FERS Medical Retirement: Meeting the basic requirements

As with any endeavor, meeting the basic requirements is the minimum standard.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to understand the basic eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Here are a few: The minimum Federal Service requirement (18 months); of having a medical condition during the tenure of one’s Federal Service that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and an inability by the agency to provide reasonable accommodations or reassignment; and some further factors to be considered, as well.

Beyond the basic requirements, of course, are the technical issues that have developed over many years and decades, primarily through statutory interpretation as expounded in court cases and decisions handed down by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  There are, moreover, legal refinements and interpretations that go beyond the “basics”, and while meeting the basic requirements is an important start, it is critical to understand the technical legal refinements which have evolved over the years. “Always start with the basic requirements; and from there, consult with an expert for further details.”

Such is the sage advice often given before involving oneself in a complex process, and Federal Disability Retirement Law is one such administrative endeavor that should take such counsel into account.

Start with meeting the basic requirements — of the minimum 18 months of Federal Service; of having a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job; and from there, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — another “basic requirement” in preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Being another

When you read that some actor, writer, politician or commentator (dare we ask why, in a single sentence, all of them have been lumped side by side) says X or does Y, we often allow our own ego as the “one-upsmanship” to overtake us, and we imagine that, if we were there, we would have said “XX” instead of “X”, or done “YY” instead of the mere “Y”.

At the moment, though we rarely recognize the egocentric reality of what we are doing, we actually “become” that actor, that writer, that politician or that commentator, and assume the role and identity of the person we have replaced in our mind’s eye.  Insanity, of course, comes about when a further step is taken — of believing not what we “would” have done or said, but incontrovertibly becoming that someone whom we are not.

The quantity of time expended within the insularity of our lives is astounding; and the personal — albeit creative and imaginative — excursions into another type of virtual reality consumes a greater part of each day, every hour and multiple minutes of our disjointed lives.  Perhaps this occurs in a quick flash of a stream of passing thoughts; or a long, enduring daydream that recurs through the day, the week, and over a month’s time; but of whatever duration, being another is something that we all do, and always at the expense one’s own ego and those who are close to us.

Being another also occurs in hopeful encounters with our own circumstances.  We imagine that we are ourselves, but also another who is simultaneously identical and yet different.  That is what a medical condition does — it divides the reality of who we are today from the memory of who we were yesterday, and further projects a person of what will become of us in the future, near or far.  Often, emotions become entangled in the images of who we are, and so regret pervades the past, anxiety overwhelms the present, and fear pursues the future.

Medical conditions tend to inject a factor that we have no control over, and it is that loss of control, combined with who we see ourselves as, and who we would rather be or become, that presents a dilemma: As circumstances change, can we continue to remain who we are and allow for being another — the “other” being the person who we once were — to continue as if such changes of circumstances never occurred?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has “changed” a person to the extent that he or she is now “another” — someone not quite dissimilar to yesterday’s you but also not identical to today’s yesterday of the person we just met — because of circumstances beyond one’s control, it may be time to do that which only another in a different time and distinguishing context may have contemplated: file 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 reality is that we are never the same as who we were yesterday, and last year’s child of imaginative “being another” has grown into the “other” that was once imagined.

In the end, the essence of who we are will not have changed because of a medical condition, and what we do in life beyond filing for and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is more important than feeling self-pity for not having fulfilled one’s desire for being another, who was yesterday’s another in a different role from today’s another or tomorrow’s another.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The gathering clouds

We don’t have people saying such pithy or inane things, anymore, and the death of the metaphor is the fault of Google.  And, of course, the Weather Channel and the Smart Phone apps that give us the updated information concerning that which we can see for ourselves.

Who ever talks that way, anymore?  “The dark clouds are gathering” – a metaphor for trouble brewing, problems arising or bad people getting together to engage in no good deeds.  To which everyone whips out their Smart Phones and checks the most updated forecast, using the Weather Channel app that everyone has already downloaded onto their phones, and in unison respond: “No it’s not; today is only partly sunny, then tomorrow there is a 20% chance of rain and the temperature is…”  “No, no, no…that is not what I meant by saying that the dark clouds are gathering.  What I mean is…” And you are met with blank stares by the horde of millennials who speak a foreign language, fail to understand the generation before the Internet or Smart Phones, and don’t even own a landline.  What, is that even possible?

Time was once upon a millennium, when farmers felt the bones ache from the gathering storm; that one could sniff the winds of changed directions; and noting the behavior of rabbits, birds and the mutterings of crows in the bushes, the gathering clouds would be discerned as patterns of nature’s calling.  Technology has its place and uses, but in the end, it dulls the instincts that have survived and helped human beings to last for want of realization of a civilization lost in the silent graveyards of forgotten memories.

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 the Federal or Postal job duties, the “gathering clouds” is often hinted by the behavior of coworkers, supervisors, and other agency officials; of the tone and tenor of attitudes abounding; and though the adverse action or initiation of a PIP may appear to come as a surprise, you knew it was coming long before, just as you knew that you needed to start the process of the filing a Federal Disability Retirement application long before the time made it into an urgency, or even an emergency.

The gather clouds, no matter how much we may try to stamp out the underlying instinct felt, is still the same the world around; we just have a better way of suppressing it than in countries less technologically sophisticated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tempering euphoria

Life presents a wide spectrum; it is the limitation of one’s mind that restricts the expanse of that endless stream flowing on either side.  Euphoria rises to the pinnacle of that swinging pendulum; the high that reaches, follows upon a subsequence reversal of the tidal wave, and comes crashing down in fits and tumults of dismaying turbulence.  Does it necessarily need to be contained?

In modernity, and in society generally, there is a level and pitch of discomfort when intense feelings and exuberant outbursts of excitement surpass a certain arc of acceptability; there is no rule or law governing the demarcation where acceptance, discomfort and outright rejection are dissected, but it is there nonetheless.  It is like the line between light and darkness created by a campfire in the twilight on a beach that reaches forever beyond the darkness of the sea; yes, somewhere the glow of the fire ends and complete darkness begins, but we can never perceive with clarity where that boundary lies.

Some neuroscientists ascribe to the view that the extreme of euphoria occurs when there is a simultaneous, concurrent activation of all hedonic trigger-points with the brain’s rewarding system of stimulus-responses, but surely many have experienced such a state without the coalescence of such a perfect storm?  As the antonym of dysphoria, it is perhaps another hidden vestige of our evolutionary past, where intensity of emotional response was necessary for survival in a state of nature.

In civilized society, however, tempering euphoria – except in limited circumstances of heightened stimulation within the privacy of one’s home and restricted to context-appropriate circumstances – is what is expected, presumed and demanded.  There is always somewhat of an experiential oxymoron when a person manifests an unfettered state of euphoria; somehow, we all suspect that behind the uncontrolled exuberance will follow a “down” state which closely aligns itself with depression and despondency.

Is there really anything wrong with unrestrained expressions of pleasure and happiness?  Or, are we just being old fogeys and fuddy-duddies when we raise an eyebrow to such unsolicited declarations?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have filed 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, the issue of tempering euphoria is applicable within the context of having contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Waiting for months upon tiring months for OPM to respond can be exhausting.  Then, when a decision is made, one can become overwhelmed by the sheer revelation of information, whether euphoric or dysphoric.

Why tempering euphoria is important, is because filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is a process, and must be seen as such.  There are many potential “stages” to the administrative process, and the bureaucracy as a whole does not lend itself well to emotional states of responsive exuberance.

In the end, it is not only civilized society that sees the benefit in tempering euphoria through normative means of behavioral reactions, but for the very sake of keeping expectations and emotions in check, tempering euphoria is a necessary mandate when dealing with the juggernaut of OPM’s indifference in the multiple stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Wisdom’s hold on life

We never quite “get it”.  Trans-generational imputing of wisdom is not part of modern society.  In more “traditional” societies, multi-generational families live together out of practical reasons:  Not only is it less expensive if the earnings are pooled into a single resource of means, but until marriage or an offer of economic leverage pulls a member away from the core, imparting of wisdom, experience and voices of learned care may be passed down from generation to generation.  In the West, instead, the rush is to depart and fracture; to get away as quickly as possible; for, as youth is the cult of modernity, so folly of youth is the means by which we live.

That was the point of alternative interactions, as well – of apprenticeships, internships and other similar ships moored to more experienced hands; but even those are now relics of an age no longer relevant.  And of age – old men with decades of experience in handling matters of great complexity, shuttled away into homes smelling of antiseptic camouflaging of decay and devoid of respect or gratitude; women who once gained a stature of serene contentment, now deluged in a cauldron of impoverishment and relegated to the insignificance of lost memories.  Where is wisdom’s hold upon life?

There is, in the end, no means for generational transfer of wisdom, and the wheel must be reinvented at every turn, by an ignorant and inexperienced first generation where “first” is always reenacted and “generation” is merely something to submit to have a family tree drawn in order to boast of one’s genetic predisposition towards folly and foolishness.  Yet, we have come to believe that wisdom can be equated to information, and so we hand out Smartphones so that we can mindlessly look up data, soft news and questionable sources where references cannot be verified, plagiarism may be rampant, and esoteric knowledge has been forever generalized to a point of neutrality of purpose.

Where do we get wisdom?  From advice columns, gurus of booksellers hinting of “secret” formulas and self-serving wanna-bees of Dear Abby.  Once, wisdom’s hold on life resulted in an evolution of greater growth, as generational transfer allowed for each within the greater whole to advance beyond the elementary foundations of first principles.  Now, we are solitary, isolated and disconnected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, wisdom’s latent hold on life should not make one pause, but rather, as the dissemination of knowledge, information and guidance can be accessed through an experienced lawyer who has faced OPM many times, life need not be anticipated, but advanced beyond the folly of youth where wisdom’s hold on life is but a moment devoid of influence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Abridged Joyce

The extraction and extinguishment is done by unnamed others, sometimes in teams of unknown quantities, and certainly of dubious qualification of insight.  In a similar vein, writers have always complained of the artistic ineptitude of editors, and editors of the quaint verbosity detracting from the plot, narrative and captivating flow missed by writers in pursuit of “Art”; but is there ever a “middle ground” when it comes to the integrity of the soul?  But how can you cut away the content of the work, when the process itself is part and parcel of the substantive construct of the whole itself?

It would be like removing the heart itself, or perhaps even the human brainstem from the spinal cord, thereby violating the vertebral contiguity and effectively separating thought from movement, material from the spiritual, and soul from the activity which defines life itself.  Can Joyce, Tolstoy or even Scott Fitzgerald be abridged?  One can imagine the journalistic brevity of Hemingway, where incisiveness of narrative is reflected in the economy of words, but even to that, isn’t the stronger argument that the great Papa’s works are already so edited to the core that any further amputation would render the body functionally illiterate?

Yet, we accept the Reader’s Digest version of works for want of time saved and the capacity to declare a reading conquered; and others would quip, but surely it is better than just reading the Cliff Notes, isn’t it?  Not sure about that; as such cottage industries serve a different purpose — of understanding the content and context of a thing, as opposed to the enjoyment of the work itself.

But if quantity of linguistic captivation is so interwoven with the rhythmic balance of the entirety and aggregate of the whole, can an abridged Joyce be justified, ever?  Or have we accepted that, as life itself can be cut short without demeaning the relevant historicity of its linear heritage, so reading the partiality of an excised edition is just as good, somewhat as acceptable, and ultimately a pragmatic decision in terms of time saved and effort expended?

As Art reflects Life, so for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose careers and lives are interrupted by a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen field and career, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management allows for the abridged Joyce of a hyphenated accentuation.  For, in the end, the quip that Life mirrors Art is a limited proverb.

The Federal or Postal employee never asked for the interruption of the medical condition, but there it is — a bump in the pathway of life itself, with very little “art” to show for it.  But the narrative of one’s Federal or Postal career must be written in the Statement of Disability with care and collection of medical evidence to back it up, and the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is nothing but an artful way of deceitful cunning by a bureaucracy which attempts to subvert and deny at every turn, and the life of such a linguistic animal must be prepared well, formulated cogently, and submitted with confidence of purpose to maneuver into the maze of bureaucratic obfuscation.

The abridged Joyce will always be offered in this world of abbreviated concerns; filing for Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, on the other hand, is the only option remaining for many Federal and Postal workers injured or ill during the Federal tenure of one’s life, and should be accomplished with the care of the expanded version, and not an edited parcel to be cut and sliced like so many narratives in the trashbin of society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire