Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Loss of Continuum

How does a child know where the neatly-packaged meat displayed on a store’s shelf come from?  Or the clothes which hang on a mannequin displayed behind a plate of glass; or even of the glass itself?  And what about the old man who shuffles by with a cane and a bent back?

The child walks by and the old man staggers, and what question does the little girl ask or does the old man disappear after the two pass by — poof!  Like magic.  Yet, the old man — and the little girl — each have a life beyond the mere passing; of a childhood one has and the childhood the other will yet have; of a home, a hearth, a heart full of memories harkening from here to there, or perhaps to nowhere.

In a village of yesteryear, the continuum of each life is known because everyone shares in the life of each other as a community of interconnected lives.  In modernity, we give lip-service to “caring” and the continuum of life, but the reality is that we have no relationship with the person who stitched our clothes; nor do we know which animal from whence the meat came; or the farmer who grew the tomato in the produce section, let alone the life and problems of the person who stacked the Nestle cookies on the shelf so neatly.

The loss of continuum is how we live, and that is true of the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition and goes into work — more often than not, none of the coworkers know the circumstances of the individual except that he or she is a “shirker” because he or she fails to “carry his own weight”, anymore.

Filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often a step towards regaining the continuum previously lost — at least for the individual whose career in the Federal Service is no longer appreciated in a community which has been dispersed with the loss of empathy and loss of continuum.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employment Disability Retirement Benefits: At Least…

At least I have my dog; at least we all have each other; at least it wasn’t a complete loss; at least I have my health….  Is it because of the base-line of life’s fortunes that we may maintain our sanity and allow for hope to thrive?  And if we were to ever lose the “at least” — is that when life becomes too unbearable to withstand, or will we simply find another replacement “at least”?

Take the following hypothetical: A tornado or other natural disaster destroys a home; everything is lost; the person who survived stands with his or her dog and says to the reporter, “At least I survived”.  The next moment, the survivor suffers a heart attack and is bedridden for the rest of his remaining days.  Once the “at least” was taken away, was there a replacement?  Is the final “at least” the one which goes thus: “At least I am still alive”?  And when that is taken away and silence follows, is that the answer to the question: Is there anything beyond the last “at least”?

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 job, the question of “at least” is an important one.  For, when the medical condition strikes, the “at least” question is not: “At least I still have my health”, but might rather be, “At least I still have my job”.

It is the latter concern — when the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job — that may lead to consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, ultimately leading to the further “at least” declaration: “At least I have my Federal Disability Retirement annuity.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Horror Tales

Whether of Edgar Allan Poe’s many tales, like The Tell-Tale Heart or The Black Cat, or perhaps a taste that extends to more modern versions, of the Stephen King genre, people like to scare themselves silly, and then to be able to declare, “It was just a story”.  Whether reality reflects fiction, or that fiction can never truly recreate and mirror the sins of our own existence is a debate that will perpetually persist.

The horrors of genocidal mankind — from the Roman era of stadiums filled to capacity to witness cruelty as entertainment, to the Holocaust and Pol Pot’s mass killing fields; to the machete-wielding genocidal killings in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis; there never seems to be a lack of horror stories, whether by creative imaginations or in the reality of a universe gone berserk.

We read about them; experience nightmares of a reality so steeped in absurdity that they awaken us with a cold sweat; and some few of us have lived them, whether in wars, by being innocent bystanders, or somehow corollary victims otherwise referred to as “collateral” damage.  Each one of us walk about with horror stories; some of insignificant vintage narratives; others, of consequential victimhood to such an extent that we disbelieve our ears or refuse to listen to the whole story.

Then, there are the daily horror stories; maybe they don’t count as such and few would even bother to listen — like Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition and where the medical condition is about to end the once-promising career that has suddenly hit the “pause” button and ceases its once-ever-trajectory towards an upward trend.  Medical conditions at any age are “horror” stories that are often kept secret, stuffed in envelopes of silent lips unopened, and festering in the suffering inner minds of zombie-like peoples walking amidst the turmoil of a world gone berserk.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and need 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, the horror stories one carries about may not quite meet the plot or characters of an Edgar Allan Poe tale, or a Stephen King twist; but for the individual who must live and suffer through the process of ending one’s career and fight for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the tale of horror is nevertheless real, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law may well blunt the ending of a tale which is fated to otherwise end in a fit of screams and mayhem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Stronger/Weaker

It is a categorization at the most basic level — one that is seen daily in Nature and reflected in the human narrative of historical tides and tragedies.  The stronger dominate the weaker; the latter submits to the former, or flees in terror or dies while trying.

In modernity, the password that protects one’s technological contraption is determined for sufficiency based upon that most basic of identities: stronger or weaker.  The bully on the playground will scan the potentiality for complete dominance at the beginning of each school year, based upon the appearance of how one projects one’s self on the very first day.

Throughout the continuum of life’s encounters, no matter how much we may resist becoming pigeonholed into such simplistic bifurcations — whether of our physical stature; our creative energies; our proclivities and mannerisms, etc. — in the end, we all revert back to the foundational elements of our evolutionary ancestors and systematically deem this event or that capacity as either “stronger” or “weaker”.

We like to think that in our advanced state of civilization, such simplistic terms have become muted because of the heightened level of sophistication (i.e., thus the “revenge of the nerds”, where brain overcomes braun); but our true natures nevertheless tend to reveal themselves despite our best efforts to resist.  It is no different in the arena of “the law” than in all other categories.

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 issue of “stronger” versus “weaker” continues to dominate: One’s medical condition places one in the “weaker” position as against the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.

The Federal Agency or the Postal Facility may begin to assert its “stronger” position by a series of adverse actions initiated to establish a paper-trail leading to ultimate termination, including a “Performance Improvement Plan” (otherwise referred to by the acronym, “PIP”); and when the Federal or Postal employee takes the necessary steps in preparing, formulating and filing 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, it is important to try and gain the “stronger” advantage by enhancing, in every way possible, one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

There are few “slam-dunk” cases when it comes to a Federal Disability Retirement application.  While the applicant may “believe” his or her case cannot possibly be denied — naturally, because the applicant who tries to prepare the case on his or her own is the same person who suffers from the medical condition upon which the Federal Employee Disability Retirement application is based, and so there is lost a sense of “objectivity” as to the strength or weakness of a case — most cases must be assessed on a scale of “Stronger/Weaker”, and such an assessment is based upon the multiplicity of factors analyzed, including: Does the available and current case-law support the application?  Does the medical documentation sufficiently meet the eligibility criteria under the law?  Will the Agency’s portion of the Federal Disability Retirement application undermine the Applicant’s portion, under the law?

In the end, the law itself determines the basis of a Federal Disability Retirement case in its most basic form of whether a case is “stronger” or “weaker”, and to determine that important aspect of assessing and evaluating a case, consultation with a specialist in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a “must” in this world where nature’s disposition towards the Stronger/Weaker bifurcation continues to dominate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Losses

How many losses must one accumulate before being deemed a “loser”?

Was it just yesterday that Cal Ripken, Jr. won with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, after a mere couple of years in the minors, but with that World Series ring on his finger, would then see decades of losses mount as a result of poor decisions in trading players, acquiring “has beens” and being in the unfortunate AL East where the Yankees and the Red Sox seem always to vie for the top tier of the elect?

Can a team win a World Series one year, then go on for thirty-plus years without ever winning one again, and yet be deemed “a winner”?  Or, can one always pause, give a grin, and say, “Yeah, but we were winners in 1983!”

Does one win wipe out an avalanche of losses such that the singularity of glory negates the overwhelming statistical significance of unending disappointments?  Or, what of the person who once had a promising career, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances considered by most to be no fault of his or her own, cannot quite achieve that level of promises dreamed of but never materialized?

Do we, in our own minds, create conditions which are impossible to attain, and then deem those unreachable goals as “losses” despite the artificial nature of the criteria imposed?  Do losses mount and exponentially aggregate because failure seeks after failure, and somehow the subsequent one is a natural consequence, inevitably by inherent nature, of the previous one?

Does bad luck come in bunches because of some Law of Nature, or is it just in our imagination that it seems so?  Are much of losses artificially created — i.e., we set the proverbial “goal post” in our own minds, then miss the metaphorical field goal and become despondent over the “loss” created within our own imagination within contextual circumstances fantasized that have no connection to objective reality?

For Federal and 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, that sense of “loss” can be an admixture of both objective reality and subjective, artificial creations.

The medical condition itself is an “objective” loss; but the Agency or the Postal Service’s efforts to compound the adversarial circumstances can be created in an ad hoc manner, where there are no rules or criteria to follow except upon the whim of the supervisor or the department’s reactionary intuition.  The interruption to one’s career; the constant struggle with a chronic medical condition; of being forced to deal with deteriorating health — these are all real “losses”.

On the other hand, adversarial initiations by one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these, too, are “real” losses, though artificially created and unnecessary, in many instances.

Both must be dealt with when preparing, formulating and filing a 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 — but the fact that one must “deal with” so many “losses” does not, in the end, make one a loser.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Life’s mortgage

We all know well the concept behind it – of borrowing against the object itself, in order to “half-possess”, occupy and enjoy it presently against a future promise that it will be paid over an incremental period of time.  Sort of like life itself, or at least of one’s health.  Borrowed time; life’s mortgage; banking on a better tomorrow; relying upon a promise being kept based upon today’s favorable circumstances over a lengthy period of time well into a future we can never be certain about.

Yet, because the collateral is the object itself – normally, the house that is being mortgaged – the loaning institution actually doesn’t take any gamble at all, even if the value of the collateral plunges below the agreed-upon amount to be paid; one is still obligated, no matter what.

It is sort of like life’s challenge itself – of the promise of a promising life based upon an anticipated health that will last until the day when one is suddenly gone.  But life doesn’t always work that way, just as the mortgage, lien and promise of financial growth doesn’t quite always fold out as planned, like the scrolled blueprint that keeps trying to roll back into an obscured cylinder with each attempt to lay it flat.

Sickness occurs; health deteriorates; the 30-year mortgage that was promised at the onset of the contract signed doesn’t unfold as anticipated, and sometimes a default occurs – like the health that deteriorates and the career that must be ended.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, based upon the idea that recognizes that while a long-term commitment to a career is reasonably anticipated, there are instances where such a commitment may need to be modified in the event of failing health.  Unlike the bank’s position in a mortgage-relationship as lender-to-borrower, however, it is not quite all that one-sided.  There are options still open.

Thus, because Federal Disability Retirement requires only that a person be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position being occupied, the Federal or Postal employee is allowed to go out into the private sector and work at a job somewhat dissimilar (so long as there are “essential elements” which are not identical to the former Federal or Postal position), and make up to 80% of what the former Federal or Postal job pays currently.

For, in the end, life’s mortgage is unlike the home mortgage where the lender holds all of the proverbial cards; at least for the former, the great thing is that the reliance is upon the capacity of man’s ability, and not upon the fine print hidden within the banker’s contract.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Lawyer: Reality, perspective & medical condition

Reality is the existence of Being; perspective, the Kantian structures of how we see things; and a medical condition is that intervening, interrupting and corroding event that may render the first and second of this tripartite concept into a skewering of prospects.

Of course, a medical condition impacts the reality of a situation, especially a person’s ability, capacity and initiative towards a goal, and further, one’s perspective may become completely altered as a result of the event –priorities may change, the goals one has may be pared back, and even the enthusiasm towards certain things may become modified.  That is why a medical condition is sometimes considered a “game changer” in the reality and perspective of one’s life.

Life is full of bumps and bridges; of trespasses and rightful directions; and even of encounters with empathy, love and kindness; and though the reality of one’s situation may often appear that any perspective other than one seen through the eyes of meanness, cruelty and hardened hearts is merely a child’s dream of a fantasyland long passed and forever extinguished, there are still times of joy to look forward to, moments of smiles and days of sunshine left.

A medical condition is often a dark cloud, but a proper perspective on the reality of that darkness needs to be gathered.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees nothing but turmoil, disaster and progressive deterioration because of the medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, 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, may lend the Federal or Postal employee a different perspective on the reality of one’s situation.

No, filing an OPM Disability Retirement application will not be the answer to all of reality’s problems, but it may change one’s perspective as to the dark cloud that has gathered upon the reality of that medical condition that won’t seem to go away.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire