Federal Disability Retirement: Keeping it together

Living in modernity is a complex juggling act that never ends.  Simplicity recollected in former times often harken towards an idealization that perhaps never existed, where toil, labor and survival were a coalescence of a person’s life, and meaning was never divorced from what one was engaged in, the acts of striving, the struggle to earn a living.

Modernity magnifies Marx’s observation that human discontent is a result of separating man’s labor from the self-esteem of accomplishment, where the factory worker sees merely a microcosm of monotony but never possesses the self-satisfaction of any meaningful end to the assembly-line of life.

Instead, today we are a fractured sort, running like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off (and we don’t even quite understand what that means, anymore, as no one lives on a farm to understand that when a predatory owl comes swooshing down and severs the upper portion of a cock-a-doodling bird, the feet continue to pedal forward even after the headless horseman is taken away), awakening, rushing, being dazed and in a trance to view the multiple screens of a Smartphone, the laptop, the desktop and being directed by electronic voices of commandeering vehicles, parking barometers and driverless vehicles to merely observe as bystanders in a world gone mad.

Credit crunch, debt overload, children brought into the world without direction or means, and droughts, famine and wars and rumors of wars beyond; it is a burden just to try keeping it together, these days.

Promises have been made for decades plus of technology granting a reprieve both in time, effort and human toil, and the time for leisure which the totalitarianism of oppressive modernization has detailed has somehow never come to fruition.  Work, and more work; overtime; the juggling of family time, work, filial commitments and more work; and we can “have it all”, or so they keep telling us.

Email was supposed to undercut the need for the snail’s pace of the Postal Service, but now we are bombarded with an exponential quantification of that which we used to open with a mail opener, inserting carefully into the edge of the fold and slicing gently so as not to spoil the contents within; and somehow that very act of ancient and tactile connection between the eye, the hands, the metal implement and the organic material of an unopened letter gave it a personal bond of sorts, even in a mechanized office setting.  Today, it is merely one more click of a computer button to open up the electronic mail.

“Keeping it all together” – is it possible, anymore?

Then, when you consider an unwanted intruder – a medical condition both unexpected and unforeseen – is it any wonder that things quickly fall apart.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find it difficult to continue in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career, when the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, it may well be time to recognize that the fundamental basis of keeping it all together rests upon the ability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Reconsideration Stage

Much time is often wasted upon rebutting incoherent arguments.  Such a statement is true in a great many sectors of life, as well as with an initial denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The first reaction in response to an Initial Denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to panic and become disheartened:  The Federal Disability Retirement applicant has waited many, many months, just to get to this point of being denied an application which was thought to clearly meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, and perhaps the medical narratives and treatment records clearly and unequivocally established the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

What could have gone wrong?  What was deficient?  What unanticipated mistakes were made?

To top it all off, a quick perusal of the denial letter makes it appear as if the application never had a leg to stand on –  seemingly contradictory statements extrapolated; selective quotes from doctors, supervisors, etc., that tend to undermine the proof needed; deficient documentation and multiple garbled references to the “Disability Retirement Law” that has simply not been met.

How does one counter and rebut such an overwhelming denial of one’s carefully gathered and constructed information?

There is the “proper” and “effective” way, but one’s initial inclination in reactive form is normally not the way to go about it.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds himself/herself in such a situation – of facing an initial denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will often want to just “give up” and try to endure the pain, anguish and cognitive deterioration by going back to work (if that is even possible and the Federal or Postal employee has not yet been separated from service), or just simply walk away from one’s well-deserved Federal Pension and early Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and forego the benefits earned and vested.

Of course, that is precisely the thought-process that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants you to embrace.

It is often stated (erroneously) that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an “adversarial” process – and that OPM is not there to “fight you”, but rather, to ensure that all Federal Disability Retirement applications fulfill the requirements of the law.

If that were truly the case, then why does an OPM denial point out only the deficiencies, and never the positive aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Why do OPM denials always present themselves as overwhelmingly unqualified and argued as if there is absolutely no basis or chance of an approval?

Precisely – because, despite stating otherwise, the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is just that:  an adversarial process which requires an advocate to fight for your rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Holiday Season

We are entering into that period of respite; of the contradictory clashes of duality in purpose, paradigms and expectations:  to “be happy” during a season where one is forced to conform to a standard no one quite remembers was ever met in the history of mankind; of rushing to “get everything done”, while supposedly being reflective, meditative and contemplative upon the season of new birth and magical fantasies; of responding to cheerful salutations contrary to one’s nature, reflex and possible genetic disposition so ingrained that the forced smiles hurt the resistant flesh around one’s mouth; and, all the while, to act “as if.”

“As if” the religiosity of the event still matters while we stand in line to follow the incessant promptings of the commercialization of that which we are admonished to recognize as a “sacred” time of sacraments and benedictions; “as if” kids can still believe in something when throughout the rest of the year the cynicism of hopeless trope pervades and dominates; and “as if” the heart is really where the mind should be, when rationality is overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil of one’s life experiences, the present hope gone and replaced by tomorrow’s sorrowful cries for yonder residue of ashen dust as the angels of lost years flew by in a whirlwind of timeless escape.

Yet, as we were once young and the trials of childhood memories forbade but a glint of hope, we remember trying to stay awake and listening, with but hopeful ears and fleeting dreams, of the footsteps of Santa upon the roof above, knowing that the tears suffered in years long gone could be embraced by a singular touch of a hopeful tomorrow.

The Holiday Season is upon us – with all of its inherent stresses, the clash of psychology between hope and expectations, and the further problems now upon those who actually believe that someone else’s Instagram truly represents the reality of life’s perfection, where there is none.  Yes, yes – everyone will be given that trope of wisdom:  Slow down and enjoy the season; it is not as important to receive, but to give; if everything doesn’t seem perfect, relax and enjoy the company surrounding; if you are getting too “stressed out”, then – what?

Often, it is actions beyond words which result in the first steps toward a “feeling” of accomplishing something, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to take the next step towards getting beyond the medical condition that has become chronic, and away from the constant harassment and condescending remarks about not “carrying your weight” at the workplace, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary first and next step in reaching a goal known but not yet materialized.

It is somewhat like the “Holiday Season” itself:  we are “supposed” to be cheerful, but what cheer can be found in rushing about to buy trinkets from sweat factories made in foreign lands?  The key is to find the quality of life in the small steps we take, and as with both the Holiday Season and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is those first and foremost necessary steps – baby-like though they may appear – that will result in the accomplishment of a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Ruminations upon wrongs committed

Why is the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal Worker often accompanied by a history of discrimination, harassment and persistent wrongs committed?  Perhaps, because a person who files for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement is reflective of a general consensus of human nature itself:  the microcosm of a delimited universe does not subvert the greater truth of humanity as a whole.

Despite all of the legal protections accorded – of required attempts to “accommodate” the Federal or Postal employee in conjunction with anti-discrimination statutes affording protection to those with identified medical disabilities; and, further, with a concomitant greater “social awareness” of the unacceptability of certain attitudes and behavior towards individuals with medical conditions that restrict one’s capacity to maneuver through the public access and spaces of business and buildings – these should all combine to reduce the actionable allegations committed and the legal entanglements ensuing.

Moreover, there is often a parallelism between the extent, severity and chronicity of a medical condition, and the ruminations of the impacted individual upon wrongs committed, with a proportionality between the lengthy history of one’s debilitating medical condition and greater increase of harassment and intimidation by a Federal agency or U.S. Postal facility – leading to deeper resentment and high incidence of filing an EEO complaint or other legal tender.

But for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, the question that one must consider as to the interplay between wrongs committed and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is this:  To what extent will one impact the other, and will there by a negative interplay if both are concurrently pursued?  The answer is somewhat complex and complicated.

While most EEO cases that are filed concurrently with a Federal Disability Retirement application, or where there is some time-overlap between the two, there is little interplay or impact with respect to the Federal Disability Retirement side of things.  On the other hand, it is important that a Federal Disability Retirement application be prepared such that the essence of the Federal Disability Retirement case is reflective of the core duality of issues that comprises an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – that of the medical condition itself, and the impact of the medical condition upon the ability or inability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position – and not upon peripheral and ancillary issues that may be more relevant to a discrimination genre, such as “workplace harassment” or “retaliation”, etc.

In the end, to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is best to avoid any lengthy diatribes which reflect a greater consensus of a wider societal problem, and ruminations upon wrongs committed will not be helpful in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire