Disability Retirement from Federal Jobs: The Time we Spend

The time we spend implies the level of our concern, our interests and our priorities.  The proportionality reveals where one’s “mind’ resides.  If work takes up the greater portion of our lives, then one is deemed a workaholic; if video entertainment seems to dominate, then some will whisper of being “addicted”; or of too much of anything — leisure, pleasures, topical asides or exotic obsessions — the tendency is to make judgments based upon the time given and the attention reserved.

When does an “interest” in something become an addiction or an obsession?  Does it depend upon each circumstance and the context surrounding the reasons imparted?

Certainly, initiating a “start-up” requires greater commitment than to be employed with an established firm; and learning a new activity or engaging a fresh issue will require a greater commitment at the outset.  Medical conditions, as well, often require a greater focus and investment of time. The problem with medical conditions is not the disproportionate time needed, but the time it takes away from other activities — from work; from time with family; from the time previously spent on other necessary activities, including the mundane like taking out the garbage.

For Federal and 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 time we spend on an ongoing medical condition — from taking SL, AL or LWOP (or being deemed AWOL), to being unable to complete tasks, etc. — is an indicator of when a Federal Disability Retirement application should be filed.

To obtain an objective assessment of one’s likelihood for a successful outcome, consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

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

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Resignation

It is both an act, as well as a demeanor.  In the former sense, the fulfillment is accomplished by the actual tendering of an offer to terminate a business or contractual relationship, with a declarative statement of unequivocal certainty.  In the latter form, a feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a concession to life’s hardships.  In either case, it is an act of withdrawal, whether by action via terminal certitude or in the wasting away of the soul’s inner flame of light.

Resignation, submitted as an act of defiance to one’s employer or as a private tender of retreat, is a statement of definitive intent, and one that negates the living embrace of Being.  In political circles and parliamentary procedures, there is often involved a game of dare and a play of obfuscation, like card players in a high-stakes poker game where the tendering of a resignation letter is not expected to be accepted; yet, such attempts at bluffing possess moments of backfiring, with the resulting end to promising political careers because of the inability to foresee substance from play-acting, or want of proper timing.  Resigning, and for what purpose?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and 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, the question of resigning from one’s Federal job or Postal employment should always take on multiple questions and conditions of “why”, “when” and “what for”?

What is the reason; why resign; when should the resignation be tendered; and what is the reason for resigning?  Is it because the doctor has recommended such a course of action?  Will the agency refuse to extend the LWOP status during the process of awaiting a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Will it allow for access to TSP funds during the process, in order to survive financially?  Or are there other justifying, pragmatic considerations to factor into the decision-making process?

These, and many other considerations, should be discussed, evaluated and objectively defined, before a resignation is submitted to one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  For, once the resignation is received, and an SF 50 is generated separating the Federal or Postal employee from Federal Service, then the 1-year Statute of Limitations begins to toll, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee has one year from the date of separation from Federal Service to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus, there are direct and irreversible consequences in the tendering of a resignation in the first sense of the term; as for the alternate consideration – of a demeanor more suited for a change of circumstances – that is up to each individual to embrace, and determine in an existential sense that any resignation from life’s beauty and worth of being, must remain a choice left only to the unidentified tombstones of unvisited grounds where neither hallowed voices are heard, nor hushed silence interrupts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Trader

We all think we are the “best” at it; and, indeed, that is one of the espoused qualifications boasted by one of the major party’s candidates:  a greater deal-maker, the penultimate trader.  Such a person claims to be able to spot the jewel in the hidden crown; the uncut diamond in the quicksand of life; and the unrevealed luminosity in a universe covered in the abyss of vacuity.

We all like to think of ourselves as that great horse-trader – the one who can spot a good deal when we see it, and walk away from a sour one left unidentified for another sucker to be conned.  The problem is that our egos tend to be greater than the wisdom of our own estimation.  There is a reason why, in the United States, “self-esteem” hits records of affirmation and acknowledgement; we keep telling ourselves how great we are, and all the while others prove worth by accomplishment and sheer toil.  That used to be our lot – of toil, despair and exhaustion from hard work; now, we believe in ourselves, and so it must be so.

There was a time when trading well meant surviving for another season; fur traders, commodity exchanging and transference of goods and services – these were the substances by which lives were lived.  The introduction of money as the prevailing source of exchange placed an interrupting force within the evaluative process of trading.  For, no longer was one thing transferred by direct possessory exchange for another, but the purchasing means became dependent upon a common currency for that exchange.

We lost the “eye” for direct exchange, and instead relied upon outside sources to determine the value of goods and services; and if one acquired a greater amount of currency, then the value itself of exchanging with that currency became diminished; and thus was born the evil of inflation.  There is no inflation in a primitive economy of direct exchange; for, what is immediately needed, desired and traded for, constitutes the direct value of the currency involved.

Then, of course, there are less “material” issues for the good trader.  There are “trade-offs” which must also warrant a “good eye”, in that a person must be able to evaluate, assess and analyze current circumstances, future needs and predictability of contingencies unexpected.

That is where the good trader in a Federal Disability Retirement case comes into play.  For, the Federal employee or U.S. 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 Federal or Postal position, must be able to evaluate all of the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings, and make the “trade-off” between current work and career, future needs and potentialities, and engage the proper decision in moving forward (or not) in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, being the natural trader all of us are, and believing that our self-esteem depends upon the efficacy of our trading instincts, may not be enough to survive in this life; it often takes an evaluative methodology of acknowledging the “trade-offs” one must accept or reject, in order to survive, and the first order of a trade never to make is the one that concerns one’s own health and well-being.  For, that is an invaluable commodity which has no equivalence of worth possessed by anyone else in order to constitute a fair exchange under any circumstances, and that is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application reflects the greatest trade of all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those Days of Mental Clarity

One often remarks that we live for such days; when energy, motivation, clarity of mind and enthusiasm for life surges through our veins; one’s outlook is positive, the mystery of life is resolved, and no challenge is too onerous to overcome.  But then the mundane monotony of repetitive thoughtlessness returns; and life is back to the normalcy of day-to-day living.

Do we really live for such moments?  Or is it actually the opposite effect — that such days are mere reminders that living constitutes a linear course of relative quietude, interrupted by interludes of awakenings, like dreams impeded by nightmares in the solitude of self-contained solace.

Medical conditions have a similar impact; days of chronic pain, of lethargy and depression; and the cycle of becoming momentarily pain-free reminds one that there exists a plateau of health where the negation of illness or loss of wellness is the actual normative lifestyle, but where a medical condition reverses such a state of consciousness such that we adapt and come to accept a life of pain and chronic illness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the daily pain and impact of psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress-induced somatic disorders, as well as lesser-accepted physical conditions of Fibromyalgia, unspecified cognitive disorders, etc., can be the foundational basis of a Federal Disability Retirement claim.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available to all Federal and Postal workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, once the minimum years of Federal Service is met, and the preponderance of the evidence proves that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional requirements of the job.

Like those days of mental clarity, the necessity of filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits becomes a reality at some point in the evolution of one’s career, in the struggle to maintain sanity of health in a world which allows for chaos in this bureaucratized phenomena called the Federal system of government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: At What Cost?

The introduction of the “cost-benefit analysis” (CBA) by the French (who else?) is a quantitative approach in determining whether to go forward with a given project.  There are other approaches, of course, but the popularity of such a utilitarian paradigm is especially attractive to Americans, precisely because it allegedly places a determinable value upon the project, endeavor or issue in question.

But not everything in life is quantifiable in monetary terms; and while the CBA approach can take into account complex factors and assign methodologies of evaluating such that otherwise unquantifiable terms can be converted into numbers, the question still comes down to a simple issue of self-reflection:  Is it worth it?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have 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 positional duties, a cost-benefit analysis is often taken with a singularly stark question:  Can I survive on the annuity proposed by statutory authority?

But this often ignores a parallel query, just as stark and similarly singular: What other choice is there?  If the medical condition arose as a matter of a work-related incident, certainly the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset should file for OWCP/DOL benefits; but even then, Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, and there will likely come a time when it is still necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The unquantifiable factors in any CBA are those more personal, intangible issues which we rarely desire to face:  What will happen if I ignore the present course of settings?  If I continue to work with my medical condition and somehow reach retirement age, what kind of shape will I be in to enjoy my “golden years”?  Will the agency tolerate my reduced productivity, and what will their next move be?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is never an easy decision, and should not be taken without a thorough and self-reflective analysis; but it is often an approach tantamount to negative-theology which will bring out the true answers to a dilemma — of what will result if one does NOT do X, as opposed to a quantification of values — and provide the necessary framework for a future reference of positive closure to a human condition which always seems, at the time and moment of suffering, to be a calamity beyond mere dollars and cents, and for which the famous Utilitarian Philosopher, John Stuart Mill noted, that actions are right “in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Another similar article previously published: Federal Disability Retirement pros and cons

 

 

Postal and Federal Employee Disability & Injury Compensation Laws under FERS & CSRS: Decisions & Complexities

The complexities inherent in modern technological life, and the methodologies of arriving at a decision-making process, make for a consciousness counterintuitive to one’s natural state of being.  Rousseau depicted a romanticized version of man’s state of nature; but the point of his philosophical thesis was to provide a stark contrast to the civilized world of social compacts and the justification for societal intrusion into liberties and rights reserved exclusively and unequivocally.

In what epoch one was born into; whether one ever had the deliberative opportunity to accept or reject the social contract of today; and the greater historicity of man’s cumulative unfolding of unintended paths of social consciousness; these all provide the backdrop as to why life has become so complicated.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker, there is the added issues of multiplicity of bureaucratic layers, and the decisions which must be made in the greater context of the microcosm of another civilization of administrative facets:  what choices one is faced with; VERAs, MRA+10, Social Security Disability requirements; deferred Retirements; injuries on the job which may prompt an OWCP/DOL filing; and the seemingly endless avenues which the Federal and Postal employee may have to face.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is confronted with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, the option which should always be considered is Federal Disability Retirement.  If a medical condition exists, Federal Disability Retirement from the OPM is often the best and only option which will attend to the needs of the moment.

In the end, it is not the complexity of life which wears upon us all; rather, the capacity to engage a rational methodology of arriving at a proper decision, which cuts through the peripheral irrelevancies and provides a real-life, substantive basis for the meaningful values underlying the superficialities of daily fluff.

OPM Disability Retirement for the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, may be the option of solving that greater conundrum when a medical condition begins to impact daily living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquir

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire