Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Privy

As a verb, it allows for sharing in information secretive within confidences kept closely held; as a noun, an antonym of sorts — of a most public facility where privacy is needed, but which everyone uses for the most common of needs — of a place where we relieve ourselves and perform bodily functions that redden our cheeks with shame when spoken about.

Are we privy to the intimate thoughts of friends and loved ones?  Do we ask where the privy is when in London, Tokyo or Idaho?  Of the last of the tripartite places so identified, the response might be: “What’s that, hon?”  Of the middle, it could likely be: “Nan desu-ka?”  Of the first, with a neat British accent or the melody of a cockney dialect: “My good chap, just around the corner over there!”

Confidential information or the toilet; how many words in the English language allows for such duality of meanings depending upon where the word is inserted into a sentence?

That is how Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition often feel about their situation when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job: For years, like the noun because he or she was a “valuable asset” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, where all confidential details were passes by you and you were always “in the loop” of everything important going on within the agency; then, when the medical condition hit and you began to take some Sick Leave and perhaps even a spate of LWOP, you were relegated to being a “noun” — no longer privy to the inner workings of the Agency or the Postal Service, but merely a privy on the outskirts of town.

When that happens — when you are no longer a verb, but an outcast noun — then you know that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, so that your place in the sentence of life will once again become an active verb, and not merely an outcast noun to be abandoned and forgotten in the grammar of vital living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: SF 3112C

As a “government form” it purports to provide guidance in general terms, and it is doubtful that the lack of clarity as to its purpose or utility will assist the medical professional into writing an effective report.

The plain fact is that SF 3112C is a confusing form — confusing both to the doctor or Nurse Practitioner who is presented with it, as well as to the FERS Applicant who is attempting to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  It refers to a “position description” being attached, but fails to provide the necessary explanatory nexus between the PD and the medical opinion sought.

What part of the position description should be focused upon?  Is it the entirety of the PD, portions of it, or just the “essential elements”?  Is it relevant whether a person can work part-time, full time, or an erratic combination of both depending upon the severity of symptoms that may arise periodically?  Is SF 3112C meant to confuse, or like so many “government forms”, is the language inevitably misleading because it is (A) meant to be that way, (B) unintentionally written in an unclear manner or (C) is meant to be wholly unhelpful because OPM doesn’t want to go out of its way to help the Federal Disability Retirement applicant?  Must the SF 3112C, the “Physician’s Statement”, be used at all?

If you are still working with the Federal Agency or on the rolls of the Postal Service, or at least not separated for more than thirty one (31) days, must the prepared physician’s statement be sent directly to your H.R. Office without first being reviewed and validated by the applicant?  The form itself certainly makes it appear so, but is that really the case?

In the end, the applicant who is preparing, formulating and filing a 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, must make some initial and important determinations concerning the substance and content of the application itself.

Forms are tricky; the laws that oversee them, often vague; but if you are relying upon instructions written and formulated by the very government agency that will be making a determination on your application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in the very law that governs Federal Disability Retirement, before you begin “filling” out forms or having your doctor fill one out.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal or Postal Employment: Passion

No, this is not April, and Easter has long passed.  Have we done a disservice by admonishing our youth to pursue it?  That the worth of a thing is inherently determined by our response to it, and not in the thing itself?  If passion is defined by an emotional fervor, barely controllable and unable to be contained, have we set up the wrong criteria by which to live life?  Work, vocation, career — are they as fungible as life’s castaways, rejected based upon a momentary or fleeting sense of acceptance or denial?

In Western Classical tradition, the “ordering” of the soul in Plato’s Republic, or the search for balance in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, was always the standard to pursue, and was essentially commensurate with the Eastern approaches of Zen’s denial of the body, the warrior’s acceptance of karma and the fate of life as determined by death; and the circle of life as represented by the Rigvedic deity of fire.

Now, how we feel, the passion one embraces, constitutes the totality of acceptance in a world denounced of living spirits and reduced to materialism and Darwinian determinism of the lowest order.  Often, what is lacking is more revealing than the manifestation of a thing; and thus do bifurcated paradigms such as being and nothingness, worth and junk, life and inertness — it is the erasure of one which magnifies the other.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost the “passion” for their vocation because of the introduction of 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 positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker — the “loss” has a determinate criteria by which to evaluate, and is not merely based upon the lack of an emotional response.

The laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an employment criteria signed on by the Federal and Postal employee when you became part of the Federal Sector, and it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to apply for, and become eligible to receive, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity when a medical condition arises such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

In such circumstances, “loss of passion” may simply be a factual observation; the loss of vocation because of a medical condition is then a further consequence, and preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes a necessary next step upon the consequential abandonment of that passion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those bare moments of honesty

They come in flashes of rare instances; sometimes, in a more subtle manner, like encroachments by a nimble adversary; at others, tantamount to ugly boils erupting in the middle of one’s forehead while interviewing for a sought-after position.  We cloak ourselves in lies, more lies, and obfuscations wrapped in greater deceptions of self-doubt.

Sometimes, such concealment is necessary; for, perhaps it is an evolutionary tool in order to merely survive.  Those who have lost such capacity may have to face the harsh realities of day-to-day living, and simply go mad; others who cannot defer the decadence of self-realization may react by engaging in binges of bifurcated pigeonholing and compartmentalizing of walls constructed to deny access to intercontinental flights of fancy.

Heidegger would say of it that we are merely procrastinating the inevitable.  The reality of Being is too harsh; projects and made-up, artificial distractions allow us to avoid the revelation of the ugliness of the world, or at least delay its unconcealed rupture for the time being.

But medical conditions shatter that quietude of avoidance.  For, their reality and intentional rudeness in deliberate interference in our daily lives presents itself like the fat uncle who takes up the entire couch without asking; the ugly displacement of pleasurable moments cloaked in deceptive avoidance of self-awareness makes for an elephant which is whispered about but nobody notices.

Becoming lost in virtual reality; Facebook friends whom we never meet; Twitter followings which meander in meaningless platitudes; the very lack of substantive discourse in our lives belies our greater efforts to avoid and confound.

Does it matter that the team one roots for will have lost on Sunday, or that the Lottery Ticket was a wasted twenty-dollar bill flushed down the toilet?  Mere distractions become central in lives of desperation and quiet moments of weeping in the dark caverns of lost thoughts, sought-after childhoods and forgotten moments of honesty and carefree pictures frozen in time.  But it is the ugliness of troublesome truths which reveal themselves to haunt and nudge.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must face that challenge, the reality of life occurs when the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or Postal worker from continuing to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  At some point, serious decisions must be made.

The clash between avoidance and reality comes to a flashpoint of sorts, and procrastination of the delayed cloaking of harshness can no longer be discreetly catalogued.

The page is opened upon us, and we must ask:  Can I continue in this same way?  Is the Agency or the Postal Service considering termination?  Will I become a young retiree in a 90-year old body if I struggle to remain?  And those haunting images of 40-some-year-old former football players in wheelchairs and walking like senile old men — does that portend of images for my life in the not-too-distant future?

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, is a viable alternative to allowing for those bare moments of honesty to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Indicators mean something, and when one’s body, mind or soul shout within the quietude of one’s nudging conscience, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, lest those bare moments of honesty become lost in the forgotten crevices of secluded fears relegated to the growing trash heaps of avoided realities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire