that the square peg can fit into it.  The third option is: You continue to try and force the issue.  And the fourth way is: You give up and walk away with obvious discontentment and frustration.

You want to remain friends with X, but X is a cad and no matter how much you try to change X, X will not change; and so you try and ignore X’s idiosyncrasies in an effort to extend the friendship, and remain frustrated at your attempts to change reality.  Or, you try and please everyone but end up angering all — you cannot shape the square peg or widen the hole, because there is simply too much resistance from both to alter its shape, size or essence of being.

Reality has its limits; that’s the beauty of the life we lead: virtual reality can be altered with a click of the button, but the reality of the real is that the quirkiness of life defies fullness of understanding, and the mystery of each individual denies total control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to struggle with a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the choices are clear: Stay and suffer; walk away and lose everything; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In such a case, this third option is tantamount to shaving the edges of the square peg in order to fit into the hole, as opposed to trying to stay when it is no longer medically advisable, or to walk away and abandon everything in frustration.

Old adages remain relevant for a reason; the truth behind the words is retained and, indeed, there is still a recognition that truth prevails.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Information: Action after words

Does the failure of an action to succeed a string of words make it automatically into a lie, or can it merely indicate a delay between thought and action, spoken words and action, or misinterpretation of words followed by non-action?  Are there phrases and afterthoughts that undermine and negate the initial statement of promised and anticipated actions, such that they “justify” the non-action?

For example, if a person says to another, “I will meet you at X restaurant at noon tomorrow,” but upon showing up at the place, the other person never appears; later, you bump into that same person and inquire about his non-appearance, and he states, “Oh, I became too busy and couldn’t come.”  Does that succeeding statement negate the previous statement; does it “explain” it; does it “supersede” it; or was it merely a statement that tells you that the person making it is rude, a bore, and someone to henceforth be suspicious of and mistrusting towards?

What if the same person had said some other things, like: “I thought better of it” or “I decided that I didn’t want to go out to lunch with you”.  As to the former, one might conclude that the person was somewhat odd; as to the latter, that he or she was unfriendly and did not deserve further consideration.  But what of the following statement: “I am so sorry. My mother was taken to the hospital suddenly and I completely forgot!  Please accept my sincere apologies!”  This last admission, of course, is the one that “justifies” the breaking of the prior commitment, and can be seen as the one where “forgiveness” and further consideration is accorded.

In every case, the action which follows after words determines the future course of how we view the person who spoke the words; yet, context and content do matter.

Take for example another scenario, where the person says, “I may be at X restaurant at noon tomorrow, or I may not.”  You show up at the place at noon and the person who made the statement does not show up.  Later, when you “bump into” the person, you say, “Why didn’t you show up at X restaurant,” and the person responds with, “Oh, as I said, I might have, but decided not to.”  Was there a broken promise?  Did the actions performed fail to “meet” with the words previously spoken?  No, and not only that – one could even argue that the person was quite true to his “word”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 connection between “action” after “words” is always an important consideration to take into account, for there will be many steps through the administrative process where compatibility between the two will have to take place.

Will your doctor support your Federal Disability Retirement case when the “crunch time” arrives?  (The doctor will need to).  Will your Human Resource personnel do as they say? (Likely not).  Will your supervisor timely complete the SF 3112B? (Hmmm…).  Will OPM “act upon” the Federal Disability Retirement application after “saying” that they will? (Again, hmmmm…..).

Action after words – the foundation of sincerity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Happy Meter

We have metrics for everything, now; devices simultaneously wearable as necklaces to gauge heart rates and exercising of limbs; of crystals which tell of emotive alterations throughout the day; and connective apparatus lest we lose a signal within the vast field of human interactions with the greater world in distant horizons.

Then, why not a “happy meter”?  How would it determine the accuracy within a spectrum of a day’s journey?  Would it be based upon a pinnacle on a graph? Or, perhaps it would calculate the average temperature between qualitative quotients of sad, neutral and ecstatic?  Or, maybe it would provide a needle prick, or a gentle nudge with a vibrating sensation or a humming sound which reminds us that we are now in the state we seek, of a joyous moment within the historicity of our own emotions.

But would it work, and would a happy meter merely gauge our state of being, or fulfill a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-aggrandizing need for knowledge reflective of foolish accounts as seen by other cultures and societies?  For the most part, any quantification of self-satisfaction would still require the affirmative input of the subject being studied.

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 all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the idea of gauging happiness as the sole criteria for seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely to identify one criteria among many.

For, in the end, “happiness” is just a byproduct resulting from multiple other factors, including a future sense of security; an idea of where one fits within the larger schematic plans of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; where one’s career path will go if the Federal or Postal employee attempts to remain in the job and the agency which cannot be completely fulfilled; whether a viable “accommodation” can be provided to allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue in the same position such that the Federal or Postal employee can perform all of the essential elements of the position; and multiple other and similar elements to consider.

Ultimately, one’s “happiness” cannot be determined by a mere quantification of heart rate, level of perspiration, or the stability of emotions and thought-processes; and while there is no mechanism discovered or invented, yet, which is encapsulated by a commercially salable Happy Meter, perhaps there will be one in the near future.

For the time being, however, one could nevertheless do what men and women have done for centuries, and simply reflect seriously for a moment upon one’s past accomplishments, determining present needs, and plan for one’s future security by taking the affirmative steps necessary to prepare, formulate, and file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of Tomorrow’s Dreams Delayed

We like to think that our lives progress unencumbered in a linear line of advancement, with nary a bump or an obstacle unconquerable, and but for the occasional exuberance of planned erraticisms, the journey should be a smooth ride without surprises.  But just as planes sometimes fall from the sky, and nature betrays its perfection by mistaken errors of comedic turmoil, so the linear aspect of constancy often must confront the bumpiness of expectations.

Life rarely turns out as planned, and the more we plan, the less we expect fulfillment.  Perhaps that is the great tragedy of loss of youthful innocence.  In the end, it is how we face up to that realization that plans are meant to be altered, that unexpected curtailment of expectations unrealized merely represent the reality of the universe, and that in the end, the process of “how we face” it is more important than the desultory buoyancy of cynicism.

On a rollercoaster or other thrill-seeking device, there is often that final moment of exhilaration, that last pause before the turn; perhaps that is precisely why we seek such madness, for life itself rarely presents us with a similar and parallel event.  Instead, like the medical condition which slowly, steadily, and with monotonous rage progresses to debilitate, the constancy of repetitive boredom in life mirrors the tragedy of human proportionality and graveyards filled with unnamed tombstones.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition results in an inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the bumping up against the tides of obstruction means that one must prepare, formulate, and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset.

Life’s unfair advantage at throwing down an obstacle in the midst of a promising career should never betray the need to adapt and consider the alternatives beyond; and for the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the likelihood that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will engage in harassment and ultimate termination of employment, is greater than not.  That is why, of tomorrow’s promises and dreams delayed, it is necessary to prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits today, so that the tomorrow of dismal dalliances may be deemed a desirable date of this day’s inestimable worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement from Federal Job due to Disabilities: Setting up the Contingency for Failure

We all engage in it, at times; and like the vertical clearance events, like the high jump, the measurement of the horizontal bar can make a difference by fractions of inches or centimeters, and where we place the bar will determine the outcome of failure or success.  “If X, then Y,” we whisper to ourselves daily; “If I am able to get through this day, then it shows that I am better, and…”

But medical conditions, especially, have an unique characteristic of skewing and distorting the predictable outcome; and, further, when human desire, unfettered by comparative milestones used as “reality checks” in order to keep contained the buoyancy of human wants, becomes part of the equation, the systematic self-deception can occur through setting up contingencies which will inevitably fail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of “when” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (submitted first through one’s own agency Human Resource Office if not yet separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days; but if separated, within 1 year of being separated from service, which is the Statute of Limitations in all Federal Disability Retirement cases, with some stringent and narrow exceptions) has often been influenced by the imposition of setting up multiple and linear series of contingencies, all of which were doomed for failure.

That is why the very filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application often becomes a “crisis” of sorts; for, as we desire things beyond our reach, and know that such events are unlikely to happen, so we continually engage in such fantasies of hope, despite the facts which face us, the yearnings which remain unfulfilled, and the loud signals which have become sirens emitted from our bodies and inner souls, screaming to change course before the collision of life’s disaster brings tumult and chaos beyond the nightmares of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire