Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Unexpected

It can be exciting, yet disconcerting; a pleasant surprise, but moreover an unwelcome event; and perhaps even a pleasurable moment but with an uncomfortable edge.

We live by routines but thrive through tumults.  The “unexpected” is what jolts us out of the doldrums of daily repetitiveness, and is sometimes that which is needed in order to bring us out of the complacency of comfort and monotony.  Some thrive on it so much that they seek the adrenaline that accompanies, and attempt to make it as the mainstay of life — like the high of addicts which is constantly needed in greater doses in order to return to the baseline of euphoric feeling itself.

Some forms of the unexpected are unwanted; others, tolerable and endurable; and still others, perhaps gleefully embraced with open arms.  Much of the unexpected, or course, was fully expected; it is just that procrastination and disregard allowed it to remain out of our consciousness for a time such that, when the unexpected finally arrived, we forgot that it was to be expected but wanted it not to be so.

Isn’t old age expected?  Aren’t the chances of an automobile accident to be expected if you commute 100+ miles every day?  And aren’t medical conditions to be expected over a lifetime of stressful living?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who encounter the unexpected — a medical condition — which begins to impact you in an unexpected way — of preventing you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job — it may be time to consider the unexpected: Of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the unexpected bureaucratic complexities involved in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM should further complicate the unexpected, and so that the unexpected can be exposed to reveal the greater expectations of a future yet unexpected.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Gathering

They come from afar, and wide across the expanse of multiple cities, towns, and whether from rural areas or suburban neighborhoods, the criss-crossing of America is a tradition reserved for those special holidays where families gather, friends reminisce and relations pick up where old memories had left off.  “The Gathering” may be a once-yearly event, or perhaps a couple of times, and only once in a decade moment; however often, whatever the occasion, it is a time of recollection, reminiscence, restoration and rejuvenation.

Sometimes, even a gathering with people you hardly knew, or didn’t particularly like, is enjoyable enough, and though you might in the middle of the chatter say to yourself, “Why am I even here?” —yet, it is the mere presence of belonging that harkens one back to the lanes of memories that will not let go, like the dog that has locked its jaws onto your pant-leg and will not release you until you have finally relented.

Of course, there are other “types” of gatherings that are not so enjoyable or which bring a sense of warmth and joy — as in the “gathering” of Supervisors or Managers in conjunction with Human Resource Personnel who attempt to subvert, initiate adverse actions and conspire to make the life of a Federal or Postal employee a “hell on earth”.

Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer form 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 are at a stark disadvantage when it comes to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits: Often, the Human Resource Office of one’s own agency is neither helpful nor mindful of the confidentiality of even asking a casual question.

A simple question like, “What forms need to be completed in order to file for Federal Disability Retirement?” — may suddenly lead to a wildfire of rumors and innuendoes concerning one’s motive, intention and future plans, and suddenly the “point-person” becomes the pariah and a gathering of managers and supervisors suddenly materializes like a an unexpected dust storm in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

Not all gatherings are equal; some are for the happiness of memories recollected; others, a conspiracy to initiate adverse actions and to undermine the future plans of a well-intended act.  For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, “The Gathering” one should be most concerned about is the one to which you were never invited, so beware of the things you say, to whom you say it, and when you make the query.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Keys to the universe

When a metaphor turns into a reality that we all begin to believe in, the fantasies of our own making have become distorted and we need to begin the process of regaining the sanity once embraced but which is now lost in the surrealism of time’s warped viewpoint.  It is by simile, analogy and metaphor that one gains a greater understanding of circumstances, fields and subjects, but it is also by such vehicles that we can misplace reality with a virtualized representation of a universe nonexistent.

Sermons abound with metaphors involving a “key” to this or that; or even of those positive thinkers and corporate motivational speakers who talk about the 10-steps to this or that, the “ultimate key to success”, and similar such drivel that makes one think and believe in the existence of a singular implement that needs to find that lost sliver of hope, insert it into the corrugated slit cut into the brass knob that stands between success or failure — and suddenly, the doors unlock, the entranceway is cleared and one can step into the future yet unanticipated by the fullness of contentment.

Do we really believe that there is such a key?  How often do we speak in terms of a metaphor, a simile and an analogy, but over time our spoken words lose the clear distinction that the simile was meant to ascertain?

We begin with: “It is as if there is a key to the universe,” or, “It’s like having the keys to the universe.” Then, gradually, the “as if” and the “like” are dropped, quietly, unnoticed, like the short-cut that assured one of arriving earlier if only the right turn into the thick fields of the wild forest is taken with confidence: “I need the keys to the universe.”

No longer the metaphor, and certainly without the distinctiveness of the simile; the keys become the reality without the padded divide of recognizing that existence cannot be forced to appear in reality; our minds have tricked ourselves into believing.  Then, we often come to realize that the metaphor which purported to “unlock” (a metaphor itself following upon another) whatever it is that we believed was previously inaccessible was nothing more than a mundane process or methodology that we could have figured out ourselves — sort of like (there we go again with a simile) the Master Burglar who spends hours trying to determine the combination to a safe that had all along been left open by a careless bank clerk.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the “keys to the universe” of obtaining an OPM Disability Retirement are quite simple and straightforward: Prove that the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job.

However, as the devil remains in the details, the simplicity of the metaphorical “key” to a successful outcome is not dissimilar (a double-negative that turns out to mean “similar”, sort of “like” a simile) to most such Keys to the universe: a systematic, methodological compiling of proof combined with legal precedents to cite in presenting a compelling tale to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such that the “key” is effective enough to “unlock” an approval from them.  Of course, as with all metaphors, the analogy is like the simile that refuses to be like other such metaphors, or so it is often said in the vicious circularity of language’s mysteries.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: “Doing the best we can”

Sometimes, it may be a true statement; at others, it may merely turn out to be a throwaway line that is cast about to deceive a decoy into the mix.  What is the objective criteria in determining the truth of the statement?

If a young lad is failing in school and the parents contemplate some form of incentivized punishment, does the mother who relents and says, “But he is doing the best he can” have any credibility?  Or, does the filial affection shown and the inability to disbelieve the large and pitiful eyes looking back with tears rolling down his cheeks, pleading and saying, “But mommy, I’m doing the best I can!” — does it make it true?

How does one determine and separate out the complex structures of truth, objectivity, human emotions and the arena of subjective elements all contained within the bastion of a single declarative sentence?

Or of another hypothetical: Of a man or woman who is disabled and clearly struggling, but doing everything he or she can do to extend one’s career — overcompensating by working twice as hard, twice the time expended, and three times the effort normally required; does the declarative sentence, “He/she is doing the best he/she can!” mean anything?

There are, of course, differing perspectives — to whom the declarative sentence is being addressed and the one who issues the statement, and the chasm between the two often indicates the loyalties ensconced, the self-interest concealed or otherwise left unstated, and the group-think attachments that cannot be disregarded.  That is the problem of the futile treadmill — no matter how much more effort you expend, it gets you nowhere.

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 Postal or Federal job, “doing the best we can” may actually mean something — but likely only to you, and not to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

The plain fact is that the “rate of return” on the expenditures invested will never maintain any semblance of comity or balance.  For, the very extraordinary efforts being expended are more indicators to the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service that you are no longer “normal”, and people tend to have that herd instinct and group-think affinity where anything out of the preconceived norm cannot be accepted.

“Doing the best we can” — is it enough?  Likely, not.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not betray the thought behind the declaration; for, in the end, who are you trying to please?  If it is the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, you are doing a disservice not only to your own health, but to the truth of the declarative sentence itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Medical conditions and the “to-do” list

We often approach everything in life in a repetitive, systematic manner; of a routine which engenders habituation of comfort, and of identity harkening to obsession of similitude.  It is said of Kant that his neighbors set and corrected their watches and clocks according to the regularity of his walks, as his life maintained a predictability of precision so reliable that error could only be ascribed to a mechanical defect, and never to his human constancy.

It is as if there is an internal “checklist” in order to attain a progression of human development, and in an effort to achieve that advancement, both of thought and of physical growth, we must be assured of completion and fulfillment.  But medical conditions are never like that; we cannot “do something about it” and expect to “check it off” of our “to-do” list, only to move on to the next item on the itinerary.  A pastor once quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough; although, there could have been an addendum:  “And where there are problems, you can always find impure motives.”

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 problem is one of duality of purpose:  For the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, the approach of attempting to “check off” the medical condition as another item on a “to-do” list is always rebutted by the stark reality of the medical condition itself; and from the Federal agency’s perspective (or the Postal Service’s), the thought-process of “when will it go away” simply avoids the issue, and fails to address the problem of the conflict which arises.

Thus, the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement is there for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely to allow for those circumstances in which (A) the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to be able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, (B) the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months — not that one must wait for 12 months, but rather, that the prognosis by a doctor or medical provider is willing to state that the medical condition will, within reasonable medical probability, last for that long, and (C) accommodation of the medical condition is not possible, and reassignment to a position at the same pay or grade will not ameliorate the situation.

In the end, medical conditions defy the human attempt to treat it as merely another obstacle to overcome, or an irritant to set aside.  It is a condition of human existence which represents a trial for a linear life we attempt to manage, when in fact a change of course is often the remedy, and not the repetition of comfort found in the thoughtless quietude of habit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire