OPM Disability Retirement: Reversal of Fortune

Life itself rarely reflects a steady, linear progression on a graph; the zig-zagging representing times of economic turmoil more accurately profiles a person’s span of existence.  Moreover, one’s career is not necessarily the essence or paradigm of a given life’s experience; there are multiple factors, including emotional, births and deaths, marriages and medical conditions.  How does one quantify an experience?

The methodology we seek is often purely in monetary parallelism:  if one receives pay raises and cash rewards, then one’s career is considered to be on an upward trajectory; if one gets a reduction in salary (with or without a concomitant demotion in position), then the loss of linear progression is deemed a failure of sorts.  But like marriages, and life itself, careers never merely reveal a positive path of progressive purity; ask Elizabeth Taylor, who skews every statistical analysis of marriages and divorces.  And then, of course, there is the interruptive influence of a medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the daunting doldrums of a medical disability reveals many things not reflected on a graph of life:  the bother; the interruption of a career; the fear imposed; the dealings with coworkers; the reaction of the agency or Postal Service; the need for surgical and other procedures; a whole host of activities not previously contemplated.

For the Federal and Postal employee who finds that a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration then needs to be given for filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, or CSRS Offset, of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Yes, unfairness is a characteristic of life not reflected in the graph of microeconomics; yes, sometimes experience teaches us that the proverbial cards are stacked against us; and yes, reversals of fortune constitute a reality rarely taught in classroom social studies.  But as life’s experience is never accurately or fully represented by mere lines and numerical paradigms, so a biography of a historical figure can never be captured, as fortunes and reversals thereof can never embrace the complexity of human folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Random Happenstance

A determination concerning the random nature of a material and unconscious universe can only come about in contrast to a recognition that there is a comparison to be made, to its opposite corollary — that of a teleological state where will, consciousness and deliberation of action occurs.

Thus, one can bemoan the random happenstance of events, but to complain of an inherent “unfairness” becomes a self-contradiction, precisely because to do so is to declare otherwise than to acknowledge its aimless appearance and entrance into the consciousness before one who recognizes the arbitrary realm of an otherwise impervious and unfeeling world.

Further, while inanimate objects and their movement within the universe may further establish the arbitrary catapult of nature’s actions, when human decisions, and acts engaged by animals who are clearly aware of deliberative encounters interact within the arc of intersecting symmetries, one must always consider the history of how things came about, before determining whether or not the lack of teleological consequences betrays a truly random happenstance.

Medical conditions tend to prove the point.  Why does X occur to Y, but not to Z?  That is a question which involves an underlying sense of declaring the “unfairness” of a circumstance.  Whether genetic inheritance, an excess of negative and detrimental exposures, or perhaps an aimless accident resulting in injury, most often one will never know.  Doctors can discuss the contextual historicity of origins, but in the end, the medical condition must be accepted, and engaged.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives have been impacted by a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the time to consider the random happenstance of one’s condition, or whether there is behind it a purpose or lesson to be gleaned, is best put off for another day.

Instead, the practicalities of life’s mandates should prevail, and one such deliberative consideration is to determine whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should be one of the options to entertain.   Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal and Postal worker to maintain health insurance, continue an income based upon an annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year of being an annuitant, and 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point it becomes automatically converted to regular retirement; and, moreover, the number of years one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of Federal Service.

Yes, life’s random happenstance can sometimes appear unexpectedly, and seem unfair in a universe where we map out our existence from birth to death; but it is important to recognize that beyond the laws of physics allowable in the physical world of an impervious nature, there are no rules of the game except the ones we employ through devices concocted within the artifice of our own imaginations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Indexicals

It is indeed the specific context of a situation which provides for referential data giving individualized meaning to a case. But for Federal Disability Retirement cases, the unique contextual information concerning where, by whom, in what timeframe, may be perfectly allowable in a “for instance” or “for example” type of descriptive enhancement, but ultimately what the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for is the example which represents a medical condition or symptom thereof that is chronic, is of consistent duration, and which is not merely a singular event.

Yes, indexicals of referential relevance represented by “here”, “when” and “where”, with the inclusion of epistemological privilege and the insertion of “I” in repetitive manner, can convey the personalized account which touches upon a sensitive soul; but in the end, it is the scientific, objective coldness of diagnoses, symptoms and delineations of chronic descriptions which establish the viable connection between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Thus, in formulating one’s Statement of Disability as configured on SF 3112A, it can be an effective tool of one’s narrative to weave back and forth between the indexical and the objective third person, and even extrapolating and including statements from medical documents, treatment notes, etc.

Ultimately, in the preparation and formulation of an OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is best to set aside the constraints of space as imposed by SF 3112A, and to provide a concise but detailed narrative which fully satisfies the questions posed and queried by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Hostile Work Environment and the Centrality of the Medical Condition in a Government Employee Retirement Claim

Pithy quotes are replete throughout advisory or “self-help” books; it is a cottage industry involving coming up with linguistically sticky statements, like post-its tacked on to our sleeves in order to remind us of daily living tools to carry.  “Keeping the main thing the main thing” is one such quote, and numerous similar mutations, which remind us that prioritization of concepts, in any endeavor, is important to keep in mind, and to not allow for peripheral concerns to overwhelm and dominate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the centrality of the medical condition should always be paramount, penultimate, and properly placed atop the prioritized priority list of planned penmanship (such early morning alliteration is indeed a challenge).

This is normally not a concern; for, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, suffers from a medical condition, which is the primary basis for which such a life changing event must be engaged.  But in the course of encountering the adversarial administrative process — of the agency, the supervisor, coworkers, the H.R. Department, and in the end, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — it is easy to become sidetracked with issues of a hostile work environment, of harassment, increasing disciplinary measures, suspensions, initiation of a PIP, etc., and to forget that the centrality of the medical condition should be the guiding principle and light which drives the engine of success or leads to the drone of failure.

Getting sidetracked with peripheral issues remains the singular and problematic course of careening causal catastrophes; it is, as stated at the outset, the centrality of the medical condition which needs to be placed at the forefront, the mid-section, and the conclusory compendium of all carefully calibrated cases in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire