FERS Disability Retirement: Recognition

At some point in one’s life, there is a recognition that a “gap” has been established between the dreams of one’s youth, the expectations of reality embraced in adulthood, and the lack of achievement one has attained in the final stages of one’s life.  It need not be a final moment of a gestalt-like profundity, where we suddenly realize with a declarative “Aha!” at some critical juncture in our life; rather, it can be a subtle realization over time, concluding with an expectation of acceptance, or of bitterness towards life’s unfairness.

Life is, indeed, unfair.  Two people can toil and sweat at one’s work and have starkly differing results.  One may become very wealthy; the other, constantly struggling just to live from paycheck to paycheck; and yet, the extent of cognitive or physical effort expended by each may be of little difference.  One may counter: It is not the effort expended, but rather, the value of the product or service offered.  But even that is not quite true, is it?

The classic example is the pay scale of a teacher — irrefutably of greater value than the sale of vehicles or mink coats, yet of relatively paltry return.  One never hears of a wealthy teacher; one hears of wealth attained through frivolous services based upon an idea engineered in the basement or garage of a computer whiz-kid.

Recognition is an important crossroads; of the disparity between what one expected and what one has achieved; of determining early on what is of value, of how one defines “success” as opposed to “failure”; and of resisting the idea that all of youth’s folly must be realized in order to be deemed a success, leaving aside whether success itself must be narrowly defined by a person’s pocketbook contents.

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, there is often a necessary prerequisite of a recognition that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is not, however, a recognition that one will never achieve or attain what one originally set out to do; rather, it is a recognition that there is life after a Federal or Postal career, and that the medical condition has merely revealed an incompatibility between one’s Federal or Postal position and the medical condition that one never asked for, but a reality with which one must deal with — a recognition itself that is an important first step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and 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 image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Devotion

Must it by necessity have a “religious” component?  Devotion is an anachronistic concept – of individuals who have committed their lives to one involving (or devolving?) sacrifice and selflessness, where individual strivings for fame, wealth or power are forsaken and the plight of others is the focus of one’s resolve and vocation.

Certainly, there are subcategories of such descriptions, as when we hear about a parent of such-and-such being so “devoted” to his daughter or son; or of a scientist whose mother or father died of a certain rare disease and later grew up to “devote” his or her life to finding a cure.

But with those unique exceptions, the term itself was once applied to priests, nuns and (perhaps) non-Catholic preachers and ministers who had engaged a life of “devotion” – and the last vestige of such descriptions may be those attributed to Mother Teresa (that Saint of Calcutta, canonized less than 20 years after her death, and loved by all except perhaps by Christopher Hitchens, that cutting essayist who could state in a single sentence that which took paragraphs for most of us to develop).

And yet… There are dogs who are devoted; old men who have been married for decades to left caring for their ill wives, and vice versa; and Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, contrary to what the general public views about Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers.

That is why taking that “giant leap” into preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is such a difficult step.  Does the concept of “devotion” apply, or do we now view such dedication and commitment to one’s vocation and career as foolhardy, misguided, a warped sense of priorities?

Certainly, wanting to do a “good job”, and be committed to advancing one’s career is considered having a “devotion” to a career in the loose sense; but should such a concept necessarily be sequestered only in the antiquated sense discussed herein?  How about its opposite – of having a devotion to such an extent that you continue to harm your own health?

For, that is what many Federal and Postal workers end up doing – of continuing to work despite its detrimental impact upon health, as opposed to taking advantage of the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement and focusing on that which one’s devotion should be centered upon: One’s health, one’s future, and the pathway towards securing both.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement System: The Stradivarius

It has come to represent a superlative; a standard of excellence which cannot be exceeded, and considered as the penultimate achievement beyond which only angels and heavenly bodies can ascend to, or hope to touch like the light mist of dawn slowly rising to the tips of the alps wrapped in the greenery of nature’s untouchable paradigm.

The history of related intrigue is without match, as well; of the secrets protected within the family of instrument makers; of smugglers and thieves and the attempts by collectors to preserve the remaining authenticity of those made by the master of violins; and the keen eye ever wary of impostors and counterfeiters.

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, it would be well to always keep the symbol of excellence in mind, as the goal to achieve.

The shabbiness of putting forth a half-hearted attempt at anything is demeaning; an achievement through error or accident is rarely of any consequence; but by reaching a height of excellence within the context of suffering from a condition which impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, is to recognize the worth of one’s capacity to still maneuver the winding complexities of this confounding world.

The gathering of proper medical documentation; the clarity of expounding the necessary bridges and legal argumentation in compiling an effective OPM Disability Retirement application; these all need to come together, like the master’s hand in constructing an instrument of heaven’s whispers.  The daunting task of facing a bureaucracy can always be disheartening; the goal of achieving a successful outcome, however, should always be the eye which guides, and excellence the key to that endeavor.

For the Federal and Postal employee who wants to file for Federal Disability benefits through OPM because one’s Federal or Postal career has now come to an end, the final step in creating the music of an orchestrated exit should be to ensure the excellence of an OPM Disability Retirement application, in order to step into the next phase of life, and to achieve the subsequent future for a Stradivarius achievement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire