Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Absurdity with an explanation

According to Quine, the great mathematician and logician, that is the definition of a paradox.  It is an event or a concept that seems at first glance to be an impossibility, or a conundrum of some complexity, but can be explained to unfold the absurdity first displayed.  Thus — of the man who has walked the earth for decades but is technically only 9 years old, until one realizes that his birthday falls on the 29th of February, a date that appears only once every 4 years; this is a paradox, until the absurdity is explained and it suddenly makes sense.

Similarly, a medical condition is a paradox: It is an absurdity of sorts, especially when it hits a person in the prime of his or her life.  What possible explanation can be had?  Where is the “fairness” in it, and why do some people who eat all sorts of junk food for years on end never experience the calamity of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition?  Where is the “equal employment opportunity” of a devastating medical condition?

Where is the sense of “fair play” displayed when a medical condition pounces upon a Federal or Postal employee and suddenly no amount of past accomplishments make up for the sudden loss of productivity and need to use the accumulated sick leave, and even invoke FMLA rights in order to attend to one’s health?

For Federal and Postal employees 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 position, the paradox comes in the form of when to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is indeed an admission of a need for change; yet, paradoxically, change is precisely what your Federal Agency or the Postal Service does NOT want — they want you to continue as before the onset of your medical condition.

The absurdity resides in the lost sense of priorities: work, as opposed to one’s health; stresses that exacerbate, as opposed to relieving those elements that contribute to one’s deteriorating conditions.  The only explanation that makes sense is to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM in order to be able to focus upon one’s health.

That is the paradox, and the absurdity with an explanation for a Federal or Postal employee who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: House versus home

What is it about terms that possess those subtle distinctions that evoke emotions that can be differentiated between “objective” and “subjective”, or distant versus close, impersonal as opposed to affectionate?  Advertisers, of course, play upon such words, and pollsters apply research results as to the emotional input received by throwing in certain words, terms, concepts and voice inflections as opposed to others.

Thus, a “house” is some impersonal structure that may or may not be occupied; whereas, a “home” is where one’s memory resides, of warmth and gaiety, cookies fresh out of the oven and a swift kiss on the forehead when a boo-boo occurred that brought tears to the little child’s rosy cheeks.

“Friends” are reserved for the special smile that knows the secret; an “acquaintance” is still the arms-length feeling of perhaps, but not just yet and maybe; and the tear that is shed in the quietude of a theater’s relative darkness is the one that is let loose when amongst those who are close and secure; but the house that sits beyond can never be the home that warms one’s memories unless the childhood memory runs through the kitchen where aromas of love and cookies can embrace the hurts that were left behind long ago.

What words we use; the emotions which accompany the choice of our language games; and the vehicles of communication that leave hollow the empty vessels within out hearts; these are the breadcrumbs that fall to the wayside and leave us empty within the souls of our being.

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 positional duties, the feeling that one’s Agency or the Postal facility one works at has suddenly become a “house” versus a “home” is a natural one.

No longer are you the valued employee, but just “that one” who takes too much sick leave or LWOP; you are not the golden boy or girl who did a great job last year, but the one who is placing a burden on other workers because you have been absent; and while your performance reviews remain as they were, it is only because apathy continues to prevail, not because anyone has actually noticed how you are struggling despite your medical conditions.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, may be the only option left, in order to return to one’s home, as opposed to the house that is visited and has become empty of any feelings or fond memories of childhood dances through the empty halls of a soul that is left hollow by the cruelty of those about and around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Maintaining a schedule

We all abide by them, strive to meet them and toil to achieve them.  We claim that we control “it”, but in fact, it often becomes the monster which completely constrains and restrains, overpowers and undermines.

Maintaining a schedule in life is important.  Some, because of unknown past issues or current difficulties, cannot stand by and allow for a violation of it; others, with more daring personalities and flighty egos, defy it deliberately and result in floundering about without a purposive intent or constructive content.  Maintaining a schedule is often essential to the daily lives of all; for those who have certain learning disabilities, it allows for a structuring of a universe which would otherwise appear chaotic and undisciplined; for others, the very structure imposed restricts the inner creativity of brilliance, and we are left with the genius who follows no man’s path.

Babies and children do well with it; the creative genius who is always distracted by the brilliance within his or her own subjective world, often cannot abide by it; but the rest of us follow a fairly monotonous routine and stick close to it, if only by excuses given of being “five minutes late” or the sorry excuse that the bedside alarm clock failed to rouse us.

Then, there are companies and agencies that seem to fall apart at the seams, where overwork, underpaid staffers and unreliable workers seem to disrupt that most important of schedules – meeting deadlines.  Then, there is the incongruence between one’s personal schedule and the schedule of another entity, and when the two fail to agree or work in consonance, then frustration begins to develop.  The tumult of frustration is often based upon the chasm that occurs between what one expects and the reality which unfolds.  Closing that “gap” is the solution to one’s growing frustration in this world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to, are about to, or have already filed a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to containing one’s frustration over the time-period that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is taking, extending, violating and ignoring in performing their duties in approving or denying a Federal Disability Retirement application, is to recognize that their “schedule” is one of complete and utter power, and that the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant is in a position of complete powerlessness; and, on top of that, to maintain a schedule apart from what OPM does, while one waits for an outcome that is hoped to be favorable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement Benefits: Signs

It is the title of a song by a group called, “Five Man Electrical Band”, first released in 1970, then re-released in 1971, and the lyrics intelligently portray a world replete with warnings, admonitions, commands and curtailing threats, demanding of us a conduct of conformity otherwise ignored unless backed by such direct mandates.

Of course, there are the other, more subtle signs that we either ignore or otherwise dismiss because of the quiet manner of reproach initiated.  Those subtle signs as evidenced by facial expressions; of a look unexplainable but surely existent with consequential meaning; or premonitions of rougher surf and winds blowing, animals fleeing to the relative safe havens guided by instinctive alarm; and of the rush of adrenaline raising the tiny prickles upon out neck and backs, in dark corners of unlit areas when sounds so distant precede the visual image of oncoming danger.

Do we pick up on them, or go through life disregarding unless and until the reverberations of such deliberate ignorance shatters the calm and quietude of our joyful resolve to remain blind behind a security of negation?  Those trite statements of permeable permissibility:  “He was a nice, quiet man,” said the neighbor next door after the devastation left by the referent cause; “I never saw it coming,” hoarsely uttered by the hospitalized individual in the midst of destruction and debris-filled lands; “Who would have thought…”  And, indeed, in this universe where thinking is paramount, and observation of subtleties a requirement for survival, it is that which we ignore that can harm and injure.

There are those in life who float through and must be protected by means of oversight and constant care; some drivers on the road (or, perhaps, most of them) have no business carrying a license; it is only because others avoid and careen away that survival without a dent, a bruise or a catastrophic collision carries forth an undisturbed pathway from point A to the destination of choice.  And so we have new signs to consider:  It is now unlawful to text or otherwise use a Smartphone in hand, while others who drive with one hand stuffing a cheeseburger in one’s mouth while drinking a coke with the other, and with that invisible third hand pushing buttons on the panel to change satellite stations – somehow, that is safer because the signs tell us so, or at least implicitly inform as to the priority of current concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are surrounded by signs – both subtle and direct – that it is time to move on, ignoring them will not make the underlying, substantive problems dissipate.  Having a medical condition is the first sign, but one which may have no significant impact; but when that medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, then such an indicia of life’s intersecting whisper should, at a minimum, be elevated to a “warning”.

And when the signs flashing from the Agency’s perspective – of warnings, threats, harassing actions and administrative sanctions – begin to blare loudly as more than just a passing blur of the speed limit which we all tend to ignore, but instead becomes planted prominently for you and all to see, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the signs indicated don’t result in those flashing lights in the review mirror forcing us to stop and be hauled before a magistrate to explain those actions of ignoring such signs which we knew, or should have known, needed to be followed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Loss of that subtle distinction — fun versus training

Reading older works of literature is a lesson in historical perspective; times were different, and not just slightly, but by leaps and bounds.  The linear nature of lives results in the incremental adaptation by evolutionary subtlety; that was precisely Darwin’s argument — that the metamorphosis reacting to physiological necessity in order to allow for the propagation of any given species, occurs not by genetic alterations involving sudden and drastic earthquakes, but by slow, almost undetectable nuances of change.

That is why there is no “missing link” to discover in the fossils of unrecorded history; the preservation of ancestry occurs by revealing closeness to modern kin, and the farther in time we discover, the greater the alienation of apparent relationship. Rarely does an anomaly of nature survive, for such mistakes test the forces of survivability; mutants are thus fodder for science fiction and stories about lost civilizations and catastrophic survivors of devastated ambience.  Dystopia is popular, as are zombies and mutants, but hardly reflect a reality generating scientific certainty or a foundation to base genetic discoveries for curing medical mysteries.

The aged who complain distressingly of “them good ol’ days”, have the ability and capacity to recognize the stark contrast between the ills of modernity and of the segmentation of remembrances decades ago; the comparison is not between today, yesterday, or even the day before; rather, it is by erasure of multiple middle years that we can realize the drastic alterations heaped upon us.

Thus, the slow boiling of a frog is the metaphor we can relate to; or, in literature depicting an age of innocence, where children played merely for fun, and not for training to be the next great olympian.  No longer can “playing” be for mere amusement and leisure; any and all activity must be measured as against future utility, and recruiters now roam the hallways and gyms — not of colleges or high schools, as one might expect, but — of middle schools and promising elementary classes.  There is, indeed, something drastically different between modernity and that “time before”, when “fun” is no longer allowed or allowable, and childhood, innocence and carefree disregard of world events must be a means to an end, and never a gemstone retaining value in its own right.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires consideration for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time of innocence past is like a distant memory difficult to hold onto, but ever often hard to forget.  The days of fun, like lazy summer afternoons spent on elbows supporting nodding chins and flushed cheeks full of promise, are long gone, like distant memories forgotten but for moments of reminiscences over barbecue grills and family get-togethers.  Life is tough being a grown up.

For Federal and Postal employees who must, in addition to the obstacles and pitfalls of daily living and career choices, contend with medical conditions and agency harassment, Postal disciplinary actions and other unwelcoming overtures, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best choice and option of promising resort.

Staying put, is no longer possible; simply walking away, is a fool’s act.  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is the wisest road to a tomorrow which promises a different phase.  These are no longer days of fun, and the training we received is to be applied by revealing growth, maturity and wisdom through our actions of pragmatic fortitude.  And like the crystal ball which children use as marbles in play, looking into one as a device for future insight spoils the fun of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire