Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The price of loyalty

It is the negation of that very concept which we fear; not of loyalty, but of disloyalty.  The positive of it is what we are taught to abide by; of “honesty”, “integrity”, “faithfulness”, “reliability”, and so many other such reputation-bearing ascriptions that one may carry about within the essence of one’s being, like so many medals pinned upon the flesh and blood that constitutes the entirety of a human being, his or her life, the soul of who one is, and how others view and perceive an individual.

How many of us, however, before we cling to and so desperately fight in order to resist the loss of any one of those concepts, have carefully understood, studied and evaluated the value of each?  And thus the question: What is the price of loyalty?  When is the debt satisfied, and to what extent must we travel in order to establish the worth of it, and when does it become too costly such that we decide we can no longer afford the price?

Of course, the mixing of metaphors and analogies can confuse and befuddle, and that is often the problem with interspersing common, everyday-used “practical” realities with those that involve emotional attachments, historical assignations and prescriptions for “good living” or “successful lives”. To conflate concepts involving the “practical” world with the inner sanctum of culturally relative ideas – of “price” (as in, what is the price of a bushel of apples?) and of “loyalty” (i.e., knights in shining armor, band of brothers, filial attachments, etc.) can often lead to a confused state of inactivity, precisely because one cannot distinguish the applicability of one with the other.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question involving the price of loyalty – and its negation – comes at the critical juncture where the suffering from the medical condition exceeds the ability and capacity to continue working in the Federal or Postal job one is positioned in.

Many Federal and Postal employees continue to cling to a false sense of loyalty – that the commitment to one’s career, at any and all costs, is simply the price that one must pay.  But the price to be paid should depend upon the indebtedness owed, and in considering one’s health, such a price should never have to exceed the cost of one’s own health.

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, is merely the satisfaction of the debt owed – not by you, but by the terms of one’s employment contract with the Federal agency or the Postal Service, and the price of loyalty, whether real, false or imagined, was long ago satisfied and paid in full the moment you met the minimum eligibility criteria of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability: Analogies and life

Life is lived by analogies.  It is how we understand, comprehend and make sense of a world in turmoil.  By identifying a resemblance between two or more particulars while perhaps remaining somewhat different in other aspects, we are able to relate things, understand them, comprehend the isolation of differentiation between X and Y and yet embrace those differences despite the lack of commonality in all other respects.

Without the tool and transporting impact of an analogy, most of the objective world would remain isolated, irrelevant and separated from the subjective coherence that we bring to the world.  Explanations and argumentation would often lack any comprehensible understanding; scientists would simply speak in technical languages that non-scientists (i.e., laymen like most of us) would fail to appreciate; and life would continually remain a series of isolated islands of conceptual conundrums that would be separated from civilization as a whole.

That is essentially why the administrative laws governing Federal Disability Retirement must by necessity be spoken of in analogic terms – precisely because, in order to make sense in the greater context of life, everything in particular can only be “explained” and “made sense of” through analogies that we can relate to.  Without relational contexts and reference points, life’s various complexities would remain in isolation from one another.

Thus, analogies, life and Federal Disability Retirement benefits all share a common perspective – that of human beings who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, and that a particular “condition” or life shares with all other conditions of life the reference points that we can all understand: Law, Complexity, Human suffering, Pain, The fear of change, The need for change; Confusion; Trauma; Medical conditions, etc.

Analogies allow for understanding; life, left in isolation, is confusing as it is, and even after a lifetime of trying to understand and simplify, still remains a mystery.

And for the Federal or Postal employee who is at a point in one’s career where a medical condition impacts the ability to continue in that career, the reference point that needs to be kept in mind is that there are lawyers who specialize in getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and we are here to help.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Deprogramming a Preconditioned Approach

The preconditioned attitude of the general public is that, if X has a medical condition, then such medical condition, by the very nature of the condition itself, will either entitle one to benefits, or not.  Such an approach is what one is conditioned to expect — that by the very nature of the medical condition itself, means that it will either lead to, or not lead to, a specified result.  This viewpoint and approach is based upon a definitional standard, where the very essence of what it means to suffer from X already predetermines whether one is eligible and entitled to benefit Y.

Social Security assumes such an approach.  To some extent, so does OWCP, because the Department of Labor is willing to pay a certain amount of compensation based upon a predetermined calculus of a percentage rating, for loss of limb, loss of use, loss of functional capacity, etc.

This is why Federal and Postal employees who first contemplate preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, will attempt to tie the fact of having a medical condition with the question, “Does this qualify me for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?”  But that is the wrong paradigm to use in asking the question.  For, eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is not based upon a definitional ascription of a medical condition; rather, it is that “third element” — the connection between X and Y, X representing the medical condition and Y standing for the positional duties which the Federal or Postal employee must engage.

In many respects, Federal Disability Retirement answers the philosophical question which David Hume asked:  Is there a necessary connection between cause and effect?  For Federal Disability Retirement purposes, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 one’s positional duties, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Leaving without a Blip

Remember those old films, of silence, submarines and sonars (an acronym we have forgotten from the combination of terms, SOund, Navigation And Radar)?

There were those tense moments of complete silence, where heartbeats and perspiration could be palpably heard when life and death depended upon it, and the moment when someone coughed or dropped an object at the crucial moment; then, the sudden entrance of old Navy footage of depth charges being flung like spitballs from a rubber band, splashing into the ocean, then the angst of awaiting the slow sinking until the violent detonation of that camera-shaking explosion.

Was it close enough to have caused damage?  Can the heavy metal doors be shut in time to prevent deadly flooding?  Can the engineer fix the dent in the tin can just enough to chug along to the nearest base for further repair?  In the end, it all depended upon the blip on the screen, as the clockwork motion of the round screen revealed the positioning of the enemy vessel as the ghostly residue of existence left behind one’s presence, if only for a brief moment in time.

It is, in many ways, a metaphor for all lives; as merely a blip on a screen, and whether we are noticed, to what extent, by whom, and if one’s location deserves the catapult of a depth charge, or to be ignored as not warranting an adversarial response.

That is often how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contend with a medical or health condition which threatens to cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service:  Has enough of a blip been made?  Will a greater blip, or a longer presence of that ghostly residue on the clock-like screen, make up for the difference of extinguishment of existence?

There are those who enter a room quietly, and leave without notice; others, who must make a splash with each entrance, and falter in the exit because they have extended their welcome beyond polite niceties; and still others, who refuse to leave until formal recognition has been wrought from gated societies of diminished returns.  Which is preferable —  a blip which returns with a detonating device, or barely a yawn with the resulting quietude of an unnoticed exit?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a OPM Disability Retirement application — the question of being noticed or leaving a lasting mark is often a subconscious pull which unknowingly damages or delays.

But like the submarine in those old films, it is always the capacity and ability to control that moment of anxiety and fear which propels the successful endeavor of formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and lest we forget, avoidance of the depth charge is just an indicator of how much of a blip we really were, and not a precursor of what ghostly residues the Federal or Postal worker may become on the clockwork screen for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire