OPM Disability Retirement: The Unshared Responsibility

It is an oxymoron of sorts: For, by the very definition of each of the two words, the opposite should necessarily be implied.  Responsibilities, by their very nature, especially in the context of a village, a society, or a nation, are shared by all; and thus to declare the existence of an “unshared responsibility” — when responsibilities by their very nature require a shared nature — is a form of self-contradiction.  Failure to share the responsibility that is ours to engage is common where society no longer knows its own neighbors.

That is the essence of a disappearing village — where we know longer know each other, remain detached and merely retain the outer facade of being a society with common interests.  Do you know your next door neighbor?  Do you even care to?  Yet, we have thousands of “friends” on Facebook, but barely know, or care, about the person living just across the street.

The Office is no different.  One day a coworker files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits and we are “surprised”.  We didn’t know that the person even had a medical condition.  The Supervisor didn’t know.  The Human Resource Office didn’t care to know.  No one at the agency cared to know.  That is often the reality, unfortunately, and the greater — sadder — reality is that those who should have known didn’t care to take the time to know.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and where confidentiality of the process is critical because of the unshared responsibility of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest the unshared responsibility of confidential matters may potential leak to the uninterested ear that awaits hungrily for the gossip of unspoken mouths.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Employees: Incompatibility

The proof that must be shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, is that the Federal or Postal worker has a deficiency with respect to performance, conduct or attendance, or in the absence of any actual service deficiency, a showing that the medical condition is incompatible with either useful service or retention in the position held.

In recent months, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has been ignoring the part about the “incompatibility” provision, and instead has been unfairly focusing upon whether or not a supervisor has deemed an individual’s past performance as having shown any deficiencies in performance, attendance or conduct.

The system of “performance reviews” favors passing most employees through without any deficiencies, and the reason for this is that it is often too much of a headache to give an employee a “less than fully successful” rating, lest there be grievances filed and appeals noted, creating a greater workload for the supervising authorities.

But even when there are noted and substantiated deficiencies in one’s performance, conduct or attendance, OPM will often dismiss such deficiencies as not being supported by the medical documentation, anyway, and so the basis for a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a compendium of circular arguments posited by OPM without any adherence to the law or acknowledgment of the facts.

More cases appear to be denied by OPM in recent months; ignoring the law and asserting unfounded reasons for such denials, and so it is important to fight against the trend that seems to be asserted by OPM: Ignoring well-established precedents in law and ignoring the facts by selectively extrapolating what OPM wants to focus upon.

If you have been denied, or want to put forth the best First-Stage OPM Disability Retirement application possible, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS: The Pressure Cooker

As a practical device, it retains nutrients and cooks various foods faster because of the intensity of the heat, thereby quickly forcing nutrients out into the cauldron of mixed vegetables, all the while tenderizing the tough meat.  As a metaphor, it represents a symbol of the human condition: Stolid on the outside, reaching uncontrollable and explosive currents beneath the surface.

Other metaphors often accompany the picture of the pressure cooker: The “walking time bomb”; the “short fuse”; the “screaming boss” and the “fragile psyche” — these and many more describe the state of modernity’s human condition.  And the picture of the final straw that breaks the camel’s back — of the slow, subtle, incremental and progressively destructive forces which cumulatively burden the back of the beast until the final straw breaks it under the weight of stresses no longer bearable.

Life is difficult; and when a medical condition adds upon the pile of troubles we burden ourselves with, the image of the pressure cooker comes to the fore.  The chores that we leave undone; the work that demands; the relationships which wither; the time that is irredeemably lost; these, and many more, fall into the mixture of the pressure cooker that has no more nutrients to offer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has added to the pressure cooker of life’s travails, it may be time to contact a FERS Disability Attorney to consider representation for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The pressure cooker is meant to serve, not to destroy; but if the pressure building gets to a certain level beyond the danger point, it is well past the time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: And then…

It is the precursor to the punch line, or perhaps the conclusion of a tale told with eyes wide with anticipation; what precedes, what follows, and then….  Stories are told well, middling, or perhaps badly, but they are told nonetheless, with conclusions that come about with surprise, aplomb or perhaps with a suspended yawn stifled for mere courtesy.  Everyone has one.  It is often said that the story of a man’s life is not in its conclusion, but in the living of it up to the end, but one wonders; is it the telling of it that matters, or the living of it?

In this day and age of technological openness, where everyone’s every detail is disseminated within moments of occurring, no one actually lives anymore, but merely by virtual existence.  Life is about what others think, about the opinions of likened friends, and how many “likes” have been amassed over a life-span of one’s presence upon social media.  The “telling” of one’s life has always been a part of the human makeup; cave-dwellers from long ago we were, and the drawings that have been left by ancestors long forgotten reveal the propensity and desire to tell tales — tall or otherwise — that also ended with, “And then…”

But this is a new phenomena; of telling the tale whilst living it, and sometimes even before; of setting up the “And then…” before the “then” even occurs, and well before the “And” makes its existence known.  It is a switch of a paradigm, a conversion of the psyche and a pre-consciousness before the ego bit off the Id of the seamless ego’s altercation with itself.  And then….

We know not what the outcome of such a story is.  Untested, unresearched, under constant attack; it remains the single mystery that yet needs to be told.  For, everyone has a tale to tell; a life to live; but the telling of the tale of one’s life was once the province of old men in rocking chairs who whispered to wide-eyed boys and girls of the feats of justice and generational transfers of heroic deeds left to folklore, old wive’s tales and exaggerated syllogisms lost in the conundrum of nightmares and sleepless ogres.  No more.  And then….

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 SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability — provides the opportunity to tell the tale of one’s woeful conditions and worrisome progression of deteriorating circumstances.  The tale needs to be told; and like all tales, it needs to be presented with coherence and with a logical sequence of validity.

The problem with such telling of the tale of one’s medical condition, however, is the same problem that today’s generation faces: Of living the medical condition and yet telling of it, all in the same breath.  Too emotional, too involved or too whatever; in the bureaucracy and administrative complexity of presenting the tale to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the telling of one’s tale should be consolidated into an objective delineation in a clinical and legal admixture of complex simplicity.

For, like jokes and narrations that keep the attention of the reader and audience, there must always be the punchline that persuades and convinces, as in — And then…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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 position, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Something happened

Beyond a mundane declaration of befuddlement, it is also the title of a novel by Joseph Heller — his second novel published some 13 years after the successful first one that most people remember him by:  Catch-22.

It lacks the surrealism of the first novel; the absurdity of tragic events unfolding distinguishable from the logical and sequential manner in which we see the world, turned upside down by images of madness countering the reality of the insanity around.  The genre of the absurd — depicted in such movies as “Life is Beautiful” and in works such as Catch-22 — attempts to unveil the underlying insanity beneath the veneer of a world acting as if normalcy abounds.

Other movies that attempt to portray the absurd might include Sophie’s Choice, where the main character (played by Meryl Streep) keeps going back to the comfort of her insane boyfriend because that is the more comfortable reality she knows, having survived the insanity of the Nazi death camps.

But long before the genre of the absurd came to the fore, there was the brilliant short story by Cynthia Ozick entitled, The Shawl, which has been noted for bringing out the horrors of the holocaust through a medium — the short story — that captures the essence of absurdity and the surreal in a mere few dozen pages.  The story is a small bundle that reverberates so powerfully that it overshadows any subsequent attempts at depicting life’s absurdity.

Catch-22 elevated the absurd to a consciousness that brought further self-awareness of the unreality of the real — the Vietnam War — and tried to unravel the insanity amidst a world that tried to explain the event as something logical and sane.

Something Happened —  a book about a character who engages in a rambling stream of consciousness about his childhood, job and family — is perhaps more emblematic about the life most of us live:  seemingly logical, yet interspersed with events, reminiscences and memories that are faulty at best, and far from perfect.  The title itself shows a greater awareness of our befuddlement — of not knowing “what” happened, only that it did, and the inability to control the events that impact our lives.

Medical conditions tend to be of that nature — of an event that we have no control over, and yet, we are aware of its “happening”.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to realize that something happened — a medical condition; a chronic illness that simply will not go away; a traumatic event that has had residual consequences which are continuing to impact; whatever the “something”, the “happened” part still resides.

Such recognition of the “something” will often necessitate the further recognition that it is now time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to secure a future that is presently uncertain.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in getting Federal and Postal employees Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and take the necessary steps to ensure that the “something” that “happened” is not one more tragedy in this tragic-comic stream of consciousness we call “life”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Things not likely to happen

It is not likely that tomorrow morning you will wake up and find that aliens have taken over the earth (although, if one were to read various supermarket tabloids, that has already occurred many times over, both while asleep and awake); it is not likely that you will win the lottery with that last dollar spent on running a random set of numbers (though millions each day shell out astronomical sums in the aggregate with dreams – and sometimes actual plans reflected upon – of what one will do “when” the improbable event will happen); and it is not likely that the email received the other day from some banker in Burkina Faso who wants a “trusted friend” to allow for a transfer of a cool $100 million and would allow you to keep half of it just because you happen to be the only person in the universe who has a bank account and can keep a secret, will actually honor such a request.

Nevertheless, people actually consider such fantasies, and to the detriment of those who do so with serious intent, harm themselves either by delaying what could be done, setting aside the reality of what needs to be accomplished, and turning over valuable time to endeavors not likely to happen.

Often, and unfortunately, medical conditions have that same characteristic – of things not likely to happen.  It begins by happening – of a medical condition that should not have been, or is seen to be “unfairly” targeting a particular individual, and a period of disbelief ensues where the question is, “Why me?  Why not the other guy, instead?”  Then, once the phase of acceptance comes about, one begins to adapt, compromise the levels of acceptability and quality of life, and modification of expectations surely follows soon thereafter.  Then, one hopes, prays, angrily shouts to the heavens or otherwise with quiet resignation begins to ruminate – yes, the medical condition may be unfair, but so is the lot of life we all live.

And the principle of things not likely to happen applies to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, as well, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, the things not likely to happen includes: The medical condition will just go away; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will just let things slide and be very understanding; the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service will actually accommodate your medical condition; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service will find you another job at the same pay or grade; the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service will grant SL, AL or LWOP in unlimited amounts so that you can attend to your illness or medical condition; and the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service will show empathy, sympathy and understanding and make you feel “welcomed” while you endure one of the most difficult periods of your life.  Not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire