OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Consider the Alternatives

In making any decision, it is always important that one consider the alternatives available.  It is the decision made in isolation — of contending with thoughts, fears and misinformation within a vacuum of not knowing — that often results in disastrous decisions made without consulting and considering the alternatives available.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where that 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 choices are often stark and clear: Stay at a job or career which is no longer sustainable, and where the Agency will increasingly harass and punitively initiate actions in an effort to remove you; resign and walk away with nothing; or, in the best alternative available, file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Sometimes, of course, the “unexpected” alternative can occur: For example, a person who has filed for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is offered a reassignment that is both acceptable and accommodating to one’s medical condition, and continuation in the Federal Workforce is thus possible.  In most instances, however, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is “The” alternative, and the only viable one available, but even such an alternative must be considered carefully in light of the existing laws, the potentiality for problems to be encountered, and the resistance met by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the multiple and varied reasons that OPM bases its denials upon.

Considering the alternatives is not just a matter of whether and when to file, but to be cognizant of the difficulties ahead in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and in order to do that, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The parade that fades

Parades are often forlorn events.  The pomp and circumstance that brings forth the loud serenade of trumpets, drums and cadence of disparate groups; the sequence of human colonnades marching to the beat of rhythmic blares where medals gleam in the glint of sunlight’s twilight; and when the speeches end and the parade that fades leaves but for the leaflets that once announced of its impending arrival, the hearts that once fluttered in anticipation of the marching band that lost its footing may but be a glimmer of tomorrow’s hope.

Parades celebrate, and the participants engage the public eye to put on a show of appreciation, but do they voluntarily come together, or are they merely compensated workers ordered to appear?  And when once the parade fades, what happens to those left behind, of the grieving widows and children left orphaned, and the pinning of medals that sang the mournful hollow of a priceless life?

Other lives march on; it is the forgotten ones that inhabit an earth that continues on in haunting groups of voiceless sorrow, for years on end without the recognition noted but for that singular day on the parade grounds, where glory once revived and then soon forgotten.  Much of life is like that, isn’t it?

Like a parade that is put on, lasts for a day, or perhaps merely a part thereof, and then soon to be forgotten except for memories that are seared with a grimace and graceless utterances of voices once remembered and now merely a fading vestige, if that.  What was the fanfare for?  Do we even remember? What was said in the speech now faded but for glory’s once grand applause?  Do we even care?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker’s attempt to continue his or her career because the progressively worsening medical condition itself is preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the end of one’s career may be likened to the parade that fades.

That sense of belonging; that feeling that life’s cadence included you in the marching band of the colorful parade; of being part of a team, with a sense of coherence and purpose; but like all parades, the day’s end ultimately comes.  Whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sinking feeling that the parade that fades may mean that there is no longer the trumpet’s blare or the drumbeat of life’s cadence is simply a fear within that does not reflect reality.

Tomorrow, the sun will still shine and the birds will yet sing; the grounds will still be there, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely changing the venue of where the next parade will be held, thus replacing the parade that fades at the end of this day alone.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file 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.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The regularity of life

Metaphors abound, of course; of the stream of life, its cadence, likened to a steady march and the cyclical nature wrapped in the repetition of the growing dawn followed by the setting sun.  The regularity of life represents a rhythm and monotony that provides a blanket of comfort (there goes the metaphor, again) that can be extracted from the lack of chaos.

Most of us thrive best within the regularity of life’s monotony; it is the very few who seek and relish the chaos of life.  Some few seek the opposite precisely because they grew up hating the former; and other, the very antonym of life’s challenges, searching always for new adventures and challenges and upending everything in sight because of boredom experienced in some prior stage of life.

Whatever the causes, whatsoever the sought-out means for expression and self-satisfaction, one cannot exist without the other.  It is from chaos that one creates an order (hint: this is not a new notion; one might consult the first book of an otherwise unnamed book that “believers” often refer to); and it is only in the midst of the regularity of life that one can have spurts of its opposite; otherwise, the world of chaotic living could not be identified as such unless there is a contrasting opposite by which to compare.

Medical conditions “need” its very opposite.  Doctors often talk about “reducing stress” as an important element in maintaining one’s health; it is another way of saying that the chaos of life needs to be contained, and the regularity of life needs to be attained.  Medical conditions themselves interrupt and impede the regularity of life; as pain, it increases stress; as cognitive dysfunctioning, it interrupts calm.

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 very fact of the medical condition itself can be the impeding force that disrupts and interrupts the regularity of life; and the chaos that ensues often necessitates an action that returns one back to the regularity of life.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, is often the first and necessary step in bringing order back into an otherwise chaotic-seeming mess.

It is, in the words of some “other” source, to attain the regularity of life from that which had become without form and void.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Unremembered

It is a strange concept that encompasses a sequence of duality in the willfulness of the mind – first, to recall, to bring out from the cognitive closet of one’s mind, a vestige of that which was once lost.  Then, the act of the “un” – a negation which abandons that which was once rediscovered; to cast aside and set away an image, a piece of knowledge or a conceptual relic once recovered but now, with deliberative intent, to throw it back into that back room collection where things reviewed have been considered but found to be unworthy to keep in open exhibition.

Thus, there is a linear duality of sequential negations: Once known, then forgotten; remembered and thus retrieved for review, and finally in the domino of cognitive acts, to deliberately engage in the “un” – to unremember that which was once reenacted and reengaged mentally.

It is, then, a deliberate force of the will to consciously engage in an act of self-engagement, and to extinguish like a flame once rediscovered in banishment to complete darkness.  The concept itself is reflective of life’s travels, where we engage daily living and become too involved in the process of advancing in our careers, bringing up kids as best we can, and forget the enjoyment of life itself, until one day we pause, look up from the ground that keeps moving under and behind us in our rush to constantly move forward, and ask the disturbing question:  What is this all for?  Why am I doing all this?  What is the purpose of all of this?

And then we remember: that youthful exuberance where dreams once lived, now deadened in the unresuscitated state of disrepair, when the world was still but an uncultivated terrain to be explored and conquered.  Then, we saw the potential not only of what could be accomplished, but of our own roles in the betterment of society.  We had once known; then, in the busy turmoil of life, we forgot; and then again, we remembered.  Once remembered, we smile, put on a brave face and move forward again – unremembering again by sheer willpower so that we can again “do” instead of becoming stagnant in the constant ruminations of a negation that requires the final step of “un”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is keeping the Federal or Postal employee in that step preceding the final engagement of the will to “do” by being stuck in the “un” world, the next step in the sequence to move forward is to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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 CSRS Offset.

For, it is the unremembered life that gets beyond the forgetting and the retrieval, in order to get to that step beyond – especially where a medical condition is involved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire