OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Of human endurance

We marvel at the cheetah, at the graceful way in which it can outrun a prey, overtake it with such effortless ease and kill its target with efficiency and purposive aplomb; but of a longer race, we all know that only endurance can defeat such focus of a killing machine.

Endurance is the unique reserve of human beings; for, what other animal can withstand the overload of stimuli bombarding each of us on a daily, persistent and incessant basis?

The city dweller who must contend with the noises unrelenting from all directions; even a drive through the countryside requires such focus and concentration to avoid pitfalls and potholes; and, of course, daily living in the modern era can no longer allow for a quiet, plodding existence in a pastoral setting where the milkman arrives to deliver morning freshness and the bells of a church can toll in the midday sun of lazy summers.

Of human endurance we think is limitless, and so technology marches on, ever creating faster and more efficient interconnections, and with each new invention we are told that — not only will it save us time and allow for greater comfort — hardships will resolve and melt away.

Certainly, the minimal technology has brought comfort to us all — you know, those things we take for granted, such as electricity, central heating, air conditioning, etc.  But of the Internet — of this constant need to be “connected”, and to amass hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of “followers” or “friends”; of human endurance, can it be withstood?

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 the test of human endurance that is often the issue.  For, how much more can a person stand?

Things were once going “smoothly” — if by “smoothly” is meant that one’s existence with the balance between work, family, rest and health had been maintained within a tenuous string of efficiency and lack of disruption.  But once the medical condition was added to the mix, suddenly the test of human endurance was being stretched beyond its limitations.

That is what FERS Disability Retirement is meant to alleviate — the overload of stimuli, responsibilities, the proverbial “to-do list”, etc., in order to focus upon the one thing that both cheetahs and human beings require in order to test the limits of endurance: health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The fatigue of hiding

That’s the rub, isn’t it — that we spend so much energy trying to conceal it, that by the time the truth comes out, we don’t even care, anymore, and are often glad for the revelation and the blessing of not having to mask it any longer?  Whatever the “it” is that we attempt to conceal, hide, ignore of otherwise fail to reveal, the fatigue of hiding it, the constant commerce engaged in bartering for more time, avoiding a direct encounter or otherwise trying desperately to veil the truth, leaves us exhausted and spent.

Is it, on the other hand, like a John Le Carre novel, where the secret that everyone is attempting to protect is already known by all powers, but the constant struggle to maintain its confidentiality is more for appearance’s sake, and not because of the vital information underlying the apparent need to conceal?

The fatigue of hiding is indeed the exhausting effort being expended for what is otherwise known, or more importantly, wasted upon the known when the value of concealing is far surpassed by the toil engaged.  Medical conditions tend to do that — whether in trying to conceal it from ourselves by downplaying and minimizing the pain and loss of flexion, motion, movement or other numbness of feeling involved, or by attempting to hide it from others, such as employers, family or even friends who show some modicum of concern.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are trying desperately to cling on to their jobs in the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal service, the fatigue of hiding can be overwhelming.  The factual state of affairs often defeats the continuing attempt to minimize and hide: the extent of LWOP having been used; FMLA already exhausted, and it isn’t even a new quarter; the piles of work being left unattended; and those furtive glances that are no longer established through suspicions of whispers and gossip, but clear rumblings of a Federal Agency that is moving to reprimand, warn, place on a PIP or propose removal based upon non-attendance or excessive use of Sick Leave; these are all clear indicators that the fatigue of hiding can no longer be further delayed.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee believes that the future still holds some hope for remaining at the Federal or Postal job, is an important first step in acknowledging that the fatigue of hiding has come to a critical juncture that necessitates a step beyond hiding it — it is the time of reckoning where the effort wasted upon concealment needs now to be turned into a positive step towards securing one’s future by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, so that the fatigue of hiding can be turned back into that productive person of greater vitality you once were, and of whom everyone else once knew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Enduring, surviving or achieving victory

The first two in the tripartite of conceptual constructs are similar in meaning; the third and last, an extension beyond where it may include a historical background of the first two but emerge with a separateness of conclusion from them.  To endure is similar to surviving; to survive, to endure the difficulties and maintain a semblance of remaining intact.

One can “endure” a traumatic event and survive it; similarly, one can survive such an event and, in retrospect, realize that to have endured the experience was the very key to such a conclusion.  One can endure and survive, however, and yet fail to achieve any victory.  For, victory is the conclusion and outcome of how one has endured and survived; the first two are thus necessary condition precedents, in one sense, in order for the third to occur.

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 the Federal job, the necessity in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may become a reality.

For the time being, perhaps the medical condition has not gotten “too bad”, and the Federal or Postal employee may be able to endure the difficulties, go into work and maintain a level of productivity such that no adverse actions from the Federal Agency or Postal Service may result.  Or, the medical condition may be tolerable such that the Federal or Postal employee may be able to survive for the next year, or even the following few years, and be able to endure the turmoil of balancing work, family, progressively deteriorating medical conditions and the essential elements that the Federal or Postal employee must be able to endure.

If and when the time comes, however, for the Federal or Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the test at that point will not be whether or not the Federal or Postal employee can endure or survive the lengthy administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but rather, whether one can come out at the “other end” by achieving victory.

In order for that to happen, knowledge of the legal basis to be argued, the necessary connection between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job – all must be effectively compiled, argued and persuasively presented.  For that to happen, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The best we can do

We enter into a race; we finish in the bottom third.  We take a course for advancement of learning; we barely pass the final exam.  We often ask ourselves throughout the montage of life’s challenges:  Is that the best we can do?  Sometimes, the answer is a quiet but simple, “Yes”; at other points, perhaps it is a time for reassessment and revamping of the approach, the methodology, and even the key ingredients of who we are.

Self-congratulatory utterances and inane emptiness of self-esteeming servitude has often been described as the enemy of modernity.  The best we can do is always achieved if, after every project completed or half-heartedly attempted, the punctuations that follow are repetitively predictable:  “Good job!”; “Attaboy!”; “Fabulous”; and other such interjections of enthusiastic expressions.  But that misses the point – both for the spectator who cheers on, and the participant who must endure the consequences of such emptiness devoid of fortitude.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition which has worsened, become exacerbated, or otherwise has reach a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, must often contend with the “concern” of performance reviews and ratings which have remained stellar throughout one’s Federal or Postal career.

That is often a misleading and inconsequential concern.  Here is why:  the system itself consists of a duality of misleading indicators – from the “agency’s” viewpoint, it has been set up so that the least amount of acrimony and confrontation is “best” for everyone, because camaraderie and passing everyone through with flying marks is encourage for the cohesion of the greater unit; and from the Federal employee’s viewpoint, he or she has silently attempted to endure the pain, suffering and debilitating conditions without complaining, for fear that he or she would be “thought less of” by coworkers, supervisors, managers and the rest of the cauldron of the agency and department.

But when the Federal or Postal employee comes to that critical juncture where the medical condition, the positional duties, and the tolerance level for pain and suffering all coalesce to a point of terminal considerations (i.e., resigning, filing for Federal Disability Retirement, or both), then all of that hard work in the quietude of silent suffering seems to haunt us.  That is why the foundation of a case – a narrative report of excellence that addresses and rebuts each point of potential concern – is crucial as the linchpin of a Federal Disability Retirement case.

For, in the end, sometimes the best we can do has been an overreach that comes back to pinch us; and though a rarity in the age of modernity where everyone gets a prize for coming in last, for the Federal or Postal worker who is intending upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the best we can do with what we are left with, in the residue of timeless anguish.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Adaptable Criterion

If a criterion is advanced at the outset, one expects that the details of its applicability will result in a fair outcome so long as the requisite subsets are adhered to.  The problem is one of generalizations, however, and the linguistic malleability of hermeneutic interpretation, and in the end, the honesty of the individual.

There may have been a time when the sin nature of man was contained, and Pandora’s box was sealed, or at least somewhat secured; but once relativism creeped into the general populace, the game of restraint was lost forever.  Once, when man was left to individualistic devices, and information concerning the world was considered esoteric and reserved for the ivory towers of science and theological hoods of mystery shorn by Jesuit Orders of secrecy and cavernous enclaves of furtive whispers echoing down dark chambers in secluded corners, the application and usage of criteria demanded knowledge beyond the commonplace. Now, with Google and other search engines, everyone knows everything, or nothing at all.

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 “trick” is to review the legal criteria, amass the information in a manner which fits the applicability for eligibility, then to “make the case” for an approval.

Is it a science?  Or, more precisely, are the regulatory subsets “open to interpretation”?  And more to the point:  Do the Administrative Specialists at OPM adhere to the “letter of the law”, or is hermeneutics less than an honest methodology these days?  Where human nature is concerned, one need not stray too far from the general knowledge of the masses.

If one has lived long enough, you know that you should always walk through the busy streets of a city with one hand on your back pocket, protecting your wallet.  Pickpockets are everywhere, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the Federal and Postal worker should always be cognizant of the fact that the adaptable criterion is not the fault of the agency or the promulgators of legal standards, but merely reflects the fact that Pandora’s box was left open long ago, and the serpents of horror and dishonesty were left to roam the earth like never before.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire