OPM Disability Retirement: Stress and the Harassment Factor

Stress is a reality which has become a normal aspect of everyday living.  The more stress we feel, the greater interpretation of outside actions as harassment; and thus does the vicious cycle begin.  Life is stressful enough.  When another ingredient is added — like a medical condition that weakens one’s body and mind — the tolerance for stress becomes reduced and the capacity to keep things in its proper perspective becomes impossible to manage.  Stress always seems to come in bunches, doesn’t it?

When you are dealing with a medical condition, everything and everyone you interact with becomes a stressful encounter.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job, the stress of dealing with the medical condition itself is more than enough.

Add to it, your agency or the postal facility will inevitably begin to pressure you to return to work, to file this or that request, to follow their “procedures”, etc.  Whether such actions are objectively considered “harassment” or not is beside the point; you, as the Federal or Postal employee, are dealing with enough factors without having to deal with the harassment factor.

Contact an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of reducing your stress levels by initiating a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Perfect Case

If planning leads to perfection, does it necessarily follow that lack of planning renders its opposite?

There are rarely perfect cases in a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Most people do not go to their doctors with the predetermined view of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and most doctors (other than those specializing in providing disability assessments, evaluations, etc.) are there to treat their patients in hopes of ameliorating the underlying medical condition.

If “planning” is what makes for perfection, then lack of planning — in other words, just “living life” — makes for the imperfect case, and that is where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management pounces upon and attempts to characterize such imperfections as a valid basis for denying a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Thus, it is important for a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker to consult with a Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer once you begin thinking about the future need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  For, while there may never be a “perfect case”, some amount of thoughtful planning prior to submitting an OPM Disability Retirement application is necessary in order to get as close to perfection as possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Meaning of Incompatibility

We hear the word often — used in conjunction with “irreconcilable differences” (in a divorce proceeding), or perhaps in an electrical engineering context where voltages and circuitry are “incompatible” with this or that mainframe, or some similar language game involving technical issues which don’t work well together.

It is a peculiar word; stated in a certain way or tone of voice, it is a declaration of finality, as in, “Nope!  These two [blanks] are incompatible!”  And ascribed to human beings?  How about: “Jane and Joe were married for 20 years.  They have separated and are going to get a divorce because they are no longer compatible”.  Does the phrase, “no longer compatible” mean the same thing as being “incompatible”?  Can two people, like two components of some mechanical processes, become “incompatible” when previously they were not?  Are people like widgets where parts can be irreplaceable in one instance, but are no longer so in the next?

It is, as well, a legal term.  In the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law, incompatibility is the “fourth” criteria that can be met if the first three (deficiency in performance, conduct or attendance) cannot be satisfied in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Some medical conditions cannot so easily be described in terms of a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal job that cannot be met.

In their aggregate and totality, the compendium of medical conditions may have come to a critical juncture where they are no longer compatible (i.e., incompatible) with continuation or retention in the Federal Service, and that is when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a necessary function of one’s future goals and plans.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Finishing a Novel

There is a great sense of accomplishment in finishing a novel, just as there is in completing any task or endeavor begun and ended.  Reading is a peculiar and unique endeavor: Of being able to become transported into a fantasy world created for no other reason than to become lost.  You can travel to other countries, become a part of a stranger’s life, or enter into a universe where time matters not, space is of little value and worlds can be quite different from the one you are familiar with.

Reality can jolt you out of the imagination of your mind created by the mere reading of a couple of pages, and then after the chore is done, you can pick right back where you left off, by picking back up the novel left — and upon rereading that sentence you had left behind, get right back into the world of the author’s tale.

Compared to the actual cost of a plane ticket, hotel and expenses, reading a novel which takes place in a country of your choice is relatively inexpensive.  The novels we read tell much about the person we are, just like the novels we create reflect the lives we live.  And just as in fictional storytelling, there is much in real life that we cannot control — one’s health being one of those circumstances over which we have little, if any at all.

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 may be time to finish that “novel” which tells of a story of struggle and despair, and to begin a new one beyond a career with the Federal workforce.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and write the ending to your own novel — one that finishes with a theme different from the harassment at the hands of an agency or Postal unit that cares not for happy endings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for FERS Employees: Envy

It is tantamount to jealousy; perhaps its neighbor, cousin, sister or husband; and both reside in the shadows of unuttered emotions, festering by maintaining an outward appearance of calm and implacable smiles while all the while eating away beneath the surface.  It can be applied as either a noun or a verb; but in either grammatical form, it retains the character of an ugly relational cauldron of discontent.

Perhaps it is directed towards possessions; or of someone else’s good luck, greater popularity or ease of living.  The questions which sprout from envy are many and varied: Why me and not the other person?  Why does X have it better than I do?  Why does everyone think that Y is so much better?

We are rarely satisfied with our lot in life, and this crazy universe promotes envy, jealousy, comparisons and disunity, for it is all about the “I” and the “Me” — it is not a community of shared interests, but the closest we know of Rousseau’s “State of Nature” where each is on his or her own and the battle is to destroy one another.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where that medical condition impacts your ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of your job,”envy” is often not towards someone else, but of a previous life, the prior person and the former self — for that time when health was taken for granted and the capacity to do everyday, “normal” things was never given a second thought.

Such envy is not the same as the envy felt towards others; for, it is neither ugly nor unutterable, but a natural yearning for something which once was and perhaps still could be.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may not be the solution to solving that special sense of envy, but it at least allows for a foundational annuity such that you can focus your attention back to your health and begin the road towards regaining that sense of self where envy is not of what you once were, but of what you can still become.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire