OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The mind’s bookshelf

Entertainment is a peculiar thing in human psychology: happiness accompanies its anticipation, but during the process of “being entertained”, do we recognize our own joy, or are we lost in the suspension of our own inner world while being completely oblivious to the suffering around us?

We toil day in and day out with a singular goal, held by many, to enjoy a period of respite and entertainment — of becoming lost in a movie; of going to a play; of putting headphones on and listening to a favorite song, piece or series of favorites; of pulling from the mind’s bookshelf an episode of imaginative adventures or a wonderland of a dream’s figment.

Entertainment, joy, happiness and contentment are the ingredients of life’s admixture of troubles, trials and turpentine creations in a universe of chocolate-ice-cream-not-quite-right, ups and downs and joining and break-ups; it is a mixed up world where everyone is trying to extract an ounce of pleasure when the last cupful has already been taken.  Then, there is the capacity of the human mind that has just had enough — where too much bombardment of stimuli leads one to withdraw, become reclusive, and seek the solitude of one’s own soliloquy of minds.  It is a rather peculiar concept, is it not?

To withdraw within the mind’s bookshelf — that corner of studied solitude where others cannot share, and only the loneliness of one’s self-induced privacy allows for an entrance and exit to the backrooms of an unlit alcove that is marked “private”, and where no admittance is allowed except by exclusive invitation only.  It is when even the mind’s bookshelf is toppled by the troubled waters of the world that too much stress, too much stimuli and way, way too much intrusiveness begins to overflow.

That is what a medical condition tends to do — for, when it becomes chronic and begins to gnaw at even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, then the unbearable nature of one’s condition requires a change.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to invade even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, it is time to consider 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.

When even the last refuge from life’s turmoil has been invaded and violated — of an inability to attain any restorative sleep; when profound fatigue overwhelms; when chronic pain becomes unrelenting; when one’s focus, concentration and ability to retain even a semblance of cognitive acuity is progressively being lost; then, the inconsistency between one’s essential elements of a position and the medical condition becomes quite clear, and it becomes necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Joy of life comes from having the key to the mind’s bookshelf, and when that is no longer possible, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement.

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: Social Contract Theory

In modernity, what is the “Social Contract”, and does it still hold any meaning?  Or, is the bundle of bureaucracy, the conflict between the competitive predatoriness of capitalism left to its own devices resulting in a cronyism of wealthy interconnections, as opposed to the growing girth of Federalism with a pittance and breadcrumbs left to State governments to fill in some minor gaps — does the aggregate of such entities, comprised of regulations, statutes, laws and a compendium of languages isolated in fine print, all together reflect the vestiges of the Social Contract we once revered as the awe-inspiring product of the Age of Enlightenment?

Would Rousseau, and to a lesser extent Hobbes, and further explained in Locke’s Treatise, represent anything of value, anymore?  Or are we left to our own devices, as Darwin proposed those many decades ago on the lapping shores of the Galapagos, where survivability is determined by genetic origin, environmental refinement, and ultimately the devices used in subterfuge when societal niceties require at least a surface semblance of genteel behavior?  In the end, the concept of a “Social Contract” means little if the basic legal constructs are not adhered to.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, such legal constructs are represented by the cumulative promises made by the bureaucracy which employs them, comprised of statutes, regulations, executive orders and corollary mandates.  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 positional duties, the idea of honoring the Social Contract becomes important, because part of that agreement is to fairly treat the Federal or Postal employee when the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able, because of a medical condition, to continue working in the same job.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is each day a test as to the continuing resolution of the viability of the Social Contract.  While not every Federal or Postal employee may be automatically eligible for the benefits to be received through Federal Disability Retirement, it is the fairness of the process which is important, and whether a proper course of administrative protocols are followed and met throughout the entirety of the bureaucratic process.

In the end, those vestiges of that grand idea originating in the minds of philosophers — the highfalutin concept of a Social Contract — are only as good as the promises made and declarations kept in the things that impact the everyday lives of ordinary people, like those dedicated public servants who toil daily in the Federal Sector and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Excision & Expiation

Sometimes, the former must be engaged in order to save the whole, lest the lesser segment spreads to infect the greater; while in different circumstances, of contexts involving spiritual offenses, the latter may suffice through acceptable acts of contrition or penance paid through rote words of sincere atonements.  In other instances, the act of the latter may account for the former, while the satisfaction through the former may be sufficient to complete the latter.

Excision is to surgically sever and remove, and then to discard and alienate from the body of which it was once a part; while expiation is to similarly remove, but which can still remain as a part of one’s history of misdeeds.  Both are acts engaged in for purposes of atonement beyond the present state of existential negativity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, despite the ongoing flagellation compounded by one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service upon the aggregation of negativity impounded through one’s deteriorating medical condition, continue to endure the proverbial adage that when it rains, it pours, consideration should be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In many ways, filing for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the duality of acts involving excision and expiation; for, like the former, approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity by OPM results in a separation from that very body of which the Federal or Postal employee was once a part of; and like the latter, it resolves the ongoing conflict and struggle between the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, and the Federal entity or the U.S. Postal Service, in terms of work left undone, dissatisfaction because of lost time, excessive use of Sick Leave, or exhaustion of FMLA benefits, etc.

From the perspective of the Federal agency or the Post Office, excision is the preferred methodology, as the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can then replace the separated employee with someone else.

From the perspective of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, the approval of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit amounts to an expiation of sorts, as rendering a benefit to make it all worthwhile, for the years of dedicated service and sacrifice given, and a recognition that those achievements and accomplishments have not been for naught, despite what the last remaining years where deteriorating health and progressively debilitating medical conditions wrought upon one’s reputation and employment relationships.

Excision and expiation; they are the dual forms of atonement for the Federal or Postal employee who takes the affirmative steps in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, when it becomes apparent that loss of physical or mental capacity in the face of impending health conditions is not a basis for surrendering to the inevitable vicissitudes of what life brings to the fore of man’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Jobs: Prerogatives

The exclusivity of a right or privilege can remain dormant until asserted; and assertion triggers and activates, and suddenly that which consisted merely of quietude and inertia, becomes the centrality of controversy, contention and adversarial encounter.  Much of life is like that; resembling the proverbial elephant in the sitting room, or the decaying clump of unidentified derivation of unseemly scents, people tend to avoid and take a wide berth while acting “as if” throughout the day, the week, a year, and in a lifetime.

In olden days of yore, the “prerogative” was retained by the King, the Crown and the Papacy to assert or not, depending often upon the whims of emotional and political turmoil.  The fact of inactivity or inertia with respect to the right or privilege did not result in the loss of it; rather, it merely meant that the non-use of power only magnified the unlimited potentiality for tyranny.  One doesn’t lose something merely because it isn’t used; unless, of course, you are a common man or woman without power or purpose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have been “allowed” by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service to continue to remain in one’s position at the “prerogative” of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by being retained in some capacity of “light duty” or informal arrangement of “less-than-full-duty” status, the attitude and atmosphere can be likened to the Royal Family allowing and granting a limited dispensation at the mercy of the Crown, and always with humble subservience of gratitude and metaphorical acts of low-bowing.

While it is dangerous to be indebted to someone else for too much, the greater travail is to believe that one owes something of value when in fact no such indebtedness ever existed.

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 positional duties, the fact that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service “says” that it is “accommodating” the Federal or Postal employee, does not necessarily make it so.

The prerogative to file 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, always remains and is retained by the Federal or Postal employee, even throughout a circumstance and situation where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service contends that the Federal or Postal employee is being “accommodated”.  For, the term itself is one of art, and “accommodation” — in order to be a legally viable accommodation — must meet certain standards and rise to a level of legal sufficiency.

The mere fact that the Federal agency on High says it is so, no longer applies; for, despite its claim to greater status of Royalty, the days of uncontested power through mere lineage no longer exists, except perhaps in the feeble minds of the commoner who treads the hallways of Federal agencies and U.S. Post Offices with fear, trembling, and humble subservience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire