Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Resistance

The initial reaction to such a title is the obvious one: To what?  Of course, Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes immediately to mind — of every action having an equal and opposite reaction; thus, when one posits a “resistance”, the natural query must refer to its opposition, as in, “What is it that we are resisting?”

Throughout our “stages of life”, we either comply, conform, “go along with the crowd” — or resist doing so.  There are “middle” ways, of course, and yet to compromise and resist “half-way”, or in a half-hearted manner, often seems to ruin the whole point of any resistance, doesn’t it?

If one is to be a revolutionary, the point is to be one completely, or not at all.  During the Sixties, there was the famous line (often misattributed to Abbie Hoffman, the Beatles and others) which declared that the movement’s participants would “never trust anyone over 30” — spoken by Jack Weinberg in response to a hostile interviewer.  The underlying point of the statement is quite clear: By the age of 30, most people have “sold out”, conformed, lost their youthful vigor to resist; or, put more simply, accepted the status quo and have become cynical.  Yet, isn’t there a natural inclination to “belong”, to not stand apart from the crowd, and to be able to live a quiet, unassuming life?

“Resistance” can thus have a duality of meanings — it can imply that one is part of a movement involving resistance to the status quo or, even its opposite; that one resists change and is integrally a participant of the status quo.  Resistance to change is the greater dominating force.  Change is a fearsome entity where the unknown is to be avoided at all costs.  To be a part of “the resistance” that refuses to conform — well, that is best left to those under 30, unattached and without obligations and responsibilities.

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, resistance to change is often the factor that procrastinates, and keeps a person in a “muddle of the middle” where conditions deteriorate but one stubbornly insists upon maintaining the status quo.

But as medical conditions deteriorate and as the Federal Agency or the Postal Service persists in seeking change — by forcing the issue and initiating adverse actions in order to fill the position with a person who is able to perform all of the essential elements of the position — resistance to change must be replaced with becoming a part of the resistance: By preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM and forging ahead into a future yet unknown.

Remember —even Jack Weinberg became a class of individuals that he resisted, and went on to become a consultant and an adjunct faculty member; in other words, he was once in the “Resistance”, then became that opposite and equal force to fulfill Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill,Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

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 “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Retirement: 2019, The New Year

It has a familiar ring to it; of a harkening to a recent past that has a melodic cadence reminding one of a famous book by George Orwell.  It is because of the “19” that we are reminded of it.  Can it have already been 35 years in passing?  “But it’s not quite as bad as all of that,” we say, and perhaps such a sentiment is right: Pox on the negativism of predictions of doom!

No, we do not have flat screens forced upon us which spy into our lives; instead, we went out and purchased them ourselves — voluntarily — and realized only later that the camera embedded can, indeed, record our every movements.  And we learned that all of that personal information shared with friends and family have been stored and disseminated to forums and facades not otherwise intended; and so everything private has become public, and there is nothing left but the shell of who we are.

But enough of that; we celebrate the coming of a new year not for the unwanted fears of the past, but because the future can always bring about change, greater prosperity and a glimmer of hope for things yet to come.  It may well be that 2019 is that very year we have been waiting for — a dawn of new beginnings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition no longer allows for you to continue in your present job, the incoming New Year may be an opportunity for change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application.  Consult with a knowledgable attorney and begin the process early, as OPM is way behind and it is important to get in line.  2019 — Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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 recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The mind’s bookshelf

Entertainment is a peculiar thing in human psychology: happiness accompanies its anticipation, but during the process of “being entertained”, do we recognize our own joy, or are we lost in the suspension of our own inner world while being completely oblivious to the suffering around us?

We toil day in and day out with a singular goal, held by many, to enjoy a period of respite and entertainment — of becoming lost in a movie; of going to a play; of putting headphones on and listening to a favorite song, piece or series of favorites; of pulling from the mind’s bookshelf an episode of imaginative adventures or a wonderland of a dream’s figment.

Entertainment, joy, happiness and contentment are the ingredients of life’s admixture of troubles, trials and turpentine creations in a universe of chocolate-ice-cream-not-quite-right, ups and downs and joining and break-ups; it is a mixed up world where everyone is trying to extract an ounce of pleasure when the last cupful has already been taken.  Then, there is the capacity of the human mind that has just had enough — where too much bombardment of stimuli leads one to withdraw, become reclusive, and seek the solitude of one’s own soliloquy of minds.  It is a rather peculiar concept, is it not?

To withdraw within the mind’s bookshelf — that corner of studied solitude where others cannot share, and only the loneliness of one’s self-induced privacy allows for an entrance and exit to the backrooms of an unlit alcove that is marked “private”, and where no admittance is allowed except by exclusive invitation only.  It is when even the mind’s bookshelf is toppled by the troubled waters of the world that too much stress, too much stimuli and way, way too much intrusiveness begins to overflow.

That is what a medical condition tends to do — for, when it becomes chronic and begins to gnaw at even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, then the unbearable nature of one’s condition requires a change.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to invade even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

When even the last refuge from life’s turmoil has been invaded and violated — of an inability to attain any restorative sleep; when profound fatigue overwhelms; when chronic pain becomes unrelenting; when one’s focus, concentration and ability to retain even a semblance of cognitive acuity is progressively being lost; then, the inconsistency between one’s essential elements of a position and the medical condition becomes quite clear, and it becomes necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Joy of life comes from having the key to the mind’s bookshelf, and when that is no longer possible, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire