OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Factors to consider

The universe of thoughtful decision-making shrinks exponentially and in direct correlation with the pertinent and relevant information gathered, and it is too often the case that factors not considered are the very ones which lead to a non-decision or, more importantly, to a wrong conclusion.

What factors should be considered when a Federal or Postal employee is going to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Certainly, age can be a factor — for, if OPM engages in a recalculation of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at age 62, and you are fast approaching that age, the factor of “how long it takes” to get an OPM Disability Retirement approved (about a year, give or take a few months on either side of the equation); whether you get any backpay once it is approved (back to the last day your Agency or the Postal Service has paid you anything); and whether the time you are on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards your total number of years accrued until the recalculation age at 62 (it does) — should all be factors to consider.

Further, even if you are still relatively young, should those same factors be considered?  The short answer is an unequivocal “yes” — and probably many others, besides, including: Do I intend on working at another job in the private sector while on Federal Disability Retirement?  Do I have Service-Connected disabilities that can play a factor [sic] in the factors to be considered?

The universe of factors to consider in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, are innumerable; and then, there are likely factors that you have not even considered, but which may be prompted by consulting with an attorney who has already considered multiple factors besides, and who may be able to guide you in this complex process called “OPM Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: The wave of unwillingness

Watching waves along a seashore is indicative of the rhythmic cadence of life’s daily encounters; the rolling regularity of repetition, then for some odd reason — or none at all — a sudden rush of an unanticipated surge that changes the expectations relied upon.

Human will is a peculiar characteristic; it is not quite a conceptual principle, nor even a sensation; it is an inner force emanating from deep within one’s psyche, energized at various times, inert and dormant at other.  When does the wave of unwillingness appear?  Like that rhythmic lull which is suddenly overtaken by a surge that is unexpected, it appears in life with a sudden vengeance.

For most of life, we are willing — whether to be helpful, to be generous, kind, passing things by and allowing for things to occur without much resistance.  Then, a medical condition begins to gnaw at one’s health — at first, perhaps just an inkling of troubled waters ahead, then a persistence that fails to abate.  By sheer will do we get through each day, overcoming by power of driven insistence and persistence, until one day the wave of unwillingness makes us stop, ponder and consider: How many more days can the power of one’s will continue like this?

Medical conditions have a way of wearing one’s will down.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to overwhelm with the wave of unwillingness — where the body becomes weary and fatigued; the mind begins to lose its clarity of purpose — it is time 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.

Remember that the wave of unwillingness did not just come about without accompaniment by other waves; it is just that the rhythm of the daily onslaught of stresses, the lack of care for the medical condition that continued to deteriorate, etc., came to a critical point where you could no longer avoid the reality of what the disease, injury or condition was trying to tell you: The human will, while resilient, can withstand only so much, and one’s health often contributes greatly to the ability and capacity to get one to a certain point in life, and when a critical juncture is encountered where the wave of unwillingness begins to overtake and overwhelm, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you may be able to once again enjoy the lull of rhythmic waves that create a symphony of sounds like the lullaby of a childhood’s warm memories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Static

It is the lack of movement or change which is the undesirable aspect of anything, and not necessarily the thing itself.  Perhaps there was never anything wrong with the substance or essence of the thing; the person remains, and yet, the lack of progress, the inability to move forward, the unresponsiveness to the contextual alterations and modifications — the world around changes, but the singular resistance is in and of itself that which negates.

Being “static” — of the lack of movement or change — is normally thought of as a negative perspective upon an entity.  It would be one thing if the nature of being static were to be an appraisal upon, say, an Aristotelian type of “god”, where the so-called Unmoved Mover is “static”, but all else constitutes a universal movement, but of a specific kind: movement towards the perfection of the Unmoved Mover.  But that is not what we are referring to when we speak about being “static”.  Instead, most of us ascribe a negative connotation, as in, “the inability to change or adapt when the context and circumstances necessitate it.”

That is often the problem with Federal and Postal employees 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 the Federal or Postal position.  For, the person him/herself has not really “changed” — aside from the medical condition itself, the essence of “who” the person is has remained static.  However, the circumstances have altered, in that one’s physical or cognitive capacity and ability have altered, normally in a way that no longer allows for a congruity or consistency with the type of positional duties required of one’s job.

Thus, in such a context, to “remain static” becomes a negative component of life, and requires and necessitates a modification of sorts — and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed though the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the first step towards breaking away from the negative mold of “being static”, and like the disruptive sounds that crackle like static electricity over a phone line or the sudden shock one feels when wearing a wool sweater, being static can only lead to worsening conditions if one delays in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The facade

We all do it; but the fact that all engage in it does not mean that the quality of what occurs behind the mask is equal in kind.  What betrays the workings of that which lurks behind the Noh mask?  Does the backstabber ever recognize the evil that is perpetrated any more than the Wizard behind the curtain believed that something untoward was being accomplished?

In architecture, a facade is the outward appearance or frontage that represents the initial encounter, entrance or first impression when approaching or entering; it is a neutral term in that it doesn’t connote or denote anything beyond that which it is — the first impression of the outward appearance.  But when that same term is applied to human beings or other contexts, it takes on a secondary implication of doubt, motive, underlying processes or even evil intent that is deliberately being concealed for the nefarious winds that need cover.

We all wear them; some are more adept at maintaining it in order to conceal and veil; while others can only establish it for a short period, then confess to all that nothing beneath was meant to harm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who carry a facade in order to conceal the medical condition that continues to debilitate, deteriorate and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the strain upon one’s psyche can be enormous and trying.

Over time, the facade must by necessity begin to crumble, to fade, to unravel and reveal; it is the inevitability that is often so fatiguing.  When the critical point of intersection occurs — where the priority of the medical condition surpasses the need to maintain appearances — it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

At some point, we all have to become “real”, and the facade that hides the face of a building does so without concealing anything precisely because there is no “there” behind the face; but the human being that puts on the Noh mask cannot for long maintain the facade that conceals the human suffering within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Witnessing the residue

Most of us merely witness the residue; the process itself, the events leading up to the conclusion, and “during” as opposed to the “after”, and all of the miniscule details that make up “in between” are invisible, ignored, unimportant or simply not thought of.  We see the “end product”, only, and that is how it should be.  We don’t have time to watch the apple tree grow from a seedling; for sausages to be made; for politics to be compromised; and for other people’s problems to fester.  And even if we did, what difference would it really make?

We assume much – that characters we see in movies made from “based on a true story” (whatever that means – and how much artistic liberty was taken with the details of such a “true story”, and what part is true and what is not?) productions went to the bathroom in between shooting at each other and becoming heroes; or that when children are seen, there was once love between the couple (although, that can turn out to be a wrong assumption where adoption or other arrangements have been made) even if the residue we witness shows only acrimony, bickering and constant arguing.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers preparing to 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, “both sides” witness the residue – from the Federal Agency or Postal Service’s side, they witness the residue of a filing for a disability retirement, without knowing the long and arduous struggle that the employee had with the medical condition prior to coming to such a decision.  Or, for that matter, from the viewpoint of the supervisor or co-worker, such a decision may come as a complete surprise.

Conversely, from the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, witnessing the residue of the Federal Agency’s reaction or the co-workers and supervisors who make comments, or say anything at all, is often an interesting phenomenon for its complete lack of understanding or empathy.  They simply didn’t know, didn’t care or didn’t take the time (or all three) in showing any concern during the long struggle with the medical condition.

The key, however, in witnessing the residue, is with respect to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal Agency that reviews and makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications.  For OPM, it is important to formulate a concise narrative in answering the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  How much of the history; to what extent the minutiae and details of the past; and the precision of establishing the nexus between the medical condition and the job duties – these are all important in the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where witnessing the residue may be a void too important to neglect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Writing a life

It is lived; or so we attempt to do so.  This thing called “life”; neither an art form, and forever unaccompanied by instructions or even a cheap compass; most are abandoned at the junkyards of forgotten corners, where the trifecta of raw sewage, mistreatment of body and spirit, and the crass exposure to the detritus of human discontent coalesce to present the irony of birth preceding an inevitable death.

Heidegger taught that we engage in projects in order to avoid the ultimate outcome; for Nietsche, nihilism opened doors for optimism contrary to the preceding generations of convoluted castaways; and while Zen and Hindu mysticism explained away the agony of the body, the remaining torture of living the reality of the now somehow wasn’t enough to extinguish the suffering groans of an impervious universe devoid of feeling, empathy, regard or constancy.

If the implements to create are not provided, and cannot be afforded no matter the toil from birth to death, of what use is the life given if living it cannot be achieved?  Moreoever, how can one engage in the writing of a life, let alone the living of it?

Autobiographies are mostly forgotten narratives undertaken merely to dispose of haunting ghosts of passing groans; and biographies, only for those who become a footnote in the dustbin of society.  And thus are we forsaken, like the cross abandoned on the hilltop where agony was first embraced in an effort to expiate the sufferings of our forefathers.  And then we are asked to write a life — no, not merely to live it, but to engage in art as reflective of ugliness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to prepare an SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the arduous expenditure of describing even a slice of it can mean the difference between securing one’s future or losing a lifetime’s career of investing in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.

Whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the labor of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity describe the impact of the medical condition, its nexus to the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, and to “prove” it by a preponderance of the evidence.

Such a daunting task is tantamount to writing a life — perhaps, one could appease, merely a slice of one, a portion of a greater whole, and an abbreviated compendium in an abridged form.  Nevertheless, the task involves the aggregation of descriptive narrative, a coherent structure of prose encapsulating facts, evidence and a legal argumentation with a focus towards meeting a statutory criteria for eligibility; indeed, some could argue that the entire project is one demanding something well beyond the mere writing of a life; it is, moreover, to convey and communicate the most private of concerns before a public forum in a maze of bureaucratic complexities amidst an administrative nightmare in a sequence of conundrums.

Yes, living a life is hellish and unaccompanied by direction or explicit purpose; writing a life is even worse — for it entails the remembrance of things past, the present undone, and a future filled with uncertainties but for the successful execution of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire