Disability Retirement under FERS: Adopting an Adaptive Plan

Most of us barely have one; and when we do, we quickly forget about it and move on, satisfied that —by the mere declaration of having one — we need not implement it or follow it rigorously beyond the mere possession of it.

The old Soviet Union (do we remember what the abbreviation, “U.S.S.R.” stood for?) had 5 and 10 year plans, and when the stated goals were not met, they simply cooked the books and declared that they were well ahead of the declared plans, and so the satellite nations under the rubric of the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” nodded its approval and genuflected to the Soviet Central Planning Committee (for, you couldn’t have a plan unless there were multiple committees to make those plans) and were grateful for the plans even though their populace were starving, despite the declared success of all of that planning.

Battlefield officers rely upon them; although, in recent years, because war is no longer fought by armies planning an attack upon other armies, the need for adopting an adaptive plan has become a survival necessity.  Life itself rarely follows a plan; most of the time, one’s day is consumed by just trying to survive.

When a medical condition hits us, of course, then all of the planning in the world — from a retrospective and myopic viewpoint — didn’t amount to much.  What is the plan, then, for a Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform his or her job because of the medical conditions that prevent one from doing so?

The Federal Disability Retirement “plan” is to allow for a Federal or Postal employee to file for OPM Medical Retirement benefits under FERS, so that the Federal employee can medically retire, focus upon one’s health and still, hopefully, enter the workforce in the near or mid-future and continue to contribute, all the while receiving a disability retirement annuity.  Now, that sounds like adopting an adaptive plan where interruption of a life plan allows for some grace beyond lack of planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Loneliness in a Crowd

Do we all share that experience?  Or, do some never sense the isolation felt, the separation determined, the detachment embraced; but instead, always the smiling center where the crowd is but an extension of one’s body and soul?

A crowd, of course, can be an organic mass of an aggregate whole that, because it is a herd of humanity, can never embrace the individual; and as the individual stands within the continuum of others similarly situated, so the uniqueness of each is lost within the greater whole.

Human emotions, however, are possessed by the independent “I” of each person, and the insularity of those emotions within the inner soul of each body conceals itself except when expressed through words, deeds and facial or other characteristics that betray the anonymity of the crowd.  A teardrop here, a smile over there; a forlorn look of regret by a furrowed eyebrow or the curling frown around lips that purse; and words, of course, that are expressed.

Does tone matter?  Can a person express an emotion in an emotionless manner, and still be sincere in the very expression of that emotion?  Similarly, can a person stand within the mass of a crowd and yet declare loneliness, and be believed?  And of how we treat one another as human beings — or as mere objects that respond without regard to the validity of the subjective “I”.

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 sense of loneliness in a crowd is palpable precisely because, although still with the Federal Agency or the Postal unit, one is treated as an outsider, a person separate and apart and no longer “one of us”; and when that sense of loneliness in a crowd triggers hostility and adversity, it becomes apparent and self-evident that separation must follow — by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Otherwise, the loneliness in a crowd may ultimately lead to detachment from the crowd, involuntarily, by a termination of one’s Federal Service, on their terms and not on your own.

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

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The gods of modernity

Each era has its false gods — of Greek ones that explained the mysteries underlying the universe; of religions that conquered by the sword; of Philosophers and Kings who ruled with an iron fist; of Freud, Psychoanalysis and other ghosts in the machine; and in modernity, of youth and the cult of the young, and perhaps of the authors of self-help books who have cornered the market on wisdom replaced.

The gods of modernity are different from those of a generation ago; the “I” and the “me” that pervades on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; of the perfect “me” who takes selfies at every opportunity to reinforce and remind of the hollowness of the gods we make of ourselves; and in the end, the loneliness that one is left with when the screen is shut down and one is left with the reality of facing one’s self in the loneliness of a perception that cannot be faced in the mirror of one’s own reflection.

And of the other gods of reality: Perfection in perception.  But what happens if perception must encounter reality?  That is often the problem with a medical condition — for, medical conditions remind us of the ugliness of the world around: of mortality, vulnerability, and the loss of societal empathy for all things imperfect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows one to be “perfect” in the workplace, and where the essential elements of one’s job can no longer be met, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that the focus of one’s life can be redirected in order to regain one’s health.

The gods of modernity — of a career, of never-ending competence and productivity in one’s Federal or Postal job — must be replaced with a revaluation of what is truly important in life: Health, sanity, and some semblance of caring.  And while securing a FERS Disability Retirement annuity may not be the answer to all of life’s ills, it will at least secure a future in order to focus upon getting better, and perhaps reorienting one’s focus upon a future that may be different and better.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sitting alone

Sitting alone can be dangerous.  Whether early in the morning or late at night, when one’s thoughts are the only neighbor within, and the soliloquy of voices have been shuttered into basement echoes where the drip-drip of a broken faucet reverberates amidst the endless thoughts of tumult and disaster.  The disconnect between reality and thought, betwixt action and mind, become exponentially exaggerated when sitting alone.

Rarely do tectonic shifts in the objective world result in major disasters where entire civilizations crumble and become destroyed; for, each and every day, subterranean movements occur imperceptibly without notice of bystanders who walk from cafe to office; but within the shifts which occur while sitting alone, the tumults of a mind fearful of one’s future become endless nightmares that cannot be contained.

The subtlety of fear unrecognized; the voice within that panders to irrationality; or of the dread that overwhelms — it can all come about through sitting alone.  The cacophony of voices around; the television blaring to drown out silence; friends and acquaintances invited in order to keep out the squeezing quietude of being alone: these are temporary ways of blunting the danger of sitting alone.

It is like having a medical condition and trying desperately to ignore it; at some point, we are all alone in the world, just as the womb that once protected within a catacomb of warmth and security became lost upon the expelling into the cold and heartless universe, and so we remain sitting alone with fear and loathing for a future yet undecided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are sitting alone, unsure of what do to because a medical condition has begun to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is time to consult with an attorney and begin the process of initiating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and to stop avoiding the prospect of sitting alone by becoming lost in the day-to-day struggle of endless points of procrastination.

For, sitting alone is the pathway to realizing the disasters that loom within one’s thinking; it is a consultation with an experienced OPM Disability Retirement attorney that will open upon the doors for a future yet untold.

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

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Deviating and adapting

How does one deviate or adapt, if one is approaching something anew?

Such concepts as modifying or altering a methodology presumes that one has encountered the process before, and thus it stands to reason that a person who has never previously experienced something before can hardly be expected to provide new insights when the experience itself is new to the individual.  That is why we often refer to a person’s ability and capacity to “think on his or her feet” — meaning, to quickly encompass and adapt to new and fluid circumstances, despite a lack of familiarity with an onslaught of speedy changes.

Deviating, of course, can be a negative component, in that it may imply altering from a true-and-tested course of action, and unless one is certain of one’s confidence in a new path taken, there may ensue disastrous consequences when following a rebellious path that can lead to the unknown.  Many a trailblazer who knew not the way of the unbeaten path have perished by starvation or thirst.

On the other hand, we consider the capacity and ability of “adapting” to be a positive characteristic, in that it implies a characteristic of being able to respond to external circumstances that are changing, and requires a willingness to bend with the winds of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the 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, the dual concept of deviating and adapting comes to the fore precisely because of the need to change — both on the Agency/Postal Service’s side, as well as from the perspective of the Federal or Postal employee.

For the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, the issue of deviating and adapting comes about in terms of “accommodation” — for, it is necessary for the Federal Agency and the Postal Service, by force of law, to “deviate” from the former ways of behaving, and to “adapt” to the medical conditions and changes that the Federal or Postal employee is undergoing.

From the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee, deviating and adapting may encompass a wide range of issues in terms of accommodations — whether the situation and conditions posed are temporary or permanent by nature; whether the medical conditions suffered are able to be accommodated at all, either temporarily or permanently; and whether attendance is an issue; of how much SL must be taken; of FMLA issues and extensions of LWOP beyond, etc.

In the end, deviating and adapting from the “norm” may not be possible, in which case preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become necessary.

For all Federal and Postal employees, what is important to remember is that suffering from a progressively deteriorating medical condition will require deviating and adapting, and that may include the need to have expert legal guidance by an attorney who has previously had the experience in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that any and all deviations and adaptations can be initiated from the perspective of previous experience, and not as a trailblazer off of the beaten path where getting lost in the complexities of Federal Disability Retirement Laws can lead to disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire