FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The wasted life

Perception is one thing; reality is quite another.  Plato’s entire compendium of works can be reduced to the essence of that thought: The worth of life’s goal is to embrace pure Being, the reality that surrounds, and to distinguish between appearance and truth; the allegory of the Cave; the arguments with Thrasymachus; the diatribes against the poets — the latter, because they distort perception and create myths by which people live for and believe in.

Some would argue that the starkness of reality cannot be the sole arbiter of life’s value; that poetry adds to the worth of life, even if misperception of Being dominates.  What is a life’s value, and how is it determined?  Who considers that a life is wasted, and by what standard do we judge?

In the Allegory of the Cave — when the man who frees himself from the shackles of misperception climbs up and sees the sunlight: What if he desires to go back into the darkness of untruth, precisely because the unreality of the world is preferable to the pureness of Being?  And how much of convention and human folly attaches upon the judgment of worth?

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 judgment of others in determining the valuation of one’s life often gets in the way of doing that which is “best” for one’s circumstances.

Yes, career and continuation in a secure, stable job is important; and, yes, financial stability for the future is an important consideration in the decision-making process.  But so is health and the balance of one’s life.

When health becomes a concern where there arises an incompatibility between work and well-being, the latter must always be chosen as a priority over the former.  And while others may judge that an interruption of a promising career constitutes the wasted life, such conclusions are made by those who, like the unfettered encounter of the man in the Allegory of the Cave who sees the pure Being of reality by looking up at the sunlight, it is the blinding darkness of ignorance that follows which makes for poor judgment and lack of insight into another’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of poets and prophets

The definitional distinction between the two is fairly self-evident; it is in the interplay of what they do, how they go about it, and the content of their substantive utterances which blur the lines of differences.  And we all have to play both roles in life; of the poet, to speak a reflective voice of a world which can never be captured in its true essence; and in prophetic manner, in maneuvering through a complex universe fraught with dangers of unknown origins, encounters with malicious foes and devious evildoers; and it is with the combination of consolidating the advantages derived from either arenas by which we are able to survive.

Plato’s view of the former, though somewhat inconsistent (he simultaneously criticizes them, but will quote extensively from them in the same paragraph), is devastating because of their concealment of the true forms of entities; the Good Book, of course, is replete with the latter, with conjugations of the major and minor ones in placements of prominence or insignificance depending upon their current relevance and attributable validation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, embracing the roles of both concurrently becomes a necessity of life’s many features of conundrums, castaways and coercive calamities of creative chaos.

The fact is, most Federal and Postal employees never see themselves as either; yet, throughout life, you have always been both. As a poet, you have had to comprehend and convey an understanding of the world around in terms which utilize analogy, metaphor and imitative language; and as a prophet, you have had to plan for an uncertain future based upon an uninviting present, with little or no basis from past experiences.

Now, with a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to consolidate those very talents previously utilized, but within a spectrum of unknowing wariness, and to perfect the venue for the future.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is neither a science, nor a purely legal endeavor.  Many have tried to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, submitted it, and have had it denied, and perhaps even a second time with the same result; then, to turn to a craftsman for expert assistance.

There are both prophetic and poetic components which must be encompassed.  For example, creating the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must perform constitutes the use of descriptive analogies which must be given the living force of vibrancy, where pain and incapacity must jump from the stoic pages upon which they are written (the poetic); while legal criteria must be straightforwardly addressed, such as the need to prove that one’s medical condition will exist for a minimum of 12 months (the prophetic aspect).

All in all, the corollary and convex/concave aspect of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, must be carefully assembled.  It is, in the end, of poets and prophets for which we speak, and the innate need to bring out those characteristics from within; we all possess such inherent capabilities; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foggy glasses

Sometimes, we realize it at the outset and pause, take a moment to clean them, then proceed with the clarity we presupposed but were ineffectual in recognizing and correcting.  At other times, we stumble through the maze of reconditeness, failing to identify, or even to recognize, the source of our abstruseness.  Those who never need glasses, have but their imaginations to project a world of persistent perceptual perplexity; others must live with the unruly contraption encased ever so prominently upon the facial protrusion high atop the control center of one’s physique.

Of course, there are advertised surgical methods, or implantations of organic lenses upon the window of one’s soul (as Plato would describe it); but in the end, most defer to those convex lenses which provide for magnification, invented sometime during the Dark Ages and before.  But clarity of perceptual comprehension, if merely a physical defect, is at least correctible; whereas most walk through life with foggy glasses of another sort, and have greater and more dire consequences resulting therefrom.

That is precisely the problem with wisdom, or the lack thereof, but more accurately, the means to attain it.  It is one thing to walk about with foggy thoughts; another altogether, to never be able to recognize it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are caught in a quandary of the frozen steppes of indecision, where a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and therefore one’s status as a Federal employee or Postal worker is likened to a purgatory awaiting further harassment, being forced to work with one’s medical condition despite every medical advice to the contrary, or worse, merely waiting to be fired — the time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is “now”, or perhaps even yesterday.

But if one is unable to have the perceptual clarity needed to arrive at a judgment of insight, how is one to proceed?

Advice is plentiful, as is information of irrelevance; but first, to even wake up to the most basic needs and address the elementary concerns for securing one’s legal rights, future prospects, and a promise for advancement beyond the present condition of malaise, it is necessary to wipe away one’s foggy glasses, and view the world with a level of perceptual clarity beyond the confusion ensconced in the belief that the obstacle that stops us is not a mountain to climb, but one’s own nose obscured by the device so prominently placed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire