FERS Medical Retirement: Judgment and Discretion

In many ways, the two are inseparable; for, to make good judgments is to necessarily have the proper discretionary approach, and to possess the quality of discretion is the foundation for making good judgments.  It is discretion which allows for good judgment; good judgment that is dependent upon discretion.  To lack discretion, however, does not mean that one will necessarily make a bad judgment; but then, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is “right” twice in a 24 hour period.

The judgement to prepare and formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, should be based upon sound discretion in determining the available resources: Is there supportive medical documentation? Is the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service initiating proceedings to make staying in one’s job untenable? Has one’s medical condition come to a point where the Federal or Postal employee can no longer continue in one’s position?

These and many more questions are often at the heart of considerations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and consulting with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often the first test in determining whether one possesses the judgment and discretion to proceed on a path which will lead to a successful outcome.

For, in the end, judgment and discretion is just as much about understanding one’s limitations in knowing about something, as it is about knowing enough about something to have the judgment and discretion to seek good counsel and advice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Loneliness in a Crowd

Do we all share that experience?  Or, do some never sense the isolation felt, the separation determined, the detachment embraced; but instead, always the smiling center where the crowd is but an extension of one’s body and soul?

A crowd, of course, can be an organic mass of an aggregate whole that, because it is a herd of humanity, can never embrace the individual; and as the individual stands within the continuum of others similarly situated, so the uniqueness of each is lost within the greater whole.

Human emotions, however, are possessed by the independent “I” of each person, and the insularity of those emotions within the inner soul of each body conceals itself except when expressed through words, deeds and facial or other characteristics that betray the anonymity of the crowd.  A teardrop here, a smile over there; a forlorn look of regret by a furrowed eyebrow or the curling frown around lips that purse; and words, of course, that are expressed.

Does tone matter?  Can a person express an emotion in an emotionless manner, and still be sincere in the very expression of that emotion?  Similarly, can a person stand within the mass of a crowd and yet declare loneliness, and be believed?  And of how we treat one another as human beings — or as mere objects that respond without regard to the validity of the subjective “I”.

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 sense of loneliness in a crowd is palpable precisely because, although still with the Federal Agency or the Postal unit, one is treated as an outsider, a person separate and apart and no longer “one of us”; and when that sense of loneliness in a crowd triggers hostility and adversity, it becomes apparent and self-evident that separation must follow — by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Otherwise, the loneliness in a crowd may ultimately lead to detachment from the crowd, involuntarily, by a termination of one’s Federal Service, on their terms and not on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Higher and lesser standards

Does anyone ever go into something, engage an activity, begin a project or initiate a hobby thinking that a “lesser standard” would be acceptable?  Or, is the “higher standard” always the option preferred? — and if we fall somewhat short of the goal intended, isn’t it better to strive towards that height of vaunted “unreachable-ness” like the lesser angels who try and climb up the ladder to heaven but fall short because of the misgivings of sins committed or blemishes of imperfections left unchanged?

One can always argue, of course, that all standards are somewhat “arbitrary”, and perhaps they are to the extent that we can always “do better”, and the self-satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of any standard set is merely to realize that there can always be another step to take, a further goalpost to conquer, and a next and higher challenge to face.  To begin with a lesser standard is to foretell defeat before a journey is begun; whereas, to demand an unreachable standard is to despair of an idealism that cannot be fathomed.  What, then, is the “proper” standard to set?

To set it too low is to achieve mere mediocrity; to preface a too-high-a-standard is to defeat one’s advocacy before efficacy can be tested.

We, none of us, want to begin a journey with a defeatist mentality, and it is the setting of a standard — however low or high — that often determines the success or failure of any endeavor.  It is only when we “know” that a self-set standard will never be reached, cannot be attained and will never be near to the heart of our wishes and desires, that then we realize the utter futility of our own efforts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have set a high standard in their careers and employment goals, it is a difficult road to take, both mentally and/or physically, to realize and come to the conclusion that one’s professional standards can no longer be met because of a medical condition that impedes, precludes and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

No one ever sets out to reduce the standards of a life’s goal, but when outside forces such as a medical condition impact upon the standards set, the choice is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Federal and Postal employees have always set high standards for their work ethic. Sometimes, however, it is not the higher standard that defeats, but the lesser standards of reality — such as a medical condition that comes about unexpectedly in life — that forces the necessary adjustments that remind us of our own mortality, imperfections and the gap between the higher standards we set and the truth of our own misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Terms

Language is a malleable vehicle.  There have been times in the history of language, when the staid and stodginess period of loss of vibrancy became the rule, followed by epochs of radical vicissitudes, upheavals and counter-conventional revolutions in the medium of language games.  Whether this encapsulated slice of linguistic alteration, upending traditional forms of communication because of electronic media and the hype of language abbreviated by Twitter, Texting and Tablet Titillations, will last the short life of technological innovation and obsolescence, is yet to be determined.

For example, the time of Shakespeare’s linguistic explosion of experimentation and expansive usage became in retrospect a richness of entering into connotative language meanings from which we benefit to this day.  But steadiness, continuity and conditions of stability are also important in order to take the proverbial breather to accept, embrace and assimilate (a term widely used for contextual purposes in modernity applied to immigration reform, as well) the linguistic revolutions that become incommensurate with meaning, communication and conveyance of terms.

Terms are important, both in common usage and in technical application.  In the arena of Federal Disability Retirement Law, different words are splayed about, sometimes without regard to proper application, especially when the “law” often requires a greater attention to precision of meaning.  Some simple and common crossovers of linguistic confusion involve:  “medical retirement” and “disability retirement” – do they mean the same thing?

If reference to either term involves the submission for an early retirement to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the answer is “yes”, they do mean the same thing.  Federal Disability  Retirement is identical to “Federal medical retirement” if by such words the query is referring to filing for an early retirement based upon the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, and therefore the intention is to access an early annuity because of one’s early retirement based upon the medical condition, and submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Some other terms often confused or conflated:  “On-the-job injury” or “pre-existing condition”; these terms are often used in the language-arena of Worker’s Compensation issues, and rarely have any import – or applicability, at all – in the context of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it matters not whether or not one has been disabled “on the job” or away at a skiing accident; instead, what is important is the impact of the injury or disease upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  As for a “pre-existing” condition – that, too, is more likely appropriately defined in an OWCP context, and rarely in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In any event, “terms” are meant to be used within a context-appropriate content of filings, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to clarify and conform to the applicable statutory mandates in defining and using the terms which are most appropriate and effective.

For, in the end, the explosion of language during the era of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age reverberates with critical linguistic richness to this day; yet, if we were to have a conversation with a bloke from that era, the terms employed would not only confuse us, but confound us with a profound sense of despairing lack of cogency despite our self-aggrandizing declarations of superiority and advancement in the modern parlance of greater self-esteem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire