OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Reduction and Emergence

The fear in most instances is that the latter will not follow upon the former; that the state of diminution will become permanent, and the potentiality promised by a subsequent stage of linear progression will instead reflect a downward spiral or, worse, remain in a state of stagnant immobility.   And, indeed, neither in physics nor in human living, is there a stated and inevitable law of nature which mandates that following a period of reductionism, emergence of a greater state of affairs will occur.

Perhaps personal experience even dictates thoughts and reflections otherwise perceived; for, why is it that inventions and innovations seem to occur in youth?  Or that the older populace wants to merely hoard and fend off losses, like the football team that tries desperately to hold on to a lead, and loses in the process because they have failed to play with aggression and abandonment of fear?

Federal Disability Retirement should always be looked upon as an opportunity for the future.  It is likely the most thoughtful paradigm formulated by the Federal government, precisely because it encourages the system of disability payments to be “self-paying”, by allowing for disability annuitants to enter into a different vocation even while receiving a Federal Disability annuity, thereby continuing to pay back into the “system”.

Federal OWCP/Worker’s Comp does not allow a person to work at another job at all, while concurrently receiving permanent partial disability benefits; and Social Security Disability has such a low threshold of allowable earned income that it discourages further alternatives in employment.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who receive Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal and Postal worker can make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays, and all the while continue to receive the Federal disability retirement annuity, and meanwhile, accrue further years of Federal Service while on Federal Disability Retirement, such that at age 62, when one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit is recalculated as “regular retirement”, the time that one was on Federal disability retirement counts towards the total number of years of service.

Thus, when a Federal or Postal employee first considers filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, there is always the fear involving the immediate reduction of one’s income; but such a limited perspective should always include the further possibility of the corollary potentiality — that of emergence in the near, intermediate or long-term future.

Regrouping sometimes takes some time; but whatever the specific circumstances which necessitate consideration in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, one should always be careful that a skewed perspective of future opportunity is not altered or quashed because of the medical condition from which one suffers.

As emergence is the natural consequence resulting from a period of diminution, and is the pink dawn of hope for the promise of a bright future, so reductionism is merely a temporary interlude in this brief visit upon the historical expansion of man’s infinite and limitless plenitude of potentialities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hug That Wasn’t

Regrets are priceless; they lack both a marketplace value, as well as a worth beyond applicability of accounting principles.  The conceptual void of negation; the paradox of non-existence and nothingness; the chasm of obsolescence and absence where once perceptual conformity allowed for the revelation of a thing; these are all within the imaginative mind of the human puzzle.

What possible evolutionary utility can be ascribed to things that did not happen, could have, but never did, and where the pit of void in one’s stomach leaves a dissatisfying wanting of that which could have been?  In the quietude of a sleepless night, when images of past concerns invade and prevent that final lull into a dreamworld of peaceful intent, those thoughts of missed opportunities, bumps in the night of moments forgotten by interludes of dusty memories once enlivened but now deadened with time and fading photographs darkened by degeneration of remembrances once clung to; in a twinkle of twilight, a sense of regret can pervade.

It has often been said that, on the eve of one’s deathbed, one never remembers the time of work unfulfilled; rather, we recount the time lost of things we did not do because we were too busy with work.  Regret does not cull the graveyards of memories lost about parallel universes involving work left undone at the office; instead, it reaches into the bottomless chasm of simple recollections, like the hug that never was.

Medical conditions often serve as a reminder of important priorities, and tend to impose the sequence of one’s lives, reordering them into a listing of priceless artifacts, like uncut diamonds lost in the sands of time.  Suddenly, one’s mortality is in question, and more than getting meaningless tasks done, the vitality of relationships come to the fore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly recognize that a medical condition is beginning to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the sense of regret often accompanies the realization, but is also and just as often a misplaced case of loyalty.  Why should fealty be sworn to an agency which is impervious to human suffering?  How can a guilty conscience pervade when the Federal or Postal employee has already given beyond what is required, for years and decades already lost?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit open to Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes continuation with an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a legal criteria of proof of preponderance of the evidence.  Guilt and regret should never be a part of the process.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an employment right, accorded by statute, and should be done once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that one cannot perform at least one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a benefit tapped into only through proof by evidentiary sufficiency.

And like the hug that wasn’t, the failure to file for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the negation of rationality when continuation in circumstances of employment only exacerbates the pain, prolongs the suffering, and extends the nightmare; leaving to wonder the capacity of the human animal, the quietude of regrets and the forlorn despair of the empty space left, when once we tried to embrace a loved one, but instead spent that time serving a master who had long since gone home to his family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Different Perspectives during the Federal Disability Retirement Process

Inform an individual that you suffer from Hansen’s Disease, and one might get a benign reaction, perhaps a blank stare. Convey to the same individual that you have contracted leprosy, and it is likely to evoke an expression of revulsion, and perhaps a discomfort bordering on flight.

What we say; how we say it; the social stigmas attached; and the cultural sensibilities and conditionings constraining how we become predisposed to act and react, are often determined by the perspectives which are brought to the fore.  Leprosy is the common term for Hansen’s Disease, but with it, an entire historical perspective replete with stigmas and tales and images of disfigured and contorted features and physical characteristics surround the former term, but rarely accompany the latter.

Whether and however termed, it remains one and the same. For an individual who suffers from a disability or handicap, society’s reaction similarly remains consistent and uncaring. And while laws and regulations may provide a semblance of minimally protective measures, it cannot prevent individual insensitivities from surfacing.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the reaction of one’s agency or department is often tantamount to informing them of either contracting leprosy, or of Hansen’s Disease.

Normally, unless a compelling reason exists otherwise, such information should be limited, and restrictively revealed only when the necessity arises, precisely because of the type of reaction one can expect from the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Perspectives differ; differing perspectives may often surprise; but the one similarity abounding in human nature is not too different from the beastly perspective from whence we came; and that is of the herd instinct targeting the weakest and most vulnerable — in this case, the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire