OPM Disability Retirement: Those intersecting connections

We hear all the time about the shrinking world, the smaller universe, the global village – all metaphors to help and understand, to comprehend and be able to withstand within the insanity of a world that continues to intrude, intersect and impose itself upon every corner and aspect of lives lived and daily interrupted.  It is a way for people to cope with the fact that we can no longer avoid the reality of those intersecting connections from worlds, cultures and universes that make up the daily reality of our walking lives.

The newspapers globalize each and every issue; the television and cable news outlets care little for local news unless it, too has some national consequences; and so we live with the anomaly that the only time you might hear about your own hometown is if some horrific event occurs that other people in other towns might care about.  And, even when a story is reported about an event that occurs just around the corner from the news station, headquarters or whatever manner of identifying the central place where all of the equipment, studios and personnel gather to emit their airwaves of newsfeeds, they act as if it is occurring in some distant county or country, with perhaps a bit of weeping as an afterthought with a statement like, “And it makes it all the worse because it happened just in our own neighborhood!”

The world is indeed one comprised of intersecting connections, and we voluntarily allow for those connections to make our own perspectives molded into “theirs” by inviting various cable channels into our living rooms.  Do we really have a choice?  Can we just remain ignorant and ignore the reality of the global economy, the extended village and the universal concerns of the day?  How do we live with the complexities of intersecting connections, when we can barely deal with the local problems that beset us within the cocoon of our own lives?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the daily ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the microcosm of intersecting connections may well be magnified to a level where it competes with what is occurring on a more global scale.

Suddenly, the Federal Agency is moving to put pressure on you – like those competing foreign companies you hear about in the world economy.  Or, the Supervisor is no longer being cordial – somewhat like the world leader who doesn’t return calls to the President.  Coworkers no longer treat you as an equal – like nations that suddenly go rogue without explanation.  You have to file a complaint – like submitting to a U.N. vote for sanctions.

We have all been groomed and prepared to think in terms of intersecting connections, but for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, it all comes back to a more local and personal connection: one’s health, and the need to focus upon one’s personal life.

No matter how global the world has become, never forget that it is the personal life of close connections that really only matters in the end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Meaningful turns

How many turns do we make on any given day?  Not just actual ones, like those turns while driving a car, but figurative ones, as well.  If a person approaches you and asks, “Did you make the right turn?” — what is the response?  Is there a “right” answer?  Is there a relationship in the English language between the terms “right”, “left” and the physical attributes we possess?

If a person tells of another, “He’s way out in left field,” is that because we attribute the term “left” with residues of the negative?  And, how did the terms “left” and “right”, when referred to in politics, come to have a meaning of equivalency?  Was the fact that right-hand dominance was historically preferred to left-handedness, to the extent that teachers once used to punish those students who naturally attempted to utilize their left hands in handwriting, drawing, etc., account for the linguistic dominance and preference given to the term “right” as opposed to “left”.

Do we understand the concept with greater presumption when a person says, “He made a left turn and got lost,” even if the person actually made a right turn and found himself in an unfamiliar neighborhood?  And what of “meaningful” turns – are there such things, as opposed to spurious and meaningless ones?  How often we confuse and conflate language with figurative speech and objective facts; and then we wonder why most people wander through life with confusion, puzzlement and an inability to cope.

Russell and the entire contingent of British linguistic philosophers, of course, attempted to relegate all of the problems of philosophy to a confusion with language – and, of course, only the British, with their history of Shakespeare and the sophistication of language, its proper usage and correctness of applicability could possess the arrogance of making such an argument.

But back to “meaningful turns” – in one sense, in the “real world”, every turn is meaningful to the extent that we turn and proceed towards a destination of intended resolve.  But in the figurative sense, it refers to the steps we take in mapping out consequential decisions.

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 the Federal or Postal worker’s position and duties, the “meaningful turn” that one must consider should by necessity ask many questions:  How long can I continue in this job?  What are the consequences of my staying, both to my health as well as from the Agency’s perspective?  How long before my agency realizes that I am not capable of doing all of the essential elements of my job?  Will my excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP become a problem with the agency?  And what about my health?

These are just a series of beginning questions on the long road towards making one of the meaningful turns that confront the Federal or Postal employee in the quest for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Here

So much time is spent upon the anticipation of some event in the distant future; or, perhaps merely tomorrow, next week, next year.  Here is where we are; in the “now”, the immediacy of a life being lived.  Human beings are peculiar, unique and devastatingly unaware to that extent; we give lip-service to the notion of attaining happiness, joy and the capacity to relish the precious gift of life, while all the while failing to embrace and embody the here of this moment.

Look at tourists visiting the various wonders of the universe; do they seem to enjoy the experience of viewing ancient relics or places where momentous events occurred?  Or, are they busy trying to make sure that the video camera or the Smart Phone is capturing the smiles, the scenery and the attraction just beyond?  How many videos of the same places exist in the world today, tucked away in the memory banks of a digital chip?  What is the difference between the video chip stored in a personal Smart Phone as opposed to a professional movie that explores the identical tourist destination?

What is missing, of course, is the experience of the “here”.  Thus, when asked the question, “So, did you go and visit the famous ruins of X?”  The answer is too often, “Yes, and let me show you the video I took of X.”  As opposed to: “Yes, and let me try and describe to you the beauty of X.”  Anticipatory living is not necessarily a negation of living the “here” of one’s life, or even the “now”; but it comes close to missing out.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 the Federal or Postal position, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirements benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is precisely the “here” that one is trying to preserve, by securing a “tomorrow” worth fighting for.

It is the “here” of one’s medical condition, the “here” of one’s health, and the “here” of some semblance of financial security that is the whole point of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.  Yes, it is for tomorrow, and the process is a long, administrative headache that may not be approved until many tomorrows and another; but in the end, it is the “here” that is worth preserving, and the first step in securing a worthy tomorrow is by initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application here and now.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Of other’s misery

It may give one a sense of short-term satisfaction; sort of like Chinese carry-out, it satisfies for an hour or so, then seems to lose its efficacy for fulfillment.  Whereas, there are other foods that tend to last for greater time; and so it is with receiving news or information of other’s misery.  It certainly allows for a comparison of sorts; of tilting balances imagined, or even for contrasting accomplishments forsaken, dreams yet unfulfilled or misery unabated.

Of other’s misery – we condescend, conceal our delight and contend that we care and “feel terribly”; in other words, we sit and do nothing about it, even if we were able to.  Oh, we give the proper lip-service, of course: “How terrible”; “What a shame”; “What can one do?”  But all the while, inside, we whisper in soliloquys that harbor those feelings of secretive annoyances that say, “Thank goodness it is the other guy,” and begin to take an inventory of relief and comparative analysis of how best to take advantage of the situation.

Is that too cynical a viewpoint?  Does Machiavelli live within all of us?  Perhaps not to the extent described.  Then, what of other’s misery?  At a minimum, it provides a contrast and places us in a state of reality that says, Maybe our situation is not so bad after all.  Contentment by contrast of balancing the misery of others, however, is no way to live.

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to preparing a successful and effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not by comparing the content of other’s misery, but by a direct creation of a nexus between one’s own medical condition and the essential elements of one’s position description.

Forget the instinctively wrong-headed approach of asking, “Well, does X-medical condition qualify if so-and-so had the same condition and was still able to work?” Or: “There are others more bad off than I am, so…”  So what?  Federal Disability Retirement is a specific legal basis that requires specificity as to individual circumstances.  It is irrelevant as to issues of other’s misery; it is one’s own that one must focus upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Regarding dogs and books

They are the two default positions to happiness, loneliness and sorrowful days that can only be solved along with a cup of hot chocolate.  What is amazing and somewhat perplexing is that, as to the former, the very fact that one species of life can have such a close and interacting relationship with another existent species is an incomprehensible truism steeped in beauty.

History has established that people and dogs maintain a unique synchronism that goes beyond mere parallel existence.  We can walk among birds and hear them chirping; jog past a rabbit that freezes, then scurries away; and even have a suspicious but interactive peace accord with squirrels, cats and gerbils; but of a dog that awaits your every move and watches with loyal love, there is a special relationship and bond that can never be described by words alone.

As to the other elements in the twin concepts of the title above, what can one say?  Books are the products created by the uniqueness of language; the compendium of complexities amalgamated by first a letter, then a word, then words within sentences that elongate into paragraphs; then, slowly, page by page, they form to create a work – of fiction, non-fiction, a mixture of both, either or neither as in crime novels, “true life” extracts and the admixtures of imagination, images, memory and reminiscences.

Books allow for loneliness to dissipate when betrayal and disloyalty have reared their ugly heads; when backstabbers and plain meanness whips the urns of ashes deadened with ancestral grief upon a rainy night of groans and tears wept upon what could have been; and then we can get lost in a good book and feel the air being disturbed by the wagging tail of a dog so loyal.

Regarding dogs and books – there is no replacement for such a duality of life’s mystery.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the feeling that the “world” has betrayed because the Federal agency or Postal Service is unwilling to accommodate and “work with” your medical condition is a true enough fact; but don’t let that fact of disloyalty dissuade you from recognizing that there are still entities out there who remain loyal – like your dog (if you own one; and if you don’t, you should get one).

And also remember that the goal of getting OPM Disability Retirement benefits is tantamount to reading a good book – it allows you to reorient yourself and regain the proper perspective by allowing you to focus upon the priorities of life – of your own health.

People often think that life is complex beyond endurance these days; but in the end, a loyal dog and a good book are about all that one needs to attain happiness – and, of course, one’s health, which is the primary reason why fighting for one’s Federal Disability Retirement is important, so that you can focus upon maintaining your health, so that you can sit with a good book beside a loyal dog: the key ingredients to ecstatic joy itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Life can change in a day

A wise person once quipped that, If you don’t like the weather in this area, wait a day and it’ll come around.  The greater meaning of such a kernel of wisdom, of course, is that it is a microcosm of a wider reflection concerning life itself; wait long enough – sometimes a week, a month, a year, or a few years – and circumstance have a tendency to alter the course of one’s life and therefore one’s perspective.

Life can, indeed, change in a day; one day, you are happily drifting along, believing that nothing could be better; and the next, a calamity ensues, the human experience becomes a “topsy-turvy” matter and suddenly sours upon the smiling demeanor we carried just a moment before.

Or, one may begin the day in a negative and foul mood, but something changes, alters, moderates and impacts, and we come home despite the turmoil of work and daily problems with a smile on our face, and when asked “what is wrong?” (as opposed to, “What is right?”), we smile distantly and refer to the sunshine, the weather, the flower smelled on the road home, or that Frost-like metaphor of having taken the road less traveled on the way there.

Or, perhaps it is the simple recognition that there is more to life than one’s own narrow perspective, that suddenly creates the change in the day of one’s life.

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 positional duties as assigned, the idea that life can change in a day is as real as the sun rises and is expected to rise.

The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is a long, complex and bureaucratically difficult process, and often the process itself can be a defeating proposition as one awaits for a positive decision.  A denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can have a devastating impact, and a second denial at the Reconsideration Stage can have a further deleterious effect.

With each decision, life can “change” in a day.

On the other hand, an approval effectuated from OPM can also have that same effect – of a change in one’s life, all in a day.  That is the ultimate goal – change, but in a “positive” sense; for, to remain static is to become an inert substance, and life, if anything, is a continuum of constant flux and change, like the weather that can never be correctly forecasted, and the life that can never be accurately predicted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire