Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The last Edwardian

What does it mean to be an “Edwardian”?  The reign of Edward VII was brief, but its influence is often extended to periods both before and long after in an aggregation of understanding “trends” that were noted, and often idealized.

It is a period of little interest to most Americans, except perhaps when there is some vague reference during a period of a royal scandal or a royal wedding that somehow touches the fancy across the great ocean that divides.  And despite our English “roots”, scant attention is paid to the history of England in either schoolbooks or offered curricula, except in referring to those dastardly “redcoats” who quartered themselves uninvited and had the audacity to tax its colonies without proper representation in Parliament.  Or so the memory of one’s childhood history lessons are recalled.

That period — whether one extends it some decades before, or well into the “Roaring Twenties” — actually lasted only from 1901 – 1910, but left a romanticized memory of lazy summer days, prosperity, greater involvement of women and the “common man” into the political arena, and came to symbolize the dawn of the “modern era”.  Whether such an idealized recollection actually reflected any reality of the era is open to debate.  But, then, that is what we cling to when situations worsen, isn’t it — of an idealized “before” in contrast to the stark gloom of “after”?

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, that desperate “clinging on” to one’s job may in part be attributable to the need to be that last Edwardian — of a “before” (before the onset of the medical condition) when life seemed more rewarding, when pain, discomfort or overwhelming anxiety was not only unthought of, but never occurred as an issue of consideration — who “after” the onset of the medical condition can now only recall the romantic period that once was.

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, may not solve every problem that besets the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer consistently get to work and accomplish all that is required by the position; but it does allow the Federal or Postal employee to prioritize and focus more upon the reality of one’s current situation — one’s health — and not become entrapped in trying to be that last Edwardian.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Asylum

As an active noun, it can mean the protection accorded to a migrant seeking refuge and escape from persecution; in a passive sense, it is an institution with a historical connotation of ill-treatment and mistreatment, imposed against the will of another who may be unable to care for oneself.  In either implied denotations, it reflects a protective refuge, either against the outside forces by within, or in response to inner spirits imagined without.

In rarer moments of perceptive translucence, one sees the need for the imposition of both definitions upon an allegedly sane universe.  Like the story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor’s New Clothes, it isn’t until we stop ourselves and pause for reflection, like the boy who shouted out that, indeed, the Emperor is wearing none, that the need for an asylum is everywhere to be discovered.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers observe and witness such an event each day, every hour.  For Federal employees with a medical condition, and Postal workers who suffer through the agony of daily turmoil because “management” will not allow an injured worker to be accommodated, the abuse and misuse of people — the very resource of civilization which should be protected like precious gems to be admired and revered — is palpable and ultimately inexcusable.

Federal Disability Retirement should not be the final refuge of asylum seekers, but it often is.  It isn’t that Federal or Postal workers turn at the first opportunity to seek the protective walls of escape, but Federal and Postal workers often have no other choice.  If allowed to recuperate and regain one’s sense of equilibrium and repose, it may be that the wealth of experience and knowledge gained through years and decades of work could be re-channeled, but Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service rarely see it that way, and instead view all individuals as merely short-term investments.

Asylums are built to protect, but when the patients have run amok and control the very institutions designed to provide the refuge needed, it is then time for the Federal or Postal worker seeking assistance in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, to contact an attorney to escape from the madness of antiseptic walls crawling with imaginary creepy-crawlies — or those who control the levers of power in the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Trinkets We Hold Dear

If value of item determines retention of possession, then few trinkets would survive the test of economic viability; but a quick perusal of one’s home will often discover large caches of sentimental liabilities strewn throughout.  What determines value, then?  Is it the monetization of an item?  Or perhaps the psychological attachment, combined with the economic forces in capitalism of supply and demand?

Real estate values soar and plummet daily, and when one considers the “high end” fluctuations where market reductions may comprise differences in the millions, one wonders about “true value” and “false valuations” of goods and services whether small or large.  If you go through your house and begin to account for the trinkets we have amassed, is it because of the monetary value attached that we continue to retain it, or the memories and golden threads of psychological ties which bind?  Is it not often the same with other issues in one’s life — of even friendships, pets and jobs?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the question one needs to ask at the outset is:  Why are we holding onto this trinket for dear life?  Is it really worth it?  At what cost?  What are the ties that bind?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is always a traumatic event; for, it is a dramatic change, often within a context of caustic and hostile circumstances.  But to remain is rarely an option; to walk away with nothing is not a wise one; so, one is often left with the best alternative possible:  to 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, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And like the trinket which holds one bound to memories of yore unblemished in their reflective delights of past warmth, they remain so, like the pitter-patter of a soft summer day’s cloudburst, stopping only to reveal the misty haze of a childhood dream.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Balance of Information

Most administrative entanglements involve some measure of balancing.  How much information to provide; determination of that which constitutes satisfaction of the request; whether, and to what extent, the information is sufficient to complete the transaction; and other similar analytical evaluations prior to submitting the compendium of data.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers struggling to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s agency (if still on the rolls and not separated for more than 31 days), and then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (unless one has been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, but not more than 1 year, as all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be submitted within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service), the key component and measure is the effectiveness of Standard Form 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The act of balancing begins upon an initial review of the questions posed by SF 3112A.  While other forms require basic information concerning one’s personal data and the agency for whom the Federal or Postal employee works (e.g., SF 3107 series, including Schedules A, B & C), the SF 3112A is the linchpin of it all.  Care should be taken in answering the questions; reflection upon the character and extent of the data provided; editing and review of any final submission.  Too much, or too little.

The Goldilocks principle should always be applied, and when served in just the right amount, the true test of the balance of information has been finally met.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire