Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Higher and lesser standards

Does anyone ever go into something, engage an activity, begin a project or initiate a hobby thinking that a “lesser standard” would be acceptable?  Or, is the “higher standard” always the option preferred? — and if we fall somewhat short of the goal intended, isn’t it better to strive towards that height of vaunted “unreachable-ness” like the lesser angels who try and climb up the ladder to heaven but fall short because of the misgivings of sins committed or blemishes of imperfections left unchanged?

One can always argue, of course, that all standards are somewhat “arbitrary”, and perhaps they are to the extent that we can always “do better”, and the self-satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of any standard set is merely to realize that there can always be another step to take, a further goalpost to conquer, and a next and higher challenge to face.  To begin with a lesser standard is to foretell defeat before a journey is begun; whereas, to demand an unreachable standard is to despair of an idealism that cannot be fathomed.  What, then, is the “proper” standard to set?

To set it too low is to achieve mere mediocrity; to preface a too-high-a-standard is to defeat one’s advocacy before efficacy can be tested.

We, none of us, want to begin a journey with a defeatist mentality, and it is the setting of a standard — however low or high — that often determines the success or failure of any endeavor.  It is only when we “know” that a self-set standard will never be reached, cannot be attained and will never be near to the heart of our wishes and desires, that then we realize the utter futility of our own efforts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have set a high standard in their careers and employment goals, it is a difficult road to take, both mentally and/or physically, to realize and come to the conclusion that one’s professional standards can no longer be met because of a medical condition that impedes, precludes and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

No one ever sets out to reduce the standards of a life’s goal, but when outside forces such as a medical condition impact upon the standards set, the choice is to prepare, formulate and file 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.

Federal and Postal employees have always set high standards for their work ethic. Sometimes, however, it is not the higher standard that defeats, but the lesser standards of reality — such as a medical condition that comes about unexpectedly in life — that forces the necessary adjustments that remind us of our own mortality, imperfections and the gap between the higher standards we set and the truth of our own misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

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 Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The constant pruner

Without the constancy of the activity, the growth itself saps the life within and extends to expend energy that ultimately reacts with a self-immolation that harms itself.  Pruning is a necessary activity to lop off the unnecessary; otherwise, the diseased branches and the weakened limbs rob from the underlying life that needs less in order to live more.

Limbs that have weakened and are dying; the weak extensions that are yet strong enough to cling on as useless appendages that refuse to break and crack despite the winds of storms that test and weed out; and in clinging, deplete the sap of life that must still run its course through to the end of each.  The constant pruner knows that less is more; that by lopping off and ending the dependencies, the life that remains will be extended all the more.

So much of the world reflects the same approach; history is a constant pruner, of importance, significance, relevance and of what remains within the consciousness of a living society.  Bodies need pruning; or, at least, a refinement and readjustment, just in order to survive.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is a reflective duality in the act of pruning: for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, they may look upon you as that useless appendage that must be pruned, leading to a systematic campaign of pressuring you to either resign (self-prune) or terminate (a third party act).

For the Federal or Postal employee, the steps necessary for “pruning” can involve:  Resignation; Filing a Federal disability retirement application; or just “staying put” — which, in the end, is an inactive, passive way of self-pruning, anyway, because it will ultimately lead to one of the first two, in the end.  The question is: Do you want the agency or the Postal Service to do the pruning, or do it yourself?

In order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal disability retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is necessary to first take out the metaphorical “shears” by consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in the law of Federal Disability Retirement.

That is the beginning of becoming the constant pruner — to first learn, then to proceed, lest you lop something off that should not have been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle

Dismissing all substantive imperfections, the phrase connotes that which we are left with:  a trope of magnanimous inanity.  The classic scene, of course, if one’s memory serves one well (and, concurrently, if one wants to reveal the generation from whence one came), is where “The Fonz” in the popular but antiquated sitcom, “Happy Days,” enters the bathroom at the local diner, and as he is about to comb back his grease-filled hair, stops, pauses, looks again, then declares with but a barely intelligible word, confirming the picture-perfect reflection of the image in the mirror, affirming that no amount of further effort would improve upon an already self-evident apogee of creation.

There are, of course, numerous excuses in life, some valid, others derived from pure laziness.  Somehow, the linear perspective of historicity makes of us a frozen frame in time.  Whether the line of demarcation is upon graduation from high school, or a community college, or perhaps even upon being awarded a university degree; we think it is acceptable to stop growing, cease learning, pause further development.

Leisure is often the powder-keg which explodes; the essence of human nature as encompassing the character trait of laziness — but what does that really mean?  Does it imply and denote that there is a genetic predisposition to refuse further growth, or merely an observation that, given the bifurcated duality of false alternatives, most of us would choose the easier path with the least amount of resistance?

If the latter, then it is merely a harmless tautology of observation, for it is self-evident that work and toil, as opposed to pleasure and enjoyment, are the lesser models of preference.  Emergencies; crisis; traumatic events; these, of course, constitute an entirely different category, altogether.  And, in a greater context and larger perspective, one could argue that such intersecting and often interrupting life-events in fact spur greater growth and maturity, by the experience of encountering death, tragedy or tumults of great struggle and endurance against odds stacked against one.

Life is full of challenges, and having a medical condition is one of the greatest of all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing in one’s chosen career-path, and where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity because of the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the endeavor to maintain a semblance of balanced perspective will often become a contentious force in and of itself.

It may sometimes seem as if the linear progression of one’s life has come to a stopping point, and that further growth is no longer possible.  Yet, the answer to a dilemma is often the process of the turmoil itself, and further growth and opportunity may be in some future arena yet unseen, after one has won an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and left the Federal or Postal workforce.

What one doesn’t want to do, is to remain stuck in a situation of stagnation, where all that one can look forward to on a daily basis is to hear a dismissive comment from the guy sitting next to you, who says, “Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic extinguished

Once, we were all children.  Of dreams once entertained, and roles of play-acting embraced; when once lines between reality and fantasy blurred like the fireflies burning brightly against the midnight sky, only to disappear and reappear, then fade into the quietude of dawn’s inevitable encroachment; and we, like fairies and angels on wings of carefree butterflies, wrapped in colors unimaginable but for unfettered naiveness and fenceless pastures of creativity, ran through the fields of time unconcerned with the worries and tumults of adulthood and the withering trials of timeless eternity which one day, not long hence, would come to gather up the faces of consternation, because we had to “grow up”.

There was magic, then, unextinguished even for the child with forlorn eyes who was constantly yelled at, heard through the walls of societal ingratitude, and when friends and neighbors huddled and shrugged, hoping against fear that Emily would not be spanked and Benny would not be kept behind.  That magic became extinguished — not because we didn’t care, or that grownups can’t remember what it is like to be childlike and innocent; but because life intervenes, interrupts, and disrupts the flow of humanity; because meanness prevails and technology assails; and because, while we say we care, and some of us do, we just don’t care “enough”.

Then, there are the “realities” of life — of making a living, embracing a career, getting married and doing all of that “stuff” that entanglements with another soul comes bundled with, and suddenly the uncomplicated mind where a stick becomes a sword, a pasture becomes a battleground, and the short, fat kid is named Napoleon, disappears like the wisp of willows bending at the easterly winds suddenly snaps, and we are back to facing the problems of life.  And medical conditions.

That is often the tragic mold of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must cut short his or her career because of a medical condition; fortunately, however, under FERS & CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Does attaining an OPM Disability Retirement annuity bring back one’s childhood?  No.  Does it guarantee happiness? Nothing ever does.  But that is the telltale sign of adulthood — of recognizing the chasm between expectation and reality.  The process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is beset with potential bureaucratic entanglements and complex legal challenges which must be faced with calm rationality.

Brave hearts and vanguard souls must always face and endure, but it is often the best course of action in order to attain the next phase for one’s life, in order to care for one’s medical condition and achieve that level of equanimity for life’s future challenges.  Yes, perhaps the magic of childhood lore has been extinguished forever, and the adult life’s “stuff” has replaced those yawning days of make-believe; but of the future, what remains is that which we make of it, whether in making it up as we go or mucking it up further.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire