Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS: Performance, Conduct or Attendance

Those are the 3 areas which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks closely at when evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — “performance”, “conduct” and “attendance”.  There is a 4th criteria — that of “incompatibility” — but that issue is normally applied when a medical condition manifests itself as being inconsistent with the positional requirements of a job.

Performance” is determined objectively by whether one has fully met annual performance evaluations/ratings; “conduct” concerns any record of adverse proceedings initiated by the Agency or the Postal Service, including written warnings, reprimands, on or off-duty allegations of misconduct, charges and/or convictions; and “attendance” deficiencies are determined by the remaining level of accrued leave, whether of SL, AL or use of LWOP and the exhaustion of accrual.

These — OPM has determined — comprise a more “objective” basis upon which a Federal Disability Retirement application is determined.  Of course, one’s medical condition is further evaluated based upon the severity, type and category of the medical condition itself, as well.

When considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, ask yourself the question, “Do I have any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance?”  Next, Are there objective factors that can show definitively that I am no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of my job?

Having a supportive doctor is crucial in a Federal Disability Retirement case, but other indicators as well can be used in arguing in favor of one’s case, and objective indicators can make the difference between success or failure in all cases reviewed and evaluated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Law to determine the viability of your case; for, in the end, it is the presentation of objective factors which will win your case, and not your “feelings” as to whether you can do your job or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Those cracks we avoid

Remember the superstition of cracks in the sidewalk?  How we used to avoid them for fear of calamity, and worse yet, of the hand that reaches from beneath the bed late at night when parents are fast asleep and the screams that curl the midnight silence may never be heard because the world is not quite what it appeared to be?

Or, as we are walking along the normal route of direction, to get from point A to destination B, our thoughts as a child were: If I hop over the pebble on the road, suddenly and without any notification of precursor in judgment, the fate and destiny of the entire universe would be altered, because what was meant to never happen was changed by the course of my behavior that was never predicted, never meant to be, and failed to follow the normal course of a destined future.

And so, the child who nonchalantly walks with his parents suddenly, and without explanation, jumps up into the air and lands on the other side of the cracks we avoid.  In that moment — did the future change? Did the fate of mankind become altered forever?  How would we know?  Is the child who steps over those cracks any different from the adult who believes in falsehoods — and who poses the greater danger?  Where did we get those beliefs, and how did we come to accept them?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who by necessity must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the care which one must take when making decisions in preparing, formulating and filing for an OPM medical retirement can be likened to those cracks we avoid: is the information gathered and relief upon “true”?  Have you been told the “right” things?  Are your sources dependable?  Or, are you proceeding along a path and stepping upon those cracks that should be avoided?

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a decision which each individual must make based upon particularized circumstances; and if it is only to avoid those cracks we see — or cannot foresee — it is well worth it to separate the superstitions from the truth of an unavoidable reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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, it is important to recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: ‘It could be worse…’

Do other species utilize comparative analysis as a tool for deciding the next course of action to take?  Or, does the existential, “here-and-now” appetitive nature of non-human beings rule, such that the conclusion reached — “It could be worse” — never plays a role in the decision-making process?

For, that is the basis of the conclusion reached, is it not?  Of remaining static, refusing to change, in deciding to not make alterations to present circumstances no matter the cost or the pain — that by coming up with imaginative, hypothetical models of circumstances real and fantasized, encapsulating descriptive conditions far worse than the one being endured by you, we can therefore justify continuation of maintaining the status quo?

How much worse must it get before one discards the idea that it could be worse?  Or, are the boundaries of human imagination so limitless that the enduring of present circumstances is always preferable to modification and change; or, perhaps that change itself is so naturally resisted, because the comfort of monotony and repetition provides the sequence of security that favors the stability of an unchanging universe?

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 preservation of the status quo is often preferable to the trauma of needed change.

One can justify for quite a long time the grasping on to that which one has, and to not change; and the justification can be maintained for quite some time in the very statement, “It could be worse…”.  That is the safe path, the road of least resistance; but the question unasked is the one unanswered and therefore untold as to the progressive deterioration of one’s health; Of: “Could it be better?”

That question can only be answered in conjunction with the realization that one’s health is never something that should be sacrificed on the altar of one’s career or work, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step in recognizing that, Yes, while it could be worse, it could also be better.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The inner voice

It is always the private conversation that is the most dangerous and unpredictable; for, the voices within are unknown to the surrounding conversations without amidst the public domain, and are most persuasive precisely because the multiple participants come down to a single voice: The “I” or “me” of the inner ego.

The soliloquy is a theatrical device which allows for the audience in a play to hear the “inner” thoughts of a character on stage; sometimes, the actor will stand aside while other characters on stage act “as if” they do not notice the separate thoughts being conveyed to the audience, and both the audience and the stage players engage in a suspension of disbelief while the soliloquy is deliberated; and at other times, the private thoughts are given over to the audience in a lengthy speech — a monologue of sorts, revealing the inner turmoil of a given character.

In real life, such oratory mechanisms are unnecessary, precisely because the voices within remain in a constant monologue of insularity, unimpeded by overzealous listeners who may hear the gossips within.  What voices are spoken within the mind of the wandering individual?  In a crowd, where the cacophony of multiple voices dominate and criss-cross, how many other voices are loudly vying for position within each of the minds that remain silent to one another?

Often, it is the very voices within which are the most dangerous, if only because there are no others countering the logic — or illogic — of the arguments made, and it is precisely because of the singular voice without a countering perspective that makes for greater danger of persuasiveness.

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 position within the Federal government, the voices within must often remain private and hidden precisely because the voices without lurk about as potential hazards to be avoided and carefully sequestered.

The mere “asking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement may trigger reactions that are unwanted from the Agency; the questions that begin to be asked, the administrative actions that could be imposed, and the harassment that often follows — these will often force the voices within to remain within.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the first and most important step that a Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can take; for, the voices within more often than not needs a counter-perspective and guidance beyond the singularly lonely voice of a soliloquy that has no audience but one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Refurbishing the emptiness of existence

It is not quite like fixing up the living room, rearranging the furniture in the family room, or even remodeling the bathroom; for, in the end, the soul that feeds upon the emptiness of existence must needs be replenished with things beyond mere material goods; it must be sustained by the worth and value of that “something” transcending gold, emeralds or even the riches of self-satisfying egocentric accumulations of treasures beyond.

The refurbishing of the emptiness of existence hits upon each of us at some time during our short and brutish presence upon this world; and for some, it is the coldness of responses received that dismays and often destroys.  We can rearrange the furniture on the deck of the proverbial sinking ship, but the cold reality still remains when that foreboding sense of solitary loneliness continues to overwhelm us.

Existence is a reality that we had no voice about; emptiness is a choice that comes about through failings of our own, as when others have determined that friendship, kinship, affinity and affection are not worth pursuing — at least, not with you.

We have a lifetime to foster human relationships, and yet, sadly, most of us keep burning the bridges that have been constructed, severing ties that once bonded one another and set out to destroy any shadows that follow upon the warmth of human linkage.  We like to “remake” ourselves; to “win”, to “defeat”, to be the victor in all worthwhile endeavors.  Then, at the end of life’s work in progress, what are we left with?  Emptiness and loneliness.  Was it all worthwhile?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have this sense of it all — that a medical condition has pervaded, has impacted and prevented you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job duties — it may be time to prepare, formulate and file 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.

It may come at the very moment when you feel as if you need to refurbish the emptiness of existence or, more likely, it is because the medical condition that is overwhelming you has forced the issue.  Often, when life appears to need rearranging, it is the other guy who is in the process of refurbishing his or her emptiness of existence, and it has nothing to do with you; you need to do what needs to be done because others will not recognize the value and worth that you have all along been working so fervently to create and maintain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire