FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Intolerable conditions

We all have a threshold of tolerance; it is, in the end, a spectrum and a range which cannot be generalized.  The MRI that reveals degenerated tissue or organic dysfunctioning may parallel the pain experienced, but it does not determine the level of tolerance for any given individual.  Yet, while thresholds may vary, there is a limit to human toleration, and the question for each individual is: At what point do conditions reach the limit of my tolerance, and do I wait until I reach that ceiling, or is it then too late to have waited so long?

Most people wait until the intolerable conditions reach a critical juncture.  That is the rub of the matter — that, yes, human beings possess a great tolerance for the intolerable, but the further question that is too often missed, is: Should we?  Is it healthy to?  And: What damage is incurred by resisting the warning signs that our bodies and minds give such that we reach beyond those warning triggers and milestones of caution, and when we get beyond them, we leave them behind as sirens which have faded and been forgotten?

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 essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the intolerable conditions which have erupted often includes: Increasing harassment from one’s Federal Agency and the Postal Service; exhaustion of SL, AL and FMLA; dealing with the medical condition itself; the failure of coworkers and managers to empathize or understand; the stress that is placed on personal relationships because of the deteriorating conditions in the workplace; the loss of stability; the increasing loss of livelihood, etc.

Any one of these, or all in combination, create those intolerable conditions, and when it becomes apparent that the proverbial rubber band that has held the whole together is about to snap, then it is time — beyond the time, maybe — to prepare an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Ledger of Life

The Ledger was once that oversized binder which recorded the economic transactions for various purposes — of maintaining income and outlays; of keeping an accounting of various details in one’s life, whether of activities in business or even of one’s habits and patterns of existence.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem the same as typing such information into a computer, or of buying a software that categorizes and makes everything neat and simple.

That old Ledger that had to be lugged from one place to another reflected the weight of seriousness just in the act of lifting it; and when you opened the front cover and turned the pages where the latest entry still emitted the scent of ink still drying, one sensed the permanency of recordation as a trait of relevance that could never be erased.

And what of the metaphor — of one’s “Ledger of Life” — a recordation of the transactions that one has engaged; of the weightiness of that placed on one side of the ledger as compared to the negative notations appearing on the opposite side; of the image of St. Peter as the gatekeeper reviewing the annotated columns to determine if you “made it” — all because “The Ledger” reflects the value of your actions during the course of a lifetime?

Do we even think in those terms, anymore?  Or, while the dusty old books that used to be kept beneath the wooden grains of counters in dark and dank workshops were left behind when first the technology of modernity made for obsolescence of such anachronistic record keeping, did we then just revert to making mental notes for the things we did or did not do?

Most of us, if asked if we are “eligible” to pass through St. Peter’s exclusive club, would respond thus: “Oh, all in all, I have been a pretty good person and so, Yes, I believe I would qualify.”  And so we approach most things in a similar vein: We give ourselves a “pass” and believe that the Ledger of Life would favor our eligibility status.

And so it is with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition and need to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Because you suffer from the medical condition and believe that the medical condition cannot but be proof of eligibility, so you believe OPM cannot but see what you see.  But filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is very rare that any Federal Disability Retirement application is a “slam-dunk” case, or even an “easy” one; and like the Ledger of Life that we have left behind in the dusty heaps of bookshelves long forgotten, preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application is not just a simple transaction to be annotated into columns of neat book keeping, but a bureaucratic process that must be proven and argued for — somewhat like the Ledger of Life that must be submitted to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: Different Standards

To overdress is almost always acceptable; to underdress — well, while it may be acceptable, you may have to endure being the subject of curiosity and quiet whispers of raised eyebrows.

There are different standards for every occasion, endeavor, event or engagement; some high, others low; a few enforced without exception while still maintaining a sense of decorum and the rest of them left to ignored apathy where anything goes.  Some private clubs seem to thrive upon the exclusivity of standards maintained so high that few can meet the exceptionalism applied, while those more accessible to the public allow for flagrant violations with nary a nod or a wink.

It is when the context becomes the content that eyebrows become raised, and the higher the brow the more exclusive the thinking.  For the rebel, it is always difficult to try and convey the notion that one must adapt and change with the circumstances — that standards are applied, and you must recognize those standards and act accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the standards set have now failed to be met — whether at the personal level or the professional — it might be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whether through a recognition of the standards set for yourself — which is often higher than what is acceptable by others — or because you are beginning to get the hints that your agency or the Postal Facility has become dissatisfied with your work performance, your attendance or excessive use of sick leave; whatever the reason, the plain fact is that the medical condition itself is always the basis for determining the need to alter and modify one’s personal and professional standard.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  The standard you used to apply before the onset of a medical condition should not be the same one that is applied to your present situation, and you should therefore consider that the standard of maintaining one’s health is the present priority exclusively, no matter what your Federal Agency or your Postal Facility tries to have you believe.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and determine whether you “meet the standards” to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  They may be different than what you think.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Systemic Problems

When the residual impact of a crisis goes well beyond cosmetic concerns, the usual and customary description is that the “cause” involves “systemic” problems.  Such foundational fissures can occur both in organizations, as well as in individuals.

For Federal agencies, it may require a need for new leadership, or a restructuring of internal chains of command, and sometimes even outside intervention.  More often than not, a call for greater funding is demanded; then, once approved, we walk away as if the problem has been fixed, until the next crisis calls our attention.

For individuals, the systemic problems can involve a medical condition.  Symptoms are normally mere warning signs portending of greater dangers; like organizational eruptions of systemic concerns, individual crisis of systemic proportions often result from neglect, procrastination and deliberate avoidance of the issue.  But medical problems have a tendency and nature of not going away; they are stubborn invaders, like the hordes of barbarians from epochs past, who keep whittling away at the weakest points of an individual’s immune system.  Then, when the medical condition progressively deteriorates until the spectrum of symptoms exceeds a threshold of toleration, suddenly, a crisis develops.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has reached that point, where the symptoms are no longer superficial, but prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then it is time to begin 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, time is of the essence, as the administrative process must meander its way through a complex system of bureaucratic morass, and the timeline is often of importance in securing the future of a Federal or Postal employee.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is an arduous, lengthy task, and one which is a tool against a systemic problem; for, in the end, the best fight against an invading army is to utilize the elements of the marauders themselves, and this is true in medicine, in law, as well as in individual and organizational restructuring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee’s OPM Medical Retirement: Disjointed Lives and Divergent Paths

Life brings with it anomalies and conundrums which make for bumpy rides.  Despite protestations to the contrary, the older we get, the more we seek repetition, thoughtless inaction and monotony of purpose.

Change is for youth; otherwise, why does the parapet of innovation occur (with some minor exceptions) within the fertile mind of those in early adulthood?  Technological discoveries and scientific breakthroughs are formulated within the first third of life; managing a staid environment is left for the second third; and in the final slice of the corrupted remains, we expect quietude and unobtrusive solitude.

Medical conditions tend to disrupt and destroy.  Where once the agency or the U.S. Postal Service enjoyed concurrent and parallel lives with the “productive” Federal or Postal worker, the introduction of a medical condition impacting upon one’s capacity and ability to perform “efficient service” for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, comes into doubt, and it is precisely within the context of the disjointed teleology of intended purposes, that the divergence of paths must take its course.

Fortunately, the Federal system of compensation has preemptively considered such a scenario — by offering Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Federal and Postal employees who are no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positionally-required duties, as delineated and described in the official PD of one’s job, have the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Ultimately, such a Federal Disability Retirement application must be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — through one’s agency, if one is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or separated but not for more than 31 days; or, directly to OPM if the Federal or Postal employee has been separated for more than 31 days.

In the end, it is not the disjointed life or the divergent path which will determine the headstone of time; rather, it is the residual influences we leave and heave upon the next generation of confused minds which will make a difference, and whether the staid quietude we seek in the sunset of generational transfer of responsibilities can allow for another alteration of paths, as one who decided to create a new trail by following Frost’s road not taken.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire