OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Full Plate

From childhood, we are taught to (A) place on our plate only that which we can finish and (B) to finish that which we have placed upon our plate.  In modernity, perhaps such a “rule” is no longer applicable or enforced?

The old ways are often from habits ensconced from experience — of the Great Depression where scarcity, and even the fear of it, perpetuated a need to be frugal; of limited supply resulting in a greater appreciation of delights, and thus of a punctilious attention to avoid wastefulness; and of a wider deference for fairness, that others should share in the bounty presented.

In older days, to delight in a bottle of coke (yes, those little vintage bottles placed in ice, where cane sugar was used and not corn syrup) once in a year was a treat, whereas nowadays many people addictively drink an extra-large coke every day, leading to the rise of diabetes and making this country the greatest exporter of obesity around the globe.

But back to the metaphor of the “full plate”:  From childhood, we are taught never to walk away without finishing what is put on our plate.  As we grow older, the metaphor of the full plate turns a different meaning — of the day’s work, the chores before us, the various responsibilities throughout the day.  It has become ingrained in us that we “must” finish what is put on our plates.

This is similar to the idea that police officers retain, in error, that every encounter with conflict must be resolved then and there — often resulting in making decisions which, in retrospect, might have turned out otherwise had you just walked away from it and came back to the problem later.  That is where modernity fails in its approach to life: Not every full plate has to be clean at the end of the day, both metaphorically and practically.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling to get through the day because of a chronic medical condition which no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in their careers because of a disabling health condition, that long-held sense of duty and responsibility that the “full plate” — a metaphor representing the sense that one’s job must be endured no matter what — must be finished, may need to be abandoned.

One’s health should always be a priority, in the end, and preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the only and best option left.  Yes, it is okay sometimes to not finish the full plate.  Yes, it is okay to sometimes leave things unfinished.  Metaphorically or practically, it is sometimes the best thing to do — to leave the plate unconsumed.

Contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether the full plate needs to be completely eaten, after all.

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.

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Before Smartphones

What did we do?  Today, it is as if the obsessive is inescapable; but yes, there actually was a time before Smartphones; we merely are unable to remember, or refuse to recall, those days “before”.

We have all become obsessive.  We have to check to see if an email has come in; we eat at the table with it right next to the plate; it accompanies us in the car; at night, if we do not turn the volume down, it haunts and reminds us; the wiring in our brains has literally gone haywire.

“Grandpa, what was life like before Smartphones?”  Well — books read; a quiet evening before the crackling fire; time for conversations to develop; of recollections and reminiscences — and of memories confronted and challenged without someone taking out that Smartphone, googling the question and ruining the fun of simply trying to remember the name of an actor, the title of a book or the precise date of a historical event.

Before Smartphones, there was a life to be lived, a reality without surrealism, and a sense of belonging in a community where no one had his or her head bent down to be sucked into a device which no one asked for, and no one ever stopped to ask:  Do we really want to live this way?

For Federal Government employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition, consider this:  The Smartphone which controls your life can never replace the need to prioritize that which is foundational and most significant — of your health.  Consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits; for, even before Smartphones, there was life, health and the precious time spent before the debilitating medical conditions began to dominate.

Contact a FERS Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and take the time to consider that there was actually a life before Smartphones, as there can still be a life beyond the Federal Government job you occupy.

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.

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Word Games

Playing word games — like the New York Times Spelling Bee, or “Wordle” (a game which was just recently bought by the New York Times, and thus will likely require a fee in order to play) entails some reflection and methodology of thought.  Word games are meant for fun; they are often challenging, and prompt us to engage in an intellectual exercise devoid of reality.

There are, of course, other “word games” — ones which are played in the field of reality and the objective world.  It is how human beings engage with one another, and it is seen each day throughout the world in courtrooms and battles utilizing and applying the law.  Unlike word games where there are no real consequences in “real life”, the other kind of word games results in an impactful determination upon individual lives.

FERS Federal Disability Retirement Law is no different.  As every Federal Disability Retirement application is a paper presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it must by necessity involve a certain level of word games — of presenting the applicable case-law; of formulating the proper language; of engaging in the give-and-take of legal argumentation, etc.

Wittgenstein called it a “language game”, but in the end, they amount to the same thing: Words, as parts of a language, engaged in a “game” which must be played.  And in doing so, it is a good idea to contact a FERS Attorney who is experienced in the word game of Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the twisting tunnels of legal language lead you to the ends of the earth where a gaping hole of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management leaves you speechless in a word game of real-life consequences.

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.

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Avoidance

It is a common tool of the psyche and ego; by engaging in it, one skirts around an issue, and like its cousin, procrastination, it allows for a period of calm respite.  Avoidance is a form of procrastination; both allow for the subject of their common focus to fester, to grow, to loom large in the background without attending to its causes.

Say you are standing in your bedroom; it is raining; there is a patch of discoloration in the ceiling.  You wonder if the roof is leaking.  You pass it off as bad eyesight, or some other reason, and turn away, avoiding the problem by simply ignoring it.  The next time it rains, you sneak a peek and, sure enough, the discoloration has expanded, but you say to yourself, “Well, there is no actual drip from the ceiling, so perhaps it is not a leak, after all, but merely some accumulating condensation”.

Now, whatever “some accumulating condensation” may mean, it still points to a problem that should be attended to, but instead, the obscure-sounding phrase seems to explain an otherwise clearly-growing problem, and thus the next step in the avoidance-process has begun: Explaining it away, as opposed to tackling the core of the problem itself.

Avoidance is a natural defense mechanism inherent in us all; it allows us to extend our need to limit confronting something which we do not desire to engage.

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 all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, avoidance of facing either the medical problem itself, or its impact upon your capacity and ability to perform your job, is often a problem which allows the issue to loom larger than necessary.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and allow for the avoidance to be confronted by an experienced attorney, thus further avoiding direct engagement with the issues, yet allowing for the attorney to address the core issue: Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Square peg in a round hole

You know the old adage; it is when a person is trying to do something that is frustratingly obvious that it cannot be done, yet persists in it despite the reality of resistance.  The truism itself by necessity requires one of three courses of action: You either cut off the edges of the square peg in order to shape it into a form where it can fit into the hole, or you smooth the edges of the circular hole and widen it such that the square peg can fit into it.  The third option is: You continue to try and force the issue.  And the fourth way is: You give up and walk away with obvious discontentment and frustration.

You want to remain friends with X, but X is a cad and no matter how much you try to change X, X will not change; and so you try and ignore X’s idiosyncrasies in an effort to extend the friendship, and remain frustrated at your attempts to change reality.  Or, you try and please everyone but end up angering all — you cannot shape the square peg or widen the hole, because there is simply too much resistance from both to alter its shape, size or essence of being.

Reality has its limits; that’s the beauty of the life we lead: virtual reality can be altered with a click of the button, but the reality of the real is that the quirkiness of life defies fullness of understanding, and the mystery of each individual denies total control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to struggle with a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the choices are clear: Stay and suffer; walk away and lose everything; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In such a case, this third option is tantamount to shaving the edges of the square peg in order to fit into the hole, as opposed to trying to stay when it is no longer medically advisable, or to walk away and abandon everything in frustration.

Old adages remain relevant for a reason; the truth behind the words is retained and, indeed, there is still a recognition that truth prevails.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The prosaic life

That is the lot of most of us; yet, the contrast seen in the “entertainment” world is its very opposite.  Does it breed discontent (or malcontent)?  Does the “make-believe” universe that we surround ourselves with actually enhance one’s quality of life?

We not only welcome it; we pay for it, and gladly, so.  What does the contrast do to one’s soul — of watching movies involving fearsome technologies that destroy; of bank robbers, murderers, high-stake gamblers and every character imaginable; of dangers that never result in injury or capture; of adventures beyond one’s wildest imagination — and then, there is the actual life that one lives: Of a prosaic life that is often humdrum, unimaginative, mundane, pedestrian and…boring.

Is it “prosaic” to simply go from high school to college, then to a career, a family, old age and death?  Do we regret the repetition of our daily lives, so unbearably “normal”, such that we embrace this spectator-sport of adulation for the wealthy, over exuberant prostration in paying homage to sports heroes, and the unfettered interest shown towards everything and anything “glamorous”?

Until, of course, our health begins to deteriorate.  Then, suddenly, we wish for the “boring” life of normalcy; of the mundane when we took for granted the things we used to do; for the prosaic life that we once had.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows one to do that which was once taken for granted — being able to go to work consistently; performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, etc. — filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may yet return you to the prosaic life that you now yearn for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Fathoms and farthings

They are words seldom used by ordinary people, and are instead found within contexts now of limited usage except by reference to anachronistic novels and reference manuals, or perhaps in sea-faring settings where such terms are related to between seasoned old-timers in the field.

The former term refers to the unit of measurement for the depth of the ocean’s topography; the latter, a unit of currency so small as to have become obsolete by now with the inflationary course of history having relegated such amounts to irrelevancy, and ceasing to be recognized as legal tender by 1960.  Besides, it was a “foreign” currency as well, and was not a currency used in current usage within recognizable current vintage, anyway (yes, yes, a bad attempt at alliteration and a play on words).

What do they have in common?  They both measure a unit of X, of course; they are also words that have “meaning” only within certain contexts, whether of specialized oceanographic particularization or, as to the latter, within a historical context if one were writing a play, screenplay, novel or short story that included anywhere from the Victorian to the Elizabethan periods.  It is a reminder to us all that words come in and out of “meaning” and relevance based upon the context given and recognized.

Language games”, as the term Wittgenstein ascribed, retain their relevance and applicability depending upon the context of the usage adopted.

It is no different when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is thrown into a “language game” that has been ongoing for decades, but is new to the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Such terms as “The Bruner Presumption”, “viable accommodation attempts”, “Persuasive legal effect of other disability ratings,” etc., come into play.  Yes, you may be able to research and understand some of the terms, but the particularization and the anachronism of such terms may come back to haunt you unless you, as the Federal or Postal employee trying to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, can fully comprehend the specialized nature of this complex process called Federal Disability Retirement.

For, like fathoms and farthings, it may be best to consult an attorney who has a long experience with such terms and usage in order to better heighten the chances of a First Stage Approval from OPM.

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