Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Reminders

What is the proper balance in a person’s life — between leisure and work; between thought and living; betwixt the physical and the psychological?  How much is “too much” in getting lost in the fantasies we surround ourselves with: Of watching the news; of enjoying a movie; of “doing” Facebook posts or “surfing” the internet?

Have you ever driven on a sparsely populated road or perhaps late at night when the lights of passing cars become a blurred memory of fleeting blindness, and upon arrival to your destination, you remember not a moment as to how you got there?  Perhaps you drove and did all of the proper things in the mechanical acts of driving, and yet you cannot remember yourself having engaged in the act of driving?  How much time is spent within the insular caverns of our own thoughts — whether when “thinking” or “cogitating”, or in watching a movie?

We fool ourselves into thinking that we are “living life” when in fact all we are doing is staring into a mass of illumination pock-marked with letters and punctuations.  Then, something inevitably “reminds” us — that we have to eat in order to keep from starving; that we have to respond to a real question posed by a real person; or in the mere act of needing to take out the garbage before it begins to rot beneath the kitchen sink.  And of medical conditions — they constantly remind us of our own mortality.

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 constancy of the imposition of the medical condition is a reminder that our deteriorating health is incompatible with continuation in the Federal or Postal job.

When the time comes where such “reminders” begin to dominate the life of the Federal or Postal employee, then it is no longer a “reminder” but of a jarring realization that no amount of getting lost in the distractions of life will change or alter the need: The need to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an attorney to determine if such a course is the best path of action for you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The person who wasn’t

It sounds somewhat like a Hitchcock film — or, is that too archaic a reference these days?  Is Hitchcock a film director whom nobody knows, anymore — another person who wasn’t?  Or, more precisely, “Isn’t” but was?  Is that the greatest fear of most people — the negation that erases, and why immortality and the existence of an afterlife is so important?

It is like Berkeley’s problem of the disappearing room — it is easy enough to imagine that when we exit one room and enter another, the first or previous one still exists in quite the same manner as when we last observed it (with the exception, perhaps, of a mouse scurrying along the baseboards or someone else entering the room while we are gone, changing the placement of the furniture, sitting down and smoking a cigar and changing the atmosphere in the room, etc.) — and the definition of “existence” as tied to our capacity to observe or perceive an object.

It is the thought of our erasure from existence that is the fodder for fear; yet, the self-contradiction of such a fear is so obvious as to logically obviate such a fear, but it doesn’t.  For the contradiction goes as follows: Our fear is based upon our thought of an event that cannot be, precisely because our erasure from the image formed by the thought cannot remain since we no longer exist; yet, it is the prevailing image of non-existence that haunts even though the image would not exist except during the pendency of our existence in formulating that image.  Existence reminds us of immortality; non-existence, of our vulnerability.

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, remember that the mere telling of one’s intention to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may trigger a host of reactionary retributions by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, and so one should be carefully cautioned, guided and counseled by a lawyer when considering entering the administrative arena of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is as if the information about filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is a reminder of one’s mortality — that a medical condition that impacts you reminds those at the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that it could also happen to them — and thus the Federal Agency or the Postal Service moves quickly to erase such reminders by initiating adverse actions, harassing you, intimidating you, etc. — so that such reminders can quickly be erased in order to make you into the person who wasn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Happiness Lasting

Can the precipice of elation last for long?  What of contentment — a seemingly “lower-level” joy that pervades and remains for the duration of a season?  Does evidence of its durability depend upon a smile frozen upon one’s face, or can it continue to establish its existence with gleaming eyes and a perpetual grin that seems never to go away?  Is glee in youth different from a winter’s discontent followed by a summer of joy, and does a period of happiness fostered by nostalgia the same as two young lovers who proclaim the currency of an unfettered passion for life?

Modernity celebrates the cult of youth, and it is thus assumed that happiness is the sole possession of those who look and declare youthfulness; but in the end, is it just wasted energy that dissipates because the young have no knowledge of how to handle such emotional turbulence?  What does it mean to “be happy”, and should it ever be considered as a worthwhile “goal” as opposed to a byproduct of a life well lived?

When a person feels elation, should the advice be: Temper it, for such a spectrum of heights will never last and you will find its opposite and negative effect at the end of it all — of dread and dismal desolation.  Or, should one just enjoy it while it exists, and deal with its opposite when it comes about?

Aristotle’s approach of finding the middle ground — of a moderation of temperament and approach to life — may allow for happiness lasting precisely because the height and depths of the spectrum of human emotions are never allowed to consume us.

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 idea that happiness lasting can no longer be attained is a pervasive feeling because of the medical condition itself and the effects upon one’s life and career.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may not be the “solution” to attain happiness, but it can be a process where intermediate goals can be achieved — of what to do during the pendency of one’s medical condition; of how to change careers; of how to attain a sense of stability for the future while attending to one’s own health and well-being.

It is a means to an end, where happiness lasting can be seen in the short-term goal of securing one’s future by filing for, and obtaining, a FERS Disability Retirement annuity before the next set of challenges in life’s fulfillment of changing circumstances must be faced again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Cicatrize

It is a word which one does not come across very often; and yet, the greater question is: How many words are “out there” which we do not know, have never heard of and will hardly use?  Do words limit the universe of our thought-processes?

If paragraphs are composed of sentences, and sentences formulated from single units called “words”, do our thoughts retain paragraphs, sentences, or the singularity of words?  In our insulated monologues and soliloquies, do we hesitate because we fail to consult a dictionary, stop because we cannot come up with a synonym, or retreat because of a lack of an antonym?

In modernity, we have dispensed with the idea of memorization, precisely because — with a Smartphone constantly at our sides — there is (A) Either no more need for it, (B) It is cruel to force kids to undergo such mentally strenuous exercises or (C) There is simply too much information “out there” for memorization to be practical any longer.

I once knew a person who didn’t count sheep in order to try and fall asleep, but would recite the sonnets of Shakespeare — and would never be able to recite them all before slumber would overtake him.  Of course, “context” is important, and if there are no conditions within which a word should materialize, be utilized or otherwise applied, the need to retain such a word within the memory banks of one’s brain would never come about.  Yet, how many useless bits of information do we look up on a Smartphone on a daily basis, and “retain” much of it?

The word “cicatrize” means to heal by way of scar formation; by extension, one can become creative and apply the word in non-medical contexts, as in: “The constant taunting by his classmates resulted in a cicatrized numbness of his sense of self-worth; but in the end, Johnny could never have the thickness of skin needed to survive, and cried himself each night for the cruelty of the world that haunted him”.

That is the fun of words, isn’t it?  To take it and play with it; to retain it and fool with it, like a pebble in one’s pocket where you can feel the texture of a small remnant of the greater universe between thumb and forefinger, and fiddle without end in an insular universe that is limitless and infinite?  For, it is always the infinite that we seek; of paragraphs abounding and pages beyond the next one to turn.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, always remember that the application itself is a “paper presentation” to OPM — one which must be comprised of words, sentences, paragraphs, and even entire pages.

It must tell a “story” about your condition, your capacities and your frailties in the most personal of ways.  And while the world of such a bureaucracy may be cicatrized against an empathetic tendency of the truth of your condition, it is best to seek counsel and advice from an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the cicatrization does not impede a persuasive argument compiled precisely in order to cut through the cicatrized minds at OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The last line of a poem

How important is the last line of a poem?  Can there be a poem that disappoints because of the last line, or can the finality that ends with a period (or not, depending upon the structure followed) be a so-so metaphor that evokes a yawn and a grimace?

If the rest of the poem, stanza after stanza, contains images by mysterious metaphors which provoke the mind’s imagination to heights previously untouched, but then finishes with a final line that makes one puzzled and doubting, do we say of it, “Well, it was a great poem up until that very last line”?  What if the poet meant it to be so — that the intent of the poem itself was to contrast the fickle manner in which images can form into pinnacles of fancy, only to be disappointed by a singular phrase of mundane commonness?

If the generally-accepted definition of poetry, as opposed to prose, is the focus upon the unit of a sentence aghast with metaphorical flourishes which evoke and provoke images, scents and cacophony of voices haunting throughout the hallways of a mind’s eye, then each line must of greater necessity remain reliably un-pedestrian.  Yet — why is it that the last line of a poem remains so important?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the last line of a poem can be likened to the final touches of an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet.

Does it have an extensive legal memorandum accompanying it — to make the persuasive push for an approval?  Have the sentences making up the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) been made to evoke and provoke images of an inevitable approval?

It is, after all, not poetry but prose; yet, just like the last line of a poem, a Federal Disability Retirement application should be formulated with thoughtfulness and care, lest the last line of the poem provoke a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The Fight

Perhaps it is the remembrances of the Ali-Frazier era, or of one’s own childhood where we suddenly broke out into a melee of rash encounters; or maybe one is timid and never provokes, avoids all hostilities, diverts from any potential conflicts; whatever the background, there are fights that we remember, whether as a spectator or as a participant.

Was it the last shouting match with one’s spouse, where bitterness spewed and names were called when, once the butterfly of a stinging shadow left the lips that had been sealed with a promise, a shrug for regret overshadowed?  Was the provocation mere tiredness and stress such that upon the pent-up release of attacking the very one you love, you already felt better and thought, “Now, what was that all about?”

The Fight” is the unreleased energy within, always ready to explode upon the provocation of a volcanic eruption needing the outlet waiting for an opening.  It is when we no longer have “the fight” within us that souls wither, personalities begin to diminish, and the flattened effect of a once-lively self begins to devour itself.  There is “the fight” within each of us, but life, circumstances, and especially medical conditions can begin to dampen, diminish, then destroy that spark of the rebel.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to destroy “the fight” within us, it is time to recognize that staying with the Federal Agency or the particular Postal Facility is an unhealthy situation on top of the medical condition already suffered.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not an avoidance of a fight, nor an admission of defeat; rather, it is the last and true fight to win.

It is “The Fight” in order to preserve and protect one’s future, and not to simply walk about from all of that invested energy previously placed so prominently into one’s Federal or Postal career.  And remember that it is always prudent to hire a ringside trainer — an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in order to get that “knockout” win by getting your Federal Disability Retirement approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: OPM’s Methodology

There may be a single criteria to meet, with subsets of requirements that must be complied with; yet, multiple methodologies in approaching the singular.  How can that be?  Isn’t it all simple, where you read what is required, then gather up all of the evidence that appears to meet it and simply send it all in?  That is the “volume methodology”.

Can a single sentence in a medical report ever meet the legal criteria in an OPM Disability Retirement case — i.e., a “qualitative” methodology, as opposed to a quantitative one?  Sometimes.

Isn’t the law clear in what is required, and isn’t it a matter of just amassing the medical evidence to meet the requirements as stated?  Hmmm…. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand, somewhat, OPM’s Methodology in reviewing and deciding upon a case.

First of all, not all medical conditions are equal.  Perhaps that is self-evident, but for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from one or another medical condition, and must endure the daily pain, restriction and limitations imposed thereby, it may not be so self-evident.

Second, OPM is not some “neutral” Federal Agency that reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application with dispassionate objectivity, ready to grant an “approval” because you “believe” your medical evidence is “sufficient” to meet the legal requirements as stated.  Sufficiency is the gatekeeper that denies many a Federal Disability Retirement case — and it is not a methodology that is satisfied by quantitative (volume) means, not even necessarily by qualitative standards; rather, it is the reviewer (i.e., the “Medical Specialist” at OPM) who determines by some unknown and unknowable standard when the goal-post has been crossed.

Thus, in an OPM Disability Denial Letter, one may read a reference to one’s doctor’s note or a quotation from a medical report from one’s doctor, and think, “Good, this is very supportive” —then, with an appended end to the paragraph stating, “Such medical evidence does not sufficiently meet the standards to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement”.  Huh?

Think about it this way: “Sufficiency” may mean different things to different audiences; for example, what is a “sufficient” amount of food for a lion, as opposed to a domesticated kitten?

OPM’s methodology is, at best, malleable, as language in law is likewise changeable.  It is good to know this for Federal and Postal employees who are either getting ready to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or who are in the middle of a fight to obtain it; for, in the end, consulting with an OPM Disability Retirement lawyer allows you to arm yourself with knowledge for the battle that OPM’s Methodology in determining Federal Disability Retirement cases must be prepared, like any legal battle that involves “criteria” to be interpreted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire