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

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Preparing properly for each stage

We often hear (and perhaps secretly scoff at?) the modern verbiage of a “Holistic” approach, where the missing consonant makes all the difference – as in the non-word, “Whole-istic”.  It is the approach often ignored and replaced by its cousin – of looking at each stage of every unit in and of itself without taking into account the entirety of the process of an administrative procedure.

For Federal Disability Retirement purposes, that is entirely and wholly a wrong approach.  No unit or stage is an island, entire of itself; every stage of the process is a piece of the whole, and we should never doubt for whom the bells of legal limitations toll; it tolls loudly for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – to misquote and paraphrase John Donne.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, the thought of having it denied at the Initial Stage of the process rarely – if ever – enters one’s mind.

Why?  A tentative answer must always include the following: A person who suffers from a medical condition, and feels the chronic, intractable pain, or the turmoil of psychiatric trauma with loss of mental acuity and cognitive dysfunctions, cannot fathom a bureaucracy denying that which would seem self-evident to the preparer of the Federal Disability Retirement application.

There would be, of course, other explanations just as viable and valid, and dependent upon each person’s individual circumstances.

A simpler explanation can also be posited, which would more closely follow the rule of Ockham’s Razor —  that in the rush to put together a Federal Disability Retirement application, anything but a focus upon the “First Stage” of the process is simply too complicated, and cannot be envisioned by an applicant who is mired in the complexities of just “living” – of trying to still work; of dealing with the medical conditions; of trying to gather all of the medical and other evidence required in putting forth an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Is this short-sighted?  Perhaps – but it is what is called “reality”.

It is only the Federal Disability Retirement lawyer – one who has “dealt” with hundreds, if not thousands, of cases of Federal Disability Retirement, who can preemptively prepare for stages beyond the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process.

In the end, preparing properly for each stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process means that you should lay the groundwork for the possibility of beyond – not much different than planning for tomorrow, for a year from now, or of taking into account the possibility that the entirety of the process includes multiple stages, and that is precisely the point:  Federal Disability Retirement is made up of multiple potential stages, and the proper preparation of each should always include a view which encompasses the next, and the one after that, and even perhaps the last of the multiple stages.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Knowing where to stop

In life, it is often just as important in knowing where one is going, as it is to recognizing where to stop.  We all know the individual with “a mission” – always self-confident, never tentative, and rarely pausing to catch one’s breath except to regain one’s composure before blindly forging ahead with uninterrupted fortitude and resolve.  Military men and women are like that; born leaders and megalomaniacs follow suit; and only the timid bear the brunt of being pushed aside and trampled upon.  Overreaching is a problem in a society that knows only excess and limitless pleasure.  In the midst of being human, we forget our own humanity.

In the history of Philosophy, Rationalism has been usurped by Idealism; the latter, superseded by the reality of human depravity, and science the victor in the tension between theology and pragmatism.  In the end, Darwinian declarations of equality among the species have come to prevail, and in the post-Existential era of seeking merely pleasure above purpose, and the more modern parlance of embracing the “Happiness Principle” – where one’s minute-by-second assessment of one’s emotional quotient has trumped obligation, duty, convention and rational essence of an Aristotelian definition of Man – we now have no boundaries, no social conventions of constraints, and so long as we can avoid violating the basic laws that govern our society, we can do what we want.

In such a state, society and civilization, how can we know where to stop?  If everything is okay to do, how do we determine that which may harm ourselves, or otherwise breach the boundaries of decency and what it means to be human?  If all species are of equal value, then what worth is there in having humanity?  How do we know where to stop?  This applies, as well, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Often not knowing all the current laws that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law, the initiating applicant will proceed forth and barrel ahead like Military men and women and born leaders, without first consulting a lawyer who is knowledgeable about OPM Disability Retirement Law.  For, never underestimate the underlying principles behind questions posed on a Federal Disability Retirement application – especially as it relates to one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s official position.

SF 3112A can be a landmine of sorts, and while it is well and good to proceed in a forthright and affirmative manner, it is equally as important in knowing where to stop, as it is in realizing the direction the Federal or Postal employee must go in order to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: That sigh of regret

It is released without consciousness of foresight, or random expectation of hope to come.  Often, merely an involuntary deviation from a carefully-guarded appearance, that sigh of regret escapes with a haunting echo of mirthless exhaustion.

Is there a time when past regrets catch up to present dismay, obfuscated by the loss of any future hope to reinvigorate?  What is regret but a deed left undone, a trepidation leading to inaction when flight of carefree abandonment embraced us for a moment, where craziness of freedom from the fetters of caution allowed one to pause and jump without fear of tomorrow?  And the sigh that follows, but a mere refrain denoting the commonality of experiences, withheld, where caution pulled us back because of pragmatic considerations we once beheld to be more important than the liberty of our means.

Rare are those lives whose self-assurance in the meandering days of feckless travels reveals not a morsel of remorse, but a fullness of memories neither unrestored by neglect nor needing any touch-up or photo-shopping imputation.  Some have warranted that to regret is to die a slow death, while others accept it as merely the general populace’s lot in life.

The sigh of regret is emitted during that lapse of unguarded exposure when vulnerability is allowed to reveal, where openness – whether because of insanity, inebriation or a raw moment of “being real” – stands in line behind the impenetrable fortress of layers carefully shielded in order to construct that wall of mystery.  But the other side of regret – like the turn of midnight as the clock strikes its 12th toll – is the knowledge that something else could have been, that better tomorrows might have been, and the “what ifs” of life keep coming back to haunt, each whisper followed by a louder intonation of incessant reminders.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who having that sensation – of a pause, a consideration or even an inkling – that it is time to begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, there are “better times” than others where timing in filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be weighed and balanced within the greater context of all other considerations.

What one does not want to happen, is to allow for a later event to emit that sigh of regret, which is what so many people, in so many circumstances, end up doing.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee has already let loose a sigh of regret, is the best pathway forward to ensure that – whatever accumulations of life’s regrets one may already hold within the bosom of one’s soul – future actions will fail to predict the sorrowful din of tomorrow’s hope for a better future, where that sigh of regret may be muffled because an act today was taken in light of yesterday’s remorse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Recognizing the best of times

Often, we mistake short-term travails with the chronic despair experienced by some.  In the midst of an experiential trauma, compounded by a lack of capacity to consider the limited perspective we find ourselves in, the enmeshment of the “now” without any insight for a better tomorrow, a future to behold nor a distance aglow with the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, inflames the inner Darwinian categories of instinctive responsiveness to merely survive.

In retrospect, one’s judgment on any particular day or time, or even of an event remembered, may be altered.  We may even point to that slice of life and state with aplomb, “It was actually the best of times.”  How often do we hear that when one harkens back to the starving days, when struggling was a daily commotion and worrying was but a common routine?

By contrast, such reverential references are rarely attributed to those periods where longevity of suffering cannot be measured, where the chronic nature of the pain cannot be determined, and where no promises can be made that tomorrow will be any better off, no matter what extent of effort is exerted, than the next day, or the day before, or the day after, or the time prior.  In such circumstances, change itself may be a necessary component in the search for a light of hope.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily struggle with fulfilling the positional requirements of one’s job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option available.

The concept itself – the “best of times” – is a relative one; we compare it to other memories where distance of time has not faded too radically a moment of the negative:  no (or lesser) pain; controlled depression; inability to remain sedentary for long; unable to bend, lift or reach repetitively; unable to engage in the physical requirements of the job; inability to have the requisite focus, concentration or work for any sustained period of time without the high distractibility of pain; these, and many more, constitute the foundational loss which may qualify the Federal or Postal employee to become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Perhaps, getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily mean that the best of times still lay before one; but surely, whatever the future beholds, the chronic nature of one’s medical condition, the unbearable burden of the daily toil just to make it to work, cannot by any manner of the definition, even imply that the “best of times” resides in the present circumstances of choice.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a choice of sorts; it is to recognize that there is, indeed, life after Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, and further, that recognizing the best of times involves movement forward and beyond, where the present circumstances of negative returns will likely never allow for a regeneration of that which keeps us stuck in the quicksand of daily toil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The limited reservoir

What if the reserve is limited, but we are never informed of it?  Perhaps the gods, fate or however the source of creation is defined, has placed a quota upon the extent of that which is expended, but we are never included in the corporate decision-making process – then, what?  Death, insanity or just plain debilitation and stoppage of activity; is that what we call “an unfortunate end”?

By “reservoir”, we normally mean that natural or artificial accumulation that is used for a specified purpose – the town’s water supply; a special cache of good wines; or perhaps, even that sixth player who is left sitting (a temporary “bench warmer” – though, perhaps in this climate of everyone being nice to each other, such terms are no longer considered appropriate) aside until a burst of fresh input is needed.

Concurrently, we expect that any depletion from the cistern is consistently replenished, except during periods of extreme droughts when we are forced to systematically make use of it with the justification that it is that for which we reserved it in the first place, and when times are better, we will take care in replacing that which seemed limitless just an eon ago.  And, why is it that when the main tank has been completely re-filled, we have a tendency towards excess and lavish spending, but when we hit the “reserve” indicator, suddenly we act with frugal caution and become responsible conservationist?

Is it because of our hereditary backgrounds as hunters and gatherers during a time of unknown and tenuous circumstances, when bodies hungrily stored fat in order to survive during those times of want and scarcity?

What if we are left with a limited number of words in life, and once expended, we become transformed into unnoticed mutes wandering across time, traversing the silence amidst others who have saved their reserve for future accessibility?

Life often “feels” like that – of having reached a point of depletion where the quota has been reached, the reservoir has been emptied, and the excess energy expired.

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 Federal or Postal position, it often seems as if the reservoir needed in order to reach that golden mark when retirement age and cumulative years of Federal Service coalesce to allow for passing across the proverbial “finish line”, has been too early depleted.

Unfortunately, medical conditions hasten the reservoir of time, energy, patience and capacity to withstand the daily toil of workplace stresses and employment concerns, and there is often a need to access an alternate source of supply.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for that; it is a means to recognizing that the reservoir is limited, and that the medical condition has reached a critical point where replenishment is no longer an option.  Yet, even after a Federal Disability Retirement is achieved, the Federal and Postal worker can go out into the private sector and remain productive, and under the law, is allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays, and still maintain employment and receive the annuity.

For, while the reservoir of one’s life and talents may indeed be limited, it is the limitation of self-imposed stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge that the medical condition has reached a critical point, that often defeats and depletes long before the fuel gauge indicates a warning light of that ever-blinking “danger” point.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The magical potion of impotence

It is the insertion of the preposition, or the omission thereof, which makes for the alteration of meaning and the subtlety of conceptual differentiation.  Note that it is the grammatical playground – “of” – as opposed to “for”; and that small distinction makes for a vast difference.  For, if the latter would replace the former, then it would mean a declaration of a solution to the age-old problem of what old age does to us, what loss of vigor for life, stamina in living, and deterioration of purpose makes of us.

Instead, because of that minor word, comprise of two letters – a consonant and a vowel – as opposed to the addition of another consonant, that identifies the problem, as opposed to proposing the solution.  For, if one were to insert the headline, “The magical potion for impotence”, and moreover, end it with an umph by inserting the punctuation of an exclamation point (“The magical potion for impotence!”), and even make the relevant preposition in bold (“The magical potion for impotence!”), it is a confirmation of a solution found, and not a problem identified.

Instead, we are left with less, abandoned by a twofer as opposed to a threesome; and by that mere omission of a singular consonant, the entire meaning of the declarative sentence is reduced to a core admission that not by a solution is the sentence offered, but by a mere confession of less and subtracted inferiority.  And, what is the “magical potion” of impotence?  What lack and lessening are we referring to, when by prepositional subtraction, we refer to the problem and not the solution?

It is (surprise) – words and language.  For, language is both magical, and a potion of sorts; it allows for communication, conveyance of meaning, and a solution to puzzles universally acknowledged.  It excites for the beauty of imagination, where one may observe a child lost in thoughts, in fantasies created by fairytales and worlds within the psyche of one’s soul, and delight in laughter, dream in aspirational hope, and become laughing mites in a greater world of sorrow and darkness.  It is through words, sentences and conceptual compounds that wars can be averted, disasters can be presciently subverted, and love can be expressed.

Concurrently, however, it is also the venue to an inability to accomplish – and that is where the magic itself, in potion-like medicinal dependence, can undermine the vigor of living.  It is when we depend upon words alone, and ignore the reality of the physical world around us, that it contravenes the very essence of life.  For, words alone, without necessary actions to follow, will often result in a weakened state of impotence.  It allows for a somnolence of seeming serenity, where we engulf ourselves in the security of words, more words, and greater soothing slumber of mere words.

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 Federal or Postal position, beware of the magical potion of impotence; for, one can remain in the wallowing slumber of words – words from doctors, sentences from Federal Agencies, threats from Supervisors and Managers – and never take the necessary next steps.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires that “next step” of “doing” – so that the magical potion of impotence can become transformed into the magical potion for impotence, and not remain the lesser, the subtracted, or the omitted consonant left behind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire