FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: On a tenuous ridge

How do you know whether to proceed; whether it is safe to proceed; whether the roads or pathways are safe enough? What constitutes success? Is it known before it is anticipated, or is it just a self-delusional sense of confidence that sometimes deceives and at others, proves us wrong?

To be on a tenuous ridge combines the two negative aspects of objectivity and subjectivity: Of a physical place that is sharp and often dangerous (the “objective” world) and the mental determination that encompasses a sense of weakness and lack of confidence (the “subjective” perception of a situation); and the combination of the two provides a compounding of a conceptual negation that places one is a precarious state of being.

To be on a tenuous ridge can be a metaphor for proceeding in life, in whatever endeavor or misadventure, without the benefit of experience, hindsight, wisdom or knowledge.  That is the sense and feeling that the Federal or Postal employee possesses when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career — to be walking on a tenuous ridge.

For Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the approach that must be taken should be to get off of the proverbial ridge of tenuousness, and instead to walk upon firm ground with a sense of confidence entering into a future.

Although the future may remain somewhat uncertain during the complex process of maneuvering through a Federal Disability Retirement application, nevertheless, the knowledge that one’s case is the best one that has been put together, goes a long way in avoiding the pitfalls of a tenuous ridge.  Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; for, there is another adage similar to “being on a tenuous ridge” that you also might want to avoid — of “jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The gist of it all

When do we want the “gist” of something?  The essence or the “main idea”; or to filter it into the short version, somewhat like the “spark notes” of the thing of which we seek.  Is it appropriate if a student is sitting through a boring lecture and raises his or her hand and asks politely, “I have an activity to attend this afternoon. Can you just give us the gist of what you’re trying to say?”

Or of the greater meaning of life itself — you know, that grand design that everyone is seeking, which is why so many people believe in such things as the “Da Vinci Code” or, more recently, “The Chamberlain Key” — codes to codices that reveal the heart of ancient secrets lost in the trash heaps of history or otherwise forgotten because of wars, famines and changes of the proverbial guards.

Why is it that such “keys” must always be “ancient”, and shrouded in the mystery of “secret societies” who will murder in the dead of night to protect the gist of it all?  How does that reflect upon modernity — that we are too superficial to invent or discover such codes?  Or, is it merely that the cynicism of scientism and the reliance upon the physical universe, the influence of British Logical Positivism and the Age of Science have all subsumed such romanticizing of mysteries beyond the age of reason?

In this fast-paced society where technology surpasses by lightening speed the insular world of secret societies and the unraveling of veiled codices, what we want in the end is the gist of it all — to bypass the tangential details and get to the heart of the matter.  We have little or no time for anything else.

So, 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, what is the gist of it all?  In other words, what is the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity?

Well, to begin with, under FERS (which most people are, as the dinosaur of CSRS or even CSRS Offset have now been relegated to the Pleistocene Era of Federal employment) the Federal or Postal employee must have at least 18 month of Federal Service.  Second, we must be able to prove that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing at least one, if not more, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  And third, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months.

Now, this latter bit of a requirement is often confused with thinking that a Federal or Postal worker must therefore wait for at least 12 months after the onset of a medical condition before the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  No, that is not the case — for, most doctors and treating medical professionals can render a prognosis as to the chronicity of the medical condition, and that is all that is needed.

Of course, that is precisely the problem of getting merely the “gist of it all” — because, in the end, the annotated version of an important text, issue or pool of information can rarely be filtered down into a cup that can be gulped with one swallow, but is often an ocean full of undercurrents and dangers consumed with sharks, whales and stingrays — sort of like the metaphor of life itself, only more complex because preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a complicated administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls that cannot ultimately be confined by the gist of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: That carefree child

Whatever happened to him or her?  That child who would shrug the shoulders, move on to the next thing and be free of worry or concerns.  “Carefree” is not a synonym for “careless”, or even of “uncaring”; rather, it is the capacity and ability to maneuver throughout this complex universe without allowing for life’s burdens to weigh upon one so heavily that past events prevent future actions of progress and advancement.

That child that is now lost was caring; he or she was also careful in every endeavor, every project and helpful in many ways; yet, that same child was known to be carefree.  Where is that child, now?  What happened such that life interrupted, anxieties developed and stresses multiplied?  Does that same child – now a hunk of an adult sitting in the corner somewhere – stay up at nights worrying about tomorrow, “stressed out” about the next day, paralyzed with panic about the future?

Often, the troubles we face within the confines of our own minds are greater in horror and imagined size, than the reality that is actually to occur.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar spectrums of manic and depressive phases, coupled with suicidal ideations, agoraphobia and other psychiatric diagnoses – these can comprise the lost paths of a child who is no longer carefree, but has grown into adulthood and experiences the commonality of society’s growing problems, exponentially expanded because the rest of society has indeed become uncaring and careless in its treatment of that child who was once carefree.

If that once-carefree child has become a Federal or Postal employee who is suffering now from the cares of the world, and the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider 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.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will not be the solution to all of life’s problems, but it can at least begin to pave a path towards “coming home” to a time that we remember, when that carefree child walked about with less of a burden and more of a smile.  Federal Disability Retirement is meant to do that – to allow for the Federal or Postal worker to focus back upon one’s health and well-being and not become burdened with the stresses of work and performance, where love is anything but unconditional and the summer days of tomorrow may still have some warm moments to enjoy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Evidence of Sincerity

We question it; contest it; challenge when necessary by bringing up counter-evidence that seems to undermine it; and we all act with outrage and become highly offended when our own underlying intent is questioned, as if everyone else in the world is suspiciously lacking of it with the exception of one’s self.

“Sincerity” is a funny animal, and evidence of it is like the bond between the wrong committed and the arena of court applied: preponderance of the evidence?  Clear and Convincing?  Or, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

The choice depends upon the gullibility of the beholder and the relationship between the teller and the believer; then, for some, a breach and violation of a single instance forever condemns without recourse of forgiveness.

What is the evidence of sincerity?  Is it merely words upon words, or must actions follow, and constancy and consistency of behavior?

Take the following hypothetical: Person X says that he will meet you for lunch at Time-T, at location Y, and so at Time-T, at location Y, you go and wait.  And wait.  Person X never show up.  A few days later, you see Person X and you remind him that there had been a luncheon agreement, and why didn’t you show up?

Example A: The person apologizes profusely and reveals that he/she became gravely ill and was taken to the hospital at that very moment, on that day, during the time of the luncheon date.  Example B: The person says: “Oh, I found something better to do,” and essentially casts you aside.  Example C: The person (who has a wide and well-known reputation for being “flighty”), explains: “Oh-my-gosh!  I completely forgot!  I really meant to be there but I just completely forgot about it!”

Obviously, most of us would respond to each with: Forgive persons A and C; be angry at B.  Why do we react like this?

Again, the obvious answer is: We presume sincerity on the part of A and C (though, as to C, we give some leeway for a reputation preceding the doing, and if we were unaware of that reputation, we might want to proceed by putting the person on a “probationary” status of wariness and suspicion for the next time); as to B, the person has explicitly reversed any semblance of sincerity, and has told us to essentially go fly a kite.

Now, change the hypotheticals slightly: As to A: We later discover that he was seen precisely at Time-X to have been out and about with another person, and was never in the hospital.  In other words, he lied.  And as to C: Whether “flighty” or not, the person never honors a commitment, and consistently makes promises but each time breaks them.  In other words, whether sincere at the time or not, that person can never be relied upon.

And as to the problematic B: We later learn that at that very Time-T, he was actually in the hospital caring for his dying spouse, but did not want to burden you with the long and tragic narrative of his personal trials, and furthermore, his reputation prior to the promise broken is so far out of character that it had left you scratching your head with befuddlement in the first place.

Who, out of these examples, ends up being the “sincere” person, and what is the evidence that changed your mind?

Evidence of sincerity is often a touchy subject, where reputation, reality and roles of engagement coalesce to provide the “full” picture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the evidence of sincerity is often important in assessing friends, coworkers and trusted individuals in the dissemination of sensitive medical information.

Appearance cannot always be trusted; reputation, perhaps; but in the end, the evidence of sincerity is often merely a gut instinct that tells you who to trust and why.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Plato and Play-Doh

If a person says to another, “Have you used Play-Doh” and he answers, “Well, yes, but only as it applies to certain situations in my life.  Otherwise, I tend to rely upon Aristotle in a more pragmatic, scientific approach.”

Somewhat taken aback, the inquiring mind restates his position, saying, “No, no, I meant, have you played with Play-Doh?” Still not distinguishing between the inserted alternative of a consonant (the “D” in Play-Doh as opposed to the “t” in Plato), the responding individual states again, “Well, conceptually Plato is difficult to ‘play with’, as you state it, in that you have to first understand the conceptual paradigms he posits, then…” and the same person goes on to provide a full-fledged, half hour dissertation on the esoteric aspects of a Dead White Irrelevant Philosopher (otherwise known by the acronym, a “DWIP”).

At this point, frustrated, the inquisitive interrogator walks away, throwing his hands up in complete confusion and befuddlement.  What does one do?  How is the incommensurate encounter resolved?  Question: Does the fact that we “hold” in the base of our minds a certain spelling of a word make a difference as to intent and deliberative motive, when what we “speak” out into the objective world makes the receptor of the word, phrase or sentence interpret it as something different from that image that we behold in our minds?

How does one close the chasm between subjective thoughts and objective reality?  Do we approach it in a different way – and does the problem really remain in the subjective domain of the questioning individual insofar as he or she is unable to, incapable of, or otherwise unwilling to alter the originating course of his posited query?

In other words, shouldn’t the person have restated his conceptual query in the following manner: “Oh, I see.  You must have misunderstood.  I am talking about ‘Play-Doh’ – the clay-like substance that we all used to play with as children, and I thought I saw some when I visited your house the other day.”  To which the responder should appropriately state, “Ah, I see now.  You must excuse me. I am concurrently reading Plato’s Dialogues and I mistook your question to be referring to that.”

It is, then, the capacity to listen carefully, to recognize the response given, then to respond back appropriately and relevantly that often dissipates any compelling reason to become frustrated.

Similarly, for Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to respond to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s subsequent queries, or even in response to the Statement of Disability’s questions (SF 3112A) that need to be answered, the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must take care in bridging that gap between subjective reality and objective communication.

There are many “tricks” to the “trade”, and OPM has probably dealt with them all; but the one trick that OPM cannot ultimately ignore, is the tricky web of legal precedents and prior MSPB and Federal Circuit Court decisions that compel them to act in ways that they cannot forego.  Legal argumentation is an art form that should not be ignored, and whether you are asking about Plato or Play-Doh, remember always to include in any Federal Disability Retirement application an effective legal argument that persuasively argues the legal precedents applicable in your case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: The helpful other perspective

Before going “whole-hog” with anything in life, the greater wisdom often confirms that we should try and obtain a differing perspective on the matter, if only to affirm the correctness of our own, or to consider the fissures and weaknesses we are blind to.  Wise people seek wisdom; fools travel down roads not merely untested, but even unprepared.  Such a tautology is a mere self-evident fact of life, but we nevertheless follow blindly where the blind leads.

If an individual discounts the criticisms of everyone else, then the wisdom one holds is merely the price of one’s own mistakes, and so long as others are not required to pay for them, the pathway to disaster can be easily paved without involving the toil and anguish of others.

One may query:  assuming it is wise to seek the input of another, how does one nevertheless know that such a differing viewpoint is “helpful” at all?  What if that other perspective is even worse of a disaster than my own?  Such a question, of course, is likely asked in a vacuum; for, there are varying indicators that one may discern in seeking advice from others –  reputation; demeanor; knowledge previously revealed; capacity to listen; established specialty in a particular field, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset –  the need to seek the helpful “other” perspective is often a necessary prerequisite.

Why?

Because, when a medical condition is impacting one’s health – whether singularly physical, or mental or a combination of both – the debilitated state that one experiences often provides a skewered perspective, and that is why garnering and employing the advice of an attorney who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often a necessary component of the process.

Yes, there may well be those rare “slam-dunk” cases, whether gathering and submitting the medical records alone will obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  But, then, everyone who files a Federal Disability Retirement application believes his or her submission to be just that –  undeniable, unequivocally established, and unassailably confirmed.

Why is that?

Because the person who experiences the medical condition is the same person who is preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application – and he or she who feels the pain, presupposes that everyone else must also be able to comprehend such a state of decline.  Unfortunately, this is not the case – at least, not from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is also another one of those “other” perspectives that must be contended with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Holiday Season

We are entering into that period of respite; of the contradictory clashes of duality in purpose, paradigms and expectations:  to “be happy” during a season where one is forced to conform to a standard no one quite remembers was ever met in the history of mankind; of rushing to “get everything done”, while supposedly being reflective, meditative and contemplative upon the season of new birth and magical fantasies; of responding to cheerful salutations contrary to one’s nature, reflex and possible genetic disposition so ingrained that the forced smiles hurt the resistant flesh around one’s mouth; and, all the while, to act “as if.”

“As if” the religiosity of the event still matters while we stand in line to follow the incessant promptings of the commercialization of that which we are admonished to recognize as a “sacred” time of sacraments and benedictions; “as if” kids can still believe in something when throughout the rest of the year the cynicism of hopeless trope pervades and dominates; and “as if” the heart is really where the mind should be, when rationality is overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil of one’s life experiences, the present hope gone and replaced by tomorrow’s sorrowful cries for yonder residue of ashen dust as the angels of lost years flew by in a whirlwind of timeless escape.

Yet, as we were once young and the trials of childhood memories forbade but a glint of hope, we remember trying to stay awake and listening, with but hopeful ears and fleeting dreams, of the footsteps of Santa upon the roof above, knowing that the tears suffered in years long gone could be embraced by a singular touch of a hopeful tomorrow.

The Holiday Season is upon us – with all of its inherent stresses, the clash of psychology between hope and expectations, and the further problems now upon those who actually believe that someone else’s Instagram truly represents the reality of life’s perfection, where there is none.  Yes, yes – everyone will be given that trope of wisdom:  Slow down and enjoy the season; it is not as important to receive, but to give; if everything doesn’t seem perfect, relax and enjoy the company surrounding; if you are getting too “stressed out”, then – what?

Often, it is actions beyond words which result in the first steps toward a “feeling” of accomplishing something, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to take the next step towards getting beyond the medical condition that has become chronic, and away from the constant harassment and condescending remarks about not “carrying your weight” at the workplace, 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 often the necessary first and next step in reaching a goal known but not yet materialized.

It is somewhat like the “Holiday Season” itself:  we are “supposed” to be cheerful, but what cheer can be found in rushing about to buy trinkets from sweat factories made in foreign lands?  The key is to find the quality of life in the small steps we take, and as with both the Holiday Season and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is those first and foremost necessary steps – baby-like though they may appear – that will result in the accomplishment of a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire