OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Is There Enough of Me?

Whether consciously or not, that is the question we ask of ourselves.  Is there enough of me?  Meaning: Is life worthwhile such that the “me” exists substantially to reach a level of happiness, contentment and joy?

The worker, the parent, the friend, the husband or wife — they are certainly part of every person’s role within society, but there is a separate, private “me” that is defined by the uniqueness of each individual.  Perhaps the “me” part of one’s personhood is in the joy of reading; or of other hobbies and leisure activities, like hunting or fishing, or playing a game of cards, writing a short story, playing basketball, breeding dogs or just sitting in front of a fireplace with one’s dog.

These, and many other activities comprise a list of “me-things” which make for living in a society worthwhile.  Is there enough of me?  What balance within life’s daily grind and busy-ness would satisfy that question?

When the balance between work, obligations, responsibilities, mundane chores and sleep is disrupted such that there is not enough of “me” to be had, there is often the untold consequences of despair and depressive despondency.  In Japan, there is a term for this — Karoshi.  It literally means, “death by overwork”.  It is a state of being where there is clearly not enough of “me” within the daily living and routine of a person.

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 job, the overwhelming nature of trying to balance work, personal life and the medical condition itself will present the ultimate dilemma: If work cannot be accomplished, how will there be enough of me?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a way of attempting to restore some balance in one’s life.  Consult with an Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, a life where one’s medical condition consumes every aspect of daily living because work itself becomes a constant struggle, is one where, clearly, there is not enough of “me”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Exploding Heads

We often hear the expression, “My head is about to explode.” What can it mean? Clearly, it is not to be taken literally — although, there are circumstances where brain aneurisms can result in the sensation described and an immediate trip to the emergency room would be indicated. Figuratively, it normally means that the pressures and stresses of the world are too much to bear, and that we apply the metaphor of an explosion — an earth shattering, tumultuous event — in order to convey how we feel.

Life is tough. It is often a seemingly endless series of troubles encountered and problems to be solved. Our capacity for problem-solving is not, however, limitless, and many of our problems faced have no “solution” and only respond to delay, distraction and avoidance. Yet, delay, distraction and avoidance, not having solved the problem, results inevitably in merely procrastinating the unresolved issues — of the need to again encounter, face and engage the problem, whatever form that “resolution” may take.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of his or her job, it may indeed feel like your head is exploding — especially when the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is putting undue pressure and stress upon you to stop using SL or remain on LWOP, or even asserting your FMLA rights. The resolution: perhaps, to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the sensation of exploding heads continues to haunt you no matter how hard you try to avoid the inevitable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Trapped, the feeling

It is an unmistakeable sense; of panic which may ensue, or a narrowing of the universe where being shuttered, the walls shrinking, a sudden and overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia; and of physical manifestations, of an inability to breathe, of constrictions and lameness of limbs; it is all of being trapped, the feeling.

It need not be in a physical sense; a psychological condition that is just as real as the reality of the chair one sits upon; but others cannot see it, empathize about it nor conduct one’s actions toward ameliorating the condition; for, in the end, being trapped, the feeling, is an existential condition that can only be cured by first recognizing the source of one’s situation.

Observing an animal, trapped can evoke an empathetic comity of such feelings; we “know” how they “feel” just by the mere manner of actions they reveal.  The pacing back and forth; the eyes which tell you of their anxiety and distress; and constant movements in a frenzy of attempting to escape.

We have all been beset with being trapped, the feeling, and not knowing where to turn to, how to escape, what to do.  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, being trapped, the feeling, often accompanies one’s situation when handling both the medical condition and the reaction of the Agency or Postal Service.

The vicious circularity that begins to swirl like the formation around the hurricane’s eye or the tornado that touches down upon flat plains near an unwary midwestern town — of the increasing pressures being placed by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and the need to attend to one’s medical conditions — at some point, something has to “give”.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often the “escape route” available.  As to understanding the various exit points, the method and manner of escaping — for that, you should consult an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and one who performs the practice of law exclusively in the area of Federal Disability Retirement.

Being trapped, the feeling, is never a “good” feeling; but consulting with an attorney who specializes in finding the best approach in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application allows for its opposite and positive feeling: being freed, the sense of elation.

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

 

PM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Those goals

What constitutes a worthwhile goal?  Is it determined by the outcome – i.e., a retrospective, outcome-based proposal, as opposed to the gambling one where one must enter into the dangerous waters not knowing what the future provides?  Are we so safely ensconced in life’s predictability such that we will not longer accept as a goal that which cannot be ascertained unless and until there is some guarantee?

Do people immediately criticize and diminish the stated goal by categorizing it as either “realistic” or “unrealistic”?  Is there a distinction with a difference between “dreams” and “goals”, where the former is unbounded and unfettered by the reality of expectations, whereas the latter must be confined to that which can be reasonably ascertained as achievable?

What of the child who “dreams” of becoming a major league baseball player – do we cite the statistical odds against it, even at the tender age of 5?  What if the child works diligently and shows some promise – daily exercises, practices at every aspect of the game, and joins this league or that and shows “promise” and “potential” – at what point do we advise him (or her) to give up and “become realistic”?

Are some dreams okay to retain and have despite any semblance of “reality” intervening to make them come true – like secretly wanting to be a novelist (even though not a single page, let alone one sentence, has been put on paper) or a pro basketball player (even if you are 5’ 3”, and certainly no Muggsy Bogues), just because it makes one “feel good” or allow for self-confidence by carrying a secretive self-image that one is not what one truly appears to be?

At what point do dreams become goals, and goals merely dreams?  Is it when you actually take a “concrete” step towards making a dream become a reality, that then you have a goal, because the latter is “achievable” while the former is not?  Or is it like that old Chinese proverb that Kennedy liked to recite (or was becoming a writer for John F. Kennedy merely a “dream” and that is why Ted Sorensen, his ghost writer, is the one who did all the writing that the former President merely dreamed about?), that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Or, perhaps like the Federal or Postal worker 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 one’s position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the goal is to become healthy again – or is it merely a dream?

Dream or goal, for the Federal or Postal worker trying to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be reviewed and determined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, like the potential baseball star or the best power forward in the business of pro basketball, the first step is the most important – of realizing dreams into goals, and goals into realistic dreams, whichever may be the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Value of Consistency

Consistency establishes validity; validation results in enhancement of credibility; and credibility prevails over minor errors and unintended oversights.  In analyzing a narrative, or engaging in a comparative analysis of two or more documents, it is the factual and historical consistency which allows for a conclusion of validated credibility. When a pattern of inconsistencies arise, suspicions of intentional misdirection beyond mere minor error, begins to tinge.

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 under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, the question of sequential order of documentary preparation is important. Such relevance on this matter can be gleaned if the preparation is looked at retrospectively — not from the beginning of the process, but rather, from the perspective of OPM and how they review and determine cases.

With that perspective in mind, it is important to prepare and formulate one’s Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the appreciated value of consistency, and as consistency of statements, purpose, coordination of documentary support and delineated narrative of one’s disability and its impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties is recognized, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will be formulated with deliberative efficacy, and where retrospection through introspection will result in increasing the prospective chances of success.

Sincerely,
Robert R. McGill, Esquire