Legal Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Later editions

Later editions are never as valuable as the First Edition, unless of course something additional has occurred, like the author’s inscription and signature, or a typeset error which is limited in number, or perhaps a reissuance but for a “limited number”, and sometimes as an “anniversary” reprinting, especially and again, if the author or progenitor has signed such a copy.

People follow upon such objects of value; for, as such artifices are mere human conventions, the behavior towards such creations reflect the conduct of man towards his fellow man.  Thus do we treat “later editions” with reduced fanfare; the old are replaced by the new every day, and “first editions” — of a new employee, a rising star and other more recent arrivals — are accorded greater degrees of “oohs” and “ahhhs”.

One might counter that “First Editions” should instead be identified, as a metaphor for human beings, as those who have remained for the longer period of time, and not accorded such status to newcomers; it is those who “come after” who are the second or third impressions, and should be acknowledged as “less valuable”, and not more.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often the case that your “value” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility seems to have diminished as Second editions and Third impressions come upon the scene.

Look at the beauty of First Edition books, for example — often with some wear, and maybe even a tear, but it is the worn state of condition that is often compensated for by the years of experience for which the deteriorated condition can be valued, yet does the “bookseller” treats the later editions as more “valuable” than the stated First Edition?

Medical conditions are likened to the worn look of a First Edition book, whether signed or not, in this society where it is the Second or Third Editions that are too often treated with greater respect.  If that is the case, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Perhaps that dusty old First Edition will be better appreciated elsewhere, all the while receiving a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and growing in value.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Man from Mars

It is a strangeness that cannot be avoided.  Sort of like Thomas Nagel’s famous philosophical essay, “What is it like to be a bat — for a bat?”  It is the “for a bat” that makes all of the difference; for, as Nagel himself pointed out, it is easy to imagine what it is like to be a bat — i.e., have wings, fly in the dark of night, screech, eat bugs, etc.  However, the uniqueness of actually being another creature — of having a separate and distinct perspective from that of a human, man-centered purview — is something that we will never be able to achieve.

Others, like those in Daniel Dennett’s camp, counter that there is no Searle-like “ghost in the machine”, and that consciousness is merely comprised by the aggregate of the neurological connections that make up the human body, and there is nothing metaphysical beyond the physical, no “trans” or “meta” existence beyond the firing of neurons and wired transmitters — in other words, the uniqueness of an individual is nothing beyond what we see and experience.

The cynic, of course, would look at the neanderthal that we have become, where we stare into our Smartphones like zombies and laugh uproariously as the crudest of jokes, and nod in agreement.  But what of the experiences of the extraterrestrial — does that shed any further light upon the issue?

Take, for example, the concepts explored in works like, The Man who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie, or Robert Heinlein’s story of science fiction, “Stranger in a Strange Land” — where an alien culture and perspective meets with the consciousness of the banality found on earth; is it any different than when Native Americans first saw the ships appear upon the horizon of the Americas?  What is the natural response of the Man from Mars, and what is our response when confronted by an alienation of cultures, processes or foreign encounters?

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 strangeness of the experience itself is often daunting, at least in two or three ways: First, the medical condition itself is a phenomena that is alien, where previously the Federal or Postal employee was a healthy, vibrant individual.  Second, the fact that the Federal or Postal employee cannot “do it all” is another foreign concept that one has to adjust to, and that is often difficult enough.  And Third, the experience of meeting adversity and sensing a negative reaction by one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Facility one works at — that, too, is a foreign and alien experience, where before the Federal or Postal employee felt like he or she was a member of that “team”, and now the treatment accorded is one likened to a plague or infectious disease.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether he Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an experience likened to the Man from Mars — and because of this, the Federal or Postal employee who needs to consider Federal Disability Retirement might want to consult with a tour guide, otherwise known as an attorney who specializes in the attractive sights on Mars and within the purview of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Unwillingness

What is it about a personality that is unwilling?  Is it pure obstinacy?  Or, perhaps a personality trait of stubbornness that goes against the very nature of a person’s essence?  Such traits or quirks of personalities are interesting, precisely because they can fluctuate depending upon the particular context encountered.

Take, for example, an important conference where negotiations are occurring — say, in the settlement of a lawsuit or the consequential merger of two giant companies, etc.  If one of the principals in the negotiations has a reputation of “unwillingness” to compromise, or during the course of back-and-forth give and takes, it becomes apparent that the chief negotiator is unwilling to move an inch, we say of the person that either his (or her) unwillingness to reach a common accord is X or Y — i.e., tenacious to certain unmovable principles; stubborn; intractable; a “brilliant” tactical negotiator, etc.

Now, take the same example but with an individual who is willing to bend and allow for concessions — we might say of that person that he or she is “reasonable”, or that he is a wimp or she is without integrity.

But “unwillingness” has a special characteristic and connotation, does it not, from the rest of the personality traits described?  Especially if it is a permanent feature of a person’s makeup, and not merely a temporary, stubborn streak that may change and alter later on, or in a week, or in an hour’s time.

There is both something admirable as well as exasperating when referring to a person who has a personality characteristic of “unwillingness” — whether based upon an inner principle that drives the intractable nature, or perhaps a quirkiness of nature that refuses change.  The test of that unwillingness, and whether it is apparent only in certain particular and unique circumstances, or whether that is a permanent feature of a person’s internal mechanism, can only be tested through the spectrum of one’s life.  Such a personality trait can be admirable and reflect an evolutionary advantage in surviving the encounters with the world at large, or they can be a self-inflicting wound that can destroy and defeat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have an unwillingness to throw in the proverbial white towel despite all evidence that shows 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, the alternative one must face can be daunting: continuing to endure the medical condition despite the debilitating nature of the trauma; the increasing harassment that must be faced because of excessive taking of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP; the the questioning looks from Supervisors, managers and coworkers, etc.

Federal Disability Retirement, of course, is an alternative course of action — of recognizing the need for change, the requirement of pliability, and the necessity for modification in one’s life.

Yes, “unwillingness” is often an admirable trait to cling to, but for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it can be an obstacle to a necessary next step in 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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The tumultuous years

The tumultuous years are often remembered with a sense of awe, if not with some fondness.  The suffering endured; the turmoil experienced; even the pain sustained and seared into the consciousness of nightmares and scarred memories.  But one often looks back upon those years and reflects: I survived, and though the remembrances are a blur of activities that generously skips over the details of the suffering experienced, it was a time of enormous productivity where things were accomplished in spite of trauma of obstacles placed.

Yet, when the tumultuous years are in the “here and now”, that is not how one describes it.  It is only when it is in the distant past, when it has already been overcome, and when that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” has already been reached. When you are still in the thick of it, fondness of memories does not prevail, and the old adage that time heals all pain is yet tested.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 job, it may be a necessary next step to prepare, formulate and file 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.

For such a Federal or Postal employee, those “tumultuous years” are still in the here and now, and have not been overcome; and so it is understandable that you cannot yet reflect back with any sense of perspective, awe, or of fondness for those days of turmoil.  Instead, as you are still in the thick of things, the goal is to reach that end of the tunnel where the sunshine still is bright with hope for the future, and then, years later, to look back and remember, and hopefully those memories will be one with an exclamation point of having successfully met the challenge, survived it, and have put it behind you.

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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The chaos of life

Of masochism, there are indeed some who purport to invite the chaos of life, and actually enjoy it, relish in it and thrive in it.  Its opposite is considered monotonous, lacking of artistic content and without the excitement of unpredictability.  Yet, even those who thrive within the chaos of life will often need that period of respite, whether with a quiet moment of reflection, a night of reading beside a crackling fire, or just dozing in front of the drone of a television.

EMT personnel often require such a personality trait; firemen, law enforcement officers, and nowadays, teachers, professors and other educators, if only because the chaos that unruly and undisciplined children, teenagers and young adults bring into the classroom.

Perhaps it was a childhood upbringing; it is often said by learned psychologists that battered people tend to themselves batter upon reaching maturity, because they find solace in the comfort of that which they are familiar, and so the behaviors they learned and were imprinted upon as a child are the very patterns that are comforting; and thus does the vicious cycle of life – such as the chaos of life – recur and regenerate, only to imprint the same cycle upon the next generation.

Those who sincerely crave the very opposite – of a regularity in monotony of patterns predictable in their characteristic of non-change – are often criticized for failing to be able to “deal” with the chaos of life, and so the argument goes that those who thrive upon the chaos of life are better prepared for the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings.

Medical conditions comprise a sort of chaos of life, but whether one is “well-prepared” for it or not, it is something that must be “dealt” with.  It is, in the end, doubtful whether a person’s life prior to the entrance and introduction of a medical condition can adequately prepare one to “deal with it”.

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, part of the process in dealing with such a chaos of life is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In such a case, instead of dealing with the chaos of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application yourself, you may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in such legal matters.

In this vast universe that includes the encumbrances deemed the chaos of life, we must all make choices as to which portion of the chaos we want to personally handle; for, in the end, the chaos of life, how we handle it and what benefit accrues from it will all be determined by the outcome of the event – and for Federal and Postal employees, that outcome-based perspective is the resulting approval by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on a Federal Disability Retirement claim, where once the approval is obtained, the chaos of life may be turned into a respite of relief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire