Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Wants and needs

One often encounters such discussions, about the difference between “wants” and “needs”.  Needs are dictated by a loose definition of survival or existence — that which is required by or necessitated of the things which satisfy the criteria for continued existence or maintaining of a given modality of the status quo.  The other — “wants” — are defined as those “extras” that are not required for existence, but go beyond the prerequisite for survival and add to the comfort and meaningfulness of one’s very existence and survival.

There is always a grey area between the two when one engages anyone in a discussion involving the two — and it often depends upon the paradigm and perspective one takes, which leads to conclusions not only about the subject concerning wants and needs, but also about one’s own character, upbringing and attitude towards life in general.

Take the perspective of a member of the British Royal Family, for example — of a person who knows of existence entirely from the perspective of wealth, privilege and undiminished wants and needs.  Such a person will often have a widely differing view of the distinction between the two, in contradistinction to a person born in the ghettos of an inner city, whether here in the United States or of more underdeveloped countries elsewhere.

Can one who has never lacked for needs, or even of wants, recognize the objective criteria that determines the differences between the two?  In other words, can the poor person even have a logical discussion with a wealthy person by pointing out that food is an example of “need”, as opposed to a Ferrari being merely a “want”?  Or, will the member of the Royal Family retort with, “Well, yes, I can see how cheap caviar of a subpar quality could be a need as opposed to wanting a Rolls Royce.”

Such a response, of course, tells one immediately that there will be a difficult road ahead in attempting the bridge the gap between understanding, comprehension and the art of logic and discussion.  What we want, we often do not need; and what we need, we merely want for want of sufficiency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to continue their careers despite a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will often cross the threshold between wants and needs.

You may want to extend your career, but need to end it because of your medical condition.  Your agency may want to be compassionate, but may need to follow directives from above.  You may want to remain, but need to depart.  The conflict between wants and needs is one of life’s ongoing clashes between the two, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM, may need to be initiated in order to satisfy the ultimate need of one’s existence: The need to want to look after one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The perfect person

By all accounts, he or she doesn’t exist, except perhaps in theoretical constructs of theological paradigms; and of academia, where one may argue some alternate version of Anselm’s argument by positing that, because the concept of perfection could not be thought of without the reality of a Being constituting perfection, ergo a perfect Being – God – must by necessity exist.

Yet, we live “as if” the perfect person exists – either imposing such a standard unknowingly, unwittingly and unwillingly upon our own selves, or by thinking that movie characters actually exist somewhere in the ephemeral world of Hollywood, Instagram and Facebook concoctions that only put forward to the public’s eye the image of perfection.

We overlook the distorted concept of perfection when we say of a movie character, “Oh, he’s not perfect; he drinks too much, cheats on his spouse and is violent.”  Yet, the make-believe character still solves the mystery, is philosophically coherent when drunk, and somehow remains an attractive character despite all such character flaws.  In other words, despite the appearance of flaws, we make gods of characters we create.

It is the same on the Internet – despite the knowledge by all that there does not exist the perfect person, nevertheless, we allow for Facebook postings and Instagram photographs of meals, dogs, kids, families, selves and neighborhoods as the perfect depiction of unblemished lives.  And of ourselves, perhaps the greatest of culprits alive – for perpetuating the mythological depiction by engaging in the flim-flam of projecting the existence of the perfect person.

Yet, what is the alternative?  No one wants to hear the perpetual whining of the constant apologist – that person who points out his own failures and shortcomings at the drop of the proverbial hat; of he who apologizes for the slightest of errors, the scent of a mistake and a hint of failure to reach perfection.  Name a movie character or a movie, excepting a comedy, where the character is merely a bundle of imperfections and unattractive to boot.  Even Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series, played long ago by Peter Sellers and by others more recently, captured the culprit in the end, despite all of the blunders and pitfalls.

In the end, we all participate in the grand larceny of perpetuating the existence of the perfect person – until we are hit with a medical condition, and the façade then suddenly falls apart.  Yet, everyone else continues in the charade.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer keep up with the make-believe world of the perfect person because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the appearance of the perfect person to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to admit imperfection by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the imperfect Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, it is the perfect person who embraces the imperfection of this world, and that is at least a beginning for the Federal or Postal employee who must continue to face the Federal Agency or the Postal Service in facing the reality of living imperfectly in this all too perfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Confidence and Self

When attached to someone other than a “self”, the issue can always allow for suspicion of absence; for, just as we can never fully know someone else, no matter how long we have been acquainted, how many decades married, and how well we have queried, interrogated or otherwise cross-examined, so the capacity of mystery may still remain that surprises us on the other’s deathbed.

What if you were married to someone for half a decade, and every Thursday during the entire blissful state of matrimonial embrace, the significant other went out to purportedly play bridge, or for a “night with friends”, or some other innocent activity encouraged and tolerated (if only because it gave you a break from the daily routine and monotony as well); and, on a twilight’s confession before departing this world, you learned that through all of those years, those many decades and countless hours of being left out, left behind or otherwise excluded, you learn that instead it was for another reason?  Would the reason itself make a difference?

Say, for instance, it was in order to see a therapist each week – would that then result in a question of confidence – whether about one’s own adequacy in supporting the loved one, or concerning the other who felt the need not only to seek help, but moreover, to keep it hidden all of these years?  Or, change the hypothetical for a moment, and instead posit that an “affair” had been ongoing for decades – would that shatter the confidence of fidelity one had in the other, or perhaps in one’s self as to an ability to “know” the world about, and come to be shaken to the core such that you could no longer believe in anyone, anything or any story, including the narrative of one’s own life that always previously appeared to be “happy” by all or most accounts?

Confidence is a fragile entity; a characteristic of the soul that takes but a minor injury to suddenly catapult into a traumatic event; and the “self” is always a mystery that the “other” can never quite grasp, no matter how many decades of study and analysis.

That is why a medical condition is so often an insidious invader and purveyor of shaken confidence, because the equation of physical or psychological derailment works upon an already fragile essence of the human self.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Postal Service or the Federal Agency because of a medical condition that intervenes and interrupts, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often intimately interconnected with issues of self, confidence, and the compound of the two – self-confidence.

It may be that the actions of the Federal agency or Postal facility have completely shattered and shaken one’s self-confidence; or, that confidences previously protected and privacy once thought to be inviolable have been breached; whatever the reasons, a medical condition will often invade the core of a self in doubt, and the confidence of one’s self may need to be repaired by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The limited reservoir

What if the reserve is limited, but we are never informed of it?  Perhaps the gods, fate or however the source of creation is defined, has placed a quota upon the extent of that which is expended, but we are never included in the corporate decision-making process – then, what?  Death, insanity or just plain debilitation and stoppage of activity; is that what we call “an unfortunate end”?

By “reservoir”, we normally mean that natural or artificial accumulation that is used for a specified purpose – the town’s water supply; a special cache of good wines; or perhaps, even that sixth player who is left sitting (a temporary “bench warmer” – though, perhaps in this climate of everyone being nice to each other, such terms are no longer considered appropriate) aside until a burst of fresh input is needed.

Concurrently, we expect that any depletion from the cistern is consistently replenished, except during periods of extreme droughts when we are forced to systematically make use of it with the justification that it is that for which we reserved it in the first place, and when times are better, we will take care in replacing that which seemed limitless just an eon ago.  And, why is it that when the main tank has been completely re-filled, we have a tendency towards excess and lavish spending, but when we hit the “reserve” indicator, suddenly we act with frugal caution and become responsible conservationist?

Is it because of our hereditary backgrounds as hunters and gatherers during a time of unknown and tenuous circumstances, when bodies hungrily stored fat in order to survive during those times of want and scarcity?

What if we are left with a limited number of words in life, and once expended, we become transformed into unnoticed mutes wandering across time, traversing the silence amidst others who have saved their reserve for future accessibility?

Life often “feels” like that – of having reached a point of depletion where the quota has been reached, the reservoir has been emptied, and the excess energy expired.

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 one’s Federal or Postal position, it often seems as if the reservoir needed in order to reach that golden mark when retirement age and cumulative years of Federal Service coalesce to allow for passing across the proverbial “finish line”, has been too early depleted.

Unfortunately, medical conditions hasten the reservoir of time, energy, patience and capacity to withstand the daily toil of workplace stresses and employment concerns, and there is often a need to access an alternate source of supply.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for that; it is a means to recognizing that the reservoir is limited, and that the medical condition has reached a critical point where replenishment is no longer an option.  Yet, even after a Federal Disability Retirement is achieved, the Federal and Postal worker can go out into the private sector and remain productive, and under the law, is allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays, and still maintain employment and receive the annuity.

For, while the reservoir of one’s life and talents may indeed be limited, it is the limitation of self-imposed stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge that the medical condition has reached a critical point, that often defeats and depletes long before the fuel gauge indicates a warning light of that ever-blinking “danger” point.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Form and Content

The complexity of the administrative procedure generally identified as “OPM Disability Retirement” is one replete with complicated forms to complete, sequence of procedures which are often confusing, and content of conundrums, followed by wait times which are frustrating, at best.

The spectrum of problems and concerns which arise throughout the process can be daunting and overwhelming. For the Federal employee or the Postal worker who suffers from a chronic medical condition, such that chronic pain, profound fatigue, the high distractibility from pain and discomfort; the impact upon one’s focus, concentration, and capacity to be attentive; with features of variegated residuals from chronic migraine headaches; or perhaps the psychiatric impact of symptoms from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder, etc. — the balance of life which one must maintain, with the demands of work or the loss of such capacity to work, combined with the added pressures inherent in the preparation and completion of a Federal Disability Retirement application, can in their compound aggregate, be paralyzing.

The Standard Forms themselves can be confusing, puzzling and the complexity of the requirements can have a procrastinating effect upon the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing. The content of what needs to be stated, what should be included, what meets the legal requirement for eligibility for a Federal Disability Retirement application — all together can be the basis for a successful application or a failed endeavor from the start. Standard Form 3112 involves both the applicant (the Federal employee and the Postal worker) as well as the agency. SF 3107 (for those under FERS) and SF 2801 (for those under CSRS) also require involvement by both the agency and the applicant, but are more informational than perspective/opinion-oriented. But both sets of forms must be completed.

Form and content comprise the crux of everything in life, from simple organic compounds to complex bureaucratic procedures. It is the dualism which constitutes the core of life’s mysteries, and this is no less true in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS & CSRS disability retirement benefits through OPM, whether one is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire