Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Qualifying Standard

What if a group of individuals gathered to compete in a race, of sorts, and trained, engaged in strenuous preparatory work and did all of the things necessary in order to “qualify”? They all gather on the agreed-upon date and, in customary athletic clothing, run a predetermined distance where 3 individuals out of ten cross a white line in sequential fashion. There is no doubt as to who the 3 “front runners” were. Yet, when the prizes are handed out, they are given to the 10th, 7th and 5th place runners. There is an understandable uproar. A protest is filed.

Umpires and referees gather (are there such people, or is that just in baseball, football, soccer and basketball?) and discuss the situation at length. Small, hand-held rule books are consulted and the audience sits in anguished silence as the outcome is debated in a deliberative fashion. Furrowed eyebrows are mashed in faces of concerned silence; the crowd that had gathered to witness the sporting event argue vociferously over the unfairness of it all; television crews have arrived, having been tipped off that a major scandal has been scented and the sharks have gathered for the afternoon kill.

No one notices that a little old man who has stood watching the entire spectacle with a peaceful, quiet calm has slowly made his way onto the platform where a microphone has been set up. He approaches the podium, adjusts the contraption and begins thus: “Ahem”. He pauses, waiting for everyone at the event to recognize the point from where the clearing of his throat originated, and continues on: “I am Mr. X; I organized this event. If you look at the last paragraph of the rules-book, it specifically states the following: ‘Mr. X is the sole determiner of the qualifying standard’. I am, as I said, Mr. X, and I determined that runners 5, 7 and 10 are the winners. End of story”. The little old man then turns around and walks back down, and away from the event.

Now, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition leads the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this story may appear to parallel the manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acts: As a law unto itself.

Fortunately, they are not the sole arbiter of the qualifying standard and, instead, there is such a thing as “The Law”. In order to apply the law and force OPM to follow the true and only qualifying standard, however, it is necessary to “know” the law; and, in order to do that, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. Otherwise, you might be subject to the same standard (or lack thereof) as the little old man who does what he wants on any given day depending on how he feels on that day, or in that moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Garden of One’s Mind

The metaphor has been used often enough; whether it enhances or enlightens one’s knowledge of one’s self is of dubious prospects.  The physical, objective entity identified as a “garden” is simple enough in being defined: it must include some plants and soil; perhaps a few rocks or boulders to enhance the natural contours of the landscape; and a person who “tends” to the garden — i.e., a “gardener”.

Can there be wild gardens without a gardener?  In other words, can you walk through a forest and come upon a clearing where there are flowers and various plant lives, and declare, “Oh, what a beautiful garden!”?  Similarly, can a person who lives in an apartment who has a collection of potted plants have the “right” to say to someone, “You should come and admire my garden sometime.”?

Purists may object to the application of the term “garden” to either of those described scenes, but a looser definition is still widely accepted in this modern age where malleability of language is a given.  Then, of course, there is the “stretching” of language’s boundaries by applying the metaphor of a “Garden of one’s Mind”.

What can it mean?  It often refers to the state of one’s mind: Of whether one has allowed for too much neglect and has failed to “prune” the overgrowth or let the weeds overtake; of failing to replenish the soil or allowed by disease and decay to overshadow.

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 concept encapsulated in the metaphor of the garden is appropriate.

For, like the untended garden, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must apply the same principles as the gardener who must begin to prune and replenish: decisions about the next steps, of what to cut out or whether one can leave things as they are; these are all contained in the metaphor within the Garden of One’s Mind, and it may be a first step to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before making important decisions like career changes and leaving the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees with Disabilities: Simplifying the Complex

Genius is to comprehend the complex; competence is to utilize it; adequacy is to merely get by with it; to be lost is to become mired in it.  The world is complex.  Balance in a life is complex.  Trying to survive in a complex world requires a balancing act that even the most skilled tightrope acrobat can barely accomplish.

Once, when a reporter asked a mountain climber who had successfully scaled the North Face of the Eiger “why” he does what he did, the reply was: “When I am climbing, my only focus is to survive.  I do not need to think of anything but the next step, the next hold, and to ascend inch by inch.  Nothing else matters but the moment.”

But that life could be lived within the paradigm of that philosophy — of “living for the moment.”  To do so, of course, would require setting aside the baggage from one’s past and ignoring the tumultuous considerations for the future.  For most of us, we simply cannot live like that.  In this complex world, we try and “get by” through simplifying it — bifurcating it into comprehensible and digestible components; attending to each one at a time; then starting all over again at the beginning of the next day.  To simplify the complex is a skill-set that one must attain in order to just survive.

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 complex universe of an administrative process like filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a bureaucratic morass that will often require legal advice, guidance, assistance and counsel.

It is the job of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to simplify the complex.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, lest you find that the complex remains too complicated and the next mountain to climb has become too steep an obstacle, like the North Face of the Eiger.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Future Robbing Present

How much time do we spend worrying about the future?

In this concerning age, where debts keep rising, expenses keep increasing, wages remain stagnant and instability around the world continues as a reality we are all faced with — the amount of time spent in anxious anticipation of a future not yet established is a reality which we all must constrain.

Planning for the future is a necessity; articulating plans and loosely following them, a nuisance; but what of worrying about a projected experience not yet upon us — is it a mere waste of time?

The future robs the present by keeping our focus outside of the experiences of the present; whether by brooding about it, being lost in thought for it or merely fidgeting with anxiousness towards it; it all amounts to the same:  The joy of a present experience is lost because of the worry which overwhelms us.

Of the past — we tend to relish or regret it; but inasmuch as it is something that has already occurred, we do not obsessively remain in that time slot; unless, of course, we fear the consequences of past actions upon future events.  But it is for present circumstances that may trigger future worries — as in a medical condition currently experienced that we project into the future as to the medical condition’s capacity to impact our anticipated lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition will likely prevent the Federal or Postal worker — in the future of, say, 6 months hence, 12 months beyond, 3-5 years of becoming — from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, it is always a good idea to consider early in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

If worry for the future is robbing the present, then it is time to consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Worrying about the future will not change or alter the course of events yet to come; to prepare for a pathway towards such change for the future, it is wise to first consult with an experienced Federal Disability Retirement Attorney, lest the future come upon you unprepared and like a thief in the night robbing you of your present.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: For better or for…

Do we consider what follows the ellipses when making such a vow?

In youth, when the days of summer are endless and the rainfalls are merely seen as sweetness in dancing folly, do we ever consider the meaning, the phrase, the serious connotation of the “worse”, or do we just focus upon the “better” as in, “This is good, tomorrow is better, and the day after will only get better than better”?

Perhaps it is a genetic advantage inherent for survival’s sake that youth never considers the dark side of the moon; for, to be young and innocent of thoughts forsaking a future yet to become is to move forward with bold forthrightness, and only the fittest would survive such folly of thoughtless advancement.

Would armies have defeated the odds if trepidation of thought were to dominate?  Would the genetic pool of the daring be muddled if not for the foolish stumbling into a future unknown?  What fool thinks about the “worse” when the “better” is right before your eyes?

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 thought of “worse” never came to mind until the medical condition first appeared, then remained, then worsened, then became a chronic condition like an uninvited guest who overstays the welcome of niceties left unstated.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits takes into account both perspectives of the vow that was once stated but never thought of: It is because of the “worse” but it is for the “better”.

The “worse” is the ongoing medical condition that has deteriorated such that it necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and the “better” is that, once your Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, you can focus upon your health, the tomorrow of a future yet uncertain, and the commitment to another vow left unstated: To take care of yourself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Thinking Straight

Why “straight” as opposed to curved or in a zig-zag manner?  Who first thought that it was preferable, desirable, and even “smarter” to “think straight” as opposed to a thought process which involves a greater complexity of circuitous routes?

Is the origin based upon a metaphor or an analogy — that, because the shortest distance from Point A to Destination B must by geometric necessity involve a straight line, and therefore one may extrapolate from such a mathematical truth that the thinking-process which yields the best results is compromised of a similar metric: Of a direct and non-convoluted form of cognitive input, without the wavering lines and complicated conundrums involved in any form other than a straight line?

Yet, the process of “thinking” itself is often one that must include reflection upon multiple and endless variables: What if this happens?  What about such-and-such circumstances?  What about conditionals and unknown factors, and how will it end up if X fails to materialize or Y begins to dominate?  What about the principle contained in Occam’s Razor?  Is that the analogy that prevails upon the concept of “thinking straight”?

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 question as to whether you should consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS should, indeed, be based upon “straight thinking”, and the process of “thinking straight” should generally apply.

However, as Federal Disability Retirement Law is a complex administrative process that involves multiple facets that intersect with the Federal Agency, the Human Resource Office, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and complexities involving accommodations, potential reassignment issues, etc., the fact that a straight line may exist between the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application and the approval or denial by OPM of that application, does not make it any simpler.

Complexity is a fact of life.  To simplify things, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to make sure that “straight thinking” is achieved by thinking straight, and that should come from advice and counsel which gives you the right direction on how to get from Point A to Destination B.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Privy

As a verb, it allows for sharing in information secretive within confidences kept closely held; as a noun, an antonym of sorts — of a most public facility where privacy is needed, but which everyone uses for the most common of needs — of a place where we relieve ourselves and perform bodily functions that redden our cheeks with shame when spoken about.

Are we privy to the intimate thoughts of friends and loved ones?  Do we ask where the privy is when in London, Tokyo or Idaho?  Of the last of the tripartite places so identified, the response might be: “What’s that, hon?”  Of the middle, it could likely be: “Nan desu-ka?”  Of the first, with a neat British accent or the melody of a cockney dialect: “My good chap, just around the corner over there!”

Confidential information or the toilet; how many words in the English language allows for such duality of meanings depending upon where the word is inserted into a sentence?

That is how Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition often feel about their situation when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job: For years, like the noun because he or she was a “valuable asset” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, where all confidential details were passes by you and you were always “in the loop” of everything important going on within the agency; then, when the medical condition hit and you began to take some Sick Leave and perhaps even a spate of LWOP, you were relegated to being a “noun” — no longer privy to the inner workings of the Agency or the Postal Service, but merely a privy on the outskirts of town.

When that happens — when you are no longer a verb, but an outcast noun — then you know that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, so that your place in the sentence of life will once again become an active verb, and not merely an outcast noun to be abandoned and forgotten in the grammar of vital living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire