OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Primary Questions

You can easily get entrenched within a morass of details.  Primary questions — those issues which, when addressed and answered, essentially take care of sub-questions and lesser categories of details — need to be identified and prioritized.

Many people are unable to recognize, identify and extract the primary questions.  Why? Because, if you are unfamiliar with the paradigmatic, upper echelons of the legal criteria being applied (for instance, in a legal matter), then how are you going to be able to “separate out” the proverbial grain from the chaff?

At all 3 of the main stages of a Federal Disability Retirement case — at the Initial Stage; if denied, at the Reconsideration Stage; if denied a second time, before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — it is important to either preemptively or actively discern and discard the unimportant side-issues, and to focus upon the primary questions in a Federal Disability Retirement case.

The rule of life always applies: Prioritize; identify the primary questions and issues; take care of what is relevant; then, the rest of the “minor details” will often naturally fall to the wayside.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Peace of Mind

It is a wonder how information is restricted or fails to be disseminated.  Of course, like all insurance policies, one is never interested in the details of an insurance policy unless and until it is needed.  Insurance is often likened to “peace of mind” — and that is how it is packaged and sold.

You purchase insurance not only because it is required (such as auto and home), but because of the fear of the “What if” scenario: What if I die before my children have grown up? (life insurance).  What if someone gets injured on my property? (umbrella insurance).  What if I become disabled and am unable to work? (Disability Insurance).

Yes, there are private policies, as well, but fortunately 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, there is the added benefit of Federal Disability Retirement.

You may not need to access it for now, and for that, it provides a “peace of mind” until and unless it becomes necessary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: The Weather

We all know it is true; of clear, crisp days, when our minds are sharp with wit; of low pressure systems that loom overnight, bringing about a dark and dreary day and, along with it, our minds of dread and fogginess.

Biodynamic farmers ascribe certain days as “unfortunate” and restrict and minimize the type of activities recommended; Shakespeare, who ascribed astrological influences peppered throughout his plays and sonnets, and of weather in King Richard III, Act 1, Scene 1: “Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by the sun of York; And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house, In the deep bosom of the ocean buried”.

We like to think that, in our sophistication of science and modernity, such factors as the planetary movements, the seasons, the weather, etc., have little to no influence upon our feelings, emotions, conduct or thoughts.  Perhaps Camus was more right than he knew when the principal character in “The Stranger” attributed his misdeeds upon the sun.  In the end, whatever the weather of the day, we are forced to weather the storms of our lives.

Medical conditions represent a metaphor in the life of a Federal or Postal employee; like the weather, the changing nature of the atmosphere around must be accepted and, at the same time, it is a storm-like state of being that must be endured — or “weathered”.

In the event that a change of career must be undertaken, it is important to consult with an OPM Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, whether it is a sunny day or a stormy one, the weather cannot be blamed for an ill-prepared Federal Disability Retirement application, and if denied by OPM, it must be weathered whether the weather had any influence or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Government Employee Disability Retirement: Going Back

The salmon spawning, rabbits returning; other animals come back to the place of birth, the area most familiar, the site of birth’s imprint and early remembrance.  Going back is ingrained; it is done without thought, without reservation, and often without regard to consequences.  The job that we know; the house that we built; the friends we always knew; these bring about a sense of regularity, rhythm, comfort and a returning sense of restfulness; and so going back is as natural as sleeping.

What we don’t take into consideration is that, while we were gone, things may have changed.  This is the anomaly of life: For, we are geared towards expectations of sameness and similarity; that when we leave a room, it will remain the same when we return; when we see a friend again, we expect that he or she hasn’t changed; and when silence prevails, identity never ceases or alters.

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, going back can be a traumatic endeavor.  The essential elements of the position may have remained the same; the people at the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility may still be there; the work requirements are unchanged; but you have changed.  Your medical condition has forced the change.

Going back may not any longer be possible.

In that case, consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest going back results in consequences unthought, like a new pattern of harassment and a move to terminate you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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