OPM Medical Retirement: Putting it all together

It is the disparate and disconnected narrative that often remains deficient — just short of the finish line and like the runner who suddenly steps upon a pothole on the road to the ticker-tape parade, the discombobulation that ensues can throw the entire coordination off, where feet become entangled and the arms fail to swing in rhythmic motion.

Have you ever watched how some runners have perfect coordination — arms swinging in cadence, the effortless motion of the legs, like the “feel” of silk upon a windy day where nothing gets entangled and everything is in perfect synchronization of timeless beauty?  Or, what of a child who has just begun to walk, trying to run — are they not all legs and arms bundled into a web of discord?

Putting things “all together” is like the runner who must coordinate breathing, arms in motion, legs in cadence and eyesight in guiding — of a perfection reached in order to arrive at a destination point called “the finish line”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to a successful outcome is partly based upon coordinating all of the elements into a synchronized whole — of the medical records and reports; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (as reflected on SF 3112A); of the legal arguments to be made and referenced, both as a shield (e.g., of preemptively countering any claim by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that an “accommodation” has been provided) as well as a sword (e.g., asserting the Bruner Presumption where applicable, or the due consideration that must be given to VA Disability Ratings, etc.); and all of the other details besides.

Putting it all together” may seem like an effortless feat for an experienced runner, but for the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, who must put a Federal Disability Retirement packet all together, some assistance from an experienced “runner” — an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — might be in order.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Lawyer: Reality, perspective & medical condition

Reality is the existence of Being; perspective, the Kantian structures of how we see things; and a medical condition is that intervening, interrupting and corroding event that may render the first and second of this tripartite concept into a skewering of prospects.

Of course, a medical condition impacts the reality of a situation, especially a person’s ability, capacity and initiative towards a goal, and further, one’s perspective may become completely altered as a result of the event –priorities may change, the goals one has may be pared back, and even the enthusiasm towards certain things may become modified.  That is why a medical condition is sometimes considered a “game changer” in the reality and perspective of one’s life.

Life is full of bumps and bridges; of trespasses and rightful directions; and even of encounters with empathy, love and kindness; and though the reality of one’s situation may often appear that any perspective other than one seen through the eyes of meanness, cruelty and hardened hearts is merely a child’s dream of a fantasyland long passed and forever extinguished, there are still times of joy to look forward to, moments of smiles and days of sunshine left.

A medical condition is often a dark cloud, but a proper perspective on the reality of that darkness needs to be gathered.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees nothing but turmoil, disaster and progressive deterioration because of the medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, 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, may lend the Federal or Postal employee a different perspective on the reality of one’s situation.

No, filing an OPM Disability Retirement application will not be the answer to all of reality’s problems, but it may change one’s perspective as to the dark cloud that has gathered upon the reality of that medical condition that won’t seem to go away.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The legacy

It is something that we leave behind.  Yet, unlike a wallet, a watch, a piece of jewelry or a troublesome child better left forgotten, we don’t have an opportunity to go back and get it.  We say of that laundry list, “Oh, I need to go back and get it” (except maybe of the last in the list, whom we hope will be adopted into a kindly family and simultaneously also leave the parents behind); but not of the legacy.

No one ever says of that, “Oh, I left my legacy behind, and I need to go back and get it.”  Instead, it is intimately bound up with mortality, our sense of the future minus our own presence, and a dominant desire and urge to “leave a legacy” behind, as if to do otherwise will diminish the memory of one who has now departed, will soon be forgotten and will populate the mass of unknown graves without tombstones littering the earth beneath ivy and weeds that overwhelm.

It is often money itself, which is soon spent and forgotten; or a special “something” that one remembers another by, which is placed in a drawer and also quickly, easily and without conscience soon forgotten; or, perhaps a more lasting imprint of some residual effect – a poem, an antique car (otherwise referred to as a “junk heap”), or the family farm.

Whatever the legacy left leaving lasting latitudes of lost loneliness lacking love’s longing for lengthy locutions (sorry for the alliteration, but it cannot be helped), it is something that is left behind, cannot ever be retrieved, and may or may not have a lasting impact upon the person or groups of people for whom it is intended.

Then, one can stretch the meaning to include a more modern interpretation of the concept of a legacy – of one’s own.  That is a paradigm of a “legacy” in the more common usage – of a memory of one’s life, of what kind of a legacy will one leave that will be remembers by others – that you worked yourself to death and didn’t spend the time with your kids (refer to the above, first sentence herein, where that may be a blessing), your wife or friends?  What is the point of an empty legacy of that sort?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to think of one’s life, health, future and legacy, especially because a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of one’s choice, the consideration of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often and intimately tied and bound to the fragile nature of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s life.

Struggling daily with a medical condition while trying to contend with a contentious Federal Agency or Postal Facility is not only “not fun” – it is, moreover, a futile exercise that diminishes the legacy of one’s life as a greater whole.

The “legacy” one leaves behind, indeed, is not like a wallet, a watch, or a piece of jewelry; but it is like a child left behind, where regrets for the future may yet be corrected, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to focus upon one’s health and future orientation that can no longer include the current job one occupies, preparation of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, may be the next best thing to a legacy yet to be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Moral Code lost in pragmatism

Kant is the best example, and is used often.  Of that arrogance defined by universalization of a query; and if we are willing to apply it in all circumstances, regardless of individual differences that may matter in the context of exceptions recognized, we are to adhere to that which may harm our own interests.  Why is transcendence important?  Why do philosophers insist that any “valid” moral basis possess a metaphysical foundation, transpired in order to justify a cornerstone unsullied by the meanness of common life?  Is the fact of relative significance unacceptable merely because it is subject to change?  Do we not, in daily life, have to adapt in every circumstance, all the time throughout every encounter with experiences, and is this not the very essence of survival?

We bought the posit of Plato and Aristotle – those two old Greek men who provided the foundation of Western Thought – that either (A) a transcendent Form of universalized principle must exist, or (B) that a methodological argumentation must be able to be advanced, in order to “justify” the ethical groundwork telegraphed.  That is how laws, statutes, and societal foundations have evolved – from the implicit assumption that, somehow, principles above and beyond the pragmatic are necessary.  But are they?  In a world that embraces pure materialism and the genetic predisposition of all that exists, without the inconvenience of a creator or grand inquisitor, is not the approach of pragmatism – of that which merely “works” – enough?

That is how the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service operates these days; they care less about any “principles” of fairness in the workplace, or employment “codes” that allegedly overshadow the work ethic applied to employees, and instead, approach it with a view towards the bottom line:  Profitability.  For so many years, the Federal Government was incessantly being compared to the private sector – in terms of output, efficiency and investment-for-returns.  Such comparisons failed to recognize the obvious:  the two general entities served different purposes and needs of society, and forcing them to coalesce and reflect each other merely denigrated the essence of each.

It is not so much the attributable similarities between Plato and Aristotle which form the foundation of such thinking; rather, it is the contrasting approaches between Heraclitus and Parmenides that conform our moments of contemplative underpinnings:  between change and permanence, betwixt relativity and transcendence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 question often arises as to a conflicting sense between one’s “Moral Code” and the pragmatic need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  Often, such a conflict is merely a result of muddled thinking – that, somehow, it is not “right” or “fair” to file for benefits when one is so young, or where one can still be productive, but not at the same level as before.  But that is precisely how the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is set up – to allow for a retirement from one’s particular kind or type of work, yet presenting an opportunity to remain productive in the private sector, and potentially make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Morality is all well and good for the elitists of our culture, but in the common world of pragmatism, we must embrace that which we are given, like breadcrumbs dusted off at the dinner table of the behemoth called, the United States Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Requisite Sense of Control

Most of us require a semblance of self-determination, if only to conceal the inadequacies and keep at bay the disasters which portend, or pretend, whichever the case may be.  By controlling circumstances, we believe that we can maintain prevention of crisis, pre-determine the outcome of expectations, and squirrel away the hesitations and insecurities controlling us in our lives of desperate needs.  But life has a way of defying the macro-minutiae of the limited universe within our reach and immediate control.

Mastery of life is difficult to attain; just when we thought we had grasped the foundational principles of life and living, old age sets in, and the youthful vigor dissipates, like the ethereal dust of residue left behind by the flight of angels.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, it is that sudden onset of a medical condition which nags and refuses to go away, which becomes the harbinger of things to come.  Agencies and the Postal Service tend to be “meddlers”, and once a particular Federal or Postal employee becomes the trigger-sighted individual, the stray bullet that travels is normally not too far behind.  Loss of control, or the abandonment of a requisite sense of control, is derived when agencies target, and when adverse actions are issued, a PIP is imposed, and leave restrictions commanded.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement is an option which is a viable avenue to pursue, precisely because it attains and reasserts that requisite sense of control, by securing a needed annuity for some semblance of financial security and stability.  Federal Disability Retirement is also a means of re-focusing one’s life upon the priorities which matter — such as one’s health and well-being, so that the harassment and hostility at work will cease.

But the long road in preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed ultimately through, and decided by, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is another bureaucratic morass which — for a time, at least — will feel like entering another and surreal universe where one’s destiny is in the hands of another:  OPM.  But in life, as in the parallel universe of the absurd, one must first lose control in order to gain the requisite sense of control.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Compartmentalizing

It may well be another evolutionary vestige to have the capacity to divide, separate, pigeonhole and compartmentalize; otherwise, the extreme bombardment of visual and auditory stimuli would be overwhelming, and perhaps untenable to one’s ability to process the volume and extent of the information needed to receive, analyze and comprehend.

What is relevant; what must be immediately attended and responded to; which sets can be procrastinated; where does this bit of data go to?  In this world of information technology, perhaps the human animal is best suited to amass and bifurcate into seamless paradigms of perceptual pinholes for proper processing.  But, of course, as with all things advantageous, there are elements of negative consequences.

For those who have limited capacity to effectively engage in such endeavors; and for those who suffer from medical conditions which limit and reduce such capacity.  Medical conditions tend to lower the tolerance for stress; and in this world of fast-paced technology, there is little room for empathy for those who cannot maintain the maddening spectrum of timeless busy-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the inability to withstand the level of stress is often the turning point of making the proper decision in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Some may whisper that he or she is no longer able to “hack it” in the real world; others may simply sneer or snicker with purposeless pride of pernicious penchant for punishing pointedness.  But the reality is that there is almost always an intimate connection between stress, the capacity to tolerate stress, and health.

Health involves man’s ability to compartmentalize; and whether through the evolutionary mechanism of survival of the fittest, where those who became best at separating the relevant from the unimportant; or just because those who are able to bifurcate and comprehend happen to parallel the course of history in developing the complexities of the information age; whatever the reasons, the time of ultimate compartmentalizing comes in the self-recognition that it may be necessary to identify the source of one’s deteriorating health, and to allow that to be the impetus and compelling reason to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire