FERS Disability Retirement: President’s Day 2022

There have been many of them.  Originally, this holiday was meant to commemorate and recognize our “first” — George Washington, born on February 22, 1732.  It is a habit for nations to acknowledge “firsts”, as well, we do so in our personal lives.  The “first step” of a toddler; the first day of class; the first kiss; the first time-X; and many more, besides.

More recently, the day has come to recognize all of our presidents, good, bad or indifferent.  In modernity, it has come to be a contentious point of conflict: From whether we should celebrate the life of a slave owner, to why we should give recognition to those presidents considered as less than honorable — the spectrum of opinions on the matter remains vociferous and vibrant.

For a democracy (yes, yes, we can quibble as to the difference without a distinction in contrast to a “Constitutional Republic”), perhaps that is a healthy matter, for the raging debate and intellectual discourse is always a positive characteristic reflecting involved citizens.  Regardless, let’s take the day for what it is worth, and enjoy the time remaining in each of our lives by pausing to reflect in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Workers: Expectations versus Reality

The dawn of the American century arrived sometime after the First World War.  America’s entrance into the world stage; its dominance in influencing culture, economics, politics and social upheavals cannot be ignored.  At home, too, kids were brought up with a view that expectations were limitless; that everyone could achieve anything and everything so long as you put your heart, mind and soul into it.

The reality, of course, is quite different.  For, the fantasy of expectations fails to take into account individual limitations, whether in the arena of creativity, intelligence, circumstances or just plain luck.

We taught our kids the false pablum that in America, everything is possible for everyone, and thus do we have the reality-check upon millennials and others that, NO, not everything is possible, and sometimes you have to accept the plain fact that reality imposes a check upon your expectations: You cannot win at everything; you cannot succeed at every crazy venture; you are not always going to come in first; and, in fact, you may not even be given a pat on the back just because you show up.

Medical conditions, likewise, provide a reality check.  We are not all of us triathletes; our bodies are, indeed, vulnerable; and though we may think we are a species which can multitask better than other specialized animals (i.e., the predator cats are good at chasing and killing; the falcon at zeroing in upon its prey, etc. — but the human animal, though not the best at any one thing, is good enough at a multitude of different tasks), there is a limit as to how much we can do before the stress and anxiety of becoming overwhelmed sets in.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has given you the reality check against expectations of continued employment with your Federal Agency or the Postal Service, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of initiating the preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — where you are finally recognizing that there is a substantive distinction to be made between expectations and reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer
OPM Medical Disability Retirement Attorney

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: The Referee

There has always been an endless debate as to the preparatory value of playing sports — does engaging in competitive sports prepare one for the “real world”; do individualized sports (i.e., tennis, swimming, running, etc.) access the same “benefits” as “group” sports (i.e., basketball, football, soccer, baseball, etc.)?

Does “team” spirit, cooperative engagement with others, a sense of “belonging”, of sacrificing for the greater whole, etc., have any benefits in “preparing” one for the adult world of work and capitalism?  Or, does it merely reinforce certain negative instincts which “civilized” society has been trying to expunge for the past century?

Then, of course, there is the question of the referee — the role of one; whether and to what extend bias and favoring is involved; or, whether we should merely rely entirely upon instant replay and other electronic devices?  Should the “human factor” be allowed to rule, or should a game be determined by the precision of a computer program?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, don’t be fooled into thinking that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an unbiased “referee” who will make a fair determination on your Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sports (at least the amateur kind) may be for fun and good health, but filing for your Federal Disability Retirement is for “real life”.

Contact an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and make sure that you have the proper advocacy to win your case.  For, while the “referee” (OPM) may be empowered to make the call of denying or approving your Federal Disability Retirement application, it is your lawyer who advocates to influence OPM to make the “right” call.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: The Memory of Time

Ogawa’s novel, The Memory Police, is a dystopian narrative with an interesting theme: How long do memories last upon the disappearance of a person or thing?

In the novel itself, of course, the memory is somehow erased concurrently with the disappearance of the entity; but in real life, how long are we able to hold onto a cherished memory — of a person whom we were fond of; of an event or occurrence which was significant in our lives; of an object no longer in use?

Who remembers, for instance, those “bag phones” that we plugged into the cigarette lighter of our car?  Or of days when a horse was the only mode of transportation?  Is the art of knitting quickly vanishing because people no longer have the time to engage in an activity which not only takes time, but requires patience and sustained sedentary focus?  And even of days — if all calendars and indicia of days marked and months delineated segments were to vanish, how long would we be able to retain a memory of “time”?

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 memory of time is often a vanishing of that time before the medical condition began to have its impact upon you.  There was a time before the medical condition; now and for the immediate future, it is the focus upon that medical condition which seems to dominate everything.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law and begin to consider a time before, when the Memory of Time was of a time when your Federal or Postal career was not dominated by a memory of constant harassment by your agency or the Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Future Dreaded

We often avoid the subject; of futures yet to be contemplated and images triggered by fears; of questions pertaining to old age, retirements, early onset of dementia and the fearful “A” word — Alzheimer’s.

Are such fates certainties?  Or, do we just shrug them off with a flippant side-step, like the partner dancing with a clumsy other who is nimble enough to avoid being stepped on, making dancing with the stars seemingly like a cakewalk.  “We can always get hit by a truck tomorrow, so why worry about the day after?”  Is that a philosophy of life which can long endure, or a truism which guarantees our fated dread, anyway?

Medical conditions of any form and type remind us of the future dreaded; it points to our mortality, our vulnerabilities and our lack of security in this world where communities are non-existent, empathy remains in short supply and families break apart as easily as the crumbling crust upon an overcooked apple pie.

Future dreaded — it is a feeling felt at the pit of one’s stomach, and nightmares which shake one from the slumber of midnight terrors; and, in the end, we feel sorrow for ourselves in an echo of soliloquies where a singular voice calls for help and no one is there to listen.  The bleakest of ends does not need to be one where the worst fears are realized.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the future dreaded is the one around the corner, triggered by the increasing hostility of an agency or the postal facility which sees no future in your contribution or membership in that community of workers which once provided a sense of security.

When your medical condition has come to a point where you can no longer perform all of the essential elements of your job, call a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the future dreaded is often one based upon lack of understanding, and it is knowledge of the process of Federal Disability Retirement which can feed the information necessary to prepare for a future brightened, and not a future dreaded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Who I Am & Who Am I

One is a question; the other, a declarative statement.  The latter of a more subjective nature; the former, perhaps a composite of observations by third parties together with self analysis.  Both must begin with a query — of analyzing a statement “about” myself, through others who are well-known as well as of opinions rendered and judgments passed by acquaintances and passersby strangers barely acknowledged.

“Who I am” is often answered in response to a preceding query by a third party: “Who are you?”  It might be answered with fairly objective and short statements which are incontestable: I am X’s brother in-law; I am the husband of Y; “Oh, I am Sarah’s father” (in response to Sarah’s classmate who sees you standing outside of the classroom); or, “I am nobody”.  This last statement, of course, has implications well beyond being an unresponsive nullity; for, it goes to the heart of one’s own assessment of one’s self, one’s consequential impact upon the limited universe of one’s role, and the very essence of an ego left abandoned.

The other — Who Am I — is often followed by the grammatical punctuation of a question mark.  It is often a self-reflective query — one which causes a pause, a momentary furrowing of eyebrows raised, and then a regrouping of having just previously been taken aback by a question which stabs too closely to the essence of one’s being.  Perhaps a soliloquy follows.  One will normally cast the question off with a shrug and answer the self-query with, “I am X” and then move on to take out the garbage, watch a movie, see a documentary or engage in what Heidegger refers to as an activity which allows us to forget our mortality.

Will the question inevitably haunt us and force us into facing ourselves at some point in our lives?  Perhaps.  Can we avoid the question entirely?  Maybe.  It is the former, asked by others, which fails to have the force of the latter, and merely because of the placement and substitution of positions of the two words after the “Who” that makes all of the difference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who must face the prospect of facing the question, “Who I am” in reference to one’s position and role in the workplace, it is often the medical condition itself which prompts the second, more incisive query of “Who Am I?”

Does a medical condition define a person?  Certainly, the Agency or the Postal Service makes it the primary issue by questioning one’s competence or capabilities based upon your condition.  Both questions go to the heart of the issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application; for, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service treat both questions with a foregone conclusion of an answer: You are Nobody if you are no longer part of the “Mission”, and that is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The Time to Decide

The process of decision-making comes in all forms: Of procrastination until one is forced into making one; of deliberative thoughtfulness until all logical possibilities are exhaustively analyzed and a default judgment is entered through rational elimination of available options; of basing it all upon an “instinct” or a desire; of randomly choosing based upon the belief that — as the universe itself is arbitrary and capricious, so should all matters be decided in a parallel fashion; of considering the alternatives and eliminating them based upon a gut-feeling; and multiple other nonconformist manners, often combining a multitude of various methodologies — if in fact one can even refer to “madness” as a method.

Regardless — whether of one method or another — there comes a “time” to decide, and that time is often relevant based upon additional factors to take into consideration: Others are dependent upon your decision; there is a time-limit on making a decision; certain contingencies have occurred which require a decision to be made; or, to simply let outside circumstances dictate the decision by deciding to engage in the act of a non-decision.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with the decision of whether to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question of “timing” is often decided by the extent and severity of the ongoing medical condition itself.  The anomaly of when is the “right time” is often offset by circumstances beyond one’s control: of actions perpetrated by the Agency; of the worsening of one’s medical condition; of the exhaustion of FMLA, SL and AL and the denial of extending one’s LWOP status; and the combination of any or all of the complex interaction of pressures and stresses which impact perfect timing.

Time is an artifice of relative events; often, there is no such thing as “perfect timing”; but what we do know is that there is a time to decide, and that time is when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Fundamentals

What does it mean when a person says, “The fundamentals remain sound”?  Is it one of those “throw-away” lines which makes one sound intelligent, but upon closer inspection, means very little?  Sort of like the misuse of the double-negative that was popularly in use, where people say, “irregardless” of this or that?

Fundamentals are important to every successful endeavor, and 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 employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the “fundamentals” which must never be overlooked, but rather, to be focused upon, tweaked, considered carefully and crafted with greater perfection.

Unfortunately, many people who prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, believe (erroneously) that the mere fact that one has a “serious” medical condition is enough to satisfy the eligibility criteria for an approval from OPM.  Always remember that there is a vast difference, with a “real” distinction, between “having” a medical condition and “proving” that the medical condition one has prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

It is very easy to focus upon one’s pain, anguish and despair in dealing with a medical condition, and forget that an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is by necessity a “paper presentation” to an unknown, faceless person lost within a vast bureaucracy in Boyers, Pennsylvania, and in the process to neglect the “fundamentals” in preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

When the fundamentals are sound, the rest of it is sound; and though such “sayings” may often be thrown about without much thought put into it, it is the soundness of the fundamentals that will prove to be the effective application that gets a First-Stage approval in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Higher and lesser standards

Does anyone ever go into something, engage an activity, begin a project or initiate a hobby thinking that a “lesser standard” would be acceptable?  Or, is the “higher standard” always the option preferred? — and if we fall somewhat short of the goal intended, isn’t it better to strive towards that height of vaunted “unreachable-ness” like the lesser angels who try and climb up the ladder to heaven but fall short because of the misgivings of sins committed or blemishes of imperfections left unchanged?

One can always argue, of course, that all standards are somewhat “arbitrary”, and perhaps they are to the extent that we can always “do better”, and the self-satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of any standard set is merely to realize that there can always be another step to take, a further goalpost to conquer, and a next and higher challenge to face.  To begin with a lesser standard is to foretell defeat before a journey is begun; whereas, to demand an unreachable standard is to despair of an idealism that cannot be fathomed.  What, then, is the “proper” standard to set?

To set it too low is to achieve mere mediocrity; to preface a too-high-a-standard is to defeat one’s advocacy before efficacy can be tested.

We, none of us, want to begin a journey with a defeatist mentality, and it is the setting of a standard — however low or high — that often determines the success or failure of any endeavor.  It is only when we “know” that a self-set standard will never be reached, cannot be attained and will never be near to the heart of our wishes and desires, that then we realize the utter futility of our own efforts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have set a high standard in their careers and employment goals, it is a difficult road to take, both mentally and/or physically, to realize and come to the conclusion that one’s professional standards can no longer be met because of a medical condition that impedes, precludes and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

No one ever sets out to reduce the standards of a life’s goal, but when outside forces such as a medical condition impact upon the standards set, the choice is 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.

Federal and Postal employees have always set high standards for their work ethic. Sometimes, however, it is not the higher standard that defeats, but the lesser standards of reality — such as a medical condition that comes about unexpectedly in life — that forces the necessary adjustments that remind us of our own mortality, imperfections and the gap between the higher standards we set and the truth of our own misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire