Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Trifecta

It is a type of betting where the order is important, and where all three must finish as declared, and if any one of the sequence is different, it matters not whether the one correctly deemed to be first, in fact places first.  We often view our lives as if we are engaged in the trifecta; as if the order and sequence makes all the difference, and where misplacement of our artificially prepackaged lives constitutes a complete and utter failure unless such declared sequence of a lifetime of effort comes to fruition.

That is the problem with Federal and Postal employees who hesitate in making an affirmative decision concerning the most serious of issues confronting them. For, as “work” has somehow been ingrained in our very psyche to be first and foremost in commitment, importance, significance and value, as well as that which identifies us and is in many respects the “essence” of who we are (Aristotle would, of course, be flabbergasted by such a statement as a self-contradiction and perhaps an oxymoron because of the irrationality of such a perspective), we thus sacrifice that which should precede (one’s health) over that which must accede (one’s work).

Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option for Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, which must always be considered when first the Federal or Postal employee encounters a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job. We give lip service to how important family, health, faith and X are, but our actions belie the true loyalty of our souls.

In a trifecta, one receives the cash rewards of a correctly-declared sequence of contestants; in life, sticking to a self-destructive and irrational sense of loyalty to a vocation, at the expense of one’s health, is to earn a reward of which one may never collect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Directing the Cinematic Chaos of Life

We tend to believe that life must travel along a linear path of consistent activity.  Perhaps such a belief system is derived from the Western philosophical tradition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, which first proposed the conceptual universe of things moving from states of potentiality to actuality, and where the unmoved mover attracted all physical substances to its presence.

But life rarely unfolds as planned; and instead, a retrospective view of most lives reveals one of missteps, pauses, turns of trepidation and wrong and directionless travels to dead ends and strange neighborhoods.

We like sitting and watching movies and shows which are well-directed, with a thematic coherence and a nicely packaged beginning, middle and end. But what of our own lives? Who directs it, and what thematic presence dominates the cogency of one’s own existence? The difference between such fictional production and “real life”, of course, is that the former is created through artificial control of what happens and who enters each scene; in the latter, there can never be total control, as interaction with a chaotic and vibrant world cannot ultimately be refuted.

We try, of course, by remaining within the cocoons of our own making; by following a well-established daily routine, and never diverging from the treadmill of daily living. But then, those unexpected and unwanted anomalies of life intrude, such as a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who find that a medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s livelihood, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will often be the only alternative left in order to remain on some semblance of a coherent, linear path of life.  It is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and must ultimately be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

To be a movie director is one thing; the more important role is to have some authority in directing one’s own life, and that is by far the more difficult job in maintaining a thematic cogency in this universal chasm of chaos.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Non-Existence of Life’s Linear Line

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often a valid concern that the Case Worker at the Office of Personnel Management will review a Federal Disability Retirement application for internal “consistency” of the application.  

By “consistency” is meant the comparative analysis and evaluation of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as described and narrated on SF 3112A and its continuation attachment, and the medical records and reports and the substantive content of what the treating medical providers are stating.  

Such comparison and comparative analysis may involve the level and extent of treatment; whether there are any notations concerning non-compliance with medication regimens; whether the findings of clinical examinations may contradict the ultimate conclusions of the treating doctors, etc.  

The unfortunate part of such an approach is that life normally does not travel in such a consistent, linear line of events.  On some days when a patient visits the doctor, it may well be that he or she is in the “best health” of one’s slice of life, and it may be reflected as such in the mental status examination, or in the physical examination given by the doctor.  Or, conversely, on any particular day, the treating doctor may not be as “aware” or attentive to the patient, and may simply mechanically jot down notes without putting much thought into it.  Whatever the case, such linear consistency rarely reflects the reality of life.  

To counter such non-existence of the linear line of expectation, it is often a good idea to provide, if possible, a history of the medical condition, treatment regimens and modalities, in order to show that a day’s slice of life is not reflective of the greater medical history one has suffered from, and is currently suffering from.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Privacy, Social Media and Detracting Information

In the modern age of social media, where information on what previously was considered “private” details of personal and family life is widely disseminated, freely provided, and affirmatively shared, such publicly declared information can be accessed by private, public, and government entities.  

A Federal or Postal worker who is preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, should take care that publicly disseminated information does not contradict the assertions and statements made on an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  While the Office of Personnel Management does not systematically engage in researching information on an applicant displayed in the social media forum; nevertheless, it is certainly “fair game” to obtain such information.  

The problem with social media information posted and freely provided by individuals, including Federal and Postal Workers, is that there may be absolutely no connection between the reality and accuracy of the information posted, and the truth of the individual revealing and posting such information.  

Anonymity, having a different identity — acting like a different person from the true “you” is an easy thing to do on the internet.  But if a wide disparity becomes evident between what one asserts in one arena from what is stated in an official government form under penalty of perjury, there may come a day when one is asked to explain the discrepancy.  

Just a thought, for those Federal and Postal employees who are preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire