FERS Medical Retirement Benefits: Words & Images

Enter a gift shop and see the generic photograph inserted within a picture-frame for sale.  Who is it? Why was the photograph taken?  Was it merely to help sell the picture-frame?  Enter an antique shop where one sometimes comes across old photographs — perhaps even a daguerreotype — often faded, normally of a stilted figure; perhaps of a young woman, an old man, a soldier in uniform; a family on an outing; of a city scene where horses and carriages fill the streets; or of a father and son smiling, a daughter and mother staring impassively at the photographer in a still-life of unknown origins and an unverified date.  Who were they?  Why was the picture taken?

For the casual visitor to the store, who merely glances at the collection of old castaways, the images mean little, if anything at all.  Yet, there is a story behind each image — one which may be forever lost.  For, why else would such photographs end up in an antique store, out of the safekeeping privacy where they once belonged, where once words and memories attached unassailably with the photographs which told a story.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the career of one’s choice, the disjunctive between words and images becomes poignantly clear within one’s own mind: Who were we once, and do the words others use in describing you match the story between words and images?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step toward re-matching the image one has of one’s self — of vibrancy and accomplishment — and the words others use to describe you, as well as the words you use to describe yourself.  For the moment, however, the words used are necessary in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — one of being in a lesser, debilitated state because of one’s medical conditions — must be carefully chosen in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and make sure that the words and images utilized in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application accurately portrays the state of present mind experienced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Meaning & Mediocrity

Although the words and the concepts behind them may never come to light, they haunt us throughout our lives without even knowing it.  “Meaning” is what drives an individual; the self-awareness of mediocrity is what tugs at us as we fail to achieve the goals which drive.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, come to the conclusion that — though each individual is unique and possesses certain talents and exceptional qualities — mediocrity is what defines us.  Yes, yes — when we were children of loving parents, they constantly drilled into us the “special” gifts we were to the world, of being “the best” and how we could grow up to be anything we wanted, etc.  But at some point in adulthood, we came to the realization that there were others, as well, who were better at things than we were, and that the vast majority of individuals reside somewhere in the middle of talents disbursed at the gates of birthrights.

Yet, despite that realization that we belong to the ranks of mediocrity, we find meaning in the things we do, of who we are and of what small accomplishments we can achieve.  And that’s okay — for, not everyone needs to be a superstar or take the lead role in life; every theatrical play must have minor role players; otherwise, there would only be a one-person act, and that can become boring, fast.

Meaning is what fuels the engine; a realization of mediocrity is merely a reality-check that is relative.  One needs only to look up at the stars on a clear night to reveal the insignificance of our existence relative to the vastness of the universe, no matter how talented we are.  Yet, to the pet dog or cat (the latter is added only to avoid discriminating against cat-lovers) who is well taken care of, and whose lives are one of comfort and love — for them, the master is not among the ranks of mediocrity, but of a special set of individuals taken in the highest regard.  And from that small hollow of greatness, meaning can be extracted.  For, what better meaning in life than to give another living being happiness and joy?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has likely ended one’s career with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often leaves one with a sense of mediocrity and loss of meaning.  Yet, like all processes, it is simply another bump along the rough road of life, and it is important to realize that there are other things to achieve beyond one’s Federal or Postal career, and that meaning can still be found after the end of one’s Federal or Postal career.

Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law today, and begin to find greater meaning in a world beset with mediocrity; and, in the meantime, go and pet your dog or cat, for they find great meaning and certainly do not see you among the ranks of mediocrity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The developing case

Some things need time to develop; “news stories” are often those animals — of events that are “still developing”; or of relationships and stories, ideas and categories of things still in stages yet of potentiality and not of actualized inertia. Children develop; medical conditions, as well, are always in stages of potentiality — whether of a worsening condition or even of getting better.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in that “netherworld” of a developing case, where a medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often nothing more frustrating than the feeling of being in a state of suspended animation — “suspended” because you know not what your status will be tomorrow or the next day; in “animation” because, although everything is still moving about and around, it is your career, your health and your life which is questioned and considered as questionable.

The developing case often involves multiple issues — of whether you have a doctor who will be supportive of your case; of whether you have the necessary time in service in order to be eligible; of whether you have given it enough time — and multiple other issues that, perhaps, cannot be affirmatively answered.  In such an event, guidance by an experienced attorney is needed in order to direct the Federal or postal employee through the maze of complex legal obstacles in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

Like most of life’s struggles, the developing case needs to be planned and prepared well, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law is crucial to the successful outcome of a goal which is known, but cannot quite be reached because the path towards that goal is yet developing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The memory of greener pastures

Are memories faulty, and are they so for a purpose?  Does the human psyche selectively extrapolate the positive and repress the negative precisely in order to preserve an optimism that will incentivize survival?  If our memory banks retain a pessimism such that the overload of negative images cumulatively dominates, wouldn’t the subtle forces of depression set in to overwhelm us?

The memory of greener pastures — are they true in an objective sense, or only in the selective and myopic perspective that has filtered the negation of subjective desires?  Was childhood as innocent as we remember?  Were the ice cream cones on a hot summer’s day better then, and the wintry winds of Christmas Eve so filled with anticipation of glee that yesterday’s joy was tenfold the truth of untold lies?

We do tend to remember the summers of yesteryear, and of thinking that the lights across the street glow a warmth of love and fidelity; and yet, we know that the room within which we stand is likely a reflection of a reality no lesser, nor no greater, than the greener pastures across the way.  Except when a medical condition hits us.  Then, the memory of greener pastures always reflect the “before” — before the condition worsened; before it began to impact my work; before it became a chronic condition.

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, it is often the memory of greener pastures that finally prompts the Federal or Postal employee into preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS.

For, the greener pastures that once were can still be those of tomorrow, but only if the focus of one’s life can attend first to the medical condition itself, without the greater burden of work and the harassment and constant hostility of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

To preserve and hold sacred the memory of greener pastures is to prioritize the things that we hold dear and important, and one’s health should be at the top of the list of such priorities.  Protect it by preparing, formulating and filing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM so that those memories of greener pastures in yesteryear’s childhood joys will not be subsumed by the worries of one’s deteriorating future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow”, as a word written today, pointing to a dimension beyond; to a vantage and perspective not yet realized, and forever to be referenced by a future date yet unknown.  When read tomorrow, it leads to the next day; and when looked upon the next day, to the following day again; and in this eternal sequence of tomorrows, whether written today, tomorrow or the next day, it forever reminds us that hope lies not in the morass of today’s problems, but in the change of things yet to be realized.

Yes, yes — we all recognize the scoffing that often surrounded the political banner of that famous phrase, “hope and change” — but that is merely because the potency of words, concepts and formulated paradigms lose their efficacy once they are used within a public arena that turns into a campaign slogan. Hope is always for tomorrow; for, without tomorrow, hope remains fallow as the desert that once promised a fertile reserve but never realized the rivers that had dried up because of the changes of the subterranean shifts in tectonic quakes that others failed to predict.

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 hope for tomorrow will often include the preparation, formulation and filing of 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 and CSRS Offset.

Today is already filled with the overwhelming problems that beset any Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition; it is for tomorrow that an application for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, and that is the ray of hope that includes tomorrow, and the day after, in preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire