Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

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 & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The parade that fades

Parades are often forlorn events.  The pomp and circumstance that brings forth the loud serenade of trumpets, drums and cadence of disparate groups; the sequence of human colonnades marching to the beat of rhythmic blares where medals gleam in the glint of sunlight’s twilight; and when the speeches end and the parade that fades leaves but for the leaflets that once announced of its impending arrival, the hearts that once fluttered in anticipation of the marching band that lost its footing may but be a glimmer of tomorrow’s hope.

Parades celebrate, and the participants engage the public eye to put on a show of appreciation, but do they voluntarily come together, or are they merely compensated workers ordered to appear?  And when once the parade fades, what happens to those left behind, of the grieving widows and children left orphaned, and the pinning of medals that sang the mournful hollow of a priceless life?

Other lives march on; it is the forgotten ones that inhabit an earth that continues on in haunting groups of voiceless sorrow, for years on end without the recognition noted but for that singular day on the parade grounds, where glory once revived and then soon forgotten.  Much of life is like that, isn’t it?

Like a parade that is put on, lasts for a day, or perhaps merely a part thereof, and then soon to be forgotten except for memories that are seared with a grimace and graceless utterances of voices once remembered and now merely a fading vestige, if that.  What was the fanfare for?  Do we even remember? What was said in the speech now faded but for glory’s once grand applause?  Do we even care?

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’s attempt to continue his or her career because the progressively worsening medical condition itself is preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the end of one’s career may be likened to the parade that fades.

That sense of belonging; that feeling that life’s cadence included you in the marching band of the colorful parade; of being part of a team, with a sense of coherence and purpose; but like all parades, the day’s end ultimately comes.  Whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sinking feeling that the parade that fades may mean that there is no longer the trumpet’s blare or the drumbeat of life’s cadence is simply a fear within that does not reflect reality.

Tomorrow, the sun will still shine and the birds will yet sing; the grounds will still be there, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely changing the venue of where the next parade will be held, thus replacing the parade that fades at the end of this day alone.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Static

It is the lack of movement or change which is the undesirable aspect of anything, and not necessarily the thing itself.  Perhaps there was never anything wrong with the substance or essence of the thing; the person remains, and yet, the lack of progress, the inability to move forward, the unresponsiveness to the contextual alterations and modifications — the world around changes, but the singular resistance is in and of itself that which negates.

Being “static” — of the lack of movement or change — is normally thought of as a negative perspective upon an entity.  It would be one thing if the nature of being static were to be an appraisal upon, say, an Aristotelian type of “god”, where the so-called Unmoved Mover is “static”, but all else constitutes a universal movement, but of a specific kind: movement towards the perfection of the Unmoved Mover.  But that is not what we are referring to when we speak about being “static”.  Instead, most of us ascribe a negative connotation, as in, “the inability to change or adapt when the context and circumstances necessitate it.”

That is often the problem with Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position.  For, the person him/herself has not really “changed” — aside from the medical condition itself, the essence of “who” the person is has remained static.  However, the circumstances have altered, in that one’s physical or cognitive capacity and ability have altered, normally in a way that no longer allows for a congruity or consistency with the type of positional duties required of one’s job.

Thus, in such a context, to “remain static” becomes a negative component of life, and requires and necessitates a modification of sorts — and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed though the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the first step towards breaking away from the negative mold of “being static”, and like the disruptive sounds that crackle like static electricity over a phone line or the sudden shock one feels when wearing a wool sweater, being static can only lead to worsening conditions if one delays in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The tangible

What are the criteria by which one lives?  Is there a singular, dominant principle, as in “A Criterion” or “The Criterion”, or multiple ones; or perhaps an overarching archetype with subsets of mini-components that are all in their aggregate subsumed by a greater Platonic Form, somewhat like “Goodness” that predominates, with subtexts of lesser categories?  Or, do we just blunder through life without them and arbitrarily bump into decisions, pathways that take us hither and yonder, and never quite escape the confusions of our own making?

Some people consider themselves to be “idealistic”, and look always for the good in others; still some, pure cynics such that they suspect the worst in everyone; and most, an admixture of the two extremes in a spectrum of choices.  There are, in philosophy, the “logical positivists” who declare that nothing makes sense unless validity of a statement can be established, and such a criterion normally involves the tangible.  That which we can see, feel, hear or establish by logical methodology comprises the entirety of one’s existential reality, and there is some truth to such an approach.

It is said that in youth, much idealism begins; in middle age, some waning of hope must by necessity be accepted; and by old age, a seeping cynicism inevitably prevails.  The tangible is that which we can embrace, feel, rest our hopes upon; otherwise, the cold icicles of other people’s indifference will ultimately become the obsession of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to result in tangible manifestations — i.e., use of LWOP has become noticeably frequent; performance ratings are anticipated to be questionable; supervisors and coworkers have begun asking questions; but most importantly, you yourself have begun to notice a deterioration in your ability and capacity to maintain the level and pace of working at the Agency or Postal facility — the “criterion” to be applied is quite straightforward: Are you still able to perform all of the essential elements of your positional requirements?

If not, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  The criteria by which we live are often complicated; it is the tangible which brings everything back down to earth from the lofty heights of idealism, youth and folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: “It would happen, anyway…”

This can be a catch-all excuse, of course.  Fatalism is a self-contradictory philosophical perspective; one cannot by definition remain in such a belief-system without experiencing the self-immolation of one’s own convictions.  What if we prefaced each and every one of our actions with such a statement. “It would happen, anyway.”

The operative principle falls behind the “It”, of course, and the remainder of the fatalism makes sense when once we identify the opening dummy subject that is otherwise left unstated, as a pronoun that remains unattended, often purposefully.  The “It”, of course, can mean many things, including: death; failure; a disastrous outcome; complete destruction, etc.

To conclude that X would happen regardless of the causal interventions of human resolve perpetuated by the will of a conscious mind, is to attribute to the universe a determinism that is without design or goodness.  Is there such an omnipotent being that cares not, perhaps similar to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover?  Of such a being, Aristotle of course did not conceptualize a meddling kind of god, good or bad, but rather where perfection caused others to desire reaching towards its apex of unperturbed immovability.

But why must fatalism always posit the negative?  Why must it always end in disaster, death or progressive decay, and not towards some optimism of a future yet to be determined?  Why don’t we hear anyone say, instead, “Oh, it would happen, anyway…”, but implying that the dummy subject of “It” is meant to connote greater fortunes for tomorrow, a happier life to be had, or better days ahead of health and joy?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are stuck in the rut of a negative outlook because of a medical condition that pervades and will not go away, it is time to replace the dummy subject of “It” with a pronoun or other grammatical subject that conveys a positive outlook upon life’s travails.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important first step in filling in the “unknowns” of life’s tomorrows.  And, ultimately, that is the key point, isn’t it?

To avert, subvert and otherwise replace the negative with a positive — and for a Federal employee who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, it is the negative “It” that must be replaced with a positive and effective Federal Disability Retirement Application, lest fatalism lead to a determinism that undermines the positive tomorrows that are yet to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire