FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: A Lifetime

Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t it be?  Or, do we feel obligated to append a dependent clause, as in, “A lifetime of achievements,” “…of having accomplished X, Y and Z”, or even: “A Lifetime devoted to…”.  Must there always be the subsequent appendage, or isn’t living a lifetime enough in and of itself?

Was Aristotle right in depicting human beings (and everything else in the universe) as possessing a purposive reason for existence; or, as the French Existentialist had declared, does existence precede essence, and instead of being fated with a predetermined destiny and an inherent basis for being born, we can simply “make up” the reason for our essence and thrive in whichever direction we choose, in whatever endeavor we decide upon?

Is simply having a “lifetime” not enough?  Must we always have a reason and rationale for our existence?  Or, is it enough to have an ending, like Yasujiro Ozu’s tombstone which simply has the characters of “Mu” — “nothingness”?  Ozu certainly “accomplished” much; as a director, he is recognized for his quiet brilliance and insightful dialogues, as well as depicted scenes of serenity and human conflict.  In the end, it was merely a lifetime, and nothingness followed except in the minds of those whom he left behind.

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 his or her job, the “thing” that often compels the Federal or Postal worker into working beyond what the medical condition allows — i.e., of “working one’s self to death” — is a sense that having a lifetime is not quite enough.

There is the “mission” to accomplish, or the work that needs to be completed, etc.  But when it comes to the critical point of choosing between one’s health and such a perspective of accomplishments, there should be no indecision: Life itself is precious, and one’s health is the foundation for a life.

At that point, filing for FERS Disability Retirement makes sense, and consulting with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be the next step after realizing that a lifetime is, indeed, sufficient.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Treading Life

We don’t often think of it in those terms; but, in fact, that is how most of us live.  Like the meek swimmer who does not want to drown, we merely tread water — sometimes calmly, often with a sense of desperation; and too often, with a fear that results in a frenzied struggle.  We invent euphemisms for that: Keeping out “heads above water”; Not drowning; “Sink or swim”; “Like being on the Titanic”; and other similar statements emanating from water-based fears.

We tread life like we tread water; just to survive, never taking the chance to swim in this direction or that; and when finally fatigue sets in to remind us that going nowhere is tantamount to waiting to be drowned, we are so weary from so much time and effort to keep afloat that we can no longer muster the energy to even swim to the edge of the pool in order to hang on or lift ourselves out.  And when those unexpected tugs, tides and tidal waves suddenly appear, we thrash about and forget the basics of how to even float, allowing the vicissitudes of life’s mishaps to determine the course of our lives, the quality of how we live and the manner of who we are.

Medical conditions have a way of doing that — of making us forget how to even swim.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one of more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Treading Life is what we are often forced to do; drowning in life’s problems is what we are too often faced with; swimming with a purposeful destination is what we need to do —and that is the purpose of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Confronting Reality

When are the times we try and avoid it?  Is that the line between sanity and the “darker world”?  If we avoid it more than we embrace it, does it constitute a step beyond eccentricity and fall into the category of bizarre behavior?  If that were the case, how many of us would meet that definition?  Does engaging in entertainment — whether of the couch potato type or of the active one — constitute avoidance?

Say a person binge-watches a certain television series for 72-hours straight, then sleeps for another 72 hours; such a person has certainly “avoided” the reality of life’s responsibilities, duties, obligations, etc.  But would we deem such a person to be insane?  If he were a bachelor who has no commitments or responsibilities, and acted in such a manner during “vacation time” or during a period of unemployment, we would perhaps not give it a second thought.  But say the same person had a toddler whom he neglected for those 100-plus hours — then, of course, we would consider it as irresponsible behavior, if not criminal neglect.

“Confronting reality” is often deemed the antonym of “avoiding reality”; it is something we all do — both confronting and avoiding — and crosses the diving line between “responsible” and “irresponsible” behavior.  Of course, the latter is sometimes necessary in order to refresh one’s self in order to engage in the former, and so we embrace entertainment and leisure activities in order to adequately prepare ourselves to cross over from one to the other.

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 his or her position, confronting reality is often delayed in order to try and extend one’s career with the Federal government.  Often, early on in suffering from a medical condition, it becomes quite clear whether or not the Federal or Postal worker can continue in his or her chosen career.  This is the point where “confronting reality”, however, clashes with the desire to avoid it and to instead embrace the make-believe universe of “What ifs” — What if things improve?  What if the Agency or Postal Service is willing to be patient?  What if they can accommodate me?

Consult with an attorney experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for as difficult as it may be in confronting reality, it is the reality of the law that will help you avoid the pitfalls which you will surely want to avoid in the days to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Uncommon Step

Thinking” is an activity which is presumed to be common within our species, but uncommon among others.  Procreation and the mechanical aspects involved are considered “common” for all species, yet in each instance is generally considered to be unique and uncommon, which is perhaps why we seek privacy when engaging in such acts.

Similarly, other acts which are common enough — of using the bathroom, taking a bath, hugging a dog, brushing one’s teeth — all common enough, and yet somehow we prefer a semblance of cloaked seclusion instead of the open display like holiday window dressings to attract customers.  Does shame play a part in modernity, anymore?

Where movies once refused to reveal to the public the uncommon proclivities of everyday lives, they now saturate and justify the prurient as mere fetishes more common than acknowledged.  Is that why shame is no longer a characteristic of culture’s understudy?  Is the human blush extinct because the common that once was subsumed within the privacy of daily lives has become so uncommonly common such that we no longer need the privacy of cloaked seclusion in order to feel such common tinges of regret?  And what about that uncommon step of admitting to one’s self that the human condition requires something beyond the common course of action?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in one’s Federal or Postal job, taking the uncommon step of preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often likened to an admission that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Perhaps there is even a sense of “shame” or “remorse” — of how things might have been or wishful thoughts of regret.  Never let the uncommon step stop you from doing what is necessary; for, in the end, foolishness is the refusal to take the uncommon step when commonsense dictates that the uncommon step is the path towards a more common existence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Employees: Incompatibility

The proof that must be shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, is that the Federal or Postal worker has a deficiency with respect to performance, conduct or attendance, or in the absence of any actual service deficiency, a showing that the medical condition is incompatible with either useful service or retention in the position held.

In recent months, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has been ignoring the part about the “incompatibility” provision, and instead has been unfairly focusing upon whether or not a supervisor has deemed an individual’s past performance as having shown any deficiencies in performance, attendance or conduct.

The system of “performance reviews” favors passing most employees through without any deficiencies, and the reason for this is that it is often too much of a headache to give an employee a “less than fully successful” rating, lest there be grievances filed and appeals noted, creating a greater workload for the supervising authorities.

But even when there are noted and substantiated deficiencies in one’s performance, conduct or attendance, OPM will often dismiss such deficiencies as not being supported by the medical documentation, anyway, and so the basis for a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a compendium of circular arguments posited by OPM without any adherence to the law or acknowledgment of the facts.

More cases appear to be denied by OPM in recent months; ignoring the law and asserting unfounded reasons for such denials, and so it is important to fight against the trend that seems to be asserted by OPM: Ignoring well-established precedents in law and ignoring the facts by selectively extrapolating what OPM wants to focus upon.

If you have been denied, or want to put forth the best First-Stage OPM Disability Retirement application possible, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire