OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Full Plate

From childhood, we are taught to (A) place on our plate only that which we can finish and (B) to finish that which we have placed upon our plate.  In modernity, perhaps such a “rule” is no longer applicable or enforced?

The old ways are often from habits ensconced from experience — of the Great Depression where scarcity, and even the fear of it, perpetuated a need to be frugal; of limited supply resulting in a greater appreciation of delights, and thus of a punctilious attention to avoid wastefulness; and of a wider deference for fairness, that others should share in the bounty presented.

In older days, to delight in a bottle of coke (yes, those little vintage bottles placed in ice, where cane sugar was used and not corn syrup) once in a year was a treat, whereas nowadays many people addictively drink an extra-large coke every day, leading to the rise of diabetes and making this country the greatest exporter of obesity around the globe.

But back to the metaphor of the “full plate”:  From childhood, we are taught never to walk away without finishing what is put on our plate.  As we grow older, the metaphor of the full plate turns a different meaning — of the day’s work, the chores before us, the various responsibilities throughout the day.  It has become ingrained in us that we “must” finish what is put on our plates.

This is similar to the idea that police officers retain, in error, that every encounter with conflict must be resolved then and there — often resulting in making decisions which, in retrospect, might have turned out otherwise had you just walked away from it and came back to the problem later.  That is where modernity fails in its approach to life: Not every full plate has to be clean at the end of the day, both metaphorically and practically.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling to get through the day because of a chronic medical condition which no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in their careers because of a disabling health condition, that long-held sense of duty and responsibility that the “full plate” — a metaphor representing the sense that one’s job must be endured no matter what — must be finished, may need to be abandoned.

One’s health should always be a priority, in the end, and preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the only and best option left.  Yes, it is okay sometimes to not finish the full plate.  Yes, it is okay to sometimes leave things unfinished.  Metaphorically or practically, it is sometimes the best thing to do — to leave the plate unconsumed.

Contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether the full plate needs to be completely eaten, after all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Before Smartphones

What did we do?  Today, it is as if the obsessive is inescapable; but yes, there actually was a time before Smartphones; we merely are unable to remember, or refuse to recall, those days “before”.

We have all become obsessive.  We have to check to see if an email has come in; we eat at the table with it right next to the plate; it accompanies us in the car; at night, if we do not turn the volume down, it haunts and reminds us; the wiring in our brains has literally gone haywire.

“Grandpa, what was life like before Smartphones?”  Well — books read; a quiet evening before the crackling fire; time for conversations to develop; of recollections and reminiscences — and of memories confronted and challenged without someone taking out that Smartphone, googling the question and ruining the fun of simply trying to remember the name of an actor, the title of a book or the precise date of a historical event.

Before Smartphones, there was a life to be lived, a reality without surrealism, and a sense of belonging in a community where no one had his or her head bent down to be sucked into a device which no one asked for, and no one ever stopped to ask:  Do we really want to live this way?

For Federal Government employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition, consider this:  The Smartphone which controls your life can never replace the need to prioritize that which is foundational and most significant — of your health.  Consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits; for, even before Smartphones, there was life, health and the precious time spent before the debilitating medical conditions began to dominate.

Contact a FERS Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and take the time to consider that there was actually a life before Smartphones, as there can still be a life beyond the Federal Government job you occupy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Word Games

Playing word games — like the New York Times Spelling Bee, or “Wordle” (a game which was just recently bought by the New York Times, and thus will likely require a fee in order to play) entails some reflection and methodology of thought.  Word games are meant for fun; they are often challenging, and prompt us to engage in an intellectual exercise devoid of reality.

There are, of course, other “word games” — ones which are played in the field of reality and the objective world.  It is how human beings engage with one another, and it is seen each day throughout the world in courtrooms and battles utilizing and applying the law.  Unlike word games where there are no real consequences in “real life”, the other kind of word games results in an impactful determination upon individual lives.

FERS Federal Disability Retirement Law is no different.  As every Federal Disability Retirement application is a paper presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it must by necessity involve a certain level of word games — of presenting the applicable case-law; of formulating the proper language; of engaging in the give-and-take of legal argumentation, etc.

Wittgenstein called it a “language game”, but in the end, they amount to the same thing: Words, as parts of a language, engaged in a “game” which must be played.  And in doing so, it is a good idea to contact a FERS Attorney who is experienced in the word game of Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the twisting tunnels of legal language lead you to the ends of the earth where a gaping hole of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management leaves you speechless in a word game of real-life consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: How We See Ourselves

Is it ever static?  Does it evolve over time?  Are there individuals who never see a changed self while others believe in a rapidly-changing river on a daily basis?  Is the world comprised of the two “camps” of thoughts, sort of like the old Greek philosophers, Heraclitus and Parmenides?  Is there a successful approach in living — of “mind over matter” — which actually makes a difference?

If we see ourselves as a “failure” despite every objective evidence to the contrary — honors abounding, accolades showered, achievements attained, wealth garnered — does it make it so?

Then, of course, there are objective criteria — and in a Federal Disability Retirement case, it is important not only in conveying the subjective pain and interior psychological roadblocks which prevent a Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, but to combine them with the objective evidence in presenting the full picture of one’s disabling medical conditions.

How we see ourselves is important in a Federal Disability Retirement case; but, moreover, how one’s doctor sees you may be the crucial juncture in attaining a successful outcome in an OPM Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Avoidance

It is a common tool of the psyche and ego; by engaging in it, one skirts around an issue, and like its cousin, procrastination, it allows for a period of calm respite.  Avoidance is a form of procrastination; both allow for the subject of their common focus to fester, to grow, to loom large in the background without attending to its causes.

Say you are standing in your bedroom; it is raining; there is a patch of discoloration in the ceiling.  You wonder if the roof is leaking.  You pass it off as bad eyesight, or some other reason, and turn away, avoiding the problem by simply ignoring it.  The next time it rains, you sneak a peek and, sure enough, the discoloration has expanded, but you say to yourself, “Well, there is no actual drip from the ceiling, so perhaps it is not a leak, after all, but merely some accumulating condensation”.

Now, whatever “some accumulating condensation” may mean, it still points to a problem that should be attended to, but instead, the obscure-sounding phrase seems to explain an otherwise clearly-growing problem, and thus the next step in the avoidance-process has begun: Explaining it away, as opposed to tackling the core of the problem itself.

Avoidance is a natural defense mechanism inherent in us all; it allows us to extend our need to limit confronting something which we do not desire to engage.

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 all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, avoidance of facing either the medical problem itself, or its impact upon your capacity and ability to perform your job, is often a problem which allows the issue to loom larger than necessary.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and allow for the avoidance to be confronted by an experienced attorney, thus further avoiding direct engagement with the issues, yet allowing for the attorney to address the core issue: Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The regularity of life

Metaphors abound, of course; of the stream of life, its cadence, likened to a steady march and the cyclical nature wrapped in the repetition of the growing dawn followed by the setting sun.  The regularity of life represents a rhythm and monotony that provides a blanket of comfort (there goes the metaphor, again) that can be extracted from the lack of chaos.

Most of us thrive best within the regularity of life’s monotony; it is the very few who seek and relish the chaos of life.  Some few seek the opposite precisely because they grew up hating the former; and other, the very antonym of life’s challenges, searching always for new adventures and challenges and upending everything in sight because of boredom experienced in some prior stage of life.

Whatever the causes, whatsoever the sought-out means for expression and self-satisfaction, one cannot exist without the other.  It is from chaos that one creates an order (hint: this is not a new notion; one might consult the first book of an otherwise unnamed book that “believers” often refer to); and it is only in the midst of the regularity of life that one can have spurts of its opposite; otherwise, the world of chaotic living could not be identified as such unless there is a contrasting opposite by which to compare.

Medical conditions “need” its very opposite.  Doctors often talk about “reducing stress” as an important element in maintaining one’s health; it is another way of saying that the chaos of life needs to be contained, and the regularity of life needs to be attained.  Medical conditions themselves interrupt and impede the regularity of life; as pain, it increases stress; as cognitive dysfunctioning, it interrupts calm.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the very fact of the medical condition itself can be the impeding force that disrupts and interrupts the regularity of life; and the chaos that ensues often necessitates an action that returns one back to the regularity of life.

Preparing, formulating and 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, is often the first and necessary step in bringing order back into an otherwise chaotic-seeming mess.

It is, in the words of some “other” source, to attain the regularity of life from that which had become without form and void.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The narrative we write

Each of us carries a narrative within; the David Copperfield segment of our otherwise unrevealed lives.  It is who we are; the past that enlivens or diminishes; the memories of yesteryear or just a fortnight ago; and it resides continually until that day of atonement or the diminishment though dementia of fated unkindness.  What we say; how it is written; how it is related through the handed-down oral traditions of storytelling and bemused tales of a Dickensian happy endings (excepting Little Nell and other debatable few unnamed); and how it is told, in what manner, with what punctuations and unctuous phraseology applied; these matter, especially when others are listening.

Perhaps, in modernity, the oral traditions of storytelling have disappeared, like graveyards unvisited because of loss of faith.  Once, family members were buried on the plot of land in the pasture behind; now, that plot is another suburban home, easily fungible and sold if profits justify enough.  Lineage is irrelevant, except to search one’s genealogy in order to establish the bloodlines unique to resist disease and incest; and as children listen not to the storyteller at dinnertime, but to rap singers on iPods and Smartphones, and digitized voices in virtual fields of games and electronic media; even they get their sense of who the “I” is, by songs uttered with vitriol and You-Tube clips streaming for self-aggrandizement.

We lament that which we have no control over, yet do nothing to exert but a trifle of influence.  The standard adage should remind us:  “Garbage in, garbage out”; and, yet, who among us steadfastly maintains the duties of the vanguard who must imperviously maintain a standard of who is invited and what is kept out?  Or, does “popularity” rule, and the old edict by a shoe company trying to dominate the cutthroat world of sales and profitability, “Just do it” – is that the philosophy we follow?  Or, how about, “If it feels right (or good), then…”

The narrative we write is the storyline that follows, and the byline that stamps its approval at the bottom of the tale acknowledges who we are, what we believe in and where we intend to go.  What would your response be if a child suddenly came upon you and asked, “Who are you?”  Would the narrative that bespeaks include struggles encountered, battles engaged and promises kept?  Or would the story be a confused delineation of a skeletal clutter, barely recognizable as a unique reflection of the angels we fly with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are 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 narrative we write, especially on the Standard Form 3112A, is perhaps the penultimate component of the essence of the effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  How it is written; what information it should contain; the relevant period of discourse; the proper delineation in answer to the queries; these must all be taken into account before submitting it to OPM.  And, just as the response to the query by the curious child should give one pause, greater reflection before submitting an SF 3112A to OPM should be taken, lest the narrative we write reflects that which we no longer want to own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Happy Meter

We have metrics for everything, now; devices simultaneously wearable as necklaces to gauge heart rates and exercising of limbs; of crystals which tell of emotive alterations throughout the day; and connective apparatus lest we lose a signal within the vast field of human interactions with the greater world in distant horizons.

Then, why not a “happy meter”?  How would it determine the accuracy within a spectrum of a day’s journey?  Would it be based upon a pinnacle on a graph? Or, perhaps it would calculate the average temperature between qualitative quotients of sad, neutral and ecstatic?  Or, maybe it would provide a needle prick, or a gentle nudge with a vibrating sensation or a humming sound which reminds us that we are now in the state we seek, of a joyous moment within the historicity of our own emotions.

But would it work, and would a happy meter merely gauge our state of being, or fulfill a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-aggrandizing need for knowledge reflective of foolish accounts as seen by other cultures and societies?  For the most part, any quantification of self-satisfaction would still require the affirmative input of the subject being studied.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the idea of gauging happiness as the sole criteria for seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely to identify one criteria among many.

For, in the end, “happiness” is just a byproduct resulting from multiple other factors, including a future sense of security; an idea of where one fits within the larger schematic plans of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; where one’s career path will go if the Federal or Postal employee attempts to remain in the job and the agency which cannot be completely fulfilled; whether a viable “accommodation” can be provided to allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue in the same position such that the Federal or Postal employee can perform all of the essential elements of the position; and multiple other and similar elements to consider.

Ultimately, one’s “happiness” cannot be determined by a mere quantification of heart rate, level of perspiration, or the stability of emotions and thought-processes; and while there is no mechanism discovered or invented, yet, which is encapsulated by a commercially salable Happy Meter, perhaps there will be one in the near future.

For the time being, however, one could nevertheless do what men and women have done for centuries, and simply reflect seriously for a moment upon one’s past accomplishments, determining present needs, and plan for one’s future security by taking the affirmative steps necessary to prepare, formulate, and file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire