Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Trifecta

It is a type of betting where the order is important, and where all three must finish as declared, and if any one of the sequence is different, it matters not whether the one correctly deemed to be first, in fact places first.  We often view our lives as if we are engaged in the trifecta; as if the order and sequence makes all the difference, and where misplacement of our artificially prepackaged lives constitutes a complete and utter failure unless such declared sequence of a lifetime of effort comes to fruition.

That is the problem with Federal and Postal employees who hesitate in making an affirmative decision concerning the most serious of issues confronting them. For, as “work” has somehow been ingrained in our very psyche to be first and foremost in commitment, importance, significance and value, as well as that which identifies us and is in many respects the “essence” of who we are (Aristotle would, of course, be flabbergasted by such a statement as a self-contradiction and perhaps an oxymoron because of the irrationality of such a perspective), we thus sacrifice that which should precede (one’s health) over that which must accede (one’s work).

Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option for Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, which must always be considered when first the Federal or Postal employee encounters a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job. We give lip service to how important family, health, faith and X are, but our actions belie the true loyalty of our souls.

In a trifecta, one receives the cash rewards of a correctly-declared sequence of contestants; in life, sticking to a self-destructive and irrational sense of loyalty to a vocation, at the expense of one’s health, is to earn a reward of which one may never collect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Directing the Cinematic Chaos of Life

We tend to believe that life must travel along a linear path of consistent activity.  Perhaps such a belief system is derived from the Western philosophical tradition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, which first proposed the conceptual universe of things moving from states of potentiality to actuality, and where the unmoved mover attracted all physical substances to its presence.

But life rarely unfolds as planned; and instead, a retrospective view of most lives reveals one of missteps, pauses, turns of trepidation and wrong and directionless travels to dead ends and strange neighborhoods.

We like sitting and watching movies and shows which are well-directed, with a thematic coherence and a nicely packaged beginning, middle and end. But what of our own lives? Who directs it, and what thematic presence dominates the cogency of one’s own existence? The difference between such fictional production and “real life”, of course, is that the former is created through artificial control of what happens and who enters each scene; in the latter, there can never be total control, as interaction with a chaotic and vibrant world cannot ultimately be refuted.

We try, of course, by remaining within the cocoons of our own making; by following a well-established daily routine, and never diverging from the treadmill of daily living. But then, those unexpected and unwanted anomalies of life intrude, such as a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who find that a medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s livelihood, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will often be the only alternative left in order to remain on some semblance of a coherent, linear path of life.  It is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and must ultimately be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

To be a movie director is one thing; the more important role is to have some authority in directing one’s own life, and that is by far the more difficult job in maintaining a thematic cogency in this universal chasm of chaos.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Events

Society often proceeds in starts and fits; from one event to the next; from a noted day off on a calendar; from that three-day weekend to the next; from a noted celebration; and time is then marked off and set in our minds as details to fill into the wide linear void of time. But chronicity of medical conditions counters such attempts to neatly bifurcate time into segments of comprehensible packages, precisely because there is no break in the duration of progressive deterioration.

Chronic pain is an equalizer of time; it negates and nullifies, and throws one into the deep abyss of a time when time did not exist; of a prehistoric state of being where sensation, events, environmental dangers and the necessity to survive by reacting consume and overwhelm any sense of segments of time.  Civilization and societal niceties create the neat packages of time-oriented existence; like pristine lawns in a suburban neighborhood, property-lines establish our lives like time-lines on an itinerary of a corporate employee.

How does one break that abyss of timelessness?

Federal Disability Retirement through the Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, allows for that recuperative segment of time in which a Federal employee may turn to, in order to break the chronicity of a progressively deteriorating medical condition.

At least Federal and Postal employees have that option.  For many in the rest of society, the niceties of a segmented life will continue to determine one’s ability to escape that prehistoric time of timelessness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Unlike the Superbowl

Since this week requires some profound analogy to the upcoming game between Baltimore and San Francisco, we must submit to the conventionalized mandate.

The Superbowl is an “event”; Federal Disability Retirement is similarly an event, albeit one which requires foresight, planning, and a purposeful step to engage in a change from daily living. There — the analogy has been made and satisfied. Moreover, in truth, most issues which surface in daily life are not based upon expectations of an upcoming event.  

The Superbowl is something which NFL players strive for as a goal; a career-ending injury or medical condition is more akin to what a player suffers on the pathway to that goal.  For Federal and Postal employees, a quiet, consistent and progressive route to a satisfying career is what is sought after.  For many, however, such a solemn and honorable goal is cut short because of unforeseen circumstances — either a physical medical condition, or a psychiatric condition which insidiously begins to disrupt and destroy.

Remember, however, that Federal Disability Retirement is not a complete surrender to a medical condition; that is precisely why the U.S. Office of Personnel Management allows for a person on disability retirement to engage in another vocation, and to work and earn income up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.  

The Superbowl is a one-time event per year; beyond that, there are 364 days of daily living which everyone must consider, including the Federal and Postal employee, as well as the star NFL player. Just something to think about, and to maintain a rational, balanced perspective.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Non-Existence of Life’s Linear Line

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often a valid concern that the Case Worker at the Office of Personnel Management will review a Federal Disability Retirement application for internal “consistency” of the application.  

By “consistency” is meant the comparative analysis and evaluation of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as described and narrated on SF 3112A and its continuation attachment, and the medical records and reports and the substantive content of what the treating medical providers are stating.  

Such comparison and comparative analysis may involve the level and extent of treatment; whether there are any notations concerning non-compliance with medication regimens; whether the findings of clinical examinations may contradict the ultimate conclusions of the treating doctors, etc.  

The unfortunate part of such an approach is that life normally does not travel in such a consistent, linear line of events.  On some days when a patient visits the doctor, it may well be that he or she is in the “best health” of one’s slice of life, and it may be reflected as such in the mental status examination, or in the physical examination given by the doctor.  Or, conversely, on any particular day, the treating doctor may not be as “aware” or attentive to the patient, and may simply mechanically jot down notes without putting much thought into it.  Whatever the case, such linear consistency rarely reflects the reality of life.  

To counter such non-existence of the linear line of expectation, it is often a good idea to provide, if possible, a history of the medical condition, treatment regimens and modalities, in order to show that a day’s slice of life is not reflective of the greater medical history one has suffered from, and is currently suffering from.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire