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

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The last Edwardian

What does it mean to be an “Edwardian”?  The reign of Edward VII was brief, but its influence is often extended to periods both before and long after in an aggregation of understanding “trends” that were noted, and often idealized.

It is a period of little interest to most Americans, except perhaps when there is some vague reference during a period of a royal scandal or a royal wedding that somehow touches the fancy across the great ocean that divides.  And despite our English “roots”, scant attention is paid to the history of England in either schoolbooks or offered curricula, except in referring to those dastardly “redcoats” who quartered themselves uninvited and had the audacity to tax its colonies without proper representation in Parliament.  Or so the memory of one’s childhood history lessons are recalled.

That period — whether one extends it some decades before, or well into the “Roaring Twenties” — actually lasted only from 1901 – 1910, but left a romanticized memory of lazy summer days, prosperity, greater involvement of women and the “common man” into the political arena, and came to symbolize the dawn of the “modern era”.  Whether such an idealized recollection actually reflected any reality of the era is open to debate.  But, then, that is what we cling to when situations worsen, isn’t it — of an idealized “before” in contrast to the stark gloom of “after”?

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, that desperate “clinging on” to one’s job may in part be attributable to the need to be that last Edwardian — of a “before” (before the onset of the medical condition) when life seemed more rewarding, when pain, discomfort or overwhelming anxiety was not only unthought of, but never occurred as an issue of consideration — who “after” the onset of the medical condition can now only recall the romantic period that once was.

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, may not solve every problem that besets the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer consistently get to work and accomplish all that is required by the position; but it does allow the Federal or Postal employee to prioritize and focus more upon the reality of one’s current situation — one’s health — and not become entrapped in trying to be that last Edwardian.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Complexity to Defeat

Simplicity of former times is what we all seek; in the end, it is never as “good” as we all like to make-believe it was, and never as “bad” as we may feel at the moment.  But within a world which sees technology advancing not in incremental, thoughtful stages of periodic progress, but in exponential warp-speed unseen in the epochal movements of past generations, it is difficult to keep pace with the dizzying speed of innovation.  And that’s just in trying to choose a lightbulb at the local grocery store.

For must of us, the complexity which confronts and challenges are those within.  The viewpoints we bring; the skewed thought-processes from the baggages of childhood; and the enmity we harbor in secret compartments of resentment and shame.  Further, what exacerbates and complicates, is a medical condition, whether physical or psychiatric, and too often an intersection of both feeding one upon another.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood, the ability to even go into work, and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the complexity to defeat is the very same one that haunts and hinders from the residues of self-doubt:  making wrong choices when the right ones will save.  Hesitation; fear; anxiety and angst from not seeing clearly an unknown future; these will all continue to magnify beyond the panic of sleepless nights.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an “easy” engagement; in fact, it is merely one more complexity of life.  But the bureaucracy will always be there; the procedures, methodologies and sheer volume of substantive and procedural hurdles will always remain like an obstacle unmovable likened to Aristotle’s proverbial Unmoved Mover.

In the end, taking that significant step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be determined not by fate or misfortune, but in recognizing that the complexity to defeat remains hidden within our very souls, to be identified, tackled and wrestled with, in order to move on with our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Other Side of Work

The entanglement of work with value and worth is an inescapable aggregate of custom, upbringing, time spent, and the egoism of leaving some indelible mark upon an otherwise implacable universe.  Where work resulted in income, and income the cumulative wealth of a lifetime, the driving force behind it never mandated the fury of necessity.  Of course work has always been tied to livelihood; that is a given.  But when the doors for credit, mortgages exponentially exceeding an imbalance beyond capacity to repay, and the idea became accepted that luxury need not be left for tomorrow, the slavery of bonding work to worth became an unworthy concept.

Then, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the fear and trembling for future needs begins to encroach.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition is having an effect upon one’s performance of work, the reality of potential alternatives must be faced, and quite quickly, lest the other side of work, like this side of paradise, leaves one with neither work nor income, but a bleak future without either.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will take time to develop, submit, and wait upon in order to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is a complex bureaucratic process with multiple administrative facets.  The reality of needing to file, however, should never be confused with the bundled confusion one has concerning worth, work, and the value of one’s contribution to society.  It is the medical condition itself, and attending to the symptoms and effects of that which one never expected, asked for, nor desired, that must be focused upon .

Some things in life are, indeed, worth of greater value than work, and the value placed upon the other side of work will determine the course of one’s future, whether of joy and love, or of further puzzlement beyond the imprint of time spent without one’s family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire