OWCP & FERS Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees

Can both be approved concurrently?  Is there any disadvantage in filing for one “as opposed” to another?  Do they “cross over” and impact one another?  Can you receive payments concurrently, or must you choose one over the other and, if one is chosen, does it “negate” or otherwise dismiss the other?

These are all practical questions which can come about if an injury or illness results from a workplace incident or caused by an occupational hazard.  First and foremost, it should be noted that the two “pockets” of compensatory resources are different in nature: OWCP is not a retirement system; OPM Disability Retirement is. OWCP is a compensatory resource created and established as a temporary measure (although there are many, many cases where an OWCP recipient stays on and receives compensation for decades and beyond) — as a means of allowing the Federal worker to receive treatment, recuperation and rehabilitation, with a view towards an eventual return to work.

The paradigm of a FERS Federal Disability Retirement, on the other hand, is just that: It is a retirement system — essentially, starting your retirement “early” because of a medical condition or injury resulting in one’s loss of capacity to continue to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  The latter (FERS Disability Retirement) does not have to possess any causal connection to the employment itself — in other words, the medical condition or injury does not have to be “occupationally related” in order for a Federal or Postal worker to become eligible for its benefits.

Remember, however, that under a FERS Disability Retirement, a Federal or Postal worker must file for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of being separated from one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  The fact that a person has been “placed on the rolls of OWCP” does not excuse the 1-year rule for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For further information on the intersection between OWCP and FERS Disability Retirement, you should consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about both, and make your decision upon factual and legal information, and not from such sources as, “I heard from Joe that…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Junkyards

It is the latter in the compound word which is left forgotten and unnoticed, precisely because of the screaming blare represented by the former, demanding attention by the sheer nature and character of its breaching sensibilities, like the spoiled cousin refusing to abide by the conventions imposed upon uninvited visitors and customs curtailing unwanted guests.

Once, before time forgotten and memories untarnished, the landscape was perhaps a pasture green with wildflowers and vegetation overgrown; then, a possessor who perhaps put up a fence to demarcate the beauty by identifying acquisition, tending to the weeds, creating a vegetable garden here, building a house over there, and all the while trying to maintain the beauty and solitude of a picturesque scene of pastoral quietude.

Initial intentions are rarely malevolent; it is time, circumstances and disrepair of incremental decay which, in their unnoticed aggregation of cumulative disregard, suddenly fall upon us like a tidal wave of gloom.  Perhaps it began more with the invention, creation and abundance of implements and industrial tools; or just the defect of human essence and the inherent laziness of the species.

An automobile which refused to throttle one early morning can certainly become the foundation of that linguistic pose at the forefront of the compound; later, a refrigerator where the condenser fan or the compressor, or some other such component which refused to make the proper sounds and conduct itself in a manner befitting cold air in the heat of a summer day, suddenly gives out, and what do you do with a monstrosity taking up valuable space within the limited dimensions of a cramped kitchen?

And thus, over time, where once the carefully tended landscape of pristine greenery unscathed by the clutter of unwanted debris, begins to dominate, as do most creations of human refuse.  The detritus of discarded wreckage scattered in the afterthought of one’s castle, as represented by the backyard of a home, is telling of a lengthy history of accumulation, decisions, riffraff of rubble unwanted — sort of like the history of human experiences comprised of emotional baggage gathered and garnered.

The outer reflects the inner, and the essence which expands within the soul of a tormented individual requires release and revelation, if only for a fortnight before an exponential explosion of psychic need claws to escape from the restraining membrane throughout.  Ugliness begs for concealment and a veil of hope; and so the grass and weeds which grow to cover the rusting wreckage in a junkyard of despair, often parallels the anguished inner being of the one who cries silently in hollows where no one can hear, or is unwilling to listen.

Junkyards are interesting case studies of the history of individual lives, otherwise undiscovered except perhaps by archaeologists who mistake an ancient site for a bevy of linear rationality.  But it is often the forgotten part of the junkyard which remains unnoticed — that of the inner component of man, left untended to and forgotten for fear of releasing the box which Pandora was entrusted with, containing all of the evils of the world, and what more to consign but the turmoils of human emotion and psychological scars, otherwise camouflaged by smiles and entreaties of normative concealment?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition — whether physical, emotional or mental — the junkyards most concerning are comprised of the illness and pain hidden from full view, perhaps left in the rear and avoided by others, which burdens the soul beyond capacity to endure.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often merely a first step in the process of clearing out the debris which accumulated over a lifetime of attempting to conceal and contain; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is at a point in his or her life, when the wreckage mounting in the unseen privacy of junkyards left unattended, requires help to haul those heavy components of human detritus away, and in the process, a forgotten jewel carelessly discarded in a time once known with laughter in the pasture of one’s past, may again be discovered for future joy and hope.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire