Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Interests

There is self-interest; then, the interest of the third party; or perhaps on behalf of the interests of you, the second person.  Whatever the interests involved, for some odd reason, it is the “self-interested party” that raises an ire of suspicion, a pause devolving with a wrinkled eyebrow, a frown or a furtive look of concern.

Thus, of the old adage that a person who represents his or her own interests may be deemed a fool —but not because of any fervency of advocacy, or even a question of competence, necessarily; rather, it is because of the loss of objectivity that is perpetrated by failing to be able to step back and review one’s circumstances with disinterested dispassion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal job, the concern about whose interests are being looked after, and whether or not what you are doing is in the “best interests” of the client involved — you — should always be one of concern.

You may well be the best person who looks after your own interests — for, surely the one who has the most to gain or lose is the one who will look after those interests.  However, the reason why representing one’s self in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an unwise move, is because the loss of objectivity cannot always be overcome by the medical evidence presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It may well be appropriate to write an impassioned letter in declaring one’s love for someone; or even a heartfelt declaration using many adjectives and adverbs in conveying condolences or an apology; but when one is beset with a medical condition and is trying simultaneously to manage one’s medical conditions while describing it for purposes of trying to obtain OPM Disability Retirement benefits — it may be too difficult to unravel the double helix of self-interested entanglement in order to attain a needed level of objectivity in the matter.

That is why interests self-directed, especially when pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, would best be left in the capable hands of an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The avoidance factor

When does avoidance become a problem?  Say you found out something about a close friend or neighbor — an embarrassing fact, a hidden truth or perhaps a juicy tidbit of revelations that could topple a friendship or marriage — and your self-guiding principle of being honest and forthright scares you into believing that, were you to encounter the person, you fear that either your demeanor will reveal that hidden secret, or you may be a person who cannot control your emotions and you believe that you may blurt out the secret and damage, ruin or perhaps even end the relationship altogether.

Or, maybe you avoid something simply because you dislike doing it, or fear the consequences of finding out the truth, or even disregard knowing that if you seek it and find it, the discovery itself would merely confirm the fears of life’s travails that you believe are better left alone.

What we don’t know, we can deal with; that which, once uncovered, revealed and brought out into the open, we suddenly realize is a certainty that cannot be avoided.  Is work becoming that way?  Are coworkers likewise avoiding you, and you them, with eyes averted, speaking about the weather, the last sports extravaganza, how the Orioles never seem to make the final push or whether money ruins the equality of teams, etc.?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the issue of the avoidance factor looms large.

Everyone begins to avoid the obvious — that you have a medical condition; that your medical condition impacts, impedes and prevents you from performing all of the essential elements of your job; that, perhaps, even your own doctor has already hinted at the truth of your medical condition — that you should likely seek a change of career; that the ceiling of sympathy has been reached, already, and your agency has begun to grumble about termination proceedings; and many other indicators, besides, that showing what everyone is avoiding is actually just a confirmation of the elements needed to prove a Federal Disability Retirement case; it’s just that everyone has been avoiding the obvious.

For, in the end, the proof of a Federal Disability Retirement case is likely already in existence in the very avoidance factor that you and everyone else has been tiptoeing around, and it is precisely the avoidance factor that makes of certainty the issue itself: Now is the time, and not tomorrow; today is the first step that needs to be taken, and not some obscure time down the road, and the avoidance factor that leaves everyone in the dark is like the hidden secret that everyone knows about but believes that he or she is the only one with the truth that, actually, everyone already knew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Life’s perverse fullness

As children, many are taught that life’s promise is unlimited in potentiality, full in its discourse of uncharted waters, and expansive in its promise for tomorrow.  Somewhere, in middle-to-late years, we begin to have a somewhat more “balanced” view: not of fullness merely painted with hope and promise, but with graffiti unasked for, undesired and unwanted: the perverse side of fullness.

Life can indeed contain and present a “full plate” (as metaphors go), but the question then becomes: What is on that plate?  When a potluck dinner is coordinated, there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs, where judgments are fairly quickly made by the systematic depletion of certain foods, and the untouched portions carefully avoided.  Anonymity is crucial to the success of the endeavor itself, but defensiveness is easily assuaged by the general rules of etiquette when asked and confronted: “Oh, I plan on getting seconds” or, “My plate is too small to get everything the first round!”

Excepting social pressures and avoiding hurt feelings, we all tend to gravitate towards that which we desire; yet, we also put on our plates the food items that “balance” the diet – with knowledge and admonitions that certain foods are “healthy” for us, while avoiding those that we have specific allergic reactions to, or otherwise leave us with uncomfortable residual gastronomic pains.

Every now and again, of course, we take on too much – or, as the saying goes and the wisdom that we impart to our children, “My eyes are too big for my stomach”.  It is then that we surreptitiously look for the hidden garbage bin, and infelicitously dump the “leftovers” beneath the mountain of other paper plates, and quickly scurry away from the scene of the crime committed.  Yet, why we fret over an infraction of taking on too much, is often a mystery; is it because waste balanced by greedy overreach combines to reveal a character flaw?  Or is it much simpler than that – that we are often too hard on ourselves?  Taking on “too much” is not a crime; it is simply an anomaly in the general dictum of life’s perverse fullness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who are at a critical juncture where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits – whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – becomes a necessity, it is often the case that one’s “life-plate” has become overburdened: work, career, personal obligations, medical conditions, effects of surgery, etc. – the balance can no loner be maintained.  Something has to “give”, and whatever that “something” is, it usually ends up further impacting one’s health.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits should not be forever stuck on the “pause” button; the longer it stays in a rut, the greater opportunity for deterioration and detriment to one’s health.  We often wait until it is almost “too late”; but just remember that, where life’s perverse fullness includes one’s deteriorating health, it is never a good thing to leave that which is most important, untouched – one’s health.  And, as Federal Disability Retirement is a means to allowing for one’s health to improve so that, perhaps, one day, a second career, vocation, or further productivity can be achieved, so 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, is often the portion of the potluck meal that requires first attention.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Life We Perceive

The state of having an epistemological privilege in the first-person singular, means that we occupy a unique position of knowledge, cognition, perception and viewpoint.  Concurrently, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that others have a similarly extraordinary vantage point, and that no matter how hard we may try, we will never truly understand the depth and complexity of the “others” who surround us, whom we encounter, and who pass by our field of vision in the greater context of life’s coincidences and happenstance meetings.

That we may never be able to fully understand another human being is not a sin; that we fail to care to at any given moment, is merely a fault; but that we callously disregard despite indicators of greater suffering and turmoil so evident that the trembling whispers of human frailty touch upon tears of sorrow, shows a misuse of that unique position of epistemological privilege.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal job, the impact is such that one must often consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus to end early one’s chosen career in the Federal sector.

One would expect, despite the unique position of epistemological privilege which everyone occupies, that some semblance of empathy or caring could, or should, be expected.  Instead, the Federal or Postal employee in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often encounters greater resistance and bureaucratic turmoil than statistically experienced in other similar administrative endeavors; and can this be attributed to mere mathematical calculus of acceptable differentials?

It is doubtful, because it is precisely in the recognition that perversity of intent is also found uniquely in the human animal, and even in cases of suffering and trauma, when medical conditions clearly present to the life we perceive a state of grief greater than simple sympathy, but beyond pain, suffering and turmoil of body and mind; even then, the complexities of jealousy, envy, spite and cruelty, overwhelms the soul who knows not the inner depths of depravity within the human makeup.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire