Federal Employees with Disabilities: Simplifying the Complex

Genius is to comprehend the complex; competence is to utilize it; adequacy is to merely get by with it; to be lost is to become mired in it.  The world is complex.  Balance in a life is complex.  Trying to survive in a complex world requires a balancing act that even the most skilled tightrope acrobat can barely accomplish.

Once, when a reporter asked a mountain climber who had successfully scaled the North Face of the Eiger “why” he does what he did, the reply was: “When I am climbing, my only focus is to survive.  I do not need to think of anything but the next step, the next hold, and to ascend inch by inch.  Nothing else matters but the moment.”

But that life could be lived within the paradigm of that philosophy — of “living for the moment.”  To do so, of course, would require setting aside the baggage from one’s past and ignoring the tumultuous considerations for the future.  For most of us, we simply cannot live like that.  In this complex world, we try and “get by” through simplifying it — bifurcating it into comprehensible and digestible components; attending to each one at a time; then starting all over again at the beginning of the next day.  To simplify the complex is a skill-set that one must attain in order to just survive.

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 complex universe of an administrative process like filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a bureaucratic morass that will often require legal advice, guidance, assistance and counsel.

It is the job of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to simplify the complex.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, lest you find that the complex remains too complicated and the next mountain to climb has become too steep an obstacle, like the North Face of the Eiger.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Applying for FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Balance

It is what we want to maintain, whether on a tightrope, a ledge high above in an apartment complex, or just walking from the living room to the kitchen.  For, without it, the silent agreement we have made with the objective world would suddenly topple, and we would be lying horizontally and seeing the world from the ground up, as opposed to the vertical manner in which we ambulate, and observing the world from above.

In our lives, as well, in addition to the manner in which we walk about, we talk about maintaining a “balance” — a metaphor, surely, about the proper coordination between work, personal time, family interaction, activities with or without relations, and the healthy engagements needed in order to perpetuate a semblance of sanity.  We also talk this way about the medicines we ingest; of dietary balance, chemical imbalances and a more Aristotelian view of remaining in the “middle ground” where the two extremes are avoided.

Life itself is a force to contend with; for, it is “life” in general which is in a constant battle against us, trying to tip our equilibrium and mess with that “balance” that we all strive to maintain.  Medical conditions, as well, suddenly tip the balance with gale-force winds that irreverently disregard our wants and needs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sense this “out-of-balance” world because a medical conditions has tipped the scales and made everything out of whack, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may be the answer you are looking for.

Medical conditions themselves have a way of making life “out of balance”, and it may be that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is what is required in order to bring things back into their proper order and balance. Consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, it is balance maintained which allows for the regaining of one’s health, while all of the “rest of it” is trying to perpetuate the chaos of imbalance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Future Robbing Present

How much time do we spend worrying about the future?

In this concerning age, where debts keep rising, expenses keep increasing, wages remain stagnant and instability around the world continues as a reality we are all faced with — the amount of time spent in anxious anticipation of a future not yet established is a reality which we all must constrain.

Planning for the future is a necessity; articulating plans and loosely following them, a nuisance; but what of worrying about a projected experience not yet upon us — is it a mere waste of time?

The future robs the present by keeping our focus outside of the experiences of the present; whether by brooding about it, being lost in thought for it or merely fidgeting with anxiousness towards it; it all amounts to the same:  The joy of a present experience is lost because of the worry which overwhelms us.

Of the past — we tend to relish or regret it; but inasmuch as it is something that has already occurred, we do not obsessively remain in that time slot; unless, of course, we fear the consequences of past actions upon future events.  But it is for present circumstances that may trigger future worries — as in a medical condition currently experienced that we project into the future as to the medical condition’s capacity to impact our anticipated lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition will likely prevent the Federal or Postal worker — in the future of, say, 6 months hence, 12 months beyond, 3-5 years of becoming — from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, it is always a good idea to consider early in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

If worry for the future is robbing the present, then it is time to consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Worrying about the future will not change or alter the course of events yet to come; to prepare for a pathway towards such change for the future, it is wise to first consult with an experienced Federal Disability Retirement Attorney, lest the future come upon you unprepared and like a thief in the night robbing you of your present.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow”, as a word written today, pointing to a dimension beyond; to a vantage and perspective not yet realized, and forever to be referenced by a future date yet unknown.  When read tomorrow, it leads to the next day; and when looked upon the next day, to the following day again; and in this eternal sequence of tomorrows, whether written today, tomorrow or the next day, it forever reminds us that hope lies not in the morass of today’s problems, but in the change of things yet to be realized.

Yes, yes — we all recognize the scoffing that often surrounded the political banner of that famous phrase, “hope and change” — but that is merely because the potency of words, concepts and formulated paradigms lose their efficacy once they are used within a public arena that turns into a campaign slogan. Hope is always for tomorrow; for, without tomorrow, hope remains fallow as the desert that once promised a fertile reserve but never realized the rivers that had dried up because of the changes of the subterranean shifts in tectonic quakes that others failed to predict.

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 hope for tomorrow will often include the preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS and CSRS Offset.

Today is already filled with the overwhelming problems that beset any Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition; it is for tomorrow that an application for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, and that is the ray of hope that includes tomorrow, and the day after, in preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Accuracy

How important is accuracy?  The converse of such a query, of course, is:  Is inaccuracy significant?  One would immediately posit:  It all depends.

Take the following 2 hypotheticals:  An archeological dig is conducted, and it is believed that the site of the ruins is of relevant importance concerning a time-period of “recent” history — say, during the American Revolution.  Given that scenario, the “dating” of the site should be ascertainable within a year succeeding or preceding, such that if the Lead Archaeologist declares that the event in question occurred in 1778, “or possibly in 1779, maybe as early as 1777”, we know that — given the time period in question (1775 – 1783) — such a statement conveys a fairly accurate historical context.

Now, take the same hypothetical, but this time [sic] concerning some form [again, sic] of a fossil that is deemed at least 500 million years old.  If the Lead Archaeologist declares with some hint of irony, “Give or take a few million years more or less” — what would our reaction be?  Is such a “find” just as accurate as in the first hypothetical?  Can a declaration that is numerically off by a few million years (i.e., looking at it in quantifiable terms of 24 hours in a day times 365 days in a year times 2 – 5 million years equals how many hours for those who want a graspable perspective) be called a “science” in any meaningful usage of the term?

Of course, one could argue that even within the first hypothetical, given the limited range of years that comprises the American Revolution (1775 – 1783, or a mere 8 years), to be off by a year or so is also quite an astoundingly inaccurate assessment.  But which is “more accurate” — the one that is estimated within a year, or the one that quantifies it in terms of “millions” of years?  Can one even ask the question of “more or less” accurate, when the very concept of accuracy itself denotes precision and pinpointed, undeviated marksmanship?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “accuracy” can be a crucial one.  How “accurate” does one’s Statement of Disability need to be on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  What “precisely” does the treating doctor have to include in the medical report?  How detailed (and therefore, accurately) does the nexus between the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability does it have to reflect?

In all such questions, “accuracy” is a goal to attain in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, while the Archaeologist may be “off” by a quantifiable sum of years in a site-dig and suffer little to no consequences, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must depend upon the accuracy of the law in determining benefits to secure a future yet uncertain, and such an administrative endeavor is likened more to the accuracy of the arrow that is shot towards an apple resting upon the head of a young boy, than of a declaration made that is off by a few million years, give or take, more or less.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Reference points

They are the connections by which a society maintains a fabric of commonality, whether by myths, narrations of stories handed down, religious knowledge or books and movies.  It used to be that the “Good Book” was the mainstay of the reference points, so that when a person referred to having “eaten the apple”, for a simple example, one immediately knew that the reference points between a sin committed and the origin of that sin had a commonality within a woven fabric of a community’s awareness.

Similarly, people used to refer to books – of classics and works which were generally read and assumed, and when a person made a literary reference in the course of a conversation, it was not to be presumptuous of one’s education or knowledge, but as a “reaching out” in order to establish a membership in the fabric of the greater community.  The expansion of choices, the division of classes within a society, and the fraying of that greater fabric of a society’s common interests – they are all indications of a disintegrating civilization.

Reference points were once assumed; today, they have become rarer; and as the younger generation moves on in concentric circles of technological advancement that become lost in the self-absorption of self-promoting images on Internet-based social forums, so reference points become less common except within the self-contained genres of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Of course, there have always been problems with various reference points – one being the reference point of a medical condition.  For, a person with a medical condition has the private reference point of pain and suffering, and the long stays at a hospital, or the constant visits to the doctor’s office – reference points that few at the office ask about, let alone know about in any detail that would bring about any sense of empathy.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are often the greater culprits of maintaining private reference points, because they continue to push themselves through the pain and agony of a medical condition without complaining, and so there is very little reference point by which coworkers can offer sympathy, empathy or any help at all.

Fortunately, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, does not need any reference points, other than the legal criteria by which one must meet the eligibility reference point.  For, ultimately, the final reference point that the Federal or Postal worker needs, in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the one that establishes that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and that is the only reference point that matters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire