Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Present who of past what

It is a peculiarly human endeavor: of looking at a photograph (yes, digital nowadays, no doubt), and trying to discern from a present who what the one-dimensional picture says about what we were doing some years past, or maybe a few weeks or even yesterday.  It is the present “who” of one’s identity, trying to extract meaningfulness from a singular snapshot of an emotional freeze, whether of self-conscious “cheese!” declared knowing that the picture was being taken, or of a cold stare that locks out the soul’s essence of what we actually felt, and trying to extrapolate within a 3-dimensional universe the foundation of what had occurred.

We all play that peculiar game, do we not — of standing in the present by the very being of who we identify as ourselves and looking at a photograph of someone whom we can identify as the “I” in the image before us, and then remembering, with the contextual history hidden within, of the past what that depicts the picture present who stands before staring at the past what; while others may be doing the same thing many times over, multiplied exponentially in volumes unimaginable, yet each instance being insularly singular because there may never be a discussion about the present who of past what that no one talks about?

It is akin to having a medical condition, isn’t it — and of continuing to smile, walk about, carry on “normally” and everyone else in their insular universes not knowing about the medical condition you carry about, and the suffering you must endure because of the present who of who you are but of the past what where others see you and judge you as you were, what you were, who you were, while all the while it is the present who of today that has changed and is no longer the past what of who you were?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, that feeling is often familiar and well known — the present who of past what.

Others see you and expect the same; you may even appear to be unchanged, but inside, you know that the present who is no longer of the past what, and that is precisely what must be conveyed in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a Federal or Postal employee you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for it is precisely the present who of past what that is the you of today with the historical context of the past what, but nevertheless needing the present who for a future whom no one but you can know or discern.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The vacation that wasn’t

When is a vacation no longer one?  Is it when we take work with us, sit upon the sands of timeless recreation — but with a laptop or a pile of papers that are kept weighted down by a crumpled towel and children asking or demanding for immediacy of attention becoming distant noises of irritation and not the gaiety of sharing?

Or, is the intrusion upon our insular universe — you know, the mind’s eye behind the blank stare; the constant rumination of what we expect and anticipate upon our return; the angst over the backup of emails that will await us upon our return; the fear and knowledge that some devious action has been planned for by our boss or coworkers, or perhaps both in conjunction within a conspiratorial scheme no longer veiled with declared foreknowledge and barely hidden beneath the seething tides of backstabbing dominions?

Even that 3-day weekend, or the weekly routine of the 2-day weekend; they are no longer refreshments from the toil and rumination of worry and anxiety, panic-stricken with sleepless nights and dreams that once gave a fading smile but now urging you to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in pools of sweat for nightmares that won’t leave you alone.

The vacation that wasn’t — isn’t — is the one that no longer refreshes and cannot be looked forward to because the anticipation of what will be left behind becomes too overwhelming to bear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has begun to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, when the vacation that cannot be taken is the one that cannot be enjoyed becomes a constancy of regressive acts of futility, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing 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.

Where weekends merely become a refuge to recuperate for the following Monday, but where such rest and attempted refreshment is merely likened to the proverbial struggle of rearranging the chairs upon a sinking ship, then consideration must be given to the quality of one’s life, as opposed to the quantity of life’s misgivings.

The vacation that wasn’t — it is the one that no longer refreshes because one’s medical condition has exceeded any benefits derived from trying to do more than what the body will any longer allow for, and that is the time to then consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, so that you may focus upon the priorities of life: One’s health and future well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Hope of escape

Perhaps it is a weekly lottery ticket purchases; or the novel that is periodically worked on but never gets completed; or even a notion that there is a distant relative who will one day meet mortality and leave a legacy of a magnitude beyond the capacity to exhaust; but of whatever dreams, fantasies or mathematical improbabilities, the mere hope of escape is often the fingernail that allows for sanity to remain, for motivation to continue to abide, and of a spark of incentive to spur onward and forward.

It is only when the cornered animal is left with no route of escape, or when an enemy battalion can neither hope to survive nor be allowed to surrender, that an unimaginable end may be considered.

Hope is the flame that abides for humanity’s safeguarding of happiness; of escape, it is something we all do, and often to the detriment of relationships that we have.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from various medical conditions, such that those medical conditions continue to prevent or otherwise impede the Federal or Postal employee’s ability, capacity and resolve to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the hope is always there that the medical condition will resolve itself, or that the doctors will come up with a new cure, or perhaps even that a miracle will occur that tonight’s dream will awaken to a pain-free tomorrow.

Short of that, however, the hope of escape means that the medical condition will continue, but the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job must be discontinued either through (a) resolution of the medical condition (unlikely), (b) accommodation by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service of the medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee may continue to work (again, unlikely), (c) resignation or termination because of excessive use of leave, inability to maintain a regular work schedule, deterioration of the medical condition or being placed on a PIP (likely), or (d) file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset (inevitably).

The hope of escape still abides; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the hope by consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, thus empowering a potential escape from the vicious cycle of work-related harassment, deterioration of one’s health, and the constant concern for the security of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Fathoms and farthings

They are words seldom used by ordinary people, and are instead found within contexts now of limited usage except by reference to anachronistic novels and reference manuals, or perhaps in sea-faring settings where such terms are related to between seasoned old-timers in the field.

The former term refers to the unit of measurement for the depth of the ocean’s topography; the latter, a unit of currency so small as to have become obsolete by now with the inflationary course of history having relegated such amounts to irrelevancy, and ceasing to be recognized as legal tender by 1960.  Besides, it was a “foreign” currency as well, and was not a currency used in current usage within recognizable current vintage, anyway (yes, yes, a bad attempt at alliteration and a play on words).

What do they have in common?  They both measure a unit of X, of course; they are also words that have “meaning” only within certain contexts, whether of specialized oceanographic particularization or, as to the latter, within a historical context if one were writing a play, screenplay, novel or short story that included anywhere from the Victorian to the Elizabethan periods.  It is a reminder to us all that words come in and out of “meaning” and relevance based upon the context given and recognized.

Language games”, as the term Wittgenstein ascribed, retain their relevance and applicability depending upon the context of the usage adopted.

It is no different when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is thrown into a “language game” that has been ongoing for decades, but is new to the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Such terms as “The Bruner Presumption”, “viable accommodation attempts”, “Persuasive legal effect of other disability ratings,” etc., come into play.  Yes, you may be able to research and understand some of the terms, but the particularization and the anachronism of such terms may come back to haunt you unless you, as the Federal or Postal employee trying to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, can fully comprehend the specialized nature of this complex process called Federal Disability Retirement.

For, like fathoms and farthings, it may be best to consult an attorney who has a long experience with such terms and usage in order to better heighten the chances of a First Stage Approval from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire