Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: These Holidays

Do We dread, or welcome them?  Is it a season to which we look forward, or hope that they will quickly fade into memories best left forgotten?  Is it to endure, tolerate, give a plastic smile to, or do we guffaw uproariously where our hearts flutter with sincere flushes of joyful tears?

On the other hand, must our emotions always be bifurcated into extremes of disjunctives?  Must it be “Either/Or” (to borrow Kierkegaard’s Title to his opus magnum)?  Can it not be some compromised “middle ground” where we enjoy certain parts of it, tolerate with indifference others, and leave the rest to the ash heaps of eternal drawers shuttering away in memories unrevealed?

The “Holidays” are a time of bustle; and though we complain of the “commercialism” of the modern era, we refrain and restrain ourselves because we know that, to do so is to be tagged a “Scrooge”; and so we quietly acquiesce, “go with the flow” and smile wanly as the world decorates itself in preparation for a single day in a time of multiple troubles.

But in the end, isn’t it nice to “make-believe?”  For, there are always the tomorrows and the day after; the day before, and other times of mundane and common occurrences, and to celebrate one out of all of those “others”, even if tomorrow brings back the reality of tumults and memories of better yesterdays — still, through it all, it is nice to gather around and sing a Christmas carol, to light a candle, to bow in prayer for thanks and wishes.

In the end, it is — after all — these Holidays that matter not because the world says so, but because we have an excuse to be with family, friends, hug and laugh, if only for a day in remembrance of these holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: The time of purpose

Does purpose always guide?  Or do we sometimes work on automatic pilot — without thought, working our way through a morass of repetition merely because that is the way we have always done things and it is more comfortable to continue on that same path?  What does it mean to live without a purpose, or even to live with one?  Are we more motivated; does initiative power the inertness within, like steroids or extra fuel added where the flickering flame is about to be extinguished but suddenly someone pours a cupful of gasoline upon the embers of a dying bonfire and “poof!” — purpose places us back on track?

Are there “times of purpose” as opposed to a lack thereof — like seasons that come and go in repetitive rhythms that we are quite familiar with — and during those times when we know the “why” for which we live, it makes it that much easier to get though the day?

Seasons come and go; the rhythm of a life is often impacted by the circumstances that we find ourselves in; and whether we “have” a purpose — as in possessing a clear path or vision forward, or retaining a certain goal or perspective on the “why” of what we are doing — or not, there are those who believe in a higher order of teleological framework where there is an objective reality that guides the course of all human activities and events.

Whether there is such a higher order or not is the Question of the Ages; of theological debates and one’s place in the wider universe; these are all great issues and questions pondered by greater minds, but when the voices of certitude and preaching become silent and the conversation wanes into the late evening, it is only the lonely voice of the individual and the soliloquy of quiet thoughtfulness that remains — and it then comes down to:  What is this time of purpose for me?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the 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, it is likely that the very consideration that one’s career and livelihood may be lost, will begin to drive the time of purpose.

Before the medical condition, the time of purpose involved one’s career and work; with the onset of the medical condition, the time of purpose encompassed getting back one’s health; and now, where it becomes clear that the medical condition and the Federal or Postal job are no longer consistent or compatible, the time of purpose must involve 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.  For, the time of purpose is driven by the circumstances that change and surround us, and one’s health is a significant life-event to compel that time of purpose.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: “Doing the best we can”

Sometimes, it may be a true statement; at others, it may merely turn out to be a throwaway line that is cast about to deceive a decoy into the mix.  What is the objective criteria in determining the truth of the statement?

If a young lad is failing in school and the parents contemplate some form of incentivized punishment, does the mother who relents and says, “But he is doing the best he can” have any credibility?  Or, does the filial affection shown and the inability to disbelieve the large and pitiful eyes looking back with tears rolling down his cheeks, pleading and saying, “But mommy, I’m doing the best I can!” — does it make it true?

How does one determine and separate out the complex structures of truth, objectivity, human emotions and the arena of subjective elements all contained within the bastion of a single declarative sentence?

Or of another hypothetical: Of a man or woman who is disabled and clearly struggling, but doing everything he or she can do to extend one’s career — overcompensating by working twice as hard, twice the time expended, and three times the effort normally required; does the declarative sentence, “He/she is doing the best he/she can!” mean anything?

There are, of course, differing perspectives — to whom the declarative sentence is being addressed and the one who issues the statement, and the chasm between the two often indicates the loyalties ensconced, the self-interest concealed or otherwise left unstated, and the group-think attachments that cannot be disregarded.  That is the problem of the futile treadmill — no matter how much more effort you expend, it gets you nowhere.

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 his or her Postal or Federal job, “doing the best we can” may actually mean something — but likely only to you, and not to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

The plain fact is that the “rate of return” on the expenditures invested will never maintain any semblance of comity or balance.  For, the very extraordinary efforts being expended are more indicators to the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service that you are no longer “normal”, and people tend to have that herd instinct and group-think affinity where anything out of the preconceived norm cannot be accepted.

“Doing the best we can” — is it enough?  Likely, not.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not betray the thought behind the declaration; for, in the end, who are you trying to please?  If it is the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, you are doing a disservice not only to your own health, but to the truth of the declarative sentence itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Life’s mortgage

We all know well the concept behind it – of borrowing against the object itself, in order to “half-possess”, occupy and enjoy it presently against a future promise that it will be paid over an incremental period of time.  Sort of like life itself, or at least of one’s health.  Borrowed time; life’s mortgage; banking on a better tomorrow; relying upon a promise being kept based upon today’s favorable circumstances over a lengthy period of time well into a future we can never be certain about.

Yet, because the collateral is the object itself – normally, the house that is being mortgaged – the loaning institution actually doesn’t take any gamble at all, even if the value of the collateral plunges below the agreed-upon amount to be paid; one is still obligated, no matter what.

It is sort of like life’s challenge itself – of the promise of a promising life based upon an anticipated health that will last until the day when one is suddenly gone.  But life doesn’t always work that way, just as the mortgage, lien and promise of financial growth doesn’t quite always fold out as planned, like the scrolled blueprint that keeps trying to roll back into an obscured cylinder with each attempt to lay it flat.

Sickness occurs; health deteriorates; the 30-year mortgage that was promised at the onset of the contract signed doesn’t unfold as anticipated, and sometimes a default occurs – like the health that deteriorates and the career that must be ended.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, based upon the idea that recognizes that while a long-term commitment to a career is reasonably anticipated, there are instances where such a commitment may need to be modified in the event of failing health.  Unlike the bank’s position in a mortgage-relationship as lender-to-borrower, however, it is not quite all that one-sided.  There are options still open.

Thus, because Federal Disability Retirement requires only that a person be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position being occupied, the Federal or Postal employee is allowed to go out into the private sector and work at a job somewhat dissimilar (so long as there are “essential elements” which are not identical to the former Federal or Postal position), and make up to 80% of what the former Federal or Postal job pays currently.

For, in the end, life’s mortgage is unlike the home mortgage where the lender holds all of the proverbial cards; at least for the former, the great thing is that the reliance is upon the capacity of man’s ability, and not upon the fine print hidden within the banker’s contract.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Was it all worth it?

It is that penultimate question – the one that has multiple cousins and unwanted siblings, illegitimate off-springs and uninvited guests, like:  What is the meaning of my life (refer to previous posts concerning Russell’s quip that such pedantic queries are often the result of indigestion)?  Did I do the right thing (such lines of interrogatories often emerge from a guilty conscience, so you might not want to ask that one)?  Did I spend enough time with my kids (almost always, “no”)?  Did I remain true to my marriage vows (sadly, according the statistical analysis, most people would have to answer in the negative)?  Have I behaved honorably throughout (it would depend upon the definition of the term, and of by-the-way, we tend to have private dictionaries defining words these days in a subjective, self-serving manner)?

“Was it all worth it” goes in so many directions, it is like the catch-all phrase or the “general aegis” over which all other questions and queries reside.  To whom?  By what measure?  In contrast to what other “it”?  And the more important one: Can we clarify and “flesh out” what the “it” refers to?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prompts a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the interrogatory itself often means that the point of “worthiness” refers to the delay and loyalty shown by the suffering Federal or Postal employee before taking the next needed steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Often, to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, such a query means that you have already pushed yourself well beyond that which is actually for your own good, and while loyalty, faithfulness, hard work and such similar attributes are laudable and “example-setting” characteristics reflecting well upon the one who asks the question, the answer may be – at least from a medical perspective – formed in the negative.

For, isn’t part of the point in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application to do so before the medical condition gets to such a severe crisis point of deterioration so that there is actually a retirement to enjoy?

Remember that the standard of proof in obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is not to reach a state of “total disability” (which is the standard in a Social Security case); rather, it is to show that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, when you ask the question, “Was it all worth it?” – it is indeed important to know what the “it” refers to, both in the second word of the question as well as the fifth and last.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire