Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from OPM: All problems suspended

We all seek those moments, don’t we?  A period of respite, that time of suspended ecstasy where all of life’s problems are suspended, if only for a temporary span in order to regain our equilibrium, retake the focus lost and remake the moments wasted.  Isn’t that why people become obsessed with silly arguments on the Internet, in Facebook confrontations and twitter feeds, because it provides for a temporary assertion of power, the sense of winning, of defeating and devastating another, if only for a brief moment in this timeless continuum of problems to be encountered, embraced and finally solved?

In a perfect universe, all problems suspended would be tantamount to a conceived heaven where one need not worry about the daily problems of living a life – the human condition – that confronts everyone all the world over.

All problems suspended – every financial difficulty, relational complexities, consequences intended or otherwise resulting from neglect, negligence or simply thoughtless actions; for all and every one of them to be relegated to a heavenly sequestration like purgatory without judgment.  But that life could be discovered within such a state of joyous reprieve; we would all be dancing and praying to the gods that gave us such a present.

In reality, that is what going to the movies for a couple of hours of distraction, playing a video game, going out with friends, or spending a weekend reading and taking the dogs out for a long walk – these are activities engaged in where all problems become suspended, if only for a brief stint of relief from the daily struggles we all have to confront and “deal” with.

Unfortunately, there is one problem that can almost never be suspended – a medical condition.  The medical condition pervades and remains no matter how hard we try; and though we may be successful in “forgetting” for a brief moment, the problem is never suspended, only delayed in “remembering”.  For people who are in chronic pain, one cannot even forget for a brief moment.  Instead, whether actively in thought or lulled through a sleepless night, the medical condition is always there, never suspended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition presents an even greater set of problems – of not being able to be accommodated and beginning to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties – it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Delaying does not suspend the problem, but may only add to it; neglecting will not solve the problem, and may only magnify it; and while temporarily “forgetting” by engaging in another activity may distract from it, the brief nature of such thoughtlessness will only roar back with a greater sense of urgency, especially when dealing with the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is the agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Goldilocks Principle

Most of us are familiar with the fairytale; but in modernity, the principle extrapolated has been extended thus: the natural pendulum of occurrences must fall within a certain set of margins, as opposed to reaching the outer limits of extremes.  And, indeed, most things settle into a comfortable compromise of corollary constancy; it is precisely because of the anomaly of extremes that we take special note of the exceptions which develop and manifest.  And that is always the continuing hope of most individuals — for a reaching of compromise, and static settling into a middle ground, etc.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the Goldilocks Principle will often fail to apply.  Increasing pressure is brought to bear (no pun intended) upon the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who shows signs of vulnerability; perhaps an initial verbal warning, then a written admonishment; then, the placement of a PIP within the constant environment of hostility; restrictions upon leave usage, and finally, a proposal to remove.

Medical conditions require priority of purpose and attending to the medical condition itself.  Actions by agencies and the U.S. Postal Service often serve to exacerbate the medical condition.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option which should be considered earlier, than later.

In the end, of course, the Goldilocks Principle is somewhat relatively determined by where those margins or goalposts are placed; for, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the realization that the middle ground of comfort is far from the fences of the extreme, depends upon where the Federal or Postal employee is standing, in relation to the medical condition, the harassment received, and the empathy shown (or more precisely stated, the lack thereof) by the agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Comparative Living

We all engage in it; it is the genre of modernity by which one values and estimates.  With the shrinking world through sharing of information in this technological age, the greater minds have proposed that poverty can be erased and world hunger can be eradicated.  But in the reality of the microcosmic world of daily living, it has allowed everyone to peer into the living rooms of all, and in the process, the heightened camaraderie through shared information has become exponentially magnified.

There are positives for every change; but then, the negatives quickly follow.  Comparative living results in having a rigid sense that a linear form of life must be embraced, at all times, in all circumstances, and anything out of the ordinary constitutes failure of the first order.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes and interrupts the planned flow of one’s life, and where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must be given to a changed life outside of the realm of comparative living.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which allows for the essence of that which is most important:  focus upon treatment of the medical condition; prioritizing of that which is of the greatest impact:  health, life, and securing one’s future.  What other people do; how others think; where others are going; they all become comparatively of little worth.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be the focal point in securing one’s future, and any comparison of one’s life to others who continue on with their linear goals in a world consumed with measuring worth against everyone else, must be cast aside to secure the reality of a present need.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for the Federal or Postal Employee: Character Questions

Questioning one’s character occurs in multiple guises, by subtle and overt means, through self-reflection and conspiracies of consorts; one can question through self-reflection, when an intended result falls short of expectations; one can do it to others, when that which was promised was unfulfilled; or, we can do it out of sheer meanness, when rumors and unverifiable gossip can eat away at the fabric of one’s unprotected persona and self-image.

The offense of questioning one’s character is grave, indeed, and the responsiveness of reactionary rectitude is often tied to the sensitivity of one’s self-image, the reputation one holds within a given community, and the sense that one must maintain and control the opinions of others.  Indeed, in this world of Facebook and rampant, unconstrained and un-restrainable opinions thrown about throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet, the questioning of one’s character is something which must be responded to with a callous disregard.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a hostile work environment when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the issue of character questioning falls to the forefront without notice, without warning, and without a capacity to quickly respond.  Suddenly,  those years and decades of dedicated service are open to questioning; what one did in the past counts for naught; what one is currently doing is discounted because it falls short of coworkers’ expectations because of the enormous contributions of the past, which now account for little; and what is anticipated for the future is set aside, as one becomes a nobody in a universe which only takes into account the present actions and current accolades.

The fact that a medical condition is the culprit of one’s diminished professional capacity means little; and as the agency rarely reveals any underlying capability for empathy, the choices become limited: filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and most viable option. Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end:  the means requires that the Federal or Postal employee attains a level of security such that the medical condition itself can be the primary focus; the end is for the Federal or Postal employee to remain productive for the future, and to utilize the talents and as-yet-unrealized contributions to society for the many years to come.

Character questioning is a game of sorts, and one which empty souls and superficial artifices of valueless individuals engage in; the question itself should never involve a self-reflection of doubt based upon the invalid criticism of others, but the forthright confidence of the Federal or Postal employee who still has many years of valuable contributions left, in a society which screams for character.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement through the OPM: Altered States

When once the tide of change was welcome, where youth allowed for upheavals and malleability; replaced by age, leading to a staid and stable of stability, how repetition constitutes peace, an unadventurous respect for quietude.  But is not inertness the precursor of death?  Altered states and changed circumstances tend to be easily adapted to when one is younger; but as age seeks the sedate, so the vicissitudes of life and what they portend creates a havoc and turmoil of turbulence where the seeking of quietude becomes an end in and of itself.

That is why weekends are guarded with such ferocious aptitudes; and how Mondays invite the blues of depression and despair.  Medical conditions tend to equalize life’s loss of balance; for, as a condition of existence, the debilitating nature they impose, the chronic pain, the loss of mental acuity and disequilibrium of mind, body and soul; suddenly, whether a weekend or a week day, it is a matter of degrees within an altered state of existence.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option which the Federal or Postal employee should seriously consider when once the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal job.

For, it is within the context of a busy and tumultuous life, when the Federal or Postal employee must accept the altered state of existence where a medical condition begins to disrupt the continuity of productivity; the altered state itself must be changed; and the change is often the need to leave the Federal workforce, but with an income and annuity sufficient to provide a stable economic circumstance, and where health insurance can be retained for the foreseeable future in order to continue to receive the medical treatment necessary.

Federal OPM Disability Retirement may not be the perfect solution for every complex circumstance, but it is an option which provides for future choices to be left open, for opportunities remaining yet to be met, and for a positive altered state to be embraced where a negation of stability is encountered within the deep chasm of a medical condition which has caused a disequilibrium of life’s unexpected vicissitudes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Paradigm of Disarray

One can go through life with the belief that the wider geopolitical universe as reflected through countless media outlets represents the true state of everyday existence; as wars, earthquakes, floods and famine destroy families, communities and conduits of chaos, so such a paradigm of disarray can color the subjective perspective which we carry about in the monotony of routine existence.

The extreme rejection of such a model viewpoint is to be a hermit; or, the balanced approach is to “keep things in perspective”, as the general advice goes, but what does it exactly mean to keep something in proper perspective?

On the one hand, if you carry forth the aggregate of transatlantic turmoil as representing what occurs or can potentially occur in the parameters of one’s locality, then that would certainly provide an imbalanced perspective.  On the other hand, ignoring and rejecting all events and occurrences outside of the artificial confines of one’s back yard would negate the reality of the intersection between information, knowledge and wisdom; for, as ignorance constitutes bliss, so deliberately ignoring events outside of one’s living room may represent the pinnacle of ecstatic living.  Then, when one throws a medical condition into the mix, the attempt to maintain a balance of perspective becomes exponentially difficult to maintain.

Medical conditions have a tendency to exacerbate the paradigm of disarray.  For Federal and Postal employees 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 necessity to maintain a proper perspective and balance of one’s life, accomplishments and future potential can become so skewed as to face fears of cognitive mountains insurmountable.  It is hard enough to maintain a balanced perspective in this world where media rules and interjects every aspect of life; where computers feed messages and track buying habits in order to invade your conscious existence; and where the 24-hour news feed is the norm.

Whether from chronic pain which tips the capacity to process information overload adequately, or psychiatric conditions which by their very nature create an imbalance of certitude; the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition will feel that the world once balanced within a universe of rationality, is now turned topsy-turvy through an inverted prism.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees who seek to escape from an exacerbated imbalance of perspective resulting from an on (or off) duty injury, physical illness or a mental condition which impacts the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  It is an avenue to make upright that which produced the paradigm of disarray through the intersecting forces of physical or mental debilitation — that medical condition which one never asked for; which one barely supposed; and of which the greater geopolitical world is unaware.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire