FERS Disability Retirement: The Performance Appraisal

It is the system that we have created, a monster which cannot be slain, and the machine that cannot be turned off.  We learn it from an early age — good grades are the foundation for a successful future, and if a teacher has the audacity to give you a lesser grade than what you believe you deserve, call that teacher — harass him or her; file a complaint; heck, file a lawsuit.

In the Federal employment system, performance reviews are often given out like candies — and such reviews can come back to make it appear as if there is nothing wrong.  Managers and supervisors are reluctant to give a “less than fully successful” rating, lest a grievance be filed or a headache ensues; but for the person whose performance has been suffering because of a medical condition which has begun to impact a person’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the reflection upon the record when a Federal Disability Retirement application has been filed may have to be dealt with.

The Office of Personnel Management tends to rely heavily — and unfairly — upon performance appraisals, but there is another legal standard which can be applied — that of incompatibility between one’s medical conditions and the positional elements of one’s job.

Consult with a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Medical Retirement Law and discuss the impact of one’s performance appraisal within the complex administrative procedure of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Accommodations

In everyday, common and familiar usage, what does the word “accommodations” mean?  It is to go out of one’s way in order to meet the needs of someone else.  It is to try and allow for another person to fit in, to find comfort or to be allowed to remain even though some extra effort may have to be expended.

In legal terms, especially in Federal Disability Retirement Law under FERS, the term “accommodations” has a similar meaning and import.  It is that “something” which the Federal Agency or the Postal unit must do such that a person who suffers from a medical condition or disability can continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  It may well be that the Federal Agency or Postal Service is unable to accommodate the medical condition and, try as they might, a determination and conclusion is made that no such accommodations exist, or can be allowed for, because of the nature, extent and severity of the medical condition itself.

The “accommodation” question is one of the hurdles that must be overcome in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is a complexity in Federal Disability Retirement Law that poses many problems and greater questions.  Is the accommodation permanent or temporary?  Will it allow for the Federal or Postal worker to perform the essential elements of his or her position?  Can a future supervisor “take back” the modification allowed for, or does it become a permanent feature of the position description?

These and many other questions surround the issue of agency efforts for reassignment and accommodations, and in order to obtain clarification and move forward in a Federal Disability Retirement application, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Applying for FERS Disability Retirement: Thinking Alone

It is, for the most part, a solitary act.  Yes, yes — there are “asides” and soliloquies that allow for intermingling of thought and statements propounded; but it is the insularity of the act, the privacy of the moment and the continuum of confined deliberation that makes for thinking to be an “alone” activity.

Thus is it a tautology to place the two words side by side: “Thinking” and “Alone”; for, to think is almost always to do it alone, and when one is alone, there is often nothing else to do but to engage in the act of thinking (although, one might quip, looking at most people with their vacant stares, one might substantively dispute such an assumption).

There are, of course, attempts at changing human nature:  Of group therapy; of collectivization of “brain-storming”; and of communal gatherings in order to think out-loud the cooperative interests of intermingling thought-processes; but nevertheless, by and large, thinking alone is an activity of solitary insularity, like Shakespeare’s characters reflecting upon one’s fate and future.

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, thinking alone may not be the best course of action. Consult with a Federal Disability Retirement Attorney in coming to a decision concerning one’s best course of action.

For, while the activity of “thinking” may be one that is normally performed “alone”, it is always important to remember that the process of gathering the relevant information in order to do that very activity of “thinking” should never be “alone”, but should include sound advice and counsel from an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Beyond the apex

Few of us want to think of ourselves as past that point.  For, the “apex” is the top of it all; it is the place which is reached, and then there follows a downward trajectory such that what had been reached cannot be repeated; and from there forward, there are only memories, regrets, and echoes of past glories stated in hollow monotones that betray and failures of lives lived.

Mountain climbers persist in reaching new ones; it is the ever-pervasive “high” of the challenge faced, to be able to conquer new heights and reach for cliff faces never before overcome.  To try and reach the apex is to constantly grow; to have reached the apex, a completed task; and to have gone beyond the apex — the direction can only be of degradation in comparison to what was before.

We — none of us — want to think of our lives as in the past, or of slow and steady deterioration.  While our bodies become decrepit, we cling to an image of ourselves as being…25, 30, perhaps a little older?  Or even of immortality do we embrace; and of trading in secret pacts in order to retain our youth. Medical conditions tend to be reminders that the apex has been reached and we are on a journey beyond — though we often fail to realize that the “beyond” can be just as rewarding as the climb before.

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 will often “feel” as if such a move means that you are now beyond the apex — a “has been”, a “failure”, a person who is no longer a member of “the team”, etc.

Yet — though your Federal career or Postal job may become something in the past, beyond the apex should be seen not as the end of something, but the beginning of the next phase of your life.  Yes, beyond the apex is often a frightening thought, but it is also an opportunity to refocus and reorient your life upon the priorities that matter: Health, relationships, and what all of those politicians say when they leave office: In order to spend more time with my family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Preparing for the unknown

How does one prepare for the unknown?  If the very basis of preparation is to prepare for something, how can you then engage in that activity if X is an anomaly, a conundrum, a mystery yet to be uncovered and revealed such that the prior stage of preparing for it can be accomplished?  Is there a necessity for the pre-preparation stage?  Does one have to prepare in order to prepare to perform the actual act of engaging the substance of that which must be prepared for?

Certainly, learning about a subject — reading, researching, analyzing and evaluating — prior to performing acts which constitute “preparation” is an important component, but how many people have time to do such things?

Nowadays, if a person is asked whether they can “do X”, we just whip out our Smartphone, Google it and watch a You-Tube video and declare, “Yeah, I can do that.”  Is that what self-appointed lawyers do, these days — winging it by quickly reading some summarization of an article, then head into court and stand before a judge and make motions, argue cases, etc.?

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, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may well become a necessity.

It is the “preparing” part of the entire process which may be the lynchpin of success or failure.  Yes, you can read various articles (including this writer’s many pointers, legal articles and the like), but always understand that each case is unique — as is yours — and legal guidance based upon the individual circumstances of a particular case is very important in preparing for the unknown.

The “unknown” is the Federal Disability Retirement process, the administrative venue and the bureaucratic morass that encompasses the entirety of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and while no lawyer should contend that he or she knows “everything” about a subject, an experienced lawyer can certainly provide for valuable “pre-preparation”, as well as the preparation and the substantive work on formulating and finalizing that which is yet unknown, but ready to be revealed, uncovered, and refined into a Federal Disability Retirement application that stands a good chance of challenging the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Conditions of Necessity

What are the conditions that make for necessity?  At what point do we judge that an action, a set of utterances or a demand of this or that is “necessary’?  What constitutes the conditions for necessity and are they different for different people?

In other words, is there a tolerance level for Person-X that is distinguishable and qualitatively identifiable than from Individual-Y, such that what creates a condition for necessity for X may make for a yawning indifference for Y?  Do some marriages last longer — in accordance with the vows of fidelity and honoring — because of tolerance by one spouse or the other?  Are there criteria and principles that override, somewhat like what George Harrison’s wife once said in an interview that the key to a long marriage is “not getting a divorce” — meaning, no matter the extent of infidelities or breach of marital vows, if you simply tolerate all such violations, then the conditions of necessity will never arise?

Is that what happens to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to remain silent, slowly dying a quiet death because of a medical condition that few know about, fewer still would even notice, and almost no one cares a twit about?  Do they continue to kill themselves quietly, pushing themselves through the pain and agony of a medical condition, and denying that the conditions of necessity have risen to a level where tolerance isn’t even a question, anymore?

Conditions of necessity — at what point do they rise to a level where it becomes unavoidable that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits has been reached and tolerating the symptoms of one’s medical conditions is no longer endurable?

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a long and complex administrative process, and when the conditions for necessity arise to a level where it becomes critical, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the conditions of necessity become further complicated such that the bureaucratic morass of a Federal OPM Disability Retirement application becomes further entrenched in the intolerable conditions of necessity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: How is it?

How is it that the world became the way it is without our knowing it?  How is it that the rules were already in place, the lands already divided, the waters already polluted, the debt already ballooning, the inventions already made — how did that come about, and who told us the history of the “what”, “when” and “where” of the past?  Can a society long endure while ignoring the past of how it developed and came into being?  And who gets to tell the tale of who we are, how we came to be, and why we are the way we are?

Berkeley’s epistemological approach was to confine knowledge to that which we can perceive, thereby attempting to limit the problems inherent in Being, Truth and Reality.  Like so many of the British Empiricists, philosophy was being reduced to mere “language” difficulties and, indeed, history itself may bear out their “rightness” in this question and problematic approach.  There is, of course, a quiet revolution going on about our past, our history, and the telling of who we are.  That is always a good thing, so long as “Truth” is the end-goal of such an endeavor.

But when Truth itself has become relativized as mere language games malleable in the hands for greater artificial intelligence, and where algorithms rule instead of human input which confines it within stated ethical boundaries (and even that is questionable, given the underlying motives and intent of human beings generally), then perhaps Wittgenstein was right after all; it is all a matter of who sees the “truth”, who gets to “tell” it, and who maintains the Tower of Babel in this universe of increasingly unfettered liberty.

In the end, the “how” of the world will forever be revised as perspectives, opinions and viewpoints change; but it is the “who” that controls the lifestream of information and historical data as to what is important; and in this Orwellian world where the glut of information has relativized all truths, we care less about the “how” than the “who”, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition now impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position, the history — or the “how — is important in preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability as posited on SF 3112A.  However, remember that all historical contexts must be provided in streamlined form; for, causality is not an issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application (whereas, in OWCP cases, it almost always is), and thus undue focus upon the “how” can detract from an effective Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A.

The world around us may be concerned with the “How” of a question; for an OPM Disability Retirement case, it is the more current “what” that is the necessary focus of articulation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire