OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Factors to consider

The universe of thoughtful decision-making shrinks exponentially and in direct correlation with the pertinent and relevant information gathered, and it is too often the case that factors not considered are the very ones which lead to a non-decision or, more importantly, to a wrong conclusion.

What factors should be considered when a Federal or Postal employee is going to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Certainly, age can be a factor — for, if OPM engages in a recalculation of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at age 62, and you are fast approaching that age, the factor of “how long it takes” to get an OPM Disability Retirement approved (about a year, give or take a few months on either side of the equation); whether you get any backpay once it is approved (back to the last day your Agency or the Postal Service has paid you anything); and whether the time you are on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards your total number of years accrued until the recalculation age at 62 (it does) — should all be factors to consider.

Further, even if you are still relatively young, should those same factors be considered?  The short answer is an unequivocal “yes” — and probably many others, besides, including: Do I intend on working at another job in the private sector while on Federal Disability Retirement?  Do I have Service-Connected disabilities that can play a factor [sic] in the factors to be considered?

The universe of factors to consider in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, are innumerable; and then, there are likely factors that you have not even considered, but which may be prompted by consulting with an attorney who has already considered multiple factors besides, and who may be able to guide you in this complex process called “OPM Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mythology we create

Folklores and mythologies we have read as children; they stir the imagination, of gods in faraway lands in times now forgotten, and of tales of daring and courage in the moral plays of a universe now turned between the tides of time and the ebbing of history.

We are told that they were a manner in which to explain the unexplainable; that, until the great Age of Science came along and placed everything in its logical perspective, we once believed in the mythology of gods, superstitions and the folklore of our own imaginations.

But what of the mythologies we create in modernity?  Of the infallibility of science, when the very judgment and discourse is still based upon human frailty and self-interest?  Of phenomena which we cannot explain but somehow ascribe words that sound meaningful and complex to the understanding of others, and so we continue on in the mysteries we create?

And of mythologies we create — whether in our own minds without ever sharing with others, or the daydreams we are trapped in which we repeat almost daily, as an escape from the drudgery of the reality we must endure; or, perhaps of the lie that began as a pebble in the stream but kept growing over the years until it became a boulder that stemmed the tide of discourse and created a dam which fed a lake?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that 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 mythology we create can be somewhat on a lesser scale of mischief or criminality.

It need not tell the story of a civilization’s origins or in explaining some overwhelming phenomena of the universe.  No, it can be a story that is created to explain away the excessive use of Sick Leave or Annual Leave; it can be the mere telling of a tale that tomorrow the medical condition will miraculously go away; or it can be in the very self-deception that you can continue to endure the pain and suffering and hide it from your coworkers, supervisors and the Agency as a whole.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit that allows for the Federal or Postal worker to retire early based upon one’s medical inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, however, it may require you to shatter the mythology we have come to create, and face the reality that the gods of thunder and lightening no longer throw down the zigzagging bolts of anger and revenge from high above, but rather, the rains of today may give way to the sunshine of tomorrow, explainable by the natural causes of science and that this amazing world of causality may yet be defined without purpose.

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: The regularity of life

Metaphors abound, of course; of the stream of life, its cadence, likened to a steady march and the cyclical nature wrapped in the repetition of the growing dawn followed by the setting sun.  The regularity of life represents a rhythm and monotony that provides a blanket of comfort (there goes the metaphor, again) that can be extracted from the lack of chaos.

Most of us thrive best within the regularity of life’s monotony; it is the very few who seek and relish the chaos of life.  Some few seek the opposite precisely because they grew up hating the former; and other, the very antonym of life’s challenges, searching always for new adventures and challenges and upending everything in sight because of boredom experienced in some prior stage of life.

Whatever the causes, whatsoever the sought-out means for expression and self-satisfaction, one cannot exist without the other.  It is from chaos that one creates an order (hint: this is not a new notion; one might consult the first book of an otherwise unnamed book that “believers” often refer to); and it is only in the midst of the regularity of life that one can have spurts of its opposite; otherwise, the world of chaotic living could not be identified as such unless there is a contrasting opposite by which to compare.

Medical conditions “need” its very opposite.  Doctors often talk about “reducing stress” as an important element in maintaining one’s health; it is another way of saying that the chaos of life needs to be contained, and the regularity of life needs to be attained.  Medical conditions themselves interrupt and impede the regularity of life; as pain, it increases stress; as cognitive dysfunctioning, it interrupts calm.

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 very fact of the medical condition itself can be the impeding force that disrupts and interrupts the regularity of life; and the chaos that ensues often necessitates an action that returns one back to the regularity of life.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, is often the first and necessary step in bringing order back into an otherwise chaotic-seeming mess.

It is, in the words of some “other” source, to attain the regularity of life from that which had become without form and void.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Of good humor

Can it last, and for how long?  Are there such people in this world, who wander about and retain a sense of good humor no matter what egregious worldly circumstances devastate and make destitute the trying soul?

Or, like that chime that attracts little children to run with abandon into the streets upon hearing the approach of the good humor truck – you know, the company that was sued for creating an attractive nuisance, because children respond like cats and dogs to sounds associated with tasty ice cream (come to think of it, not just children, but all of us as well) – are there people as well who are like the memories of lazy summer days just waiting with that nickel to spend upon to soothe the saliva that drips with the heat of bygone days?

Of good humor – is it merely a human trait, or do dogs, cats and even undomesticated animals possess it, as well?  Have you ever met an individual of whom we say, “Oh, he is the guy possessed with an unalterable and unique advantage in life – of good humor”?  There is something attractive, is there not – to be able to smile despite tragedy, to find the satirical side to every turn of a trial, and even to consider a chuckle in the midst of a painful encounter?  The person who can smile throughout the tides of life is one who can withstand the tsunamis of unbearable pain and tragedy.

Certainly, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with the lengthy bureaucratic trials in waiting upon a Federal Disability Retirement application filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, possessing a sprinkling of good humor is somewhat of a “must” in order to endure the administrative procedures involved.

For, the choice is somewhat clear – of being the good humor truck that brings satisfaction to mouth-watering children running for relief from the heat of summer, or being that child who gets run over by the good humor truck.  In the end, the goal of getting an OPM Disability Retirement annuity is not for the purposes of good humor, but to be able to ring the chimes of life in order to step into a brighter future and a better tomorrow, no matter what flavors of ice cream may be hidden behind the panels of the good humor truck.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Cavalier extinctions

We focus much on lost species, forever erased at a rate of untold apocryphal dimensions, as if the deletion of undiscovered DNA material might never be recovered, and thus for once, we worry about things which we have never known ascribed as that which “could” have saved us from our own extinguishment, all the while ignoring the plight of human detritus all around us.  We do that with fading civilizations, too, don’t we?

We argue for egalitarianism, impartiality, and for all things being of equivalency in value and worth; but, somehow, the “primitives” remind us of that romanticized notion which touched our nerves, even as Rousseau created a fictional “State of Nature” in which we lived in complete harmony (but for those few who, through brutish force and uncivilized conduct, forced us into an unwilling social contract in order to aggregate our weaknesses against a Hobbsian Leviathan for self-preservation and protective numerical advantage) and to which we pay homage in childhood fantasies.  And so we strive to pursue our own environmental agendas, as if we can police the universe against the insanity of our own making; all the while, we engage in cavalier extinctions, ourselves, though we may name it by another identity.

We form and drop relationships; we friend, defriend, add and delete with a push of a button; we even divorce and break up so-called lifetime commitments, with the cavalier explanation that it is “better” to live in harmonious consonance than to subject the innocent to daily ravages of our own termpermantal tumults.  An electronic screen, whether on a tabletop, laptop or a smartphone, can easily bring the bright glare of activity as the blank blackness of nothingness.

That is why extinguishment of purported “friends” can occur just as easily as engaging artifices of friendships; the button itself determines the substance and depth of any such relationship.  It was hard enough actually know and tolerating people; it is easier still, to know them on the tablet of a screen, and not have to contend with irritants of behavioral eccentricities.

On the spectrum of human growth, we are stunting ourselves by relegating the mechanism and tools for human conduct to mere words and responsive utterances on lighted screens.  The tools which we provide to the innocents, to develop those traits for successful human interaction, are diminished by the limited resources available via distance interaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and who by necessity must 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, the notion that there is a negation of estimable empathy, sympathy, and just simple human caring, becomes a glaring reality too quickly, too forcefully, and with a dosage of untold reality.

Will it only get worse?  Probably.  As the new crop of managers and supervisors who have little contact with actual relationships, but whose voided perspective has been formed by online services of gratuitous and dubious authenticity, the level of understanding and mechanisms for human compassion become exponentially diminished.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is not a mere choice of optional engagement; it is spurred by necessity and human tragedy.  But beware, as this brave new world of cavalier extinctions will bring forth the worst in the unclaimed losses of genetic materials, where the Darwinian principles seem to finally win out in a battle of fierce and unwitting conflicts for the survival of the fittest — or meanest.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step in 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, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire