Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The direction of life

We are told from a very early age that we must have one; like winds that carry seasonal warmth and jet streams that bring unseasonable temperatures, we are ingrained to be purposive, teleological and focused upon the goal in mind.

Wisdom-filled proverbs echo beyond the history of instructional transference from parent to child, community to individual and generation to modernity: aiming for the target; sticking to a task; seeing things to their completion; being patient in everything you do; treating others fairly; 5-step, 10-step or multi-step plans for one’s life; we are admonished throughout of the importance of having a direction in our lives, as if the destination has been predetermined and arriving is merely being pointed in the right direction, traveling some distance and getting there without thought.

Some people clearly follow such a linear route – like the proverbial straight line from point A to destination B; then, there are others who never seem to get a handle on such a concept, while most of the rest of us meander through a confounding maze and are stuck somewhere “in-between”, like those kids in the middle of a brood of accomplishments lost in anonymity between the oldest who is the star of the family, the first born and who gets the greatest amount of attention, and the last one who is the “baby” whom everyone fawns over.  But what if a community, a society, the nation as a whole, no longer embraces a cogency of purposive goals?

It is like that “cause” we all live and die for; where modernity scoffs to expunge such lofty ideals, the residue of the populace must abide by its dire consequences, where echoes of past vestiges haunt in cave dwellings of paintings now faded and meaningless, lost forever to the history of silent voices.

Once, there were causes to fight for – of man’s manifest destiny; of fascism to defeat; of the great “Red Scare”; of the domino theory occluding freedom and resulting in totalitarianism; of patriotism and the flag upon a hill; and other images, all the while where the fighting and dying is accomplished not by the sons or daughters of the wealthy and privileged, anymore, but by sons of southern belles and minorities who die or get blown to bits.

Of what door does one knock upon to get one’s direction of life?  Where, in life, do we get a free pass to obtain the map in order to even know where we are, where we are going, and how to get there?

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 positional duties, the direction of one’s life becomes fairly linear whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

There are three “pathways” to steer upon: Stay in the job and suffer; Resign and walk away with nothing; or, the best direction in such a life, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  And, even as to the second of the three roads taken (Resigning) – remember, you have up until one (1) year from the date of separation from Federal Service to file a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.

It is, in the end, good to have a compass in order to lead onwards in the right direction of life, wherever that may be, however one may obtain it, and whenever it is finally achieved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Organizing the apocalypse

The apocalypse, by definition, has no future.  Whether by biblical reference, or in a generic sense where the foreseen event entails such proportions of catastrophic immensity, the concept itself is beyond the grasp of human comprehension.  It is where Being becomes non-existent, and the existential contrast of the conceptual puzzle encompassing Nothingness is somehow attempted to be understood, if only within the limited means of linguistic expression.

Poetry cannot abide the meaning; prose can barely describe its repose; and human thought is unable to grapple with the vicious circularity of its conundrum:  to comprehend it is to consider its very converse; to think upon the inversion is to extinguish all conceptual paradigms.  It is an act of self-immolation, where the devouring of one’s own flesh must by necessity occur in order to stave off the pangs of starvation, but where each bite merely ensures the death of the guarantor of life.

That is what Malraux touches upon when his characters discuss the self-contradiction of revolutionary movements; the very people who initiate such explosions can never be the ones who continue the implosions following; for, it is the breed itself which cannot remain in order to build.  By their very nature, the destructive forces must themselves disappear, lest the cannibalization of such extinguishment is the intended goal, which is never considered unless anarchy and dystopia are the ends sought.

We often think that those who are compelled by causes which history, in its visionary retrospective insights, can remain to maintain stability and administration of the revolutionary idea; but Mao proved otherwise, and the haunting bones of Cuba’s leaders where poverty, desecration of abandoned ideas and fading combat khakis declare to us that we wish Mick Jagger never came out of retirement.

There is, in every epic of historical proportions, a loss of meaning whenever the cause has been attained, and that is the natural course of life.  The question thus becomes:  Once the pinnacle is reached, what does one do?  In microcosms of life and smallness of living within the spectacle of the common man, the issue that remains and looms amidst is, How to organize the apocalypse.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from continuing in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career or vocation of financial stability, the fact that one must end one’s Federal or Postal career early is akin to an apocalypse, where hope is no longer a goal to endure.  That being a fact of irrefutable and irreversible content which arrives at a point of incontrovertible reality, the issue remaining which must be considered is, How do I rationally organize this apocalypse?

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in ensuring that the metaphorical “revolution” which brings about a change uncalled for, like the wave of a historical sweep in epic battles of mankind’s folly, comes about in a rational, organized and steadfast manner, such that we are not left behind like the haunting whispers of Mao’s Cultural Revolutions or the stale cigar smoke from Castro’s toothless grin, where history laughs in the dark corridors of forgotten tombstones overrun with the swallowing of earth’s grief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire