Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: The empty plaque

Somehow, they only retain their meaning and significance if there is an ongoing recognition of current accomplishment and recent reinforcements.  Commemorative plaques may provide a historical context of one’s abilities and talents, and even reveal a shadow of a person’s former self; yet, they also magnify the contrast between what once was and the current state of difficulties one faces.

The “plaque” that is placed prominently on a wall, or occupies a conspicuous space on one’s desk, should never be a “dead” object.  For, once the plaque becomes a forgotten piece of history, as opposed to a mere intermediate interlude on the way to greater heights of accomplishments, it becomes a reminder of a past now irrelevant and unimportant.

Plaques should be the middle portion of a life still to be lived and not the final, indelible stamp of cessation.  Moreover, in modernity, the realization that accolades, fame and yesterday’s recognition mean little-to-nothing in this fast-paced universe where thanks are for a moment ago and resting upon one’s laurels will leave you behind quicker than quick, leaves one with a hollow feeling of trembling insecurities.

The empty plaque is the one you hope will carry you through when nothing much happens, even when you know it will not.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the significance of the plaque becoming empty is quickly realized: Whatever accomplishments that were achieved yesterday is unimpressive to the Federal agency or the Postal Service; whatever loyalty you believed was forthcoming because of your loyalty given over so many years…well, don’t hold your breath.

In this world where commitment, loyalty and reliance upon plaques and other objects of recognition hold sway for barely a nod or a wink of time, it is best to begin thinking about yourself, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the first step in recognizing that the empty plaque sitting on one’s desk or hanging upon the wall became empty once your usefulness to the agency or the Postal Service became compromised by the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Necessary changes

Is it a redundancy to state it in this manner?  Is change by definition necessary, or are some alterations merely voluntary, unnecessary, or modifications that are not required but are desired by sheer want of replacing boredom with ineptitude of lackluster metamorphosis?

Evolution surely resists it; for, the incrementalism and subtle refinement favors an unchanging universe, and we see that in the natural world, where an anomaly or mutation is disfavored, shunned by others and excluded instinctively.  The albino giraffe may be a fascinating phenomena to witness, but in the wilds where blending in with the landscape in order to go unnoticed by predators lurking about is the key to the survival of not just the “fittest” — but the one who is passed by unnoticed by more powerful forces ready to pounce and devour.

Change can take on many and variegated forms — from a spectrum dividing a wide chasm of consequences, whether intended or otherwise thoughtlessly expounded — from the minor adjustment to the tumultuous overhaul of upheaval and irreversible impact.  Some changes are merely insularly internal and go unnoticed, such as a “new perspective” or taking on a different way of seeing things.

Religious conversions can take that cloak of alteration.  We may know a friend, a neighbor or a family member who lives at the same address, speaks the same way, dresses in the identical manner, but one day blurts out, “I have become X!”  Perhaps there are some residual modifications made, and some we notice, others go with a ripple, like the many pitter-patter of rain drops that fall upon the midnight ocean and no one ever notices.

Other changes come from without — imposing its impact and causal effect without any choice or say in the matter — earthquakes; deaths; wars that no one asked for; events that unfold with untold consequences that no one thought through very well.

Medical conditions are akin to the latter — of a vicissitude that occurs without the asking, with impact upon lives both minor and consequential.  It is not only a change, but necessitates changes in the lifestyle, manner and approach of the one to whom it impacts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it will often become apparent that the unnecessary (or unwanted) change to one’s health begets a necessary change that must accommodate the former.

A Federal Disability Retirement application may be a necessary change, if only to follow upon the change that has imposed itself by the very medical condition itself.

Changes — necessary or otherwise — require an adaptation, both mentally and often physically, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the penultimate necessary change that must be contemplated in a universe replete with necessary and sufficient causes beyond one’s control.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Other people’s misery

Why is it that the misery of others tends to soothe our own?  Yes, yes – we grant the common and appropriate responses of heartfelt empathy and facial frowns and perhaps even some tears; but in the end, is it because of the resulting comparative analysis – of a cold, rational and logical methodology of responsive behavior – that we appease the gods of fate in some primitive form of sacrificing others, knowing that so long as the traveling karma has not yet noticed our own plight of devious accord, we are safe for another day?

Or is there some false paradigm upon which most of us operate – that economic prosperity is based upon a limited “pie”, and we must take a set portion before it disappears, or protect the leftovers we have salvaged against the ravenous predators who seek to deprive; or that chance and statistical ascription of proportional divides mandate that there is only a predetermined reach of human misery on a macro-level, and so long as that preset number is satisfied, such tragedy of suffering will leave us untouched?

We certainly have a history of such mythological adherence; whether of man’s historical conduct by religious fervor and slaughter in the name of heavens unreached (which has still not quenched its thirsting pinnacle of folly, as current epics attest to), or in the silent quips and prayers uttered to protect ourselves from nature’s fury; we believe, somehow, that but for the grace granted by an unfathomable other, we would experience the plight of those whom we would rather avoid like the plague.  Or is it much more basic – somewhat like the epidemic which takes the life of another, and the thought is, so long as the infectious predator busily devours and destroys the next guy, you are immune to its distracted attention?

We certainly find relief, and even enjoy the consternation of discussion, in other people’s misery; to stand around and about gossiping of trials and heartaches inflicted (with the distinction appropriated that, because the point of such exchanges are meant to be “helpful”, so the difference between “malicious gossip” and what we engage in must by definition allow for the momentary lapse from decorum) upon “poor Joe” or “Aunt Emma”, all the while making sure that the concealing mask bordering upon frowns and distraught distractions would not betray the sense of relief felt that it is the “other” guy whose misery remains.

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 positional duties, the thing that must be known and recognized at the outset is that the human need to embrace, discuss and “do something about” other people’s misery, is that the “other” person is you.  Thus, whether in a small department or a larger agency where anonymity prevails, or in a small post office or larger postal facility, the gossip which runs throughout will be like an untamed fire where no amount of extinguishers will control the spreading of it.

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, is the only way to control the discussion of that which once was the subject of another, when the “other” of other people’s misery becomes the object directed at you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Disability Retirement: Language Decoupled

The correspondence theory of truth has long since been abandoned; whether by congruence or of fair representation, the classical model dating back to Plato and Aristotle has been replaced by Wittgenstein‘s description of “language games“, which really possesses no reflection upon the objective world which surrounds us “out there”.

With the advent of virtual reality; the blurred distinction between truth and falsity as merely words in play; and Bertrand Russell’s playful destruction of any such theory with the singular statement, “The King of France is bald” (where the truth or falsity of such a statement cannot be questioned, despite there being neither a King of France, nor a determinative value of validity as to his baldness).  Yet, somehow, congruence and correspondence refuses to die outright.

Truth and falsity lives on, like the last vestiges of royalty or lineage of blood, where the twilight of history raises the final flag of rebellion and resistance. Whatever the historical tenacity of such movements, language can never be decoupled from the anchor of reality.

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, the reality of connection between one’s medical condition and the need for an accurate description, through words, of the symptoms and diagnoses, cannot be overstated.  This is also true of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or even CSRS Offset.

Language decoupled becomes an ethereal vestige of residual meaninglessness; an accurate depiction of reality, through the strength of words and language, cannot ever be cast aside.  For, as language is the vehicle of interpretation and communication, so the abandonment of that modality would result in the destruction of human progress on a scale unimaginable within the purview of history’s epochal dawn.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need such a vehicle in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, the very idea of language decoupled would mean the defeat of an OPM disability retirement application at the outset; for it is the very coupling of one’s medical condition to the positional duties required, which proves beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the Federal or Postal employee is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and it is the effectiveness of language itself which is the vehicle of that successful enterprise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Resigning from a Federal Position Due to a Medical Condition

To resign is often considered the last vestiges of giving up hope; somehow, it contradicts our DNA, and the resistance to it reinforces the Darwinian idea that the evolutionary drive for survival rules our choices, as determinism persists despite our best efforts to remain free.  To resign is to give in, surrender, abandon the lifelong plans and dreams for the future; it marks, for many, a decision of raising the white flag.  In life, however, sometimes the choices offered are but a few, and within that limited arena of options, the best must be taken.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing the full panoply of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it sometimes becomes necessary to “cut the losses” and move onward to other ventures in life.

When the level of harassment becomes untenable; when the best negotiations lead to the Agency’s offer of resignation in order to keep the record “clean”; when access to one’s TSP is necessary in order to survive the long period of waiting for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to decide upon a Federal Disability Retirement application; or even when the constant “fight” is no longer worth it, or is not there within one’s self; then the only thing left is the proper characterization of such a resignation, for inclusion as a short statement on one’s SF 50 or PS Form 50.

Depending upon the particularized circumstances, a resignation is not always a surrender, but merely a regrouping in order to return to resume the fight of life on another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire