Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The timeworn tale

Are there such things, or just the boorish attitudes of impatient whims?  Are adages, quips and kernels of wisdom never perceived by eyes afresh, or do tales told ever-incessantly by husbands through the course of lasting marriages, or by grandpa at each visit to the chloroform-smelling nursing homes where coughs and sputtering are interrupted by stories regurgitated between gasps filled with oxygenated rasping, merely bore us all?  Of timeworn tales – where do they come from?  When do they end?

Is there a garbage heap of stories no longer told that old men and silent women visit, and leave behind the narratives no one wants to listen to, anymore?  Is it that we no longer have the time, nor the patience, to act “as if” for the benefit of old geezers and pitiable wheezers and instead, rudely interrupt when the tale begins, by saying, “Now, now, you’ve already told that one – many times”?

Yet, a perkiness of interest, a raised eyebrow, and a playful wink to the relative across the table; and the kindness shown to the children at the table, despite the 50th or 100th time told, that we could spend the time together, take the same monotony of predictability, but turn it into an occasion of joy “just because” – just because the person telling it is worthy, and we show how much we value life’s dignity above time “wasted” by the effort we invest upon the individuals we claim to care for.

We have no time for pity; no energy left for patience; and certainly, no stamina remaining for moments beyond our pleasurable self-fulfilling wants and desires.  That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee prepares one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, with the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, along with the evidence of supportive records and medical narratives, there is no hush of anticipation by Agency supervisors, managers or coworkers.  Yours is merely another timeworn tale that they want to quickly bypass.

But the point, of course, is to get the “Administrative Specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the agency that makes all decisions on a Federal Disability Retirement application – to see beyond that timeworn tale of one’s medical condition, disability, and inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For, that Administrative Specialist is the “hard one” to persuade – having read thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of such timeworn tales.  It is thus the job of an attorney who has done this many times, who possesses the power of words in the narration of a compelling tale, that often makes the subtle but necessary difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The dynamic duo and the perfect tandem

There are times when life “clicks”; the mistake is made to gaze at one’s navel at such times of apparent perfection, and to try and capture that something in a bottle and attempt a reenactment and regurgitation of that which works, when the reality is that it is merely a fortunate day to be experienced and enjoyed, like the perfect alignment of the planets in macrocosmic reflection upon a molecular structure of abiding mystery.

Batman and Robin represented the former; without words (except in comic-like expressions in the black-and-white version of the television series) and with the ability of almost telepathic-like eeriness, the dynamic duo could battle the forces of evil and protect the unfortunate city of Gotham with nary a wink, a word or a nod.

As for the latter, the team of coordinated bicyclists or the almost mechanized capacity of the coxed eight displaying the repetition of the anatomy of rowing that is all-important for consistency in order to gain the maximum leverage from each rower, as the “catch” and the “extraction” are engaged in a constancy of monotonous display in ballet-like fluidity.

The perfect tandem is a rare achievement; like the Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, we can only strive towards that perfection, without ever touching and glancing it.  Can it be reenacted and repeated by sheer will?  That would presume much – as if the arrogance of our own self-knowledge could replace the ignorance displayed in our everyday lives.  But as life does not come with a recipe to follow, that dynamism in duality and the penultimate construct of fluid coordination cannot be reconstructed, if merely because we never own the fullness of knowledge that Being never completely reveals.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the “dynamic duo” and the “perfect tandem” was often the coordination of one’s career and the accolades received in the very competence of work.  Work balanced one’s personal life in allowing for a sense of achievement to be had; and one’s personal life was enriched in the very mission being accomplished.

Then, along comes a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself became the interruptive and disruptive force; and, suddenly, the dynamic duo and the perfect tandem no long was, or is – depending upon what the meaning of “is” is (sorry, could not refrain from the obvious reference).  When that dynamic duo is fractured, or the perfect tandem disrupted, it is time to rethink a different paradigmatic foundation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is just such a remedy.  For, once the dynamism of duality is severed, or the perfections of a tandem diminished, it is a loss which can rarely be recapture, and thus it is the perfect time and place in one’s life to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed (ultimately) with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Terms

Language is a malleable vehicle.  There have been times in the history of language, when the staid and stodginess period of loss of vibrancy became the rule, followed by epochs of radical vicissitudes, upheavals and counter-conventional revolutions in the medium of language games.  Whether this encapsulated slice of linguistic alteration, upending traditional forms of communication because of electronic media and the hype of language abbreviated by Twitter, Texting and Tablet Titillations, will last the short life of technological innovation and obsolescence, is yet to be determined.

For example, the time of Shakespeare’s linguistic explosion of experimentation and expansive usage became in retrospect a richness of entering into connotative language meanings from which we benefit to this day.  But steadiness, continuity and conditions of stability are also important in order to take the proverbial breather to accept, embrace and assimilate (a term widely used for contextual purposes in modernity applied to immigration reform, as well) the linguistic revolutions that become incommensurate with meaning, communication and conveyance of terms.

Terms are important, both in common usage and in technical application.  In the arena of Federal Disability Retirement Law, different words are splayed about, sometimes without regard to proper application, especially when the “law” often requires a greater attention to precision of meaning.  Some simple and common crossovers of linguistic confusion involve:  “medical retirement” and “disability retirement” – do they mean the same thing?

If reference to either term involves the submission for an early retirement to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the answer is “yes”, they do mean the same thing.  Federal Disability  Retirement is identical to “Federal medical retirement” if by such words the query is referring to filing for an early retirement based upon the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, and therefore the intention is to access an early annuity because of one’s early retirement based upon the medical condition, and submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Some other terms often confused or conflated:  “On-the-job injury” or “pre-existing condition”; these terms are often used in the language-arena of Worker’s Compensation issues, and rarely have any import – or applicability, at all – in the context of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it matters not whether or not one has been disabled “on the job” or away at a skiing accident; instead, what is important is the impact of the injury or disease upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  As for a “pre-existing” condition – that, too, is more likely appropriately defined in an OWCP context, and rarely in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In any event, “terms” are meant to be used within a context-appropriate content of filings, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to clarify and conform to the applicable statutory mandates in defining and using the terms which are most appropriate and effective.

For, in the end, the explosion of language during the era of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age reverberates with critical linguistic richness to this day; yet, if we were to have a conversation with a bloke from that era, the terms employed would not only confuse us, but confound us with a profound sense of despairing lack of cogency despite our self-aggrandizing declarations of superiority and advancement in the modern parlance of greater self-esteem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Value & Worth

The two are often intertwined; what is of value is considered something of worth, and that which has an ascribed worth, is viewed as a thing of value.  If an objective, marketplace standard is applied, then the value of X may be disconnected from the worth of X; for, while X may retain little or no monetary value, the worth of the object to an individual may still endure (for sentimental reasons, emotional attachment, etc.).

Where human beings are considered, however, exceptions as to the inextricable conceptual intermingling of value and worth must prevail; but there again, the value of a person’s services in a specific industry may have an objective criteria upon which to base one’s worth.  Damaged goods devalue the marketplace price of commodities, and a similar ascription of worthiness is often viewed when an individual becomes less productive in the workplace.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers 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 job, this very concept of marketplace devaluation is both familiar and starkly personal.  Whether an objective value of marketplace worth can truly be ascertained when describing human contribution, is a debate for ivory-tower pundits of a philosophical bent; in the real world of workplace harassment, supervisors who are egomaniacs and self-centered forces of disruption, and where fiefdoms of power stations are mere playgrounds for toying with the weak, the issue of what to do when one’s level of productivity becomes clearly manifested as a result of a medical condition, is one which must be approached with a pragmatism of limited choices.

Federal Disability Retirement is an option available for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS (and 5 years under CSRS), and allows for the Federal and Postal employee to retain one’s health insurance and leave the Federal workforce with an annuity for one’s future security.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits are obtained by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must meet the preponderance of the evidence test.

Whether value and worth are conceptual constructs which have distinctive meanings may merely be of academic interest; but it is always the case that the value and worth of one’s future security is an interest of pragmatic significance to all U.S. Government employees and Postal workers, and which must be fought for in order to secure a sure footing in this world of uncaring inhumanity.

Sincerely

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process of 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 similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Long-term Plan

Federal Disability Retirement is best anticipated and implemented within the larger context of a long term plan.  For, with the reduction of immediate income, replaced by an annuity which is fixed, but with a future potential to earn additional earned income in another (or even similar) vocation, it is best seen not just for the present circumstances, but as a base from which to build a greater future.

Future considerations may need to be entertained.  For example, how aggressively should Social Security Disability (SSDI) be pursued? If the Federal or Postal employee attempting to become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will not be immediately seeking to work at another, private-sector job, and there is a good chance for qualifying for SSDI, then you may want to consider seriously attempting to qualify for SSDI.

For most people, the FERS requirement of filing for SSDI is a mere formality. For those who intend upon using the immediacy of the annuity for a recuperative period in order to attend to medical needs, then perhaps a minimal effort in applying for SSDI would be appropriate.

With the recent case of Stephenson v. OPM now firmly in the “win” column, any issue about future recalculation once a Federal or Postal employee loses his or her entitlement to SSDI benefits, has now been resolved, and the Federal or Postal annuitant need not worry about the issue.  Of course, there is a wide chasm between what “the law” says, and how quickly OPM will do what they are now mandated to do.  But in the end, OPM will have to recalculate and reinstate any amounts which were offset, once a Federal or Postal employee loses his or her SSDI benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Timing and Perseverance

The proper timing of an event has much to do with the successful outcome of an endeavor.  Just look at the “timing” passes in the NFL, where the quarterback throws a pass towards a receiver who has not yet looked for the ball, but expects it because that is precisely the play which has been called, and one which has been practiced for in countless previous series of practices.  But with timing comes a history of perseverance. Timing is perfected by practice, and practice becomes fruitful and productive only through countless effort and perseverance.

If the first time one attempts X and the timing is not perfect, one cannot walk away in frustration because the timing was “off”; rather, it is through perseverance where perfect timing is achieved.  Effortlessness is achieved through the very achievement of great effort.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are multiple “timing” issues, coupled with the need to have the perseverance to achieve that proper timing.  

Sometimes, it is simply premature to start the process:  perhaps the doctors are not ready; perhaps the Federal or Postal worker is not mentally prepared to take the next step.  Psychological barriers are just as real an impediment as physical ones. At other times, timing has to do with the doctors — cases often have to develop, and doctors have to spend time with the patient/applicant before admitting that disability retirement is the only and best option.  For that “perfect timing” to occur, perseverance by the Federal or Postal employee may be needed — if not only to persevere through a slightly longer process of case-development.  

Thus, timing and perseverance are not limited to the NFL or sports in general; rather, in life, and in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, being “in the game” and trudging along to perfect the right time, are all important components in the successful submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal and Postal Worker.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Discretionary Selectivity

Having the discretion to do X can have two possible meanings:  One has the power or authority to choose to make decisions; or, alternatively, one has the ability to do X, as in having the judgment and talent to discern in order to selectively choose, refrain to act upon, etc.  The two are not necessarily possessed by one and the same; i.e., the fact that a person has the power or authority to do X does not mean that such a person should, or competently could, assert such power or authority to act.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to recognize that while he/she as the potential applicant, has the “discretion” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is often unwise to be both the subject of the application, concurrently with being the object of the application, and as such, the highest recognition of discretionary selectivity is to recognize the inability to assert sound discretionary judgment, and to delegate the (applying second meaning of the concept of “discretion”) act to someone else; or, at the very least, to ask for assistance in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In most issues of life, to be both the subject (the applicant filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits) as well as the object (the person of whom the application itself is the primary focus of discussion in a Federal Disability Retirement application) presents a difficulty and obstacle, if only because the one suffering from a medical condition is hardly the most objective person to be describing and communicating the essence of the medical condition and its impact upon the subject of the object.

Discretionary selectivity requires the ability to approach issues in an objective manner; but when the subject (the pervasive “I”) becomes inseparable from the central focus of discussion (the “thou” or “him/her”), it is often a good idea to delegate the vehicle of communication.  This is not a matter of split personalities; it is a practical approach in order to “how” best be effective in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire