OPM Medical Disability for Federal and Postal Employees: Comparisons

Does it help to make them?  Do we take comfort in judging the relative plusses and minuses in making comparisons — as in, X has A, B and C, but I have, in addition, D and E, and therefore I am more fortunate that X is.  Or, is it a comparison of one’s conditions, as in: “Boy, at least I don’t have X like Lisa does”, or “At least I am not in Y’s situation”?

To the extent that comparisons remind us of that which we are blessed with, they allow for a certain level of utilitarian value.  But there is a negative side to it: Of jealousy engendered by comparison, or of discontent resulting from making one.  Rousseau, of course, makes that point throughout his “Social Contract” analysis, of the purity of man’s intentions in that fictional state of “nature” that we were once in, but where society’s accretions of materialism created the artificial emotional response of discontent and jealousy.  But compared to what?

It is important to make the fair and correlative comparisons which are relevant — as in “apples to apples” and not “apples to oranges”.  For, it is the uniqueness of each entity, object or situation to be compared with the singularity of another that makes for a proper comparison.

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, it is inadvisable to compare one’s case to somebody else’s.  For, the proper comparison is not to evaluate one’s medical condition and the severity of one’s medical condition to that of another person’s medical condition; rather, the proper comparison in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to compare one’s medical condition to the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, comparisons made must always take into account the relevant connections which relate not just in terms of similarities, but as is the case in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in what the law allows for and considers significant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: A Lifetime

Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t it be?  Or, do we feel obligated to append a dependent clause, as in, “A lifetime of achievements,” “…of having accomplished X, Y and Z”, or even: “A Lifetime devoted to…”.  Must there always be the subsequent appendage, or isn’t living a lifetime enough in and of itself?

Was Aristotle right in depicting human beings (and everything else in the universe) as possessing a purposive reason for existence; or, as the French Existentialist had declared, does existence precede essence, and instead of being fated with a predetermined destiny and an inherent basis for being born, we can simply “make up” the reason for our essence and thrive in whichever direction we choose, in whatever endeavor we decide upon?

Is simply having a “lifetime” not enough?  Must we always have a reason and rationale for our existence?  Or, is it enough to have an ending, like Yasujiro Ozu’s tombstone which simply has the characters of “Mu” — “nothingness”?  Ozu certainly “accomplished” much; as a director, he is recognized for his quiet brilliance and insightful dialogues, as well as depicted scenes of serenity and human conflict.  In the end, it was merely a lifetime, and nothingness followed except in the minds of those whom he left behind.

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 his or her job, the “thing” that often compels the Federal or Postal worker into working beyond what the medical condition allows — i.e., of “working one’s self to death” — is a sense that having a lifetime is not quite enough.

There is the “mission” to accomplish, or the work that needs to be completed, etc.  But when it comes to the critical point of choosing between one’s health and such a perspective of accomplishments, there should be no indecision: Life itself is precious, and one’s health is the foundation for a life.

At that point, filing for FERS Disability Retirement makes sense, and consulting with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be the next step after realizing that a lifetime is, indeed, sufficient.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: The Coherent Story

What makes it so, and when it isn’t, can anything make up for its lack in order to bring it around?

The historical myth of the early days of moviemaking is that the audience needed to be shown certain fundamental scenes in order to prevent any confusion and loss of interest — i.e., to start a scene with a character entering or exiting a doorway in order to “set the scene” of coherence, etc.  Otherwise, people were caught wondering how a character arrived at a certain place to begin with, and became distracted from engaging in the fantasyland of a fictional world in watching a movie.

Whether or not this is true — and there are some who doubt this, given that novels and short stories have always allowed for scenes, conversations and topics to jump from place to place without “reinventing the proverbial wheel” — nevertheless, every story hinges upon parts which make up a coherent whole.

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 coherent story must be formulated, narrated and conveyed in a manner which is both true, valid and persuasive.  Moreover, it must “fit into” the rules, regulations and statutory authorities which govern Federal Disability Retirement eligibility criteria.  How to tell “one’s story” on SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is critical in formulating a successful strategy in the proper preparation and submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to begin to tell your “coherent story” — the one that will captivate the “audience” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Confronting Reality

When are the times we try and avoid it?  Is that the line between sanity and the “darker world”?  If we avoid it more than we embrace it, does it constitute a step beyond eccentricity and fall into the category of bizarre behavior?  If that were the case, how many of us would meet that definition?  Does engaging in entertainment — whether of the couch potato type or of the active one — constitute avoidance?

Say a person binge-watches a certain television series for 72-hours straight, then sleeps for another 72 hours; such a person has certainly “avoided” the reality of life’s responsibilities, duties, obligations, etc.  But would we deem such a person to be insane?  If he were a bachelor who has no commitments or responsibilities, and acted in such a manner during “vacation time” or during a period of unemployment, we would perhaps not give it a second thought.  But say the same person had a toddler whom he neglected for those 100-plus hours — then, of course, we would consider it as irresponsible behavior, if not criminal neglect.

“Confronting reality” is often deemed the antonym of “avoiding reality”; it is something we all do — both confronting and avoiding — and crosses the diving line between “responsible” and “irresponsible” behavior.  Of course, the latter is sometimes necessary in order to refresh one’s self in order to engage in the former, and so we embrace entertainment and leisure activities in order to adequately prepare ourselves to cross over from one to the other.

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 his or her position, confronting reality is often delayed in order to try and extend one’s career with the Federal government.  Often, early on in suffering from a medical condition, it becomes quite clear whether or not the Federal or Postal worker can continue in his or her chosen career.  This is the point where “confronting reality”, however, clashes with the desire to avoid it and to instead embrace the make-believe universe of “What ifs” — What if things improve?  What if the Agency or Postal Service is willing to be patient?  What if they can accommodate me?

Consult with an attorney experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for as difficult as it may be in confronting reality, it is the reality of the law that will help you avoid the pitfalls which you will surely want to avoid in the days to come.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Gov. Employees: A Trail of Regrets

Two images are evoked by such a phrase: One, of a traveler who leaves behind a trail of regrets; the other, a traveler who travels upon a trail that has already been traveled.  The former allows for new paths to be discovered; the latter, of a trail that has already been established, and one which regretfully cannot be altered.  It is the subtle distinction between the teacher who has only taught and the experimenter who has actually lived it; the contemplator, as opposed to the one who gets his hands dirty; the one who procrastinates forever and a day, in contradistinction to the individual of action.

Regrets are a funny animal; they haunt us like loyal dogs who never leave our side, and like collectors who cannot sell their accumulated pieces, the weight of the aggregate is what ultimately destroys.  The longer we live, the greater the chance of having gathered regrets that tether our souls; and in the end, it is the state of our souls which we need to be concerned about.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her job, the choices are clear: remain and endure the suffering; quit and walk away; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The First may leave a trail of regrets; the Second, a trail to be traveled upon; and it is the third — to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits — that may allow for a new path for one’s future, where one may leave behind that trail of regrets.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS: Balancing the Unfair Advantage

It is the advantage itself — whether by one side or of the other — which creates an imbalance to occur, and it is thus the greater weight on either side defines and constitutes the unfairness of it all.  A weighted scale; a pair of loaded dice (it was once the case that such a phrase — “pair of dice” — was unnecessary, because the singular of “dice” was die, and to identify ”dice” was to necessarily state the obvious that it was a pair; but in Modern Standard English, the word “dice” now represents both the singular as well as the plural; but we digress); a biased referee; a bribed umpire — do these all have something in common?

No, this is not an IQ Test (remember those questions where you are given a series of words and you had to either choose the one that would fit into the same category or exclude the one that was a misfit?), but it does symbolize the state of affairs in so much of life.

Where unfairness abounds, it is often the concealed aspect which tips the balance in favor of one side or another.  Thus do politicians allow for silent exceptions within the detailed language of legislation; undeclared biases determine advantages otherwise unidentified; insider information gives the unfair advantage to stock traders and members on financial boards and subcommittees; and the team which steals the rubric of the other’s signals and signs gains the advantage both in predicting future behaviors and battles.

In law, who has the unfair advantage?  Is it the entity who fails to explicitly define the criteria which determines success?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, just remember that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application guarantees nothing.

The legal criteria inherent in the process; the administrative procedures which must be advanced; the supporting documentation that must be submitted; the answers on standard forms which must be completed — these are all within the purview of knowledge by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and is not easily comprehended by the unwary applicant. Seek the counsel and guidance of a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin to balance the unfair advantage that OPM naturally and already possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: The Internal Web of Deceit

The quote is often attributed (wrongly) to Shakespeare, when it was Sir Walter Scott in his lengthy poem, Marmion, which conceived it: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.”  It is the internal web caught within the circular insularity of one’s thought-processes which allows for the capacity to deceive — but of or for whom?  Is it ourselves we deceive, or others, or both?

The problem with internalizing one’s thoughts is not that they are necessarily invalid; it is that there is no objective basis upon which to test their viability.  We all engage in private thoughts; carrying on conversations with ourselves, the problem lies not in whether or not we have interesting ones or not, but whether and to what extent the exaggerated absurdity of circular discourses take on a more bizarre aspect.

Fear does this; and when we fail to test our thoughts against the reality of the world, the web we weave becomes more and more tangled, until the practice of self-deception takes on an enhanced and serious result.

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, it is often necessary to consult with an attorney before considering the difficult bureaucratic path of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Your medical condition is no doubt “real”.  The problem lies not in the medical condition, but upon the administrative procedures which must be passed through in order to present a credible case of eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For that, it becomes necessary to break out of the internal web of deceit — of the cage within one’s insular thought-processes — and to test the strength of the web as against the laws which govern the administrative procedures involved in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire