OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Translation & Interpretation

On a superficial level, the difference between the two is often one of merely the “medium”: Translation involves the written text, while interpretation concerns the oral conversion from one language to another.  Used in a more complex, nuanced sense, however, both can involve oral and written communication; the difference being, translation encompasses the conversion of one language into another, whether orally or in written form, whereas interpretation involves the meaning behind the words translated.

We do this with ease each and every day; of listening to voices and sounds, warnings and admonitions, directions and requests — interpreting their meaning, force, relevance and impact as we live our lives.  We may translate the body language of another into what we deem as their “meaning”; or visit a foreign country with a dictionary in hand and attempt to comprehend the words and phrases spoken all around us.

We also interpret what is being said — of the content of the collective words and phrases jettisoned from mouths flapping words and emitting sounds, and how we interpret what we hear can make a difference in what we do, how we react and why we engage in the acts we embrace.  Law is an interpretive process, as well as a procedure involving translation.  It is a different kind of a language game involving statutes, case-laws and precedents that must undergo the complex translation and interpretation process.

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 is important to consult with a FERS Disability Retirement Attorney who specializes in the translation and interpretation of Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law.

Don’t be left lost in the “foreign country” of Federal Disability Retirement Law and its complex administrative processes without consulting a “dictionary” of terms and legal phrases.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Case Development

Are all cases at the same stage of the process?  Isn’t this the same question as: Are all people at the parallel stage of maturity?

As life reflects reality in varying aspects of their sliced proportions, so every case is not at the same stage of the process.  Many Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers find themselves at a critical juncture in their careers, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits has become a necessity and a step which can no longer be delayed.

Is every case ready for filing?  Likely not.  Should every case be filed, ready or not?  Only if the Statute of Limitations looms and necessitates it.  Is there anything nefarious in “developing” a case?  No.  However, there can be a slight distinction, subtle as it may be, in engaging a trail of medical documentation expressly for the singular purpose of establishing a Federal Disability Retirement claim, as opposed to doing it in order to seek medical attention.

Taking care of one’s medical condition, going to doctor’s appointments and establishing a consistency of compliance with a treatment regimen — these should all, first and foremost, be engaged in with the primary purpose of obtaining the proper medical care.

From that consistency of care, case development will follow; and for Federal and Postal employees seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, the proper time for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will come naturally as the case develops, which often needs the guidance and counsel of a FERS attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Night wanderings

Ever open your eyes in the middle of the night and, instead of falling quickly back to sleep, allow for the eyes to wander across the silent room where others are still and asleep — the dog on the floor (or perhaps curled at the foot of the bed where human warmth has gathered for the pure comfort serving the creature) and the partner beside; the quiet glow of the digital numbers in bold red reflection; the pictures on the walls — though you “know” what they depict, the shadows hide them, and yet you believe you “see” them because familiarity arouses the imagination even in darkness; and the squeezing sense of silence so overpowering that you wonder about the universe at large and who, like yourself, is awakened by silence itself?

It is in those moments that, just before the panic of realization sets in that tomorrow is just a few hours away, we realize that mortality is a condition we must face; that the child’s imagination cannot revisit yesterday’s remorse; and the saddest of all truisms: For the most part, this is a cruel and uncaring universe.  Where do such thoughts originate?  Is it just the dream-world when sleep battles with sanity and one’s night wanderings will not suppress the bustle of the day’s meanderings?

Perhaps clarity comes in the wake of slumber’s twilight; whatever the phenomenon, night wanderings bring one into the netherworld of the “in-between”, where reality is not quite recognized and a dream is not ever fulfilled.  That is the type of experience that the Federal and Postal worker experiences when confronted with a medical condition that impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position: not quite in the reality of the world’s harshness, not yet tested by the Agency’s or Postal Service’s full force of cruelty and uncaring.

Will they put me on a PIP?  Will they require a “Fitness for Duty” evaluation?  What happens when my FMLA is exhausted?  Will the agency just cut me off?

It becomes clear at some point that the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not there as a friend or colleague looking out for your bests interests, and that you must initiate the process of looking out for yourself by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Those night wanderings often have the advantage of giving clarity to a reality beset with the quietude of pure silence, but then morning arrives and the clash of the day’s reality awakens within us the cruelty of the world around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Art of the Story

There is the subject itself, and then there is the art of the subject thus identified.  At some point in every civilization, the academic study of a subject becomes pedantically necessary, and a “cottage” industry developed.

Once upon a time, the “story” was an important and inseparable component of a culture; the storyteller was the keeper of the village’s identity, the protector of its essence where mythology and folklore provided meaning, relevance and its self-knowledge of who one was, where one came from, and what the whole purpose of existence meant.  Without The Story, people wandered off despondent, lost, and without a teleological force to hold the unit of peoples together within a coherent whole.

Then, writing came along and as the technological tools of the craft disseminated to other and wider cultural arenas, the shared ideas and adventures of each culture became better known, and assimilated by each over and within others.  The “Art” of the story became the study of it — of what constituted an effective story; what made people laugh, cry, and the erudite articles that explained that which was once obvious and self-evident.  Categorization and specialization soon follows; whether as it becomes more sophisticated or intellectually advanced as a reflection of it, or merely because complexity follows upon a self-satisfaction of what we deem as “progress”, who will ever know?

The “Art” of the story somehow came into being — of the study of a once human need began around a campfire where a village told of its origins, now relegated to the halls of academic “science” where dissection, analysis and discussions ensue.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a “story” about a medical condition that is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the Art of the Story becomes a necessary form of application, because SF 3112A —Applicant’s Statement of Disability — requires not only the telling of one’s story about the medical condition, the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform one’s job duties, and how it has dominated all aspects of one’s professional and personal life, but beyond: it must comply with and meet the legal eligibility criteria by a preponderance of the evidence, thus forcing the Federal and Postal employee to go beyond the story itself, and to be fully aware that the Art of the Story has more to do with the proper and effective presentation of it, than the story itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: This upside down world

How many whistleblowers would do it all over again?  How many regrets does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  The answer: Few as to the first question, and at least a dozen in response to the second.  For, as to the second query, while one person engages in the mechanical act of lighting up the room, it takes all of the others to fail to assuage the regrets of a person who has tried to do the rights thing, and has lived to suffer the consequences.

We grow up being taught all sorts of empty adages — how “truth reveals all”, or that “justice prevails in the end”; and though the old hero of simplicity has now been replaced by more “complex” characters of mixed good/bad/neutral, still the naïveté of childhood upbringings tend to haunt beyond the loss of innocence delayed.

This is an upside down world where the clear-cut demarcations that once were inviolable have now become obscured, and where leaders can argue with a straight face any and all positions, whether self-contradictory, hypocritical or just plain nonsense, and can get away with it without any regrets or loss of sleep.  Perhaps it has always been like that and we just didn’t realize it.  The wealthy have always been able to get away with more; the powerful, without much consequences; and when the combination of wealth and power become aggregated, there is little to impose any checks and balances that might have tempered the onslaught of injustice.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the fact that we live in an upside down world becomes exponentially the case because of the medical condition itself.

Progressive deterioration and chronic debilitation are often the rule of a medical condition, and just to survive another day without pain, without emotional or mental anguish — these are the hallmarks of needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The world is about as topsy-turvy as it can get; but when the private world of one’s health begins to deteriorate, that upside down world becomes a tumultuous maze of a conundrum wrapped within an insanity that cannot be escaped from, and that is when you know that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity in a universe that requires some wisdom, and turning to the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement is often the first step in providing a balanced perspective within this upside down world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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 position, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: The running of days

How does it happen?  Where did it all go?

One day, you are a young man or woman, full of promises and hopes, dreams that defy any limitation or restriction of potentiality yet to be unleashed; and the next, an old man or woman, rocking back and forth, awaiting the grim reaper with its scythe and faceless chasm of darkness and despair.  In between, of course, there is a memory – of a blur, a constant rush from this activity to that, of emergencies, turmoil and tumults, of the proverbial peaks and valleys; in short, it is called “living life”.

It is the running of days, one upon the other, one mixed into the two, then weeks, months and years, and finally decades that turn into a half-century.  Was it all worth it?  Did we stop and perform that salient act that became so popular during the 60s – of stopping to “smell the roses”?  And if we did not, what wisdom was gleaned from the lack thereof, the absence of pause, the semicolon of interludes?

Or, did we follow upon the admonishment stated in that 1974 folk song by Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, where all we did was to teach our kids to be “just like me” and roam the universe in search of meaningless trope and allowing for the running of days to overtake us?

Or is it simply that our memories fail to serve us, and there were many days and some months where enjoyment, relationships and meaningful engagements were in fact embraced, but that the living of life often erases, smears and obscures such that our recollection is so cluttered with valuable connections and so consumed with overflowing “moments” that we just cannot even contain them anymore?

The running of days is ultimately just a metaphor, like running water and leaks that just keep on; but it is one that sometimes needs fixing, and it is the repair work that often cannot be performed within a lifetime of such disrepair.  Regrets hit us all, but the greatest one that never seems to close the wounds of time is that one where time was wasted upon frivolous acts of unrepentant entanglements.

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, the other proverbial saying is that one which refers to “spinning one’s wheels”, and yet knowing that no good will come out of staying put.

Preparing 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, may be the only solution left to a career that has come to a standstill.

Medical conditions tend to trigger a running of days – where the chronic pain or the illness extended seems to make no difference or distinction whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, and the only way out of such a mirage of misgivings is to “move on”; and as filing an OPM Disability Retirement is often the best and only option that can accomplish that, given the timeframe that it now takes to get an approval at any stage of the bureaucratic process, it is probably a good idea to file sooner than later in order to get ahead of the running of days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire