Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Lost Causes

It is that famous line from the 1939 movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” which is evoked by the phrase, “Lost Causes” — of the near-defeated Senator Smith who reminds his father’s old friend that once upon a time, even he had believed that such were the only ones worth fighting for.

It is an idealistic movie; perhaps, even naive.  Was it because of the time in which it was made?  Would — could — such a film be produced in this day and age?  Could there really have been such an individual with unfettered idealism in this era where cynicism and tribal warfare abounds with unlimited and unrestricted savagery?  Do we even have a conscience, anymore, which is required to fight for those “lost causes” that need an advocacy unblemished by the dirt of pessimism?

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, perhaps the medical condition itself has resulted in a perspective that one’s own career, and even life itself, has become one of those “lost causes”.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is not the “end all” of a solution to a lost cause, but it does provide a glimmer of hope so that the Federal or Postal employee can re-focus his or her attention upon regaining one’s health.  But there is a sticking point — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  A denial from OPM can make it appear as if our Federal Disability Retirement application has become another one of those “lost causes”.

Consult with an experienced FERS attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to see whether or not what you perceive as a “lost cause” is worthy of a cause to fight for, and don’t give up so easily; for, in the end, what Senator Jefferson Smith said is what keeps that flame of hope alive — that the only causes worth fighting for are those “lost causes” that everyone else had abandoned.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Interests at odds

A comity of interests has to arise in order for relationships to “work” — in whatever arena of meaning such a term must apply.  When interests are at odds, it means that the goals, orientation and direction of each of the parties are conflicted.  A “conflict”, of course, can be direct or indirect, and can be on various levels of complexities, but in general would imply a need to sever ties unless such conflicts are resolved.

In the employment arena, the comity of interests is fairly straightforward: The employer has a set of interests that need to be pursued; the employee, desiring to advance the interests of the employer, agrees to join in with the comity of interests in the common pursuit of stated goals.  Compensation is agreed upon; certain conditions are mutually stated and a contract, whether explicit or implied, is formed.

Conflicts may arise during the course of employment, of course; if a competitor makes an offer to the employee unbeknownst to the employer that directly or indirectly conflicts with the stated goals of the employer, certain ethical questions may arise.  Or, if certain employment conditions fail to be met, the “interests” of each begin to be “at odds” — an odd way of putting it, but that is the lexicon that has arisen in the employment arena.  It is almost a euphemism to avoid the harsh reality of other “choice” words.

Medical conditions can certainly “bring to odds” and damage the employer-employee relationship, and certainly Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers recognize that.

The “solution” that has been preemptively provided is the benefit known as “Federal Disability Retirement” — it is a means to avoid or otherwise resolve the conflict that arises when a Federal employee or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — where, in the event of a medical condition no longer allowing for the Federal or Postal employee to fulfill certain of the employment conditions agreed upon (i.e., not being able to maintain a regular work attendance; unable to work full time any longer; taking too much SL or LWOP; unable to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, etc.), then it is time to access the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Of course, the “interests at odds” is not just between the employee and one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Service — it is also as against another agency: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management who attempts to subvert, deny and otherwise place obstacles in obtaining an “approval” for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

That is why the “interests at odds” needs to have an advocate — of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Consult with an attorney who can help you attain the comity of interests, and to counter that entity which clearly is at odds with your interests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Arrive with bluff, depart with bluster

That has become the motto of universal exceptionalism; it is the bravado of the incompetent, the arrogance of the ignorant and the methodology of the unwary:  besides, it is a funny line plagiarized from a work by Evelyn Waugh (no, that is a male writer, not a female).

It is to come into a circumstance, a job, an assignment or a social conduit acting like one knows what one is doing, messing everything up, then leaving the desecration of incompetence and a heap of human detritus for others to deal with, while all the while turning up one’s nose, shaking the proverbial head in disgust, and departing with an unjustified defense of one’s own incompetence with:  “You guys are hopeless.”

That is the guiding declarative foundation of all self-help books, advice columns and Oprah-wanna-bees in columns of suspicious pearls of so-called wisdom:  “The key is to act like you know what you are doing, with confidence and assertiveness; the rest will follow and everyone will believe in you.”  Or, in other words, believe in yourself despite not knowing anything; act with declarative arrogance; be self-confident (of what, we are never told) and take charge of your life.  Then, if things don’t work out, don’t be too hard on yourself (or, better yet, not at all) and don’t ever allow others to get you down.

Such a foundational folly of methodological madness fits in very well, and is completely commensurate with the cult of youth; for, even if we all know that the younger generation knows not anything but having been coddled throughout their educational years (hint:  a euphemism for indoctrination for heightening self-esteem), the world generally operates on its own in spite of massive and daily incompetence, but that is precisely why there is a need to hire a dozen people for every job:  quantified incompetence somehow makes up for qualitative lack.

Once upon a time, bluster was known, recognized and dispensed with; and bluster was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.  Now, it is an everyday and common occurrence, because the substantive basis has been ripped out and the soul is now an empty cavern of echoing banter steeped in words of meaninglessness topped by nonsensical linguistic cacophonies of boundless chatter.

Yet, there are times when substance matters, as when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker experiences a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s ability and capacity to continue in the position one is designated in.  That is the time when neither bluff nor bluster is desired, needed nor welcome.

Honest answers and forthright advice is what needs to be obtained, both from Supervisors, coworkers and Human Resource personnel; in the legal advice rendered and received from one’s Federal Disability Retirement lawyer; and from friends, family and loved ones in pursuing this very difficult bureaucratic process couched within a cauldron of administrative nightmares.

We arrive into this world without a clue; we learn to bluff, even when we don’t want to; and when we depart, it is up to us as to whether there needs be an imprint of bluster, or whether the honesty that still resides in the essence of our soul may still reveal a vestige of the true character we maintained, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement System under FERS or CSRS: The footnote

Who reads them, anymore?  Defined as an ancillary or corollary piece of information beyond that which is stated in the body of the main text, the footnote represents that which reflects an addendum and not something that is considered “required reading”, but more likely for the benefit of those who enjoy quixotic minutiae and esoteric details of irrelevant import.*  As referenced in history, one who is relegated to the afterthought failed to reach the first order of things, and their lack of relevance is reflected by banishment to the bottom of the page.

Before computers were invented, long before the notion of “cut and paste” defined the laziness of intellectual prowess, the writer had to engage in prescient forethought, and calculate by measured deliberation the space to leave, the length of the footnote, and whether there was enough white-out left in the crusted bottle to make up for any lack of proper preparation.

The pretentiousness of the pseudo-intellectual, of course, was to have footnotes of greater length than the body of the text itself, spanning multiple pages so that the reader would become confused as to what constituted relevance in contrast to signification of purpose, where some pages barely had a sentence with but a horizontal mark demarcating the onerous esoterica of erudite irrelevancy.  And the worst, of course, is when a teacher or professor would ask a test question based upon one; for, again, the common refrain was twofold:  Who reads them?  Were we required to read them?  And the scoffing retort from the test-giver — that god amongst gods who held grades, fate and future plans in the palm of a single hand: If it was in the assigned material, it was “required reading”.

Much later, of course, we came to realize that “it was really good for us to read them” (though we never really believed such inane confessions), or to our own children, “When I was your age, and computers weren’t yet invented…” (with but a reactive facial expression beyond capacity to translate).  In the end (literally and figuratively), we all realize that the footnote itself represents mere distractions upon an otherwise ordered pagination of an author’s meanderings, and for ourselves, that they reflect a metaphor of who we are.

Most of us are treated as mere footnotes, left unnoticed, disregarded except for occasional reference by accident or happenstance.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has progressed to a deteriorating consensus of requiring an alternative plan of action, being treated as a footnote within a subtext of irrelevancy amongst a sea of bureaucratic inefficiency, is likely a feeling of growing concern.

As footnotes are deliberately disregarded, so the majority of people are like those masses of addendum relegated to unnoticed details of sub-citizenship.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often elevate one’s status and stature for a time, if only because the Agency or U.S. Postal Service is suddenly forced to read the footnote, and take notice of the subtext; but beyond that, it is the medical condition itself which relegates the Federal or Postal employee to that numbering at the bottom of the page and left to irrelevancy, precisely because you are not one of the “productive” ones.

How does one force the “outside world” to “read” you?

In the end, there is life beyond a career with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a first step in getting beyond being relegated to a mere footnote.

As with those generals who served alongside Eisenhower, Grant, Lee and forgotten Roman centurions, most of us are mere footnotes, and glad of it for the unnoticed joys we can embrace in the anonymity of our privacy, and for the Federal or Postal worker who wants to get beyond the notoriety accompanying that unwanted attention for merely having a medical condition — and thus temporarily assigned to the body of the “main text” for being a nuisance — preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is often the first step towards asserting one’s rights to getting back to the footnote of time and timelessness, where most of us want to remain, in the cocoon of irrelevancy and historical afterthoughts.

 


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*Footnote 1:  Just to make sure; otherwise, refer to page 3,275 herein, where you will be required to obtain a special password and key in order to access a pseudo-intellectual forum of erudition within an ivory tower of confounding thoughts, for further reference to important commentaries otherwise pretentiously inserted in order to appear intelligently cogent.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Myths of our own making

What stories we carry within our own heads; the narrative of our own lives, as well as the intersecting conveyances brought by others; the web of linguistic larcenies borrowed, bought and sometimes sold, become who we are and the essence of our being within the world of our phenomenology of existence.  Sometimes, when a lie is told and the piece of puzzle will no longer fit into the greater collage of the manifold tapestry we carry about within our psyche, a rearrangement of sorts must occur.

Perhaps, we discovered, through correspondence and other confirming evidentiary apparatus otherwise irrefutable, that the uncle whose reputation as the moral compass of fidelity had fathered an illegitimate child (of course, such an anachronistic term no longer applies, as marriage no longer validates legitimacy or otherwise).  Perhaps, a meeting with this “family” of prior anonymity becomes a necessity, which then opens experiential doors to other discoveries and nuances of life’s misgivings.

The narrative of one’s life, the connections intertwined and the stories told, must like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle misplaced, be rearranged or otherwise left blank, like the echo of a plaintive voice in a soft hum heard through a mist of cackling geese.  Are secrets worth keeping, anymore?

In modernity, where technology allows for the melding of myth and maxim; where demarcations between the creation of self and the posting of what constitutes the presentation of that being identified as the person who declares to be such, is merely one button away from the virtual reality of a gemstone shining in the moonlit cavern of a secret cave where treasures hidden from pirates of yore flutter with the ghosts of dead seamen and spinning yarns of horrors untold; what we are in the essence of our being has been replaced by the talent to tell of who we are not.  And yet — truthfulness, veracity, validation of identity, and certitude of conduct; they all seem to remain as vestiges of a necessary universe.

The myths of our own making have always been so throughout the history of storytelling.  Today, it is merely more so because of the plenitude of everyone wanting to tell his or her tale, and of every detail most of us don’t want to know.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, a unique sense of duality must be conquered:  there is the need, on the one hand, to “tell all” in the form of SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and, yet, what must be revealed concerns the most “private” of one’s narrative — that of the medical condition and the impact of the medical condition upon one’s professional and private lives.

“Myths” are not merely of make-believe; they are the stories told in traditional societies in order to make a larger point.  Indeed, the myths of our own making may sometimes include the fears we hold onto, as well as the uninformed presumptions we grasp at in a bureaucratic process which is both complex and administratively difficult to maneuver through.  Sound advice from a legal expert in the area of Federal Disability Retirement law will help to dispel the myths unwarranted, as well as validate the maxims required.

In the end, the myths of our own making often reflect the haunting fears of experiences we encountered in those days when childhood memories cast their shadows upon the dungeons of our lives, and when trolls and gnomes suspected to reside in hidden crevices scratch at the doorways leading to the most private of our inner fears.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire