FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The messes we make

We observe the facade and conclude too quickly: Others live perfect lives; mine?  What a mess it is.

Have we evaluated all circumstances in an objective, rational fashion?  Isn’t the corollary and natural next question to be: That “other” person — what does he or she see when observing me?  Does the same conclusion follow: The facade which reveals calm and competence — It is a life nearer to perfection than my own; mine?

And so the cycle of discordant irrationality continues to feed upon itself.  And, of course, the Internet only further enhances and exacerbates such folly — of Facebook and Instagram, where “perfect” lives are lived in a 1-dimensional existence; of selectively chosen photographs of perfect couples, perfect meals, perfect vacations and perfect existences are somehow depicted in appearances of perfect lives.  Then, the truth somehow leaks out — this person just got a divorce; that person committed a crime; the other “perfect” person was publicly doing this or that, etc.

It is funny, that phrase — of truth “leaking” out, like a cracked glass that slowly seeps with agonizing revelations or a pipe that drips until the flooded basement overflows with a deluge of falsity.

The messes we make are often mere minor anomalies; they become messes when we try and contain them, hide them and act as if ours is the only mess in the world because comparing messes never reveals anything; everyone hides well their own messes; we just think that everyone else is perfect.

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 messes we make are often a result of failing to act.  The Agency is no fool — they see the excessive use of SL and request for LWOP; or the loss of performance acceptability; or the loss of attendance continuity, etc.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is not an admission of the messes we make; it is, instead, the truth behind the reality of the medical condition, and the real need to attend to one’s health, which should never be concealed, but openly acknowledged in order to move beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: Who we are

The “I”, of course, always dominates; but the two cannot be separated, for they are inevitably interlinked and intertwined in the consciousness of our collective selves.  And so the “we” is subsumed by the “I”, and the “I” cannot effectively be distinguished from the “we”.  Who we are is inextricably aggregated with who I am; who I am is a product of who we are.

That is why the loner is distrusted in society; the maverick who does things his or her own way is a threat — unless that loner accomplishes something in life so irrefutably magnificent that we cannot but embrace him or her as the paradigm of a virtue we wished we had first thought of.  Whether by burning jealousy or with disdainful pride, we then go on and watch to see if that loner will not self-destruct, then relish the thought that, all along, we were right in predicting that the outlander was the scum of the earth, anyway.

Who we are — we want always to be able to distinguish ourselves from the pack, separate one’s self from the fold and glow in the spotlight away from the herd; and so we lose ourselves in the soliloquy of our inner worlds where the universe of the self-conscious “I” can imagine of heights and pinnacles that others will never see.  That is why virtual reality is so infectious; why the perfection reflected in Instagram photos and Facebook postings is so insidious; for, though we give lip-service to the proverbial “village” or wanting to belong to a certain cohesive society, we reservedly display all of the characteristics of desiring out.

It is, in the end, the “forced out” that is most intolerable, and 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, it is when harassment by the herd, antagonism originating from one’s Agency or the Postal unit, and workplace hostility initiated by one’s coworkers and supervisors — it is then that the necessity arises to bifurcate and differentiate by preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, it is no longer a matter of “who we are” — because you are no longer one of the “team” because of your medical condition.  Instead, it is who “I” am — to look after your own best interests, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and consulting with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Presumptuous Act

What would we say about a person who, having bought a lottery ticket, goes out and spends lavishly, quits his job and becomes indebted far beyond his means — all prior to the day when the “winning numbers” are declared?  We would consider that he or she is: Crazy; irresponsible; or, perhaps, has some “insider knowledge” that we are not privy to.

Most acts lack a presumptuous intent; many, merely of thoughtless motivations; and rarely but some, of such egregiously bold-faced assault upon common decency that we disbelieve and attempt to substitute some rationally-based justification to explain away the presumptuousness of such an act.  Would our opinion of such a person — the one who buys a lottery ticket, then quits his or her job and proceeds to spend lavishly while abandoning all “reasonable” displays of conventional wisdom — change if additional facts were to be posited?

How about: The doctor has given him 30 days to live, and when we ask the person about the lottery ticket, the response is: “Oh, I don’t expect to win; it is just a metaphor for my life’s prognosis”.  Would such a response change our opinion; for, no longer is the person “crazy”; perhaps somewhat “irresponsible” in that the debts left behind will still have to be paid by someone; but yes, we would likely lean towards the third option in our thought processes: that the “insider knowledge” was the very private knowledge held close to his or her heart: Mortality suddenly betrays careful living, and abandonment of conventional lifestyles is a natural consequence of having nothing left to lose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer a similar (but perhaps not quite as devastating a scenario) situation like that of the hypothetical individual noted above, the “presumptuous act” that others may deem so may not be so outlandish as one may first assume.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not quite like the example above, but often, some see it as such; for, to “give up” a well-paying job, a reliable career or a secure position in the Federal System is certainly a drastic situation; and the alternative may not allow for much of a choice: To remain and suffer, and continue to deteriorate until one’s body or emotional state has been so damaged as to suffer through life for the rest of one’s allotted time on earth; to ignore that is indeed the height of presumptuousness — of taking things for granted.

Health should be a priority, and preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not a presumptuous act; rather, its opposite is what presumes too much — that your health will continue to withstand the deteriorating condition that you have all along experienced for these many years.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Confidence and Self

When attached to someone other than a “self”, the issue can always allow for suspicion of absence; for, just as we can never fully know someone else, no matter how long we have been acquainted, how many decades married, and how well we have queried, interrogated or otherwise cross-examined, so the capacity of mystery may still remain that surprises us on the other’s deathbed.

What if you were married to someone for half a decade, and every Thursday during the entire blissful state of matrimonial embrace, the significant other went out to purportedly play bridge, or for a “night with friends”, or some other innocent activity encouraged and tolerated (if only because it gave you a break from the daily routine and monotony as well); and, on a twilight’s confession before departing this world, you learned that through all of those years, those many decades and countless hours of being left out, left behind or otherwise excluded, you learn that instead it was for another reason?  Would the reason itself make a difference?

Say, for instance, it was in order to see a therapist each week – would that then result in a question of confidence – whether about one’s own adequacy in supporting the loved one, or concerning the other who felt the need not only to seek help, but moreover, to keep it hidden all of these years?  Or, change the hypothetical for a moment, and instead posit that an “affair” had been ongoing for decades – would that shatter the confidence of fidelity one had in the other, or perhaps in one’s self as to an ability to “know” the world about, and come to be shaken to the core such that you could no longer believe in anyone, anything or any story, including the narrative of one’s own life that always previously appeared to be “happy” by all or most accounts?

Confidence is a fragile entity; a characteristic of the soul that takes but a minor injury to suddenly catapult into a traumatic event; and the “self” is always a mystery that the “other” can never quite grasp, no matter how many decades of study and analysis.

That is why a medical condition is so often an insidious invader and purveyor of shaken confidence, because the equation of physical or psychological derailment works upon an already fragile essence of the human self.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Postal Service or the Federal Agency because of a medical condition that intervenes and interrupts, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often intimately interconnected with issues of self, confidence, and the compound of the two – self-confidence.

It may be that the actions of the Federal agency or Postal facility have completely shattered and shaken one’s self-confidence; or, that confidences previously protected and privacy once thought to be inviolable have been breached; whatever the reasons, a medical condition will often invade the core of a self in doubt, and the confidence of one’s self may need to be repaired by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The Life of Clichés

Use of cliches allows for minimal effort of expression; the very loss of originality, of benefit derived from utterances overused but generally understood, and the utter dependence upon past acceptance of declarative thoughts without needing to consider the applicability of the conceptual connotation — these allow for laziness to wander throughout a thoughtless platitude.

The aggregate of a linguistic universe, however, is one thing; to live a life of cliches beyond merely stating the obvious, is to embrace, engage and ultimate believe in them.  “Life’s lottery has left me bankrupt”; “This is merely the quiet before the storm“; “All is fair in love and war”; “The writing is on the wall”; and as the heuristic methodology is forever forsaken, the thoughts one expresses become molded into the very character of one’s life and manner of living, with the consequential quietude of a static and emotionless construct, leading ultimately to a negation of that which defines what it means to be human.

The automaton of life’s requirements tend to beat down the creativity we are born with; as we were once “diamonds in the rough”, so the long journey of difficulties faced throughout the trials of daily toil, incrementally and insidiously wear upon us, until one day we look in the mirror and the reflection reveals eyes which stare back in a vacuum of human suffering not known in those days of former innocence.

Once, we laughed in the company of our siblings as the ocean waves rolled over the fragile sand castles we built without fear of impending doom, and not knowing was a vanguard of happiness, where delight in one another was yet unconsumed by the worries of economic turmoil and complexity of adulthood; until we somehow “grew up”, lost our sense of direction and compass of fortitude, and slowly allowed the heavy atmosphere of fear, trepidation and anxieties of living overwhelm us.  We became a walking cliche.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must face the reality of such a situation, especially when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes more and more of an urgent requirement.  Working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is in and of itself a challenge; what with the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and insistence upon squeezing blood out of a stone (there we go again), it becomes all the more unbearable when a medical condition is introduced into the equation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may sometimes seem like waving the proverbial white flag of surrender; but, often, that is the only alternative left, unless the Federal or Postal employee wants to become the modern-day version of a walking zombie, devoid of any real life left to live.

Ultimately, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether submitted first through one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for those Federal or Postal employees not yet separated from service, or not for more than 31 days), and it is often a daunting administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls.  But the alternative is to merely live a life of cliches, where you must never lose track of time, and filing in the nick of time is important, lest you fail to be as clever as a fox, but hopefully, where all is well that ends well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire