Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Stronger/Weaker

It is a categorization at the most basic level — one that is seen daily in Nature and reflected in the human narrative of historical tides and tragedies.  The stronger dominate the weaker; the latter submits to the former, or flees in terror or dies while trying.

In modernity, the password that protects one’s technological contraption is determined for sufficiency based upon that most basic of identities: stronger or weaker.  The bully on the playground will scan the potentiality for complete dominance at the beginning of each school year, based upon the appearance of how one projects one’s self on the very first day.

Throughout the continuum of life’s encounters, no matter how much we may resist becoming pigeonholed into such simplistic bifurcations — whether of our physical stature; our creative energies; our proclivities and mannerisms, etc. — in the end, we all revert back to the foundational elements of our evolutionary ancestors and systematically deem this event or that capacity as either “stronger” or “weaker”.

We like to think that in our advanced state of civilization, such simplistic terms have become muted because of the heightened level of sophistication (i.e., thus the “revenge of the nerds”, where brain overcomes braun); but our true natures nevertheless tend to reveal themselves despite our best efforts to resist.  It is no different in the arena of “the law” than in all other categories.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue of “stronger” versus “weaker” continues to dominate: One’s medical condition places one in the “weaker” position as against the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.

The Federal Agency or the Postal Facility may begin to assert its “stronger” position by a series of adverse actions initiated to establish a paper-trail leading to ultimate termination, including a “Performance Improvement Plan” (otherwise referred to by the acronym, “PIP”); and when the Federal or Postal employee takes the necessary steps 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, it is important to try and gain the “stronger” advantage by enhancing, in every way possible, one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

There are few “slam-dunk” cases when it comes to a Federal Disability Retirement application.  While the applicant may “believe” his or her case cannot possibly be denied — naturally, because the applicant who tries to prepare the case on his or her own is the same person who suffers from the medical condition upon which the Federal Employee Disability Retirement application is based, and so there is lost a sense of “objectivity” as to the strength or weakness of a case — most cases must be assessed on a scale of “Stronger/Weaker”, and such an assessment is based upon the multiplicity of factors analyzed, including: Does the available and current case-law support the application?  Does the medical documentation sufficiently meet the eligibility criteria under the law?  Will the Agency’s portion of the Federal Disability Retirement application undermine the Applicant’s portion, under the law?

In the end, the law itself determines the basis of a Federal Disability Retirement case in its most basic form of whether a case is “stronger” or “weaker”, and to determine that important aspect of assessing and evaluating a case, consultation with a specialist in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a “must” in this world where nature’s disposition towards the Stronger/Weaker bifurcation continues to dominate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Losses

How many losses must one accumulate before being deemed a “loser”?

Was it just yesterday that Cal Ripken, Jr. won with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, after a mere couple of years in the minors, but with that World Series ring on his finger, would then see decades of losses mount as a result of poor decisions in trading players, acquiring “has beens” and being in the unfortunate AL East where the Yankees and the Red Sox seem always to vie for the top tier of the elect?

Can a team win a World Series one year, then go on for thirty-plus years without ever winning one again, and yet be deemed “a winner”?  Or, can one always pause, give a grin, and say, “Yeah, but we were winners in 1983!”

Does one win wipe out an avalanche of losses such that the singularity of glory negates the overwhelming statistical significance of unending disappointments?  Or, what of the person who once had a promising career, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances considered by most to be no fault of his or her own, cannot quite achieve that level of promises dreamed of but never materialized?

Do we, in our own minds, create conditions which are impossible to attain, and then deem those unreachable goals as “losses” despite the artificial nature of the criteria imposed?  Do losses mount and exponentially aggregate because failure seeks after failure, and somehow the subsequent one is a natural consequence, inevitably by inherent nature, of the previous one?

Does bad luck come in bunches because of some Law of Nature, or is it just in our imagination that it seems so?  Are much of losses artificially created — i.e., we set the proverbial “goal post” in our own minds, then miss the metaphorical field goal and become despondent over the “loss” created within our own imagination within contextual circumstances fantasized that have no connection to objective reality?

For Federal and 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, that sense of “loss” can be an admixture of both objective reality and subjective, artificial creations.

The medical condition itself is an “objective” loss; but the Agency or the Postal Service’s efforts to compound the adversarial circumstances can be created in an ad hoc manner, where there are no rules or criteria to follow except upon the whim of the supervisor or the department’s reactionary intuition.  The interruption to one’s career; the constant struggle with a chronic medical condition; of being forced to deal with deteriorating health — these are all real “losses”.

On the other hand, adversarial initiations by one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these, too, are “real” losses, though artificially created and unnecessary, in many instances.

Both must be dealt with when preparing, formulating and filing a 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 — but the fact that one must “deal with” so many “losses” does not, in the end, make one a loser.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Perfection

Can it ever be achieved?  Is our possession of it proof, as Anselm’s Ontological Argument asserts, of the existence of that which we ourselves cannot ever attain?

Perfection as a “goal” is considered “unrealistic”; as a paradigm against which we compare in order to impose a standard or paradigm of success, we often accept as a given; and, with the exception of stereotypical “Tiger Moms” and other unreasonably demanding categories of nightmarish figures unable to ever please or gratify, perfection is merely an unattainable hollow easily moveable within a spectrum of endless sights much like the proverbial movement of goal posts so-named when nearing the end.

Yet, we constantly strive for it, despite the knowledge that it is unachievable and unrealistic, declaring that the nearer we reach towards the boundaries of perfection, the closer we become as gods of lesser heavens.

The Ancients regarded certain physical characteristics as those “perfect” dimensions based upon proportionality of appearance; in modernity, we have dispensed with any such paradigms and instead have elevated acceptance and tolerance as the greater good, thereby negating hurt feelings, unattainable heights and unreachable expectations.

Perfection, as applied to a specific category such as “health”, can yet nevertheless remain relative in terms of acceptability.  Perfect health can never be maintained forever; relatively good health can be sustained for a time; and poor health, once experienced, is like a bad dream that one wishes to be awakened from, lest it turn into a nightmare that never ends.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a deteriorating, progressively chronic condition of a medical nature — one that is likely to last for a minimum of 12 months in preventing or otherwise impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be time to consider 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.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is not an admission that perfection is an unattainable goal (although we know it is); rather, that merely a particular job or career is not the “right fit” — and in the end, that is the greater perfection of all: To recognize one’s limitations, properly evaluate and assess one’s circumstances, and adjust and modify in accordance thereof.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The option of nothing

The path of least resistance is often to simply do nothing.  To make an affirmative choice is sometimes a painful one involving sacrifice and steps taken which will determine an outcome, later to be judged by retrospective insight, as to whether it was the “right” one or a “wrong” one.

To negate, refute or otherwise do the opposite, and to say “no” in the choice-making process, is also an “affirmative” one, if only in the negative sense.  It is still a call made, a judgment asserted, and while the “no” may not be able to arrive at a retrospective viewpoint as to whether it was the “right” one or the “wrong” one (precisely because, in the very negation of making a choice, one may never see any further consequences, but merely a nothingness that prevails from the option to not do that something, which is essentially a double-negative that results in nothing).

The worst option to assume is to allow lapse to occur – to do nothing, neither affirmatively nor negatively, and allow outside circumstances to determine the course of fate.  In taking such a path of least resistance, two things occur: First, you have left it in the hands of circumstances, and failed to take any affirmative steps in the allowance of lapse; and Second, the fact that you will never know it was a good or bad idea to allow for the lapse means that you have forsaken the entire decision-making process, and thus you disengaged yourself from the importance of life’s major participation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the Statute of Limitations that imposes a restriction upon post-separation filing is One (1) Year.

Thus, the law is as follows: Upon separation, whether by termination or resignation, of a Federal employee, that Federal employee has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If the Federal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement within 364 days of the separation from Federal Service (give yourself at least 1 day, just to be on the safe side), then no harm is done.

If the Federal or Postal employee determines not to file (i.e., a negative – affirmative decision), then so be it, and after the 365th day, that Federal or Postal employee is forever prevented from asserting his or her rights under the Federal Disability Retirement laws, acts, statutes and regulations.

If the Federal or Postal employee simply does nothing – neither making an affirmative or a negative decision, and simply allows for the time to lapse and the opportunity to pass – then the path of least resistance has been taken, with the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of 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, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Attorney: Doldrums

It is an actual pocket of calm in areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, where maritime sailors dreaded in days of yore because they presented calm and quietude when the necessity for winds to power the sails of movement suddenly died and disappeared.  One could be trapped for weeks, and sometimes months, when the doldrums hit.

In modern vernacular, of course, they represent a parallel metaphor — of that state of emotional inactivity and rut of life, where melancholy and gloominess overwhelms.  Sometimes, such despair and despondency is purely an internal condition; other times, it is contributed by circumstances of personal or professional environment.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from the former because of a medical condition which leads to a state of dysphoria, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often commingles with the latter, precisely because the internal and external are inevitably interconnected.  The emotional doldrums become exacerbated by the toxic environment engendered and propagated by reactions engaged in by the agency; and the continuing effect becomes a further cause because of the hostility shown and heightened actions proposed.

How does one escape the doldrums of stale despair?  For the mariner whose power depended upon the winds of change, waiting for altered conditions was the only avenue of hope; for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition presents a doldrum of another sort, taking affirmative steps by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the primary and most effective manner for efficacious change.

Sitting around helplessly like a victim of the vicissitudes of life may have been the way of past responses; for the Federal and Postal employee of modernity, we have greater control over the destiny of one’s future, but to utilize the tools of change requires action beyond mere reflection upon the doldrums of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire