FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: Reality T.V.

That we would have the imaginative capacity to invent such a medium and attract countless millions to sit and passively view the saga on a picture screen tells much about our species.  To be persuaded to suspend disbelief and discuss it as if it reflects a reality and can be designated as such, unmasks the myth of representing the pinnacle of the highest order.

Perhaps it is pure escapism which propagates the widespread popularity of such shows; or our desire to believe, which is that essence of being that caricature encapsulated by the quote often misattributed to P.T. Barnum, the greatest “showman” that ever was, who allegedly said that there is “a sucker born every minute.”  That the quote itself is associated to a fellow showman — a precursor to the television shows of modernity purportedly engaging in the make-up world of a reality no one has ever witnessed nor seen but through the dumbing influence of the idiot box, is appropriate and predictable.

What countless hours of wasteful time spent voluntarily barraged by datum destructive of digitally devoid dalliances; and yet we continue to add to their popularity.  No other species has the time, inclination or patience to sit for hours each day, tens of hours each week, in engaging an activity where the prerequisite is to suspend disbelief and become inert objects in a universe alive with activity.

Environmentalists often argue that the food we consume no longer provides the nutritional value once inherent, precisely because the biological dynamism once part of the soil of the earth no longer contains the living contingencies now depleted.

Inertness is everywhere around, and like the dystopian stories which have more recently become popular, the deadening of souls has been but a reflection of our own actions.  We invite most harmful things voluntarily — even reality which is unreal.  The one element we never “invite” into our lives, of course, is a medical condition; yet, when it appears and attacks, it often leaves us unable to face the very real reality of its debilitating and progressively deteriorating effects.

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 positional duties, the need to file 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, requires a suspension of disbelief, as well.  For, there is often that period of not quite believing that “you” will not be able to return to work, continue on in the career, or overcome this “temporary” setback.

Real reality is often rather uninteresting, especially in a world which provides entertainment that excites a deadened soul; but when that real reality becomes a reality such that the inertness of life’s reality must contend against the entertainment of Reality T.V., then it is time to push the “off” button of that technology which invades the hurting soul, and begin the hard road of real reality by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, in order to save some semblance of a future reality hopefully not dystopian in its surreal reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Interaction with EEOC & Other Legal Processes

I am often asked if other legal processes already filed — an EEOC Complaint, a corollary adverse action being appealed, etc. — will have an impact upon a Federal Disability Retirement application.  My general answer is, “No, it will not have an effect upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement.”  The second question which often follows, is:  What if the EEOC filing contradicts the Federal Disability Retirement application?  While the full answer to such a question will differ from case to case, depending upon the peculiar and particular circumstances of each individual case and application, my standard response to the second question will often contain a responsive query:  Have you ever heard of an attorney speaking out of two or three (or four) sides of his mouth?  As attorneys, we make multiple (and sometime contradictory) arguments all the time.  I am not concerned with the factual or legal arguments in a concurrent/parallel EEOC case; my job is to make sure that my client obtains a disability retirement — and if it somewhat contradicts the arguments made in an EEOC complaint, so be it — for, after all, I’m merely an attorney, and such inherent contradictions only prove the fact that lawyers have at least four sides to every mouth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Law

I will be writing an article of greater length on this issue, but suffice it for now that when “the law” works, it works well. A major second case has been decided in favor of the Federal employee — first, it was Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, 508 F.3d 1034 (Fed. Cir. 2007), and now, Sylvia M. Reilly v. OPM, decided July 15, 2009. Vanieken-Ryals toppled the irrational imposition of a baseless standard by OPM — that there is a distinction to be made between “objective” as opposed to “subjective” evidence concerning medical evidence (example of the absurdity: How do you prove the existence of pain? While an MRI may show a physical condition, you cannot prove that such a physical condition equates to debilitating pain, leaving aside any quantification of pain. Similarly, how do you prove the existence of Major Depression? Anxiety? Panic attacks?).

Now, Reilly v. OPM has toppled another idol of a false standard imposed by OPM: that medical documentation which post-dates separation from Federal Service is near-irrelevant. This has never made sense, for at least 2 reasons: first, since a person is allowed to file for Federal Disability Retirement within 1 year of being separated from service, why would medical documentation dated after the separation be considered irrelevant? Second, medical conditions rarely appear suddenly. Most conditions are progressive and degenerative in nature, and indeed, that is what the Court in Reilly argues. Grant another win for the Federal employee, the law, and the process of law. It makes being a lawyer worthwhile when “the law” works.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire