OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Inside View

There is the “outside” perspective as opposed to the “inside view”, and that is the mistake people make in various sectors of life: The “outsider” believes that, from a position and perspective of detachment and therefore objectivity, he or she is able to better assess, evaluate and analyze the event, situation or conditions experienced than by those on the “inside”.

By contrast, the “insider” views the outsider with suspicion, contending that he or she has no idea about the experiences and existential difficulties faced by the insider, and that a detached, objective viewpoint which fails to take into consideration the subjective, “personal” side of things misses the essential point of the issue.

It is the tension which exists between the townspeople and the “out-of-towner”; the one who lives in a community as opposed to the renter or investor; or of the person who drives around the neighborhood admiring the green lawns, the peaceful nature and the tranquility of a community, hoping to one day purchase a home there without knowing the problems inherent — say, that the water is contaminated or that there has been a rash of burglaries on the rise in recent years.

How does one break the invisible wall between the inside view and the outside perspective?  When does the demarcation between the two disappear?  Do numbers of years living within a community determine whether an outsider becomes an insider?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application because of a medical condition which has come to a critical point where the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it often “feels” like one has all of a sudden become an “outsider” again — not only from one’s own agency or the Postal Service, but moreover, because of the complexity of the administrative procedures and bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — of the sense that the whole process is strange and detached.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a good first step in bridging the gap that widens when first encountering that feeling, in order to get an “inside view” of what it takes to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

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 “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The hospital bed

It is a lonely and demoralizing state of affairs; they poke, prod and insist upon ruling out every sector of one’s body as the culprit of diagnosed maladies.  The hospital bed is a barbaric contraption next to a mediaeval torture chamber, and one can only imagine what such inventions were like in those olden days, when antiseptic means meant the possibility of washing one’s hands every now and again, and where pain and death were part of everyday living.

It reminds us, above all, of our own vulnerability and mortality; and what a blessing health and life are.

Oh, it is true – we take such issues for granted, and barely get beyond the tripe and inane statements like, “Oh, health is such a blessing,” or, “We are so thankful for our health.”  It is when one is in the hospital, alone in a bed, in the darkness of those twilight hours, that the reality of one’s own Being is revealed:  the projects we cling to; the significance we place upon the work we perform; and the extra credit we think we deserve when we work late into the wee hours.

We have heard all of those wise remarks, either in novels, essays or even movies:  On your epitaph, you do not get a special mention for ignoring your health.  Work is great, but that needs to be placed in its proper perspective.  The projects we engage and embrace – is it, as Heidegger reminds us, merely a means to avoid the inevitable outcome of our fate?  Do the gods laugh from above, pointing to our mortality and the fruitless attempts we cling to in order to avoid facing our future?

It is, in the end, the hospital bed that reminds us starkly of who we are, where we are heading, and what this all will mean.

Retirement is not meant to be a time to spend in a hospital bed; Disability Retirement is not meant to be filed at a point when a Federal or Postal employee is so debilitated that once it is approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that one merely “retires” to a hospital bed.  It is, instead, a system whereby a person is recognized to no longer be able to perform some of the essential elements of one’s job, but that there is an implicit understanding that there can be a time in the future where productivity can be applied to a different vocation or another career.

Yes, there are jokes that abound – of Federal Disability Retirement annuitants being Walmart Greeters or engaged in other similarly menial and lesser jobs, but those are not the only stories to tell.  There are many Federal annuitants who have found private sector jobs where the pay scale comes perilously close to the 80% limit – and, while that can be a problem, isn’t that a “good” problem to have?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits does not require the “higher” standard of being debilitated or “totally disabled”; rather, it is a standard which recognizes that there is an inconsistency between the position one occupies, and the medical conditions from which one suffers.  If consideration in filing is arrived at in a hospital bed, it is still not too late; but a reminder it is, and the next steps are to begin the long and complicated process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Preparation subverting the moment

“Seize the moment” (or the day) – isn’t that the mantra of modernity?  Never let consequences or the hurt of others delay the enigmatic pleasures of bodily delights.  Forget results; ignore preparatory steps, as that would waste valuable time otherwise left for delectable dalliances.  If modernity has translated “worth” and “value” in terms of present moments of existential delights, then the greater heightening of each event of ecstasy experienced in the “now” of every life should be exponentially enhanced at every opportunity available and presented.

Technology has only further advanced the aversion to planning and foresight; for, the conversation quieted when memory once required of reflection and racking of remembrances is now quickly replaced by a button push that Google immediately answers.  “Now” is ever more the gratification never to be delayed.  Modernity and  youth have been its unfortunate byproduct, where any notion of  preparation constitutes a delay of that instant gratification.

But life has a tendency to create tumult and intervene with a dose of reality, and medical conditions exponentially show us that the moment left without delay requires greater reflection and contemplation – and this is especially so with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

“Seizing the moment” and quickly putting together a Federal Disability Retirement packet when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s position, is likely not the best approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  Not in all cases does preparation subvert the moment; often, in life, the “moment” requires preparation, as well as a thoughtful course of planning and reflective methodology of formulating a strategy for the future.

Modernity has invented some great contraptions; technology has saved time (or so they keep saying) and replaced human capacity with easing of burdens.  In the end, however, it is up to the planner to plan, and the Federal or Postal employee to seize that “moment” and project it into a plan for a better tomorrow, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire