Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The chaos of life

Of masochism, there are indeed some who purport to invite the chaos of life, and actually enjoy it, relish in it and thrive in it.  Its opposite is considered monotonous, lacking of artistic content and without the excitement of unpredictability.  Yet, even those who thrive within the chaos of life will often need that period of respite, whether with a quiet moment of reflection, a night of reading beside a crackling fire, or just dozing in front of the drone of a television.

EMT personnel often require such a personality trait; firemen, law enforcement officers, and nowadays, teachers, professors and other educators, if only because the chaos that unruly and undisciplined children, teenagers and young adults bring into the classroom.

Perhaps it was a childhood upbringing; it is often said by learned psychologists that battered people tend to themselves batter upon reaching maturity, because they find solace in the comfort of that which they are familiar, and so the behaviors they learned and were imprinted upon as a child are the very patterns that are comforting; and thus does the vicious cycle of life – such as the chaos of life – recur and regenerate, only to imprint the same cycle upon the next generation.

Those who sincerely crave the very opposite – of a regularity in monotony of patterns predictable in their characteristic of non-change – are often criticized for failing to be able to “deal” with the chaos of life, and so the argument goes that those who thrive upon the chaos of life are better prepared for the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings.

Medical conditions comprise a sort of chaos of life, but whether one is “well-prepared” for it or not, it is something that must be “dealt” with.  It is, in the end, doubtful whether a person’s life prior to the entrance and introduction of a medical condition can adequately prepare one to “deal with it”.

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 the Federal or Postal job, part of the process in dealing with such a chaos of life is to prepare 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.

In such a case, instead of dealing with the chaos of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application yourself, you may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in such legal matters.

In this vast universe that includes the encumbrances deemed the chaos of life, we must all make choices as to which portion of the chaos we want to personally handle; for, in the end, the chaos of life, how we handle it and what benefit accrues from it will all be determined by the outcome of the event – and for Federal and Postal employees, that outcome-based perspective is the resulting approval by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on a Federal Disability Retirement claim, where once the approval is obtained, the chaos of life may be turned into a respite of relief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Why we endure

Why, indeed?  We have all come to a point where we have just had it, and want to “chuck it all” in – into what, we often only have an obscure sense, or none at all, but it is the feeling of having reached a pinnacle of despair and those proverbial depths of despondency.  There is, fortunately or unfortunately, no hidden corner or secret room to which we can scurry away to, never to be seen again, remain unnoticed and left without the troubles of the day.

Why do we endure? Because others depend upon us; because to do otherwise would disappoint those we care for; by duty and obligations which compel our actions and form our thoughts; to avoid a sense of guilt; because life isn’t all those doldrums we sometimes complain of, but can sometimes have a spark of sunshine that makes it worthwhile; and for a host of multiple other reasons that we may not think of at this moment, but know to exist because we have continued to endure in the face of challenges and tumults of life that, for some, would constitute that breaking point, but for those still “in the race” and fighting “in the thick” of things (whatever those pithy and inane sayings of trite trollops really mean), we just continue to trudge along.

For some, perhaps the question of “why” never comes up – and like dullards who are happy to remain in the sullenness of life’s garbage pits, ignorant bliss is the best state to be in, while those who constantly complain about the minor irritants of life’s misgivings never stop to smell the roses along the way (there, we have managed to state the penultimate triteness of linguistic pithiness).

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who ask the same question in the face of medical conditions experienced and suffered, it takes on a new meaning when workplace harassment begins to intensify, especially because the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is there precisely in those circumstances such that the “why” is answered when a Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  It is precisely so that the Federal or Postal employee would not have to endure the pain, suffering or the cognitive decline in direct connection and nexus to the essential elements of a Federal or Postal employee’s official position in the Federal or Postal sector, that OPM Disability Retirement benefits are offered and able to be secured.

While filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a long and arduous bureaucratic process, nevertheless, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is that avenue and course of action that answers the very question we sometimes must ponder and posit: Why we endure?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: That Sudden Urgency

It happens all of the time in life; we leave things to fester, then suddenly the matter becomes important, then vital, creeps into a state of urgency, until it finally develops into a crisis.  The underlying impetus is based upon procrastination; the psychological explanation is deemed avoidance behavior, and the reality of experience merely recognizes it as the nature of human living.

We ask ourselves in wonderment, where did all of the intermediate phases dissipate to?  How did the incremental steps and half-steps in reaching this point of sudden urgency disappear unnoticed?  It is tantamount to children and puppies; that exuberance now gone, when yesterday they were seen with the innocence of youth and folly running through the field.  How does time suddenly evaporate and necessity emerge and develop into the here and now?  Is it mere hope of resolution, or laziness neglected upon a return of minimal investment?

Time was that once, in childhood years of visionary glories, we sought refuge in the calluses of existence where others took care and nurtured, and suddenly those “others” were no longer around, and growing up meant that responsibilities became our personal ownership, and we had to embrace those very things long neglected like faded photographs left discarded in the garden heaps of memories and fears, loathing and angst.

Medical conditions tend to be like that.  They are conditions of human existence which require attending to, and tending to like gardens left dying on vines of eternity; and suddenly it becomes clear that no one else really cares, but for self, family and the closest of friends.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered for many months, and perhaps years, because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there comes a day when the realization of reality suddenly comes upon us, and there is no more tomorrow, no room left for delay, and no time reserved for excuses.

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, is a long and arduous process involving multiple levels and stages of a bureaucratic morass, and it is this long and hard road of an administrative nightmare which must be dealt with when the sudden urgency of recognition and realization hits home.  And as home is where the heart and hearth are, so finding that restorative space of grace and fulfillment requires planning, deliberation, and a will to win, especially when dealing with a Federal agency such as OPM which views all medical conditions and Federal Disability Retirement applications with analytical suspicion.

Finding that it is suddenly necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits did not become an urgent state of being overnight; but through many nights and days of toil, it crept upon us like that unseen monster laying wait under the bed in the childhood fears of yesteryear, where protective mothers and fearless fathers long ago left for destinations still unknown, leaving the wide-eyed child of former days to fend for him or herself in this world of cavernous carnivores and restless winds of change.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: Identity Crisis

It is how we view ourselves as one entity among others; where the I-Thou relationship corresponds to the perspective we have of ourselves, of others, and within the micro and macro-communities we engage and with which we interact.  Who we are; how we see ourselves; what constitutes value and worth; whether productivity is defined merely by the volume of paperwork shuffled, or in the manufacturing of items shipped to far-off places; and the constancy of eyes which discern the essence of a person’s place in society.  One’s identity is intimately and intangibly intertwined with one’s job, profession and vocation of choice — or where one simply “fell into” the morass of growing from teenager to adulthood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s livelihood, the vocation one has aspired to for the past few years, decades, and throughout one’s lifetime; or for the Postal worker and Federal employee who have viewed the position as merely a “pass-through” job in order to obtain certain credentials and qualifying clearances; in either cases, when a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, there often erupts a crisis of identity, precisely because of the intimacy between one’s health and one’s capacity and ability to work.

The proverbial “identity crisis” occurs precisely because of the intersection between the tripartite conditions which society has placed with a burden of chaotic rationale:  Who we are; What we do; Our value tied to productivity and “doing”.  Where health begins to deteriorate, the ability and capacity to remain “productive” diminishes; regression of “doing” reduces one’s market value in a society which idolizes comparative worth; and as what we do becomes less valuable, who we are shrinks in the eyes of the macroeconomic stratosphere of societal valuation.

Time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to embrace the identity crisis of this vast bureaucracy of the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is time to move on.

“Moving on” is to simply accept the devaluation system of monetary policy of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; but it is the personal identity crisis which must always be dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s perspective of self-worth, it is time to exit from the abyss of deterioration, and take the positive and affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Evaluative Adaptability

Life is often like a boat without oars, let alone a motor which functions; and as the waves rock the water transport, one maintains balance, sanity and survival by attempting to prepare for the whitecaps and hoping for a further delay of a storm, and never a tsunami.  But those changes inevitably come, and attack in onslaughts of exponential fury.  One attempts to adapt, to remain like the chameleon who must survive by an unwanted metamorphosis, in order to maintain the delicate balance of nature as described by the brutality of Darwin’s world.

Man presumably has the advantage of possessing the dual modalities of penultimate capacity for survival:  the cognitive and the physical.  Of the latter, the human animal is neither a lion nor a cheetah; and of the former, self-doubt, confusion and intellectual arrogance often muddles the clarity of purpose shown by other carnivores.  But it is the combination of both — of the evaluative adaptability acquired through intake and filtering of information, analysis of factual and predictable processing, and shifting positions based upon real-time data reflected upon through a compendium of intellectual acuity honed and perfected by experience.

That is precisely why bureaucracies are often potholes of frustration; as systematized repetition dulls the soul, so the imposition of irrational decisions heightens the angst of man’s inner being.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition may cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is with that duality of advantageous survival mode that one must approach both the Federal agency (and the U.S. Postal Service), as well as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Certainly, physical endurance is limited often by the medical condition and the deterioration of stamina and energy; but the evaluative adaptability and the capacity to change course should never be underestimated.

Medical conditions need not deter the direction of the boat; most medical conditions are mere whitecaps which rock like irritants on a summer evening where gnats and mosquitoes ravage the unprotected surface; but unlike hurricanes and tsunamis which overwhelm and destroy, the fact that one’s steering mechanism or the ability to propel oneself forward may be damaged, should never extinguish the Federal or Postal employee from recognizing that one’s evaluative adaptability is the key towards moving positively into the future and affirmatively taking steps to secure a brighter tomorrow, by beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire