FERS Disability Retirement: The formulation

There is, first, the preparation; then, the formulation; and finally, the filing and the waiting.  Are the sequence of steps necessarily separate and identifiable — cleanly bifurcated such that there is no overlapping of concerns?  Of course not; but the three elements in a OPM Disability Retirement application are necessary for the successful outcome of the endeavor.

The “preparation” is often skipped in order to get to the “filling out the forms” portion, which is contained somewhere between the preparatory stage of the process, extends into the formative arena and comes to fruition just before filing, as the finishing touches are placed in refinement of the final product.

The analogies are numerous: of baking a cake — first, one must have a “recipe” (the preparatory stage of the process); then, in between the preparation and the formulation, one must gather all of the ingredients necessary to fulfill the recipe: i.e., the medical documentation; the legal citations to be applied; perhaps other ancillary supportive presentations; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and the multitude of other papers which will ultimately accompany the Federal Disability Retirement filing; then, the filing itself — of placing it into the oven and waiting while it bakes to final product.

It is, in many ways, the “formulation” part of it that fails the Federal employee or Postal worker putting together an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the rush to get it done is often comprised by a furious sense of desperation in gathering whatever medical records can be amassed in the shortest time possible; of quickly jotting down the things “wrong” with you on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and then quickly “shoving” it into the oven hoping that it will bake quickly and come out well.

Yet, while the “recipe” is important, and the filing is crucial, it is the “formulation”of the OPM Disability Retirement packet — of the putting together in a thoughtful and persuasive manner the legal memorandum which cites the case-law, argues the evidence and providers a “road-map” for OPM to approve one’s Federal Disability Retirement application — that is often overlooked and becomes the unintended nemesis for a successful outcome in a OPM Disability Retirement application.

In skipping over that part —the formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application — it is likened to that “uh-oh” moment when you realized that you had forgotten to put any butter, milk or other essential ingredients into the cake after you have already put it into the oven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Life Well-Reflected

Such a concept can have a duality of meanings; from an outsider-insider viewpoint, or an objective-subjective perspective; of a life that reflects positively to others, such that a community views an individual favorably; or, an alternative interpretation is of a person who has lived one’s life carefully, with planning and thoughtful care.  Most of us live, or try to live, in the former manner; some few, unique in its rarity of form, carefully and thoughtfully plan first, then set out to accomplish goals and objectives in accordance with those plans.

Life’s unexpected vicissitudes, however, come in waves of unexpected and unplanned consequences, and rare is the exception that can accommodate and assuage the tumults that demand and compel change and circumstances that obstruct or otherwise alter the course of any given day.  That is why even a well-reflected life, with the best intentions of traveling a straight line between Point A and Goal B, can rarely be accomplished without some modifications along the way.  Instead, the “other” meaning of the concept — of a person who lives in accordance with principles and integrity no matter the obstacles that come one’s way — is true of the greater percentage of most of us.

We go through life keeping our commitments, doing the best we can, honoring promises and treating others in a fair and respectful manner.  Then, in the end, when the old man is rocking in the proverbial chair of honor, a community can say of him or her that the individual reflects well upon all of us.  It is rare to have a well-reflected life based upon careful planning, precisely because life just doesn’t “work” that way.

Medical conditions constitute a prime example.  They suddenly appear, wreak havoc upon the best-laid plans, and proceed to persist in their vehemence of obstructing, diluting and impeding every effort to to get to that Goal B.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impedes or prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to adapt to the changes that impose upon a “well-reflected life”.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a negative reflection upon a life well-reflected; it is just another “bump in the road” that requires further thought and planning, and the first step in a well-reflected Federal Disability Retirement application is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Detectorists

For those of you who are fans of the British series, a sad wave of goodbyes ensued after the third and apparently final season that depicted intelligent humor, a subtle sense of British irony and a deep love for human relationships above material wealth.

Simplicity and the idealized community of pastoral lifestyles amidst the bustle of the world beyond allows for the story to capture the imagination of fans and viewers.  None of the characters in the series have much or anything in common with one another — whether in profession, personality or commonly-held beliefs — except for a love of a hobby that unites their differences and quirky individualism.

Many of the references contained within conversations must be Googled in order to attain a greater appreciation; the constant references to the musical interludes of Simon & Garfunkel are easily recognized by a generation of those who grew up with the music; and the deep historical references engendered by images of an ancient past creates a sense of mystery beyond minor relevance to the emptiness felt in the way we live today.

Who would have thought that there would be of much interest in a group of misfits scanning fallow farm fields for ancient traces of Norman or Celtic residue?  Gold and similar treasures are the unspoken goal of everyone, though such dreams of ancient discoveries remain deep within the consciousness of every such hobby-seeker; and like so many such series, there will be an abiding cult-following, for we always want more: 3 seasons of watching Andy and Lance banter among the grassy knolls of the English countryside just doesn’t seem enough, and the subtle British humor demands more despite the final episode that gave satisfaction to all treasure seekers — of riches literally falling down from the heavens.

What metaphorical lessons can be gleaned from two comics of such ordinary means — is it the pastoral background?  Of a simpler life offered?  Of human relationships that might otherwise have never been forged?  Or does it abide in the idea that the true treasures we seek are hidden just beneath the surface, where such places are stepped over each and every day without their due recognition?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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 “life-lessons” from the Detectorists might be that clinging to those things we consider “treasures” while one’s health deteriorates may be a wrongheaded approach; and while obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may not be the “answer” to all of the difficulties faced by the Federal or Postal employee struggling with a medical condition, it at least allows for the Federal or Postal employee — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — to focus one’s greater efforts upon regaining one’s health.

And like the detectorists who scan about for treasures beneath the surface, it may be that a more pastoral lifestyle without the stresses of the modern workplace may serve to bring about a healthier outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The View from the Balcony of One’s Soul

It can only be in metaphorical terms by which we express such sentiments; and some recent essays have contended that true comprehension within the context of any language game requires, by necessity and tautological argument, metaphors.

The concept of one’s “soul” itself may be entirely metaphorical — or a simile of sorts — and placed within the context of the physical terrain of a balcony, the combination of the immaterial with the material presents an image beyond mere fanciful flights of the imagination, but taxes the capacity of the human intellect to corners of comprehension stretched to its outer limits.  For, the balcony is that arena of observatory quietude from which the vantage point of reflection occurs; and the soul represents the essence of a person’s being.  Thus, for the soul (the core of one’s humanity) to view the objective world from a balcony (the vantage point of reflective quietude), is to present a moment of profound insight.  It is, indeed, for those rare moments which make life worthwhile.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, it is this loss of “balcony-perspective” which often compels one to act.  Or, conversely, there is sometimes a moment of such vantage-point realization, seen through the onerous veil of pain, stress, cognitive cloudiness or downtrodden days of breakdowns and distress depleted through progressive deterioration of mind, body, emotion and flat effect; in a moment of cohesive clarity, one can come to the recognition that life cannot be defined by work, and the worth of one’s humanity should not be determined by how much one can withstand the humiliation incurred by supervisors, managers, coworkers and hostile environments which refuse to let up or cease in their incessant poundings.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often only the first step towards recovery from a process which began years ago.  Some time ago — and time becomes a maze of forgotten refrains when one must contend on a daily basis with a medical condition which impacts one’s capacity to engage in gainful employment — there were moments when the view from one’s balcony provided that momentary quietude of reflection; and then the erasures of life began to rub away the humanity of one’s essence, to a point where one’s soul began to hurt, to suffer, and to sob in silent shudders of dry heaving for that loss of self.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the ultimate solution for every Federal and Postal employee, but it is often a start.  That start will, at a minimum, allow one to again view the world around us from the balcony of one’s soul, which is the true vantage point for all of us who still retain a semblance of humanity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Adrenal Fatigue

One need not be officially diagnosed with Addison’s Disease in order to incur the wrath and ravages of adrenal insufficiency.

Life’s multiplicity of compounding and complex stresses; exhaustion beyond merely feeling “run down” or otherwise out of synchronized balance from everyday feelings of adequacy; a sense of profound fatigue, where cognitive dysfunctions develop, and where symptoms of falling asleep at meetings, where the world appears at times to become a distant echo chamber and what others view as a normal pace appear in dizzying fashion of incomprehensible clatter of distractions; and where visual disturbances occur systematically as one attempts to view the computer screen and perform work which, in previous times, was merely mundane and monotonous, but now requires an effort beyond sheer force of will.

Does modernity and technological stress contribute to medical conditions which may have no name, and often defies pigeonholing because of the mysteries of the human body and psyche?  A broken arm is easy to identify, and normally just as correctable; a cervical or lumbar disc degeneration, perhaps a bit more complex, but often manageable; chronic pain, but for a parallelism between objective testing and pain points, sometimes an anomaly; psychiatric conditions, of greater mystery which has become too often a pharmacological corridor for treatment modalities; but where profound and intractable fatigue more often than not is beyond the capacity to be diagnosed.

However one characterizes it — of adrenal fatigue, insufficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other designations of type; it is ultimately the reality of the daily toil and turmoil with which the patient must contend.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience such a state of physical and psychiatric condition, 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 be the best and only alternative available.

In the end, adrenal fatigue may be more than an endocrine imbalance; there is often a complex component where multiple medical conditions ravage the body and mind, and as with so many issues in law and life, there is a vast chasm between having a medical condition, being properly treated for the condition, and proving one’s medical condition in law such that one can be found eligible for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Fatigue, whether of the adrenal kind or of resulting impact from a lifetime of stresses, is a basis for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; attending to the condition should always be the first order of business; proving it, the second and subsequent thereafter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The Novel Approach

The genre represents the highest form of literature.  Poetry possesses its eccentric beauty; the short story its ease of brevity for the reader to pick up and finish in convenience of time, and thus its popularity; the biography and the epistemologically privileged cousin, the autobiography, its authentic historicity; and others by design of self-promotion, as Truman Capote’s “non-fiction novel” (an oxymoron?).

But the novel is the king of prose; of a narrative form which allows for many rooms in an endless castle of hidden trap doors and secret galleys full of antiquities and doorways yet to be revealed.  Perhaps that is why, used as an adjective, it defines a uniqueness of approach, akin to the traditional use of the word as a noun representing the highest form of art.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, engaging in a “novel” idea may be the best and only option left.

Where the medical condition no longer allows for the continuation of one’s career, and yet the Federal or Postal employee believes that he or she can still remain productive in the employment arena, it is indeed a novel approach for a benefit to pay for one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and yet allow concurrently for the Federal or Postal employee to enter into the private sector, obtain a second vocation, and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering 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 is precisely that allowance of continuation of productivity which fairly recognizes that there is not necessary incompatibility between a medical condition and contribution of talents.

Like the novel genre and the novel idea, they both acknowledge the penultimate value of human creativity, and allow for the characters to develop in the unfolding saga of a story yet untold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire