OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Interests at odds

A comity of interests has to arise in order for relationships to “work” — in whatever arena of meaning such a term must apply.  When interests are at odds, it means that the goals, orientation and direction of each of the parties are conflicted.  A “conflict”, of course, can be direct or indirect, and can be on various levels of complexities, but in general would imply a need to sever ties unless such conflicts are resolved.

In the employment arena, the comity of interests is fairly straightforward: The employer has a set of interests that need to be pursued; the employee, desiring to advance the interests of the employer, agrees to join in with the comity of interests in the common pursuit of stated goals.  Compensation is agreed upon; certain conditions are mutually stated and a contract, whether explicit or implied, is formed.

Conflicts may arise during the course of employment, of course; if a competitor makes an offer to the employee unbeknownst to the employer that directly or indirectly conflicts with the stated goals of the employer, certain ethical questions may arise.  Or, if certain employment conditions fail to be met, the “interests” of each begin to be “at odds” — an odd way of putting it, but that is the lexicon that has arisen in the employment arena.  It is almost a euphemism to avoid the harsh reality of other “choice” words.

Medical conditions can certainly “bring to odds” and damage the employer-employee relationship, and certainly Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers recognize that.

The “solution” that has been preemptively provided is the benefit known as “Federal Disability Retirement” — it is a means to avoid or otherwise resolve the conflict that arises when a Federal employee or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — where, in the event of a medical condition no longer allowing for the Federal or Postal employee to fulfill certain of the employment conditions agreed upon (i.e., not being able to maintain a regular work attendance; unable to work full time any longer; taking too much SL or LWOP; unable to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, etc.), then it is time to access the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Of course, the “interests at odds” is not just between the employee and one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Service — it is also as against another agency: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management who attempts to subvert, deny and otherwise place obstacles in obtaining an “approval” for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

That is why the “interests at odds” needs to have an advocate — of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Consult with an attorney who can help you attain the comity of interests, and to counter that entity which clearly is at odds with your interests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The 90/10 rule

It is a general principle to which most of us adhere to, or at the very least, confirm and affirm by own own actions or lack thereof.  In work, 90% of what we do constitutes drudgery and repetitive toil of uninteresting accomplishments; we strive, however, for that opportunity to perform the remaining 10%, which makes for an interesting career.

A similar proportional reflection applies to marriage and love; there are corollaries to the statistical generalizations, however, such as our own children and those of others — where 90% of other people’s kids are bratty and selfish, but only about 10% of parents know it, would acknowledge it, and might even own up to it, but where 90% of parents believe that their own kids are the cutest and most brilliant prodigies yet known to mankind.

Then, of course, there is grandpa’s admonition about people in general:  90% of the people you meet aren’t worth a penny’s value of attention, and of that 10% who might show some promise, 9 out of 10 (i.e., again, 10%, or 1% of the aggregate) will turn out to have merely fooled you.

What does that say about choosing a life-partner in romance or marriage?  90% of the time, people in general are going to disappoint, and 10% might meet expectations of contentment; but then, 90% of us believe that, from the “other’s” perspective, we ourselves always fall into that 10%, when in fact we likely fall into the 90% ourselves.

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 the Federal or Postal job, such a state of affairs likely falls into the minority of Federal or Postal workers — again, generally about 10%, if that.  The problem, however, is that the majority of that 10% or so (again, probably about 90%) believe (mistakenly or self-delusionally) that they will fall into the 10% of such groupings who are able to continue their Federal or Postal careers despite the progressively deteriorating condition.

What the Federal or Postal employee who falls into that initial 10% or less of the workforce, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should do, is to ensure that you become part of that 90% or more of Federal employees or U.S. Postal Service workers who recognize that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not merely a matter of statistical luck, but requires a foresight of effective preparation and competent insight — in other words, to be in that 10% as opposed to the 90%, attesting to the fact that, all in all, the 90/10 rule has some grain of truth to it, if only somewhat on a 10/90 scale.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Medical Retirement Help: Jobs — the true civil rights

Throughout history, across national and international lines of artificial demarcations; over barriers confining and limiting all conceivable sectarian ceilings; in every society, community and communitarian conglomeration where people must live and tolerate one another, there has always been an allegation of unfair treatment, discriminatory division, and biased cacophony of complaints.  Perhaps all of them are valid and legitimate; perhaps some are and others not as much.

Whether by ethnic identification, normative connection, racial similarities or shared sexual orientation, the treatment by any given society of a group bifurcated by an identifiable feature of appearance, lineage or historical caricature, is forever fraught with inherent complexities.  Politicians have their own motivations for agreeing or disagreeing with a group’s alleged violation of “rights” in a society; beyond the vote, they want the financial support and agreement to refrain from disruption of speechifying and rallying.

The problem with each identifiable claim of unfair treatment, however, is that the impact upon other groups outside of the chain of identification can be so alien as to defy empathy of relating; I am not my brother’s keeper if I cannot relate to the existential phenomenology of derisive treatment.  Yet, what has been “missing” in each historical movement shouting for equal and fair treatment, is the one and only true civil rights issue which touches every ethnic, racial and cultural divide — jobs.  It is the one component in every given society which touches every household, whether by racial, sexual or ethnic identification.  It provides for a standard of living; it gives purpose and substance to each individual; and it reflects upon the magnitude of a society’s caring for the aggregation of citizenry.

The flight of jobs leaves behind the devastation of towns and cities; and the abandoned homes and former factory buildings no longer bright with endless rows of fluorescent lights after many have gone home, is a testament to the blight of future hopes and dreams.  Decade after decade, we hear of “trade agreements” which will “brings jobs back”; but to whose benefit?  No one ever asks that question.  And as each year the jobs flee, the trumpeting of the next great “agreement” is touted from the soapbox of hope.

Sometimes, it seems that we all fall prey to the conmen of political expediency, where taking up causes which divide and separate, while ignoring the only true cause which matters, is done with purposive infamy.  Indeed, that very same issue is often the stumbling block 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 or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The Federal or Postal employee who suffers 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 his or her position, will often pause because of the very nature of change — of the loss of one’s job, lessening of income, and alteration of circumstances.

Having a job is always a comfort of security, and sometimes a luxury of sorts, especially if you are healthy and able.  In many ways, it is the one and only true civil rights issue, and for the Federal and Postal worker, to “give up” that “right” when it has been the source of one’s identity — not to a group or with a status based upon a cultural divide, but upon the singular factor which matters to most — of pride, productivity and purpose, it is often understandably difficult to take the next but necessary step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire