Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Environment

There is pervasive talk about the importance of containing toxic waste dumps, keeping our air and water clean; of limiting the dumping of animal feces into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.; and, indeed, there are agencies and departments created by State, Federal and Local governments devoted to enforcing laws designed to protect us and preserve the pristine condition of our “environment”.

But what of toxic environments of another sort?  What of the poison inserted through malicious intent?  Of the constant harassment and hostility used to intimidate, cower and attain submissive unraveling of defiance?  For those, there are designated courts, commissions and laws passed to protect, for purposes of prosecution and pursuit of money damages.  Of course, the results from either and both arenas of judicial relief are difficult to quantify; whether and to what extent pollutants were introduced into the environment, and by whom; or of what level of toxicity caused harm and damage to an individual; the qualitative measure of damages is always difficult to ascertain.

It is, ultimately, only from the personal perspective and experience that one can gauge the damaging results.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is often a parallel track of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits and concurrently to go after the individuals or organization that discriminated because of the disability acknowledged and recognized.  For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to secure some semblance of “justice” in the process, the goal of the law has been misdiagnosed:  Justice is not the stated teleological motivation of statutory relief; rather, it is a means to appease.

But at what cost?  To what end?  By whose measure?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, sets a specific goal:  cut one’s losses and move on in one’s life.  By filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee is able to leave the toxic environment which may have even contributed to one’s medical condition or disability, or at the very least, exacerbated it; by fighting it, one must remain within the very environment which one is attempting to escape from.

Like Father Damien of Molokai who helped lepers live with dignity as a separate individual from without, but who later contracted the disease and died as “one of them” within, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may want to consider the consequences of the dual track of environmental toxicity before taking on a behemoth of mythical proportions, as opposed to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to exit the poisoning atmosphere.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance

There are always activities and interests to pursue; that is the “stuff” of which life is comprised.  Heidegger referred to the multiple and endless projects as a means of distracting ourselves from the ultimate fate of our existence; but in truth, it is far less complex than that.  Keeping busy is a means of filling in the void of daily toil, and where activity tires the soul, thoughtfulness is replaced with silence.

Have you ever met a person who talks a mile-a-minute, and is seemingly always on the way out, never to have time to pause for breath?  It is as if the grim reaper of time and eternity is just behind, on his tail, about to determine the inestimable worth of a life pursuing the unfulfilled dreams of gnomes, children and elves who jump into hobbit-holes like the white rabbit which Alice followed into the hole of Wonderland.  It is, in the end, an avoidance of sorts, where one knows in the subconscious of harbored secrets that a time in the near future will come, and fall upon the waiting soul like a weight of gold.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer in pain, or in psychiatric modes of inconceivable anguish, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often delayed by deliberate avoidance.  And that is certainly understandable.

The direct confrontation with the problems of life and daily living is less preferable than the enduring activities which keep one’s soul busy with the flurry of thoughtless projects.  But as time tolls regardless of one’s efforts to procrastinate, so the politician who kicks the proverbial can down the chute of endless and moronic drones of discussion, focus-groups and formed committees for further study, is merely avoiding the inevitable.

It is first and foremost the entrance of the medical condition.  Then, slowly, the realization that it simply won’t go away, no matter how busy one is, and how unfair life has become.  Then, the progressive impact upon one’s physical and cognitive capacities ensues.  When the two roads converge, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Avoidance of necessity may work for a fortnight, but the projects which make up life’s “stuff” can only fill the void for a season, if that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: That Song That Won’t Go Away

There is that song, tune, jingle, etc., that sticks to the mind and refuses to go away; and the circularity of the anomaly is that, the more one tries to expunge the melody from one’s mind, the greater the force of staying power; it is only when we “give in” to the persistence, and “give up” trying so hard in suppressing beyond the subconscious, that there comes a time when we can give a sigh of relief and acknowledge, “Ah, it’s gone” — and upon that very instance, it comes right back!

Such persistence of pernicious placements in the universe of cognitive capillaries are not the only conundrums in life; the general rule to be extrapolated is that, the greater the resistance, an equal and exponential quantification of insistence will reverberate.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who try to avoid, suppress or otherwise ignore a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s positional capacity to maintain productivity and a semblance of denial, the greater force by the agency to increase the pressure, and the further exacerbation of the medical condition itself because of the added stresses of the agency, the Postal Service, etc.

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 always an option and alternative that needs to be considered, if only to prepare for an exit and avenue out of the constant morass which fails to let up.  Prioritizing of life’s challenges involves taking affirmative steps towards a resolution.  If you don’t do it, other forces outside of your control will.  When it comes to your own health and well-being, it is the Federal or Postal employee who knows well when the time is ripe to begin the long process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the song that just won’t go away is merely a melody of irritation; when it comes to the nagging deterioration of a medical condition, however, the stakes are much higher, and comparing the two is fine for metaphorical purposes, but not for the challenges which must be faced before the universe of reality and pragmatism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire