Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: Hope for Hope

There is hope; then, there is hoping for hope.  Hope alone is the ability to see the distance between Point-A and Destination-B;  Hope for hope is the capacity to picture in one’s mind that one may be able to view that distance between A and B.

Few of us are in the former category; for those in the latter, it is the little step between the two that remains a wide chasm that keeps growing each day.  The concrete plans that are made; a sense that there is a destination which is reachable; an idea to strive for, a meaning to live by and a clear perspective upon which one may abide by — these give hope.

It is when one lacks that hope, but is yet hopeful to attain it — that means that the spark of life, however faded or jaded, still remains, albeit in a flickering, fragile existence.  Perhaps it is as a result of a trauma; or the chronicity of a problem, a disabling medical condition that progressively and steadily deteriorates, where the soul becomes so battered and wounded that one is on the verge of giving up any hope for hope.

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 consider filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is a long and arduous administrative process, and the process itself often picks apart a person’s hopeful reserves.  But it is a process which carries with it a hope for hope — away from the harassing nature of the Federal Agency, away from the constant battle against Postal Supervisors and Managers; and, in the end, it is the hope for hope that reinvigorates the belief that there is life beyond a career that has been slowly extinguishing the flickering hope that keeps one going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Ascent and descent

It is the “high” of reaching it and the satisfaction of proceeding down and away.  The ascent is focused upon attaining a goal; the descent, a time of reflection in the satisfaction of knowing that the goal has been achieved.  What next?  That is what the challenge is, isn’t it?  Of knowing what to do next after something has been achieved and accomplished?

There are, of course, “voluntary” goals achieved, and those that are placed before us as obstacles through no choice of our own; of mountain climbers who search for the impossible — like the North Face of the Eiger where the tombs of countless attempts whisper in the arctic winds of time; or of Everest, where the icicles of history betray the foolishness of human attempts at immortality.  Then, there are obstacles that one must bear because of accidents or nature’s imperfection — of a condition one is born with, or one gets later in life.

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 ascent to achieve has already been surpassed — you need no longer “prove” yourself; it is the fear of the descent that makes you pause.

Perhaps you do not see the descent as a challenge, but more of an obstacle.  Yet, obstacles present a challenge, as well, and the medical condition itself is one such challenge.  What would you say about the mountain climber who was concurrently playing a video game on his or her Smart Phone?  Or reading a book on Kindle while trying to conquer Everest?  “Foolhardy” would come to mind; “Not focused” upon the task, would be another.

So it is with the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and struggle with the medical condition while concurrently trying to work; and that is what a FERS Disability Retirement allows for — an annuity which then gives the opportunity to focus upon one’s health instead of always being distracted by the demands of work.  The ascent has already been achieved; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the descent afterwards, in order to focus upon one’s health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Lost…

One’s age can be revealed as to whether, in the privacy of one’s thoughts, the ellipses is replaced with — “Lost in Space”, or even The Swiss Family Robinson.  The former is a television series that ran between 1965 and 1968; the latter, a novel by Johann David Wyss published in 1812 that few of us read anymore.  Another television series recalled from the dustbin of history’s classics; another novel and writer no longer read, remembered or studied.

They are stories about lost colonies, lost people, lost souls — lost individuals.  The fact that they are “lost” is a phenomena that society finds interesting enough to retell the story about which we would never know, except that they were somehow “found” and were able to convey their experiences.

As a child, one remembers the self-contradiction of that very issue: the young, fertile mind queried (and never could get a satisfactory answer from anyone ):  How come, if they are really lost, we’re able to watch them on television, or read about them?  If they were found, then they aren’t lost, anymore, are they, and if so, why is it interesting or even relevant?  Or, is it just of historical interest that we enjoy hearing about the experiences during the time of “being lost”?

The world today, of course, is different from the yesteryears of a bygone era; the world is all “connected”, such that there are no places in the world where we haven’t seen National Geographic photographs depicting of untraveled areas where the “lost peoples” of the universe reside and continue to survive.  The Amazonian forests are being depleted through mindless mining and destruction; the Himalayan monks who once medicated in silence wear jeans and sandals while selling trinkets to wandering tourists; and the polar bears that once roamed the northern glaciers wander beneath the pipelines that stretch amidst the wilds once dominated by the wolves that sniffed with suspicion.

Today, we live amidst civilization’s constant drum of progress and technological connectivity; instead of being lost in the wilds of a universe still undiscovered, we remain lost amidst the communities in which we live.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition must by necessity lead one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, there is a sense of “loss” and “being lost” in at least 2 ways: The “loss” of a career once held promising; and of being “lost” in the complex, administrative process in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  In either sense of being lost, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — if only to get a roadmap to help one find one’s bearings.

Being “lost” does not mean simply that one does not know where one is geographically; in fact, most people are lost even in the midst of being surrounded by the daily din of civilization; and that is why consulting with an attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is an important aspect in finding one’s way out of the morass of being lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Service: By what right?

It is a question often posed in the dead of night by those who would undermine an assertion based upon an instinctive sense of fairness, but perhaps not able to be articulated in comprehensible form.  By what right do you enter these premises?  By what right do you express that opinion?  By what right do you think you can do that?

It is, as with many questions, one that has a sadly contextual background of a negative past – for, whenever a person, a populace or a segment of a greater society begins to assert a “right”, it was generally preceded by a breakdown of community and caring.  For example: A violation of another’s property where a fence has not yet been placed should be resolved by two neighbors discussing the infraction or infringement without resorting to a higher authority.  If that “neighborliness” cannot resolve the conflict, then a fence may be built and the right to build such a fence can be asserted by the fence-building-neighbor as a “right” of property ownership.  No one would, or could, dispute such a right to do so, but the mere fact that a fence had to be built is evidence of a preceding breakdown of the unspoken rules of a community, where resolution of a conflict could not be accomplished by discussing, caring, understanding and compromising for the sake of a community’s greater good, but instead results in a declarative reference to one’s “right” to do X, Y or Z.

Rights should have the insipid connotation of negativity to the extent that asserting them is something of a last resort and the last bastion of scoundrels and suspicious individuals seen in an unfavorable communal light; but in modernity, shouting out one’s “right” to do this or that, or standing on a soapbox and pontificating about how we (why does everyone assume that he or she has a “right” to speak on behalf of that undefined “we” in the first place?) have every “right” to be here, do this or that or be “in your face” because of the proverbial “catch-all” – the “Bill of Rights”.  By what right?

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it may well be that asserting one’s right to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits was preceded by a context of negativity – of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility failing to, refusing to, or otherwise not showing effort for, accommodating one’s medical condition, illness or disability, and that is when the assertion of declaring one’s “right” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes the inviolable pathway to an exit out of an untenable workplace situation.

To that extent, preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat akin to building that “fence” between your property and the next-door neighbor’s, whose dog keeps coming into your yard, digging up the freshly-planted bushes and vegetables, pooping all over the place and attacking your cat, and cares not a twit to try and resolve the issue; that, in many ways, is the Federal agency or the Postal facility you work for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Predictable Pantomimes

Most of life is simply lived.  One engages, works, plans, deliberates, initiates, completes chores, gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, etc.  Little reflection or thought is required; much of it, like an automaton on a conveyor belt of cursory convenience, requires but mere human movement.

Perhaps in the mythological State of Nature, as described by Rousseau or Locke, the predatory environment creating a necessity of alertness just to survive, required greater cognitive involvement; or, as a corollary, an utopian condition of peace and tranquil coexistence with other forces of nature.  It is when one pauses for a brief moment, reflects, and has a sudden awareness of one’s self in the presence of others, that the very knowledge of acting within the confines and context of “doing”, becomes a consciousness of self-realization.

Self-awareness — that level of consciousness beyond mere recognition of one’s surroundings, but involving a direct acuteness of “being” but simultaneously “being in the world”, is what makes for human uniqueness.

Heidegger tried to describe it through linguistic mechanisms which turned out to be beyond the common realm of understanding or comprehension, and thus became relegated to the esoteric halls of academia.  Sartre and Camus attempted to capture it through fictional depictions, and indeed, it was more the texture of the novel, The Stranger, than the actual words, which came closest to successful conveyance of the experience of the absurd.

For the daily person, medical conditions tend to starkly bring out the reality of the experience.  Medical conditions suddenly reveal one’s vulnerability, and the fragile nature of one’s being.  Mortality becomes a reality beyond mere distance-reflection of some unknown future intent; it becomes the freshness of the now for a being within a body of decay.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suddenly realizes that life, career, future and the boredom of constancy can be but a moment in time because of an impending medical condition which threatens one’s security and livelihood, 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, becomes a reality of immediacy, precisely because of the urgency of the medical condition upon one’s life and livelihood.

Suddenly, the priority of “being” presents itself.  What one did before the crisis of vulnerability was merely a predictable pantomime; the reality of life and the significance of relationships becomes the true being of living.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like a mere act of administrative convenience, but for many, it becomes the avenue of necessity in order to deal with the reality of illness, disability, and medical urgency.  And, as with all aspects of life and being, other predictable pantomimes will become apparent:  the agency’s hostile reaction; the looks of suspicion from others; unfriendly attitudes displayed by coworkers and supervisors; they are all merely actors on a larger stage, but yet to realize that “being” and “being-in-the-world” are one and the same, when tragedies befall and humanity acknowledges the fragile nature of life, like the soft petal from a dying flower which drifts soundlessly upon the earthen dust from which we were born, and to which we return.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Long Goodbye

The relegation to the basement office; the loss of niceties with coworkers; the negation of superlatives from higher ups; the clues become overt, blatant and uninviting.  Long goodbyes are often fertile ground for the souring of relationships forged over decades, and human interactions which reveal a perversity once thought uncommon.  Does the past count for anything, anymore?

Medical conditions and their impact are meant to evoke empathetic responses; instead, they often bring out the worst in humanity.  For Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service, they portend of headaches and interruption of efficiency; they are a bother.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the growing absences, the need to attend to one’s medical conditions — all become the priority of life and living.

From the agency’s viewpoint, it is a malignancy of logistical magnitude; another problem to be solved; and the longer the goodbye, the greater the extenuating interruption.  It is this clash of interests which calls for resolution.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an indicator to the agency that there is an end in sight, and once filed, it is merely a waiting game before finality of decisions is reached.  Often, the mere filing relieves the increasing pressure felt, like the encasement of boiling water which needs an outlet.

Medical conditions often require a long journey of sorts; it is the long goodbye which makes it all the more evident.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire