Federal Employees with Disabilities: Simplifying the Complex

Genius is to comprehend the complex; competence is to utilize it; adequacy is to merely get by with it; to be lost is to become mired in it.  The world is complex.  Balance in a life is complex.  Trying to survive in a complex world requires a balancing act that even the most skilled tightrope acrobat can barely accomplish.

Once, when a reporter asked a mountain climber who had successfully scaled the North Face of the Eiger “why” he does what he did, the reply was: “When I am climbing, my only focus is to survive.  I do not need to think of anything but the next step, the next hold, and to ascend inch by inch.  Nothing else matters but the moment.”

But that life could be lived within the paradigm of that philosophy — of “living for the moment.”  To do so, of course, would require setting aside the baggage from one’s past and ignoring the tumultuous considerations for the future.  For most of us, we simply cannot live like that.  In this complex world, we try and “get by” through simplifying it — bifurcating it into comprehensible and digestible components; attending to each one at a time; then starting all over again at the beginning of the next day.  To simplify the complex is a skill-set that one must attain in order to just survive.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the complex universe of an administrative process like filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a bureaucratic morass that will often require legal advice, guidance, assistance and counsel.

It is the job of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to simplify the complex.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, lest you find that the complex remains too complicated and the next mountain to climb has become too steep an obstacle, like the North Face of the Eiger.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Future Robbing Present

How much time do we spend worrying about the future?

In this concerning age, where debts keep rising, expenses keep increasing, wages remain stagnant and instability around the world continues as a reality we are all faced with — the amount of time spent in anxious anticipation of a future not yet established is a reality which we all must constrain.

Planning for the future is a necessity; articulating plans and loosely following them, a nuisance; but what of worrying about a projected experience not yet upon us — is it a mere waste of time?

The future robs the present by keeping our focus outside of the experiences of the present; whether by brooding about it, being lost in thought for it or merely fidgeting with anxiousness towards it; it all amounts to the same:  The joy of a present experience is lost because of the worry which overwhelms us.

Of the past — we tend to relish or regret it; but inasmuch as it is something that has already occurred, we do not obsessively remain in that time slot; unless, of course, we fear the consequences of past actions upon future events.  But it is for present circumstances that may trigger future worries — as in a medical condition currently experienced that we project into the future as to the medical condition’s capacity to impact our anticipated lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition will likely prevent the Federal or Postal worker — in the future of, say, 6 months hence, 12 months beyond, 3-5 years of becoming — from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, it is always a good idea to consider early in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

If worry for the future is robbing the present, then it is time to consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Worrying about the future will not change or alter the course of events yet to come; to prepare for a pathway towards such change for the future, it is wise to first consult with an experienced Federal Disability Retirement Attorney, lest the future come upon you unprepared and like a thief in the night robbing you of your present.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow”, as a word written today, pointing to a dimension beyond; to a vantage and perspective not yet realized, and forever to be referenced by a future date yet unknown.  When read tomorrow, it leads to the next day; and when looked upon the next day, to the following day again; and in this eternal sequence of tomorrows, whether written today, tomorrow or the next day, it forever reminds us that hope lies not in the morass of today’s problems, but in the change of things yet to be realized.

Yes, yes — we all recognize the scoffing that often surrounded the political banner of that famous phrase, “hope and change” — but that is merely because the potency of words, concepts and formulated paradigms lose their efficacy once they are used within a public arena that turns into a campaign slogan. Hope is always for tomorrow; for, without tomorrow, hope remains fallow as the desert that once promised a fertile reserve but never realized the rivers that had dried up because of the changes of the subterranean shifts in tectonic quakes that others failed to predict.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the hope for tomorrow will often include the preparation, formulation and filing of 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 and CSRS Offset.

Today is already filled with the overwhelming problems that beset any Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition; it is for tomorrow that an application for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, and that is the ray of hope that includes tomorrow, and the day after, in preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Accuracy

How important is accuracy?  The converse of such a query, of course, is:  Is inaccuracy significant?  One would immediately posit:  It all depends.

Take the following 2 hypotheticals:  An archeological dig is conducted, and it is believed that the site of the ruins is of relevant importance concerning a time-period of “recent” history — say, during the American Revolution.  Given that scenario, the “dating” of the site should be ascertainable within a year succeeding or preceding, such that if the Lead Archaeologist declares that the event in question occurred in 1778, “or possibly in 1779, maybe as early as 1777”, we know that — given the time period in question (1775 – 1783) — such a statement conveys a fairly accurate historical context.

Now, take the same hypothetical, but this time [sic] concerning some form [again, sic] of a fossil that is deemed at least 500 million years old.  If the Lead Archaeologist declares with some hint of irony, “Give or take a few million years more or less” — what would our reaction be?  Is such a “find” just as accurate as in the first hypothetical?  Can a declaration that is numerically off by a few million years (i.e., looking at it in quantifiable terms of 24 hours in a day times 365 days in a year times 2 – 5 million years equals how many hours for those who want a graspable perspective) be called a “science” in any meaningful usage of the term?

Of course, one could argue that even within the first hypothetical, given the limited range of years that comprises the American Revolution (1775 – 1783, or a mere 8 years), to be off by a year or so is also quite an astoundingly inaccurate assessment.  But which is “more accurate” — the one that is estimated within a year, or the one that quantifies it in terms of “millions” of years?  Can one even ask the question of “more or less” accurate, when the very concept of accuracy itself denotes precision and pinpointed, undeviated marksmanship?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “accuracy” can be a crucial one.  How “accurate” does one’s Statement of Disability need to be on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  What “precisely” does the treating doctor have to include in the medical report?  How detailed (and therefore, accurately) does the nexus between the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability does it have to reflect?

In all such questions, “accuracy” is a goal to attain in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, while the Archaeologist may be “off” by a quantifiable sum of years in a site-dig and suffer little to no consequences, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must depend upon the accuracy of the law in determining benefits to secure a future yet uncertain, and such an administrative endeavor is likened more to the accuracy of the arrow that is shot towards an apple resting upon the head of a young boy, than of a declaration made that is off by a few million years, give or take, more or less.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The changing straw

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” is a known idiom that essentially reveals to us the last in the series of incidents or actions that cumulatively result in the destruction of the whole.  What in the series preceding the last straw; of what weight and import; to what significance may be attributable, we rarely focus upon; it is the last one in the series that we focus our attention upon, precisely because we assume that it is the causal connection to the event that conclusively occurs with a finality of actions.

Yet, as Hume would point out, the fact that a “final straw” placed upon the camel’s back resulted in the next event following, does not establish a causation where that final straw was in fact the cause before the effect.  It merely shows us that X occurred prior to Y’s conclusion.  If a rooster awakens and makes his morning call and the sun rises upon the horizon, and thereafter an earthquake shakes the foundation of the planet, do we conclude that the rooster was the final straw, or that the rising of the sun “caused” the tectonic shifts beneath?

No – the idiom itself, of course, is not meant to be analyzed in that manner; rather, it is a “saying” that merely denotes that, upon a series of events, issues or actions, there comes a boiling point of finality where enough is enough.  But the evolution of societal norms does, indeed, allow for the straw to change over time.

Once upon a time, people “stuck it out” and remained married – if only to keep one’s vows, or for the “sake of the children”, or perhaps some other noble purpose.  Now, the “straw” that results in a divorce has changed – it can range from “failing to communicate” or even because one spouse has gotten bored of the other.  With that changing straw, people tend to tread lightly, given the low threshold of tolerance.  Law is somewhat like the changing straw – perhaps not the substance (although that can change through legislative action), but certainly the application.

For Federal or Postal employees 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 issue to always be kept at the forefront is the changing straw throughout – what is the “straw” at work which will help make the decision?  What “last straw” is needed before the cumulative effects of the medical conditions persuade you to realize the need to file?  What “straw” of the law needs to be applied to persuade as to the viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application?

There are many “last straws” in life, and much of them change as time goes on; the law, however, remains fairly constant, except for the “last straw” of legal opinions that often alter the landscape of substance and applicability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Under the clump of olive trees

There are certain phrases that turn one’s attention, and daydreams of exotic lands and foreign places become projected onto one’s imagination, like camels, Arabian nights and sand dunes in faraway corners.  But, then, reality imposes itself; such places probably exist a few miles hence; those distant lands are now war-torn and deemed by the State Department to be forbidden avenues for sightseers and tourists in cut-off shorts and Hawaiian Shirts (did you know that the latter are apparently “back in style” – as if they ever were?), with warnings and cautionary predictions where officialdom has already evacuated the premises.

The soft snore from a picturesque scene:  the shepherd with a crooked walking stick, the flock grazing in the near distance; a straw hat edged slightly over the forehead, an arm lazily twisted behind as a pillow against the rocky surface; under the cluster of the olive trees, where a partial shadow allows for the coolness in the heat of midday slumber.  Or, what of a child’s delight in fairytales and picture-books, of Arabian nights with camels chewing silently while tents alight with shadows from within reveal the soft mutterings of foreign tongues, yearning for the delectable offerings sizzling atop the burning fires glowing in the star-filled twilight of the vast ocean of sand dunes and shadows.

Of course, those days of yonder years are now gone forever.  There are no scenes of picturesque quietude; in modernity, every corner of the earth has already been visited; the Himalayan monk sits with earphones and scans the images of Facebook and the world he abandoned for prayer, meditation and enlightenment; and that herd of camels has now been replaced by hooded terrorists lurking to kidnap and maim.  Yet, we all retain and preserve those images of quietude and peaceful reserve; in an insane world, a virtual universe of sanity is necessary, even if non-existence must be acknowledged and admitted to.

For each of us, perhaps it constitutes a minor variation:  becoming lost in a sports league; watching movies in regularity of escaping; a hobby in the cavern of one’s garage; physical labor or forlorn love with strangers; this is a society which requires distraction.  Or, as Heidegger puts it, varying projects in order to avoid the ultimate encounter with Nothingness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition creates a working hell at work, what comprises the image of resting under a clump of olive trees?  Certainly, not the daily grind and antagonism experienced by supervisors, managers and coworkers who disallow any meaningful contribution because of the limitations imposed by the medical condition itself; and, certainly not the enduring of pain and anguish implemented by the constant fight against the illness.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pathway, for many Federal and Postal employees, to a state where one can attend to, and focus upon, caring for one’s self.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is part of the employment package for all Federal and Postal employees, and utilization of it requires a proper formulating, preparation and filing through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to prove one’s entitlement to it.  It is a “means” to an “end”; and the means provide for a pathway outside of the daily pain and suffering which defines one’s life; the “end” is that virtual image we all strive for – to lay one’s head upon a comforting pasture under the clump of olive trees.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Happiness Goal

Whether human happiness is the goal to strive for, or as a byproduct to savor in those moments of sudden revelation, is for each individual to ascertain and abide by.  One can study the sages and philosophers and realize that there is a distinction to be made between joy and happiness, of contentment and satisfaction, and from a sense of peace as opposed to the turmoil of anxious foreboding.

Life is full of moments; but is it for those moments we live, or do such ethereal segments compel us to greater achievements?  From Aristotle’s Eudaemonism to Confucius’ focus upon maintaining the balance between family and normative behavior, or the extreme nihilism of Nietzsche and the existentialist’s embrace of the absurd, the modern approach has been to ensconce happiness as the principle of highest regard.  But life has a way of interrupting every neat packaging of human endeavor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether of physical pain, the chronicity of progressive deterioration, or the overwhelming psychiatric conditions which impact mental acuity, cognition, with symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., the desire for the “happiness principle” is sometimes merely to have a day without the symptoms of one’s medical condition.

Filing for Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal workers is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can be an intermediate goal, and not an “ultimate” one.  For, in the end, if the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the loss of job satisfaction will be exponentially heightened either by the agency (through disciplinary procedures or termination of employment) or by one’s self (through frustration of purpose, increasing recognition and acknowledgment of one’s inability and incapacity, etc.).

In the end, the “happiness goal” is often defined by who controls what; and in taking the first steps toward preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, one asserts control over one’s present and future endeavors, and fights against the winds of time and mortality by controlling the undetermined destiny of a period of life yet to be deciphered in this complex world of mysteries wrapped in a chasm of conundrums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire