OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

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 may well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: 2 countervailing rules

Here are 2: If you have an idea late at night, unless you write it down, you will never remember what it was in the morning.  The other half of the countervailing rule?  In the morning, it won’t seem as profound a thought as it first appeared late the previous night.  Or: Forgiveness can come easily when once you admit to your fault; and the counter to that — if it is your spouse or close relation, don’t think that you won’t be reminded of your need for forgiveness when once the first sign of trouble appears.  And another: Time will heal; yet, the countervailing reality: others rarely care to sacrifice their time in order to allow for the time needed to heal.

And for Federal and Postal employees 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 first “rule” of the 2-part countervailing rules of life is often: “Oh, I have been such a good employee all of these years, I am sure that my Agency or the Postal Facility will be understanding while I prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application — for, doesn’t all of those years of good service count towards a good-will well deserved?” And the countervailing rule to that is: “Buddy, you’re no longer going to be a part of this team, and what you did yesterday counts only until this morning, and no more. Let us give you a freshly-minted medallion that you can pin on your lapel, and boot you out the door the moment we discover that you are planning to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits — even though you are doing only that which you have a perfectly reasonable right to”.

And thus do the countervailing rules always come in a duality of balancing coordinates; and, unfortunately, the behemoth of a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service always seems to have the upper, dominant hand, which is why you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in dealing with such countervailing rules of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Representation: Forgotten

Is that the basis of our fears?  Does the concept of immortality haunt us precisely because we fear extinguishment, erasure, censure and being forgotten within a moment’s notice beyond the short mention in a local paper’s obituary?  Is that not, instead, the normal course of events — the way in which this non-teleological universe meant it to be — of returning to dust from whence we came, and become regenerated through the soil that embraces our ashes and decomposed flesh so that the genetic materials become recycled by the very foods we digest?

Mortality is that which men fear; becoming immortal is the goal of many; but being forgotten is the fear realized in the lives of most.  What difference, in the end, does it make?

We project an image through the creative imagination of our own psyche, and create images of a time beyond our own demise — of a weeping widow (or widower); children speaking in hushed tones of a person who was but is no longer around; and in our inkling of what it will be like, we posit our own consciousness by being present in a room that acknowledges our own absence.  Is that what sweet revenge is like — of imagining all sorts of regrets by those who shunned us, humiliated and ignored us when we were in their presence in life?

To be forgotten is to regret our own insignificance, and to constantly be haunted by one’s own irrelevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue of being forgotten becomes a reality quite quickly and soon in the process of deteriorating health and use of sick leave or going on FMLA.

For, Federal agencies and the Postal Service are quite adept at forgetting — forgetting the years of loyalty shown by the Federal or Postal employee; forgetting the years of service, unpaid overtime and those “extra” hours put in but left uncompensated but for unrealized hopes of future considerations that never come about; forgetting the contributions of yesterday because today and tomorrow are all that matters to the Federal agency or Postal Service; and it is when the word “forgetting” in the present participle transforms into the past participle of “forgotten” that we finally come to realize that health is of greater importance than loyalty; and that is when the recognition that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the best defense against a bureaucracy that has easily forgotten the essence of human worth and dignity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The tangible

What are the criteria by which one lives?  Is there a singular, dominant principle, as in “A Criterion” or “The Criterion”, or multiple ones; or perhaps an overarching archetype with subsets of mini-components that are all in their aggregate subsumed by a greater Platonic Form, somewhat like “Goodness” that predominates, with subtexts of lesser categories?  Or, do we just blunder through life without them and arbitrarily bump into decisions, pathways that take us hither and yonder, and never quite escape the confusions of our own making?

Some people consider themselves to be “idealistic”, and look always for the good in others; still some, pure cynics such that they suspect the worst in everyone; and most, an admixture of the two extremes in a spectrum of choices.  There are, in philosophy, the “logical positivists” who declare that nothing makes sense unless validity of a statement can be established, and such a criterion normally involves the tangible.  That which we can see, feel, hear or establish by logical methodology comprises the entirety of one’s existential reality, and there is some truth to such an approach.

It is said that in youth, much idealism begins; in middle age, some waning of hope must by necessity be accepted; and by old age, a seeping cynicism inevitably prevails.  The tangible is that which we can embrace, feel, rest our hopes upon; otherwise, the cold icicles of other people’s indifference will ultimately become the obsession of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to result in tangible manifestations — i.e., use of LWOP has become noticeably frequent; performance ratings are anticipated to be questionable; supervisors and coworkers have begun asking questions; but most importantly, you yourself have begun to notice a deterioration in your ability and capacity to maintain the level and pace of working at the Agency or Postal facility — the “criterion” to be applied is quite straightforward: Are you still able to perform all of the essential elements of your positional requirements?

If not, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  The criteria by which we live are often complicated; it is the tangible which brings everything back down to earth from the lofty heights of idealism, youth and folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Information: Action after words

Does the failure of an action to succeed a string of words make it automatically into a lie, or can it merely indicate a delay between thought and action, spoken words and action, or misinterpretation of words followed by non-action?  Are there phrases and afterthoughts that undermine and negate the initial statement of promised and anticipated actions, such that they “justify” the non-action?

For example, if a person says to another, “I will meet you at X restaurant at noon tomorrow,” but upon showing up at the place, the other person never appears; later, you bump into that same person and inquire about his non-appearance, and he states, “Oh, I became too busy and couldn’t come.”  Does that succeeding statement negate the previous statement; does it “explain” it; does it “supersede” it; or was it merely a statement that tells you that the person making it is rude, a bore, and someone to henceforth be suspicious of and mistrusting towards?

What if the same person had said some other things, like: “I thought better of it” or “I decided that I didn’t want to go out to lunch with you”.  As to the former, one might conclude that the person was somewhat odd; as to the latter, that he or she was unfriendly and did not deserve further consideration.  But what of the following statement: “I am so sorry. My mother was taken to the hospital suddenly and I completely forgot!  Please accept my sincere apologies!”  This last admission, of course, is the one that “justifies” the breaking of the prior commitment, and can be seen as the one where “forgiveness” and further consideration is accorded.

In every case, the action which follows after words determines the future course of how we view the person who spoke the words; yet, context and content do matter.

Take for example another scenario, where the person says, “I may be at X restaurant at noon tomorrow, or I may not.”  You show up at the place at noon and the person who made the statement does not show up.  Later, when you “bump into” the person, you say, “Why didn’t you show up at X restaurant,” and the person responds with, “Oh, as I said, I might have, but decided not to.”  Was there a broken promise?  Did the actions performed fail to “meet” with the words previously spoken?  No, and not only that – one could even argue that the person was quite true to his “word”.

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 connection between “action” after “words” is always an important consideration to take into account, for there will be many steps through the administrative process where compatibility between the two will have to take place.

Will your doctor support your Federal Disability Retirement case when the “crunch time” arrives?  (The doctor will need to).  Will your Human Resource personnel do as they say? (Likely not).  Will your supervisor timely complete the SF 3112B? (Hmmm…).  Will OPM “act upon” the Federal Disability Retirement application after “saying” that they will? (Again, hmmmm…..).

Action after words – the foundation of sincerity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The yearning for yesterday

On the spectrum of life, as one advances forward, it is the residue left behind that begins to look so much the better; and in old age, the long expanse of the clouds of memories trailing behind becomes refined with time and faded recollectionsYesterday keeps looking better and better in proportion to the difficulties faced with the present and anticipated for the future; and the yearning for yesterday is that delicious taste for that which remains resplendent with the memories of nostalgia but may never quite match the reality of that which was left behind.

Memories are funny animals; they are selective, and in our subconscious we tend to erase and extinguish the harsh realities that accompanied the sweetness of childhood joys.  Of that summer day when the winds were warm with the breath of gods and the cackle of laughter filled the air as the ocean waves lapped lazily upon the toes of innocent feet, did the disruption of tiredness or the grumpiness of fatigue remain forgotten as memories became ensconced with jaded perspectives?

The turmoil of today makes yesterday appear as the reflective light of perfection – like the dying star that emits light for us to witness, when in fact death had already occurred billions of years ago.

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 the Federal position or Postal craft (or of a position as a supervisor, manager, etc.), it is that yesterday when the medical condition was yet unknown and the innocence of a future still to be anticipated becomes yearned for.

Federal Disability Retirement is not a “total” solution, by any stretch of the imagination; yet, it does allow for the discontinuation of a feature in one’s life that has remained to create havoc and turmoil – of the mismatch between one’s medical condition and the type of job one is engaged in.  For, is not much of yearning for yesterday exactly that – a sense that there was a continuum of hope and anticipation for a future bright and exciting, and the daily toil of knowing that one can no longer be the same by remaining in the job that has become inconsistent with medical conditions endured and suffered – which is the basis of human tragedy and sadness.

The yearning for yesterday becomes unnaturally magnified the more today is a toil and tomorrow is a basis for angst and sadness; and it is when the Federal or Postal employee recognizes this, and begins to take steps for securing a future with anticipation of tomorrow’s hope, that then filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes a no-brainer.

The yearning for yesterday needs to be replaced with an anticipation for tomorrow’s hopes and dreams, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee 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, is the first steps toward an anticipated tomorrow that can still be brighter than today, and still better than yesterday, as if the yearning for it fades into memories once undecided.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire