FERS Medical Retirement Law: Of Better Times Before

We like to think that; of filtered memories downstream where the pond is pristine and pure.  But the question remains:  Were they?

Romanticization of “before” is a capacity uniquely human.  Today, we even think of better wars before — of World War II, and even of that “Great War to end all wars” — WWI.  To have endured and survived The Great Depression was to have experienced some grand period of American history;  for, of better times before is of a time where communities were intact, children didn’t have the traumas of modernity, and life didn’t have the complexities of Smartphones, Facebook, Instagram and computerized conundrums.

Of better times before — before what?  Before when?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a health condition, the “before when” is answered quite easily:  Before the onset of the medical condition.  And the “before what” is also discernible:  Of that time before when the medical condition was manageable, and it did not interfere with the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal Service job.

Is it true — of better times before?

It depends upon the time period; but certainly, when health was thoughtlessly taken for granted, there were better times before, and in the comparative “now”, the way forward is to consider preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, and have the time to attend to one’s health in order to reach that dreamland of better times before.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: The Comparative Perspective

It is a game which is played throughout history — of comparing one’s own situation to a projected, often inaccurate portrayal of “the other”, whether that other is the neighbor across the street, the stranger whom you see sitting in a cafe drinking coffee, or some celebrity who is obsessively followed for their seemingly outrageous lifestyle and unpredictable tantrums of demands and pubic displays of extravagance.

There are the traditional responses, of course, of: “The grass always appears greener on the other side of your fence”, or that you can never know of another’s life unless you walk in his/her shoes, etc.  But such pablum responses never stop the game that is played — of providing a comparative perspective by judging, on a superficial level, the more appealing life of someone else.

But what if that “someone else” was comparing his or her life to yours?  What is it that they would “not know” but would make a great difference “if only they knew”?  How about a medical condition which you have been masking for many years, which has taken a tremendous toll upon your life?

Indeed, that is often how Federal and Postal workers continue to work despite a medical condition slowly and incrementally destroying the health and well-being of a Federal or Postal worker’s life.  The comparative perspective is often the wrong one, precisely because the comparison itself is made on the most superficial of levels.

Contact a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement if your health has deteriorated to such an extent that any comparative perspective would open up the eyes of the person making that comparison — with the realization that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: How We See Ourselves

Is it ever static?  Does it evolve over time?  Are there individuals who never see a changed self while others believe in a rapidly-changing river on a daily basis?  Is the world comprised of the two “camps” of thoughts, sort of like the old Greek philosophers, Heraclitus and Parmenides?  Is there a successful approach in living — of “mind over matter” — which actually makes a difference?

If we see ourselves as a “failure” despite every objective evidence to the contrary — honors abounding, accolades showered, achievements attained, wealth garnered — does it make it so?

Then, of course, there are objective criteria — and in a Federal Disability Retirement case, it is important not only in conveying the subjective pain and interior psychological roadblocks which prevent a Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, but to combine them with the objective evidence in presenting the full picture of one’s disabling medical conditions.

How we see ourselves is important in a Federal Disability Retirement case; but, moreover, how one’s doctor sees you may be the crucial juncture in attaining a successful outcome in an OPM Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Best of Plans

We do what we can with the tools we are given.  We are given a certain time-frame — say, 60 years or so, half a century, several decades, etc., in which to make our “mark” in the world, to gather our resources, accumulate what fortunes we can muster; and within that contest of living a “life”, the make the best of plans.

All plans are, as Mark Twain likely noted, made to be subsequently abandoned; for, the foibles of human folly dictate that the best laid plans must always adapt to the reality of changing circumstances.  However, we make them nonetheless.  Why do human beings have such a need, a desire, a proclivity for making plans?  Do other species engage in such extensive efforts to map out the future, or do they just “live for the moment”?

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 best of plans must by medical necessity change and become adapted to the new reality of one’s medical conditions.

Consideration yet must be given for one’s future, and preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one of the changes within the framework of another best of plans: To consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of restructuring the best of plans…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Performance Appraisal

It is the system that we have created, a monster which cannot be slain, and the machine that cannot be turned off.  We learn it from an early age — good grades are the foundation for a successful future, and if a teacher has the audacity to give you a lesser grade than what you believe you deserve, call that teacher — harass him or her; file a complaint; heck, file a lawsuit.

In the Federal employment system, performance reviews are often given out like candies — and such reviews can come back to make it appear as if there is nothing wrong.  Managers and supervisors are reluctant to give a “less than fully successful” rating, lest a grievance be filed or a headache ensues; but for the person whose performance has been suffering because of a medical condition which has begun to impact a person’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the reflection upon the record when a Federal Disability Retirement application has been filed may have to be dealt with.

The Office of Personnel Management tends to rely heavily — and unfairly — upon performance appraisals, but there is another legal standard which can be applied — that of incompatibility between one’s medical conditions and the positional elements of one’s job.

Consult with a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Medical Retirement Law and discuss the impact of one’s performance appraisal within the complex administrative procedure of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Medical Disability Attorney

 

OPM Disability Retirement Denial: The Middle Stage

It is like those siblings who are “in between”; of caught in relevance and significance by being squeezed on the one side by the “giant first one”, and on the other side by an even greater presence; and, somehow, the middle stage is lost and forgotten.  Is that how life itself is viewed, as well?  Of being cooed and oohed over the baby-years, and then forgotten once the younger sister comes into the family; or of being cast aside by children in their teenage years, then suddenly realizing that time lost can never be regained, but recognizing that one’s parents now are too old to appreciate?

Is that why the “Middle Ages” are viewed as irrelevant, stuck between the “Ancient Era” of the great Roman and Greek periods, and then suddenly skipped over into the Renaissance and into modernity?

The “Middle Stage” is like the Middle Age years — of being present but quickly fading; of being there but barely noticed; of shying away and fearing the next stage because the one before was so full of energy and the disappointment of the failures of the previous stage is merely a foresight into the fearful expectations of the next.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition now prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the “Middle Stage” is called the “Reconsideration Stage” of the administrative process.

The Reconsideration Stage is the stage where the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application has been denied at the Initial Stage, and it is the Stage before the Third Stage — an appeal to the U.S.Merit Systems Protection Board.  It is not a stage to be “overlooked” — as some inevitability of a further denial — but one which provides for an opportunity to enhance and add to one’s Federal Disability Retirement application by providing additional medical and other documentation in order to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

If the applicant decided to forego consulting with an attorney at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, then it is a good time to consider contacting an attorney at the “Middle Stage” — the Reconsideration Stage of the process — to discuss the next and crucial steps in order to correct any past mistakes and affirmatively assert the proper legal basis in meeting the preponderance of the evidence criteria in your quest to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sorrow behind the facade

How do we know a person’s sorrow?  Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary?  Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.

There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow?  Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes?  But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?

Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade.  Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake.  The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken.  For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.

For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career.  There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time to prepare, formulate and 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.

In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The regularity of life

Metaphors abound, of course; of the stream of life, its cadence, likened to a steady march and the cyclical nature wrapped in the repetition of the growing dawn followed by the setting sun.  The regularity of life represents a rhythm and monotony that provides a blanket of comfort (there goes the metaphor, again) that can be extracted from the lack of chaos.

Most of us thrive best within the regularity of life’s monotony; it is the very few who seek and relish the chaos of life.  Some few seek the opposite precisely because they grew up hating the former; and other, the very antonym of life’s challenges, searching always for new adventures and challenges and upending everything in sight because of boredom experienced in some prior stage of life.

Whatever the causes, whatsoever the sought-out means for expression and self-satisfaction, one cannot exist without the other.  It is from chaos that one creates an order (hint: this is not a new notion; one might consult the first book of an otherwise unnamed book that “believers” often refer to); and it is only in the midst of the regularity of life that one can have spurts of its opposite; otherwise, the world of chaotic living could not be identified as such unless there is a contrasting opposite by which to compare.

Medical conditions “need” its very opposite.  Doctors often talk about “reducing stress” as an important element in maintaining one’s health; it is another way of saying that the chaos of life needs to be contained, and the regularity of life needs to be attained.  Medical conditions themselves interrupt and impede the regularity of life; as pain, it increases stress; as cognitive dysfunctioning, it interrupts calm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very fact of the medical condition itself can be the impeding force that disrupts and interrupts the regularity of life; and the chaos that ensues often necessitates an action that returns one back to the regularity of life.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first and necessary step in bringing order back into an otherwise chaotic-seeming mess.

It is, in the words of some “other” source, to attain the regularity of life from that which had become without form and void.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire