Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Witnessing the residue

Most of us merely witness the residue; the process itself, the events leading up to the conclusion, and “during” as opposed to the “after”, and all of the miniscule details that make up “in between” are invisible, ignored, unimportant or simply not thought of.  We see the “end product”, only, and that is how it should be.  We don’t have time to watch the apple tree grow from a seedling; for sausages to be made; for politics to be compromised; and for other people’s problems to fester.  And even if we did, what difference would it really make?

We assume much – that characters we see in movies made from “based on a true story” (whatever that means – and how much artistic liberty was taken with the details of such a “true story”, and what part is true and what is not?) productions went to the bathroom in between shooting at each other and becoming heroes; or that when children are seen, there was once love between the couple (although, that can turn out to be a wrong assumption where adoption or other arrangements have been made) even if the residue we witness shows only acrimony, bickering and constant arguing.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers preparing 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, “both sides” witness the residue – from the Federal Agency or Postal Service’s side, they witness the residue of a filing for a disability retirement, without knowing the long and arduous struggle that the employee had with the medical condition prior to coming to such a decision.  Or, for that matter, from the viewpoint of the supervisor or co-worker, such a decision may come as a complete surprise.

Conversely, from the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, witnessing the residue of the Federal Agency’s reaction or the co-workers and supervisors who make comments, or say anything at all, is often an interesting phenomenon for its complete lack of understanding or empathy.  They simply didn’t know, didn’t care or didn’t take the time (or all three) in showing any concern during the long struggle with the medical condition.

The key, however, in witnessing the residue, is with respect to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal Agency that reviews and makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications.  For OPM, it is important to formulate a concise narrative in answering the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  How much of the history; to what extent the minutiae and details of the past; and the precision of establishing the nexus between the medical condition and the job duties – these are all important in the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where witnessing the residue may be a void too important to neglect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Venting Venue

It is a necessary doorway (or so we are told) in order to attain sound psychological health; that, within the raging furnace of subsumed consciousness, of passions suppressed and grievances left unstated but yet seething beneath the subterranean caverns of unspecified aggregations of cumulative powder kegs confined by bloated egos, there remains a need for the fissure to emit the toxicities of life.  Or not.

The content of such emissions, of course, can never be challenged; it is only the context which should be questioned, in this age where subjectivity rules, the personal pronoun delegates, and the sacrosanct opinion of the “I” overcomes any Aristotelian residue of logical argumentation.  Venting is healthy (or so they say), and therapeutic, to boot.  And that which is both therapeutic and good, must by self-definition be unquestioned by any moral compass of historical certitude basked in tradition.

Thus, diatribes against parents are open game; vitriol against mothers, step-mothers, and especially mother in-laws are quite fashionable, and validated if spiced with an acerbic wit which only the unwitting can discern; and, certainly, the general population of parents, bad parents or parents who dared to restrict, set limits or otherwise constrained the alleged creativity of choice, lifestyle optioning and declarative innuendos of rejecting tradition and historicity of values, must be publicly flogged until the defamation of insensitivity is squeezed out of each, and where only the silence of conformity prevails, so that all traditions are banished into the timeless trashheaps of lost civilizations.

Perhaps it is good to vent; but when the “how”, the “where”, and the content-consciousness of “what” is left unconstrained, the issue is no longer whether, but if wisdom should properly channel it.  A stream flowing in front of a house, quietly lapping over the gentle smoothness of moss-covered rocks, may paint the picture of a serenity wrapped in the quietude of a morning mist; but when such waters turn into a raging turbulance and rise to levels which engulfs the rural solitude of a farmer’s self-sufficiency, the stream is then no longer the lifeline of gaiety and childhood warmth of memories unsheathed, but a warning that even the dreams of a butterfly can turn like a viper with fangs previously unseen.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need 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, the proper preparation of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application should never be used as the venting venue for one’s solace or therapeutic health.  That should be left for another day, a different doorway, and a separate pathway for healthy living.

It is, indeed, the things stated in that moment of anger, actions embraced in a fit of rage, or hurts flung as self-defeating propositions, which one comes to regret.  The Federal Disability Retirement application, by contrast, must be objective, thoughtful, forceful in its argumentation and legal methodology of analysis and evaluative content, and never to be deemed impotent as a result of a venting venue of unnecessary contextual lapses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Letting Go

Sometimes, it is the striving itself which has propelled the continuation of action without thought, constancy without interruption, deterioration without remedy, and life without living; and amidst the automatic pilot which has carried forth the daily treadmill of forward progression, one looks back and wonders, Where did the time go?  Where did the concept come from — of unmanned space flights, drones without onboard pilots and driverless cars?

Yet, we need only look at ourselves in the mirror, and realize that the reflection which looks back is merely an image which disappears when the eyes close, the lights are turned off, or we simply walk out from the room.  Who we are; the essence of our very make-up; the surface appearance which belies the core and centrality of the bundle which aggregates to define the whole; is it the effort, or merely the thrill of the trying, which compels the hunt?

Time passes, but we rarely notice; age comes upon us, and like that proverbial thief in the dead of night, the wrinkles form like caverns scraping at the earthen clay, forming ruts and ravages over evolutionary quietudes of moonlit shores.  We strive too hard.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to a point of recognition that all of the effort in the world will not save their jobs because of the medical condition which continues to deteriorate and impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of the positional duties empowered, the necessity and realization of 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, may come at different times, alternate phases, and indiscriminate moments when least expected.

Time can be a friend for medical conditions, but when the treadmill of striving takes us nowhere, the moment may have passed, and long since left us, beyond the period when we should have already filed.  Doctors have already spoken; friends have already warned; and family members have shared their concerns well beyond intrusion of courtesy.  Letting go of one’s past glories is often the hardest part of the process, but let go we must, and begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Early Medical Retirement: Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders; non-restorative sleep; Sleep Apnea; Sleep dysfunctions; altogether, they can cumulatively comprise distinguishable medical disorders, but often are lumped together, and can encapsulate differing and almost opposite conditions, including idiopathic hypersomnia, major hypersomnolence disorder, insomnia, narcolepsy, and similar medical disabilities.  Often, the effects and symptoms are the major issues, resulting in profound and intractable fatigue; inability to focus or concentrate; lack of mental acuity, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from various sleep disorders and varying severity of such sleep dysfunctions, the impact can be severe and palpable.  Whether in a sedentary, cognitive-intensive position where mental acuity and focus, concentration and attention to detail are impacted; or in “safety-related” work where reliance upon full awareness, wakefulness and perceptual judgment of one’s surroundings are critical; sleep disorders can have a direct and negative impact upon the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the positional requirements.

Such sleep dysfunctions and sleep disorders are viable medical conditions which form a foundational basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In past ages, people used to merely associate and dismiss daytime somnolence as mere “laziness” and lack of willpower; fortunately, we now know better, and such knowledge is reflective of a small but incremental advancement in human progression, which is always an amazing feat in this cesspool of ignorance we deem as civilization.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Whispers of Time

Sometimes, in the deadened silence of night, thoughts beyond our daily routine creep into the shadows of the subconscious; or, in the quietude of rustling leaves, a harkening which is lost but for the whispers of time.

Is it true that there are signs, voices, foreboding elements around which warn of impending events beyond the pragmatism of our technologically-driven society?  Did epochs of yore possess knowledge beyond what we discover on Google?  Put that way, the simple answer is, “yes”; but if characterized as engaging old spirits through acts of necromancy and boiling bones, hairs and organs in a cauldron of witch’s brew, then our doubts begin to ponder.  Is there a “middle ground” — of recognizing that animals have an innate sense of danger which we have lost, or where the scent of impending prey pervades, which we once may have possessed a heightened alarm for, but which society has stamped out through the callous indifference of civilized comportment?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who wait for finality of judgment prior to beginning the process of 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, it may be that the Federal or Postal employee shuns and casts aside that quiet “inner voice” which tells one, “This cannot go on.”

We tend to do that.  Man has an unlimited and vast capacity for self-justification and rationalization, often to the detriment of self.  And that quiet voice of foreboding need not be something mysterious or even sinister in timeless sorcery; it could merely be our bodies telling us that, whatever hope our treatment modalities may be holding out for, the inconsistency between the medical condition and the positional duties required by the Federal or Postal job can no longer be maintained.

Truth is always magical, if not bluntly pragmatic; and while the days of magic have been lost when once the whispers of time succumbed to man’s landing on the moon, where romances and imagines faces converted to mere dust in the dustbin of history, there still remains room for the person who stops, listens, and pauses, if not for the oncoming train warning of impending catastrophe, then at least for the quiet warning signs that continuing in the same vein may not be the wisest of paths to take.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire