FERS Medical Retirement Benefits: Words & Images

Enter a gift shop and see the generic photograph inserted within a picture-frame for sale.  Who is it? Why was the photograph taken?  Was it merely to help sell the picture-frame?  Enter an antique shop where one sometimes comes across old photographs — perhaps even a daguerreotype — often faded, normally of a stilted figure; perhaps of a young woman, an old man, a soldier in uniform; a family on an outing; of a city scene where horses and carriages fill the streets; or of a father and son smiling, a daughter and mother staring impassively at the photographer in a still-life of unknown origins and an unverified date.  Who were they?  Why was the picture taken?

For the casual visitor to the store, who merely glances at the collection of old castaways, the images mean little, if anything at all.  Yet, there is a story behind each image — one which may be forever lost.  For, why else would such photographs end up in an antique store, out of the safekeeping privacy where they once belonged, where once words and memories attached unassailably with the photographs which told a story.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the career of one’s choice, the disjunctive between words and images becomes poignantly clear within one’s own mind: Who were we once, and do the words others use in describing you match the story between words and images?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step toward re-matching the image one has of one’s self — of vibrancy and accomplishment — and the words others use to describe you, as well as the words you use to describe yourself.  For the moment, however, the words used are necessary in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — one of being in a lesser, debilitated state because of one’s medical conditions — must be carefully chosen in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and make sure that the words and images utilized in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application accurately portrays the state of present mind experienced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Required Rhythm of Normalcy

When we break it, we become bombarded with looks of irritation, a pause filled with suspicious surprise.  The quick, “Good-to-see-you-hope-you’re-doing-well” is meant as a quick conveyance of polite nothingness, and is the throw-away line that allows for the rhythm of a quick-paced society to retain its fast-lane of existence.  You are not to respond except in a similarly empty manner, with a “Yes, nice-to-see-you-too”.  To break the rhythm of normalcy is to interrupt with a real response; to say something like, “Actually, I am not doing too well.  And since you have asked, let me tell you why…”.

Normalcy is the abnormal, and the norms and conventions that were once taken for granted have now been turned upside down and have become the abnormal, the irritating and the blade of rudeness.

In a time past and now gone for seemingly forever, there existed communities where people actually stopped and spoke to one another, showed some concern and exhibited some neighborly empathy.  In modernity, we hide within the barricaded walls of our own secluded lives while declaring the number of “friends” we have on Facebook, though we haven’t met any of them nor actually known them in person.  The blank slate of a computer screen or of our smartphone determines the emotional viability of our daily lives, and so the required rhythm of normalcy has become one of isolated disengagement from actual life.

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 required rhythm of normalcy is to act as if there is nothing wrong, when in fact there is much that is “not right”.  Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and think about breaking the required rhythm of normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Human Nature

There are other “natures”, of course — of a dog’s or a cat’s; or of a vulture’s, and perhaps of lower order species which we barely give notice to: of spiders (except when they crawl near to us), mice, grasshoppers and frogs.  For species we deem to be less intelligent or possessing the capacity for “free will” (i.e., making decisions and performing acts outside of a predetermined view of what they are “supposed to do”), we tend to have an opinion of, “X does Y because that is the nature of X to do Y”.

Thus, when we read about a traveler who went to a game reserve and got mauled by a lion whom the traveler thought — just a moment before —was “friendly” enough to approach and take a close-up picture of, we shake our heads at the fact that the individual ignored the clear and visible sign which read: “Caution —Do NOT leave your vehicle. Dangerous Animals” or some similar preemptive warning.

Then, of course, there is “our” nature — of Human Nature.  What is it?  We are an animal species which is able to adapt, possess the talent for a thousand things but remain mediocre in all of them.  We cannot run as fast as a cheetah, nor have the ferocity of a lion; we cannot fly like the birds, nor have the venomous bite of a snake.  Yet, we can build cars which can outrace a cheetah, create weapons that do greater damage than a lion’s claws; we can build airplanes that travel greater distances than birds and manufacture bullets that pierce flesh beyond what a snake can deliver.

Of course, we like to think of “human nature” as being, as Aristotle would put it, “rational” first, and vicious somewhere down at the bottom of the list.  But wars, the devastating trails of what we leave behind — they attest more about Human Nature than our rationality.

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 issue of Human Nature as one comprised of cruelty, retribution and back-stabbing is probably not a surprise.  As your medical conditions worsen, you may have noticed a lack of empathy and a growing sense of animosity and contentiousness from your Agency or the Postal Service.

Chalk it up to “Human Nature” and the capacity of human beings for lack of qualities which — while we may like to think of as comprising the essence of humanity — comes out at the worst of times.

Consider, at such a point, whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement might not be the best option available, and consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: Further than once thought

Whether the distance was miscalculated, or the area was last visited decades ago as a child, the feeling that the destination is further than once thought — or that one is enmeshed in something that is “above one’s head” — is a disturbing and often distressing feeling.  An underlying sense of panic begins to envelope; then, time becomes of the essence, perhaps because the appointment specified a time or it is simply getting late.

Have you ever had that sense where you believed that you could do it, or you thought you knew — perhaps the direction that you once knew “like the back of your hand” when you were a child, or the ability to build something or repair a broken object?

Whatever the issue at hand, the chasm which is evident between your “thought-of” knowledge of a subject and the actual know-how suddenly becomes a problem.  It is one thing to sit around and talk about a subject; we can all spew our expertise in this or that subject, so long as the actualization of the matter is never tested.

At a party, everyone can be anyone, sort of like people who develop friendships on the Internet in forums like Facebook: On a flat screen, anyone can claim to be such-and-such.  And so the braggart can claim to know how to fly a plane; but would you want that claimant to take you on a ride without first “actualizing” the claimed assertions (i.e., perhaps verifying his license to fly, how many hours of actual flight lessons he or she has taken, etc.)?

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, it is a wise “next-step” to consult with an experienced attorney before considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If you — as a Federal or Postal employee considering a Federal Disability Retirement application — are hit with a similar sense as that of thinking that the distance between Point A and Destination B is further than once thought in grappling with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, then it is time to consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The gods of modernity

Each era has its false gods — of Greek ones that explained the mysteries underlying the universe; of religions that conquered by the sword; of Philosophers and Kings who ruled with an iron fist; of Freud, Psychoanalysis and other ghosts in the machine; and in modernity, of youth and the cult of the young, and perhaps of the authors of self-help books who have cornered the market on wisdom replaced.

The gods of modernity are different from those of a generation ago; the “I” and the “me” that pervades on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; of the perfect “me” who takes selfies at every opportunity to reinforce and remind of the hollowness of the gods we make of ourselves; and in the end, the loneliness that one is left with when the screen is shut down and one is left with the reality of facing one’s self in the loneliness of a perception that cannot be faced in the mirror of one’s own reflection.

And of the other gods of reality: Perfection in perception.  But what happens if perception must encounter reality?  That is often the problem with a medical condition — for, medical conditions remind us of the ugliness of the world around: of mortality, vulnerability, and the loss of societal empathy for all things imperfect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows one to be “perfect” in the workplace, and where the essential elements of one’s job can no longer be met, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that the focus of one’s life can be redirected in order to regain one’s health.

The gods of modernity — of a career, of never-ending competence and productivity in one’s Federal or Postal job — must be replaced with a revaluation of what is truly important in life: Health, sanity, and some semblance of caring.  And while securing a FERS Disability Retirement annuity may not be the answer to all of life’s ills, it will at least secure a future in order to focus upon getting better, and perhaps reorienting one’s focus upon a future that may be different and better.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

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, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Believing in something

It is difficult, these days, to do so.  One can, by rote of habit, engage in the taciturn void of Gregorian chants, of hardened wood to kneel upon in prayerful silence where altar boys were muffled in horror in backrooms somewhere behind the hidden conscience of priests who, holy though they appeared, were but men of fleshly wants; or of giving when the televangelist prayed for miracles and allowed the camera angle to capture the piety of a winking heart.

Modernity defies believing in something.  We scoff at piety because we learned long ago that priests in dark robes were merely cloaked in outward appearances while engaging in acts of desecration behind closed doors, and gurus who rode around in expensive cars while preaching the gospel of meditative calm possessed devious thoughts untold behind craggy beards and beady eyes; and so we have lost the capacity for believing in something, anything, and let our children roam the streets of nihilism, sensual extortions of human bondage and the virtual reality of video consoles, only to be disappointed when they find emptiness in their lives reflective of an endless chasm of dreamless nights.

Once upon a time, Johnny believed in things; and then the marching band stopped when wars became endless, where speeches no longer carried the weight of conscience and greed seemed rampant in the daily lives of believers and beggars alike.  A priest once told this writer that he wished that the Church would sell all of its assets and go back to being the mendicant preachers we once were; but that was years ago, and not much has changed.

For most of us, we continue to cling to the thin reed of possibility; for the rest of us, we must contend with the reality of life’s trials: of work; family; health and friendships; and perhaps the belief in a tomorrow yet to be fulfilled with promised days of warm memories.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition has begun to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, believing in something is a foundation for the next steps to take: Of a Statute in Federal Disability Retirement Law that sets forth a criteria to be met, and then to set about proving that one has met them.

Often, believing in something is nothing more than acting upon a need and setting about fulfilling that need; and for Federal and Postal employees who need to file for a FERS Disability Retirement, consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is the first step towards believing in something that you have a right to believe in.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Ignoring the details

What is a lawyer’s response to the allegation: “You are playing with words and using technicalities to win!”

Some might, of course, become defensive and deny such allegations, countering to the accuser that the substance of the law allows for such word-games and the laws themselves allow for such technicalities; or, as the more appropriate, honest and forthright answer might be (yes, yes, for those with such humor against lawyers, such a string of descriptive adjectives may appear to create an oxymoron), “Well, yes, law is the word-craftsman’s tool with which we play, and technicalities are those very details which allow us to prevail.”

It is, in the end, words which win out in any legal forum, and it is the delivery of those words that persuade, debunk, analyze and cross-examine the truth or falsity of claims made, defenses proffered and allegations refuted.

And this is no different in the forum of play known as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.  For, always remember that a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether prepared for a Federal or Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and as such, is based upon words, words, words — and details contained within and amidst those words.

By ignoring the “details”, one does so with much peril; for, in the end, the old adage that declared the “devil to be in the details” was merely a recognition that details matter, and it is those very details which win or lose a case, and that is no different when presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Preparations

Would you hold a dinner party without preparing?  Or attend an important meeting, host a regal gathering of accomplished celebrities or go camping in the wilds of winter’s ferocity — without making adequate preparations?

The elaborate extent of such preparations is often correlated with the importance, significance, relevance and complexity of the issue at hand, the engagement to be embraced or the event to be held.  Preparations are a vital component to the successful engagement of whatever one undertakes, and lack of it often guarantees a result of negative returns.

How does one prepare for 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 or CSRS Offset?  Does one go out and ask the Human Resource Department of one’s agency, and thereby put to the winds which carry gossip about the Agency and allow the gods of the underworld to disseminate the implication that “X is filing for disability retirement”?  Do you dare test the oft-told adage in the Federal Government that “confidentiality begins with the Human Resource Office of one’s agency — and likewise, ends there”?

Or, perhaps “preparation” is merely of the ad hoc sort — of downloading the various forms (SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, at a minimum) and beginning to fill them out, and somehow sifting through the multiple instructions and packaging a Federal Disability Retirement application?

Preparation for the initiation of any worthwhile endeavor should, at a minimum, involve seeking some advice from an “expert”, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with and decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be a minimal step in such an important and consequential process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Next Steps

It is the previous step that determines the following one, and the one before that which closes the alternatives for multiple other pathways; in the end, sequence matters, protocol can make a difference, and how one takes the steps, in what direction, by what methodology — these are all important considerations to contemplate.  What the endeavor is; by what means one is attempting to achieve the end-result; and the manner in which the goal is reached; the attempt the take a short-cut will often result in only a short-lived gain, but often with long-term consequences that, upon reflection, made the short-cut pay a price greater than the worth of the gain.

Next steps are important; each step, whether previously taken or subsequently considered, are also obviously of significance, but one could argue that those already taken cannot be reversed or, if reversed or retraced, may complicate matters more, whereas the “next step” yet to be taken may impact all previous ones already established and thus must be considered in light of the consequences likely to ensue.

Whatever has already occurred in the past cannot be undone or, if it can, must be retracted with care such that any retrospective refashioning of previous actions taken will do no greater harm than that which has already been consummated.  It is always the “next steps” that are the crucial ones, for they will determine not only the efficacy of all previous ones, but further, will either validate or undermine all previous ones heretofore taken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and 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 next steps you take may be the critical ones that determine the success or failure of the entire complex, administrative and bureaucratic process you are attempting to undertake.

What statements are made as reflected on SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the sufficiency of the medical reports and records gathered, to be submitted as Attachments to your Federal Disability Retirement application; whether you answer and address the issues concerning accommodations in the workplace sufficiently or in what manner; whether you have an adequate understanding and comprehension of your rights with regard to Federal Disability Retirement Law; these and many other “next steps” may well determine the future course of actions previously taken, ignored or otherwise not initiated.

Perhaps the “next step” should be to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the “next step” be the one that leads to an unforeseen stumble, where that next step leads to a misstep or the following next step after that cannot occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire