OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sign Posts

Whether used as a noun or a verb, the second grammatical appendage can have multiple meanings: as a stick of lumber; as an activity placing information, warning, directional declarative or similar linguistic affirmations; and the combination of the two words can be read only within a greater contextual enlightenment depending upon what meaning is meant to be conveyed or how the inflection and accent is emphasized.

As a mere stick of lumber, it is a rather boring concept, even when attached to the first word, “sign”, precisely because the focus is upon the “post”, and so the emphasis goes directly to the sturdy piece of wood and not to the interests of the information posted.  If, on the other hand, one means to connote a different linguistic avenue – of different and varying posting of signs, then our interest is tweaked because we are immediately drawn into the various and wider universe of warnings, directions, admonishments and disseminated information useful to everyday living.

Sign posts are meant to guide, warn, betray or inform; and between the spectrum of the duality of linguistic translations, there is a natural reflection to life’s everyday humdrum itself.  For, like the analogy between information posted or merely a stick of lumber, living life is likened to a wide spectrum of activities mirroring boredom and repetitive monotony, and those instances where sudden tumult and excitement makes for an interesting day.

Being healthy can be viewed as a form of boredom; it is like the person focusing upon the stick of lumber, even if there are signs posting some warnings.  And, correlatively, when sickness and debilitating medical conditions occur, the viewpoint and perspective alters dramatically, such that the monotony of the piece of wood is now replaced with the blare of the warning, admonishment and legal declaratives, and life becomes a tumult, not merely a lapping wave but a tsunami of devastating impact.

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 the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the alteration of the perspective – whether seen as a “eureka” moment, a modified weltanschauung, or some reflective recognition of changed circumstances – the point is to shift the focus from the stick of lumber to the sign post itself: the job, the harassment, the constant antagonism and acrimony in the workplace – these are all the stick of lumber; one’s own medical condition, dealing with the doctors, the deterioration of one’s physical, emotional and mental capacity – these are the “signs”.

What we focus upon will determine the course of one’s future; and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the combination of both words as a compound concept: of recognizing the sign posts, and dealing with it accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement and the Price of Loyalty

Salinger’s character, Holden Caulfield, recognized the influence of movies, and the media in general.  When used as a tool for political purposes, they mold and direct the issues to be discussed, the pathways of thoughts to be taken, and the passions to be experienced.

Though we think we are libertarians within the secluded confines of our own minds, what actually occurs is that we fail to recognize the subtle influences of those forces which we rely upon so much for our daily focus and guidance.  Where did we learn such high-minded concepts such as “loyalty“, “commitment” and “dedication”?  And who taught us to apply such vaunted paradigms upon the stereotypes of our lives?

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, often the one stop-gap measure preventing the Federal or Postal employee from taking the necessary and pragmatic steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is in clinging to a false sense of misdirected loyalty.

Loyalty requires a bilateralism which simply does not exist, or exists so rarely as to be inconsequential, but which pervades with Federal and Postal Workers under the guise of “mission of the agency”.  Such false pretentiousness (and pretending) quickly dissipates when that mission of the agency becomes a proposal to remove based upon the mission’s “other” sidebar — for the “efficiency” of the service — and then it becomes an emergency and a time of enlightenment.

Throughout all of those years, loyalty was lauded, but existed as a one-way street — from the Federal employee to the Federal agency, and not the other way around.  But when a medical condition hits, it is of paramount importance to focus upon the singular entity of significance:  the health and well-being of one’s self.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be one of those necessary steps required as part of that process of self-care, and one should be wary of paying too high a price for that overinflated commodity listed under the category of “L”, which also includes “Lies” and “Lip-service”, as well as “Loyalty”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Causality

Worker’s Comp requires it; Social Security disregards it; and OPM Disability Retirement shifts the issue into a different arena.  “Causality” encapsulates the relationship between two or more events, where one is thought to result from another, or put a different way, where “responsibility” for a given effect is attributed to a prior conditional occurrence fulfilled as sufficient to warrant as being the “cause” of that event.

In a Federal OWCP case, administered through the Department of Labor, one must prove that the injury or medical condition was “caused” as a workplace incident or occurrence, such that the “event” occurred or was somehow connected to the employment itself.

For Social Security Disability cases, causation is normally not an issue, since the basis for eligibility is not concerned with any singular event, but rather, whether the person filing for Social Security Disability benefits meets a standard definition of being “totally disabled” from gainful employment.

For Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is not one of causation, but rather, the relationship between one’s medical condition and the attributable impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Thus, there is, in a different sense, a case of causality to be made, but the relationship between A and B has shifted, where it matters not “how” it occurred, but rather, “whether” the medical condition prevents (causes) one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

In the end, causation in a Federal/Postal Disability Retirement application is irrelevant in the traditional sense that one normally accepts, but the shifting focus of causality is important to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire