Federal Disability Retirement: The Problem with Familiarity

“Familiarity breeds contempt” — was the unspoken rule within the military class which built a wall between officers and enlisted, supervisors and subordinates, bosses and workers, etc.  Why is that?  Is it because, beneath the veneer of superiority, we all know that we’re no better than others, and once the imperfections cleverly concealed are unraveled for others to witness, the scoffing laughter and the smirking undertone will openly splatter with a defiance of disdain?

Familiarity, over time, likewise brings us to take things for granted — of the monotony of everyday rhythms, that what we experienced yesterday will similarly occur today; that the sun will rise tomorrow with perhaps a cloudy interlude that hides the radiance of a clear sky for a brief respite, but knowing that regularity will return with a force of continuity.

What does it mean to “take X for granted”?  Whether of people, events, objects, pets or circumstances, it is how we approach things — whether with a freshness of purpose or an old rag of expectations.  What did we do differently “before’ the problem of familiarity?  Did we bring flowers every day to win the heart of a loved one — only to later expect that, well, since the heart has already been won, why waste the money upon such frivolities?  Does familiarity lessen the fervency of love, or does “commitment” undermine the urgency of conquest?

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, the problem with familiarity is that the basis of constancy breeds not contempt, but comfort.  It is “comfortable” to stay where you are — despite the harassment, the adversity and the problems inherent in remaining; nevertheless, that which is “known” is preferable to the unknown.

Becoming a Federal Disability Annuitant may be a scary thought, but a necessary next step.  Taking that first step is to break away from familiarity, and that is where the problem lies — of stepping into the abyss of the unknown.  To smooth the pathway away from the road of familiarity, think of Robert Frost’s poem and consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  It might make all the difference in your life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Dismal

At the outset, you realize that something is wrong with the caption.  Not being a noun, the space following demands the question, “The dismal what?”  Adjectives require it; we all learned about them in grade school (if that is even taught, anymore) about grammar, and how they “modify” the noun.  It cannot stand alone.  It is a peculiar adjective, isn’t it?  It is one that cannot modify a noun except in a negative way.

Others can be modifiers but can themselves become altered by the mere fact of relational influence.  For example, one may refer to the “beautiful ugliness” of a landscape, and understand by it that the contrast between the two modifies one another.  But with the adjective “dismal’, it seems never to work. Whatever noun it stands beside; whatever word that it is meant to modify; in whichever grammatical form or content — it stands alone is a haunting sense of the dismal — of down, depressed and disturbed.

It is like the medical condition that attaches and refuses to separate; of an embrace that will not let go, a hug that cannot be unraveled; and a sense that cannot be shaken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the adjective of “dismal” often precedes the realization that one’s career must be modified in order to attend to one’s medical condition.  Work takes up a tremendous amount of one’s time, energy and strength of daily endurance, and obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity is often required just so that one’s focus can be redirected in order to attend to one’s health.

The process of preparing, formulating and filing, then waiting upon, a Federal Disability Retirement application is a daunting one, and you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the dismal turn into a morass of a bureaucratic nightmare which fails to modify the noun that all applicants yearn for: The approval.

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 Disability Retirement Law: The Steps to Take

Life is often overwhelming enough.  Then, when a medical condition make its initial entrance, remains for more than a fortnight and begins to impede, curtail and prevent one from doing the things one has taken for granted –  the problem becomes more than just a nuisance, but a magnification and exponential exaggeration beyond that which was a burden to begin with:  another problem adding to a host of problems.  In life, we often know what needs to be done, and sometimes even the “how” in going about solving problems.  But the capacity to prioritize and organize, to sort a jumble into a linear coherency, and to gather the necessary components into a cogent whole, is often the problem that prevents one from moving forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the condition (or multiple medical conditions) begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the normal sequence of events often take on the following incoherent pathway:  An inquiry is made with the Human Resource Department; two sets of Standard Forms are presented to the Federal or Postal employee (SF 3107 series; SF 3112 series); the Federal or Postal employee is told to read through them and “fill them out” and bring the entire sets back to the H.R. Office.  They will be there “to help”.

When such a development occurs, 2 issues immediately come to one’s attention, or should.  First, is there a sequence and methodology one should follow, that is better and more effective?  Second, if the Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted and denied at the initial stage of the process, will that same Human Resource Office or person be held accountable, and continue to “help” for the second and subsequent stages of the process?

The answer to the first question is an unequivocal “yes”; the answer to the second question is a bit more complex.  There are, indeed, many helpful H.R. offices and personnel.  The point of creating an H.R. Office is to guide, help and assist the employees of the agency or organization.  But filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is a different “animal” from most other processes.  Think about it; it is not like setting up an allotment from one’s pay, or changing the number of deductions for tax purposes.  No, it is a complex administrative process that, once out of the hands of the agency’s H.R. Office, is under the direct control of a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Further, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can become a contentious issue – once a denial is issued by OPM, and even a second denial at the Reconsideration Stage, then an appeal will need to be filed with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board within 30 days.  Then what?  Will the Human Resource Office that was so helpful, represent you there?

Every future holds a pathway for successful maneuvering, and yes, there are sequential steps to take in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  For that, a knowledgeable lawyer who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement law can be helpful in guiding the Federal or Postal employee onto that pathway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The timeworn tale

Are there such things, or just the boorish attitudes of impatient whims?  Are adages, quips and kernels of wisdom never perceived by eyes afresh, or do tales told ever-incessantly by husbands through the course of lasting marriages, or by grandpa at each visit to the chloroform-smelling nursing homes where coughs and sputtering are interrupted by stories regurgitated between gasps filled with oxygenated rasping, merely bore us all?  Of timeworn tales – where do they come from?  When do they end?

Is there a garbage heap of stories no longer told that old men and silent women visit, and leave behind the narratives no one wants to listen to, anymore?  Is it that we no longer have the time, nor the patience, to act “as if” for the benefit of old geezers and pitiable wheezers and instead, rudely interrupt when the tale begins, by saying, “Now, now, you’ve already told that one – many times”?

Yet, a perkiness of interest, a raised eyebrow, and a playful wink to the relative across the table; and the kindness shown to the children at the table, despite the 50th or 100th time told, that we could spend the time together, take the same monotony of predictability, but turn it into an occasion of joy “just because” – just because the person telling it is worthy, and we show how much we value life’s dignity above time “wasted” by the effort we invest upon the individuals we claim to care for.

We have no time for pity; no energy left for patience; and certainly, no stamina remaining for moments beyond our pleasurable self-fulfilling wants and desires.  That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee prepares one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, with the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, along with the evidence of supportive records and medical narratives, there is no hush of anticipation by Agency supervisors, managers or coworkers.  Yours is merely another timeworn tale that they want to quickly bypass.

But the point, of course, is to get the “Administrative Specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the agency that makes all decisions on a Federal Disability Retirement application – to see beyond that timeworn tale of one’s medical condition, disability, and inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For, that Administrative Specialist is the “hard one” to persuade – having read thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of such timeworn tales.  It is thus the job of an attorney who has done this many times, who possesses the power of words in the narration of a compelling tale, that often makes the subtle but necessary difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The dynamic duo and the perfect tandem

There are times when life “clicks”; the mistake is made to gaze at one’s navel at such times of apparent perfection, and to try and capture that something in a bottle and attempt a reenactment and regurgitation of that which works, when the reality is that it is merely a fortunate day to be experienced and enjoyed, like the perfect alignment of the planets in macrocosmic reflection upon a molecular structure of abiding mystery.

Batman and Robin represented the former; without words (except in comic-like expressions in the black-and-white version of the television series) and with the ability of almost telepathic-like eeriness, the dynamic duo could battle the forces of evil and protect the unfortunate city of Gotham with nary a wink, a word or a nod.

As for the latter, the team of coordinated bicyclists or the almost mechanized capacity of the coxed eight displaying the repetition of the anatomy of rowing that is all-important for consistency in order to gain the maximum leverage from each rower, as the “catch” and the “extraction” are engaged in a constancy of monotonous display in ballet-like fluidity.

The perfect tandem is a rare achievement; like the Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, we can only strive towards that perfection, without ever touching and glancing it.  Can it be reenacted and repeated by sheer will?  That would presume much – as if the arrogance of our own self-knowledge could replace the ignorance displayed in our everyday lives.  But as life does not come with a recipe to follow, that dynamism in duality and the penultimate construct of fluid coordination cannot be reconstructed, if merely because we never own the fullness of knowledge that Being never completely reveals.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the “dynamic duo” and the “perfect tandem” was often the coordination of one’s career and the accolades received in the very competence of work.  Work balanced one’s personal life in allowing for a sense of achievement to be had; and one’s personal life was enriched in the very mission being accomplished.

Then, along comes a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself became the interruptive and disruptive force; and, suddenly, the dynamic duo and the perfect tandem no long was, or is – depending upon what the meaning of “is” is (sorry, could not refrain from the obvious reference).  When that dynamic duo is fractured, or the perfect tandem disrupted, it is time to rethink a different paradigmatic foundation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is just such a remedy.  For, once the dynamism of duality is severed, or the perfections of a tandem diminished, it is a loss which can rarely be recapture, and thus it is the perfect time and place in one’s life to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed (ultimately) with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire