Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Difficult Road Ahead

The challenge of the day ahead may not even be known, yet.  It is like the parable of the young man who thought that the day’s challenge was comprised of taking a test that he had barely studied for; upon waking, a tornado crumbled his house and he lost all of his belongings; his fiancé broke up with him and ran off with his best friend; his parents informed him that they were financially ruined and could no longer pay for his tuition; and on top of it all, his dog and only remaining friend ran off with his now ex-fiance, preferring her company to his.

But that he could have seen the difficult road ahead as merely the test-taking task; reality was much harsher than the imagined problems, and yet his imagination and worry about the test for which he was unprepared caused greater damage by robbing him that morning of a sense of peace.

Now, take the counter-parable: The same young man, but he woke up worrying about potential calamities that might occur: Maybe his fiancé didn’t really love him and would run away with his best friend; perhaps his parents will encounter financial difficulties and leave him penniless; it could turn out that a tornado could hit his town and destroy everything; and what if his dog ran off, never to return again?

None of these events happened, and he got up early, studied for his test some more, and performed adequately.  Yet again, however, the worries he worried about — although none came to fruition — did greater damage to his health than the reality of what actually occurred.

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 Federal or Postal job, the difficult road ahead is comprised of a number of factors: One’s medical condition; the incompatibility between the medical condition and the Federal or Postal job; and whether or not the Agency or the Postal Service can accommodate you.  Let’s not worry about things that may or may not happen, but attend first to the things that are actually occurring.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and map out a realistic strategy in dealing with the real problems on the difficult road ahead.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Options

The telephone-recorded options are the most irritating of all, of course — for, if you hit the wrong one, or fail to remember the correct numeral identified after being offered an endless litany of alternatives, none of which quite fit what you are looking for, then you have to wait until a further option is offered to go back to the general directory in order to once again choose the option offered.

Have such recordings become more irritating as time has passed, or is it that we have become so numb to so many such encounters that we have lost patience with that metallic voice that has replaced the human one?  What is it about a recording that gets us so incensed?

Objectively, isn’t it all the same — we never “meet” the “person” anyway, whether it is a recording or a “real person” on the other end of the line: both are mere voices, but why is the automated recording so much more irritating than a live person?  Is it because we know the futility of landing a sarcastic response to the recording, as opposed to slamming our frustrations upon an individual who possesses feelings, and whose day we can potentially ruin by shouting, yelling, demeaning and spewing forth destructive epithets to and against?

In life generally, we all have them — options.  Sometimes, we are confronted with too many, and thus are left with a confounding sense of confusion.  At other times, the options are “there” somewhere, but we just don’t know them because we are too blind to the ones hidden or too stubborn to concede our ignorance.  In those instances, it is best to consult with someone who can present the options hidden, those unstated, or otherwise unknown.

In some circumstances, of course, the options available may be severely limited — as in a Federal or Postal employee suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s essential job functions.  In such situations, the limited options must be considered in light of the priorities one assigns to the values one accords: How important is one’s health?  Is the deterioration of one’s health as exacerbated by the job one is remaining in important enough to continue with?  If so, perhaps disability retirement is not the “right” option.

Stay and remain; resign, walk away or get terminated and do nothing; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The three options presented must be considered in light of one’s health, the effects upon it if one remains, and whether the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will continue to tolerate one’s excessive absences, inability to perform many of the essential functions of one’s job, etc.

When, after the options are considered, the Federal or Postal employee decides to move forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, then it is time to consider further options as well, such as whether one wants to represent one’s self in the process, like the old adage of that person who has a fool for a client — of representing one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Sad stories

Is sadness relative?  Are there sad stories that are so sad that even the ones that were considered sad prior to the sadder story being told, somehow nullify the lesser sad stories and make them into not sad stories?  Do we, after hearing the sadder tale, turn to the first story teller and say, “Yours was not so sad, after all, and in fact you have it pretty good”?

If a person tells of having just buried his mother, and you ask, “How old was she?”  He responds, “She was 95”.  Then, someone else says, “I just had to bury my 5 year old daughter.”  There would be a dead silence, would there not?  Surely, we say to ourselves, the death of a person who had a long life is not nearly as sad as the ending of one so tender in years, and as death is merely a part of life, there is something inherently sadder about the child’s life ending than that of a person who had a long life?

Both represent a life ended, but it is the knowledge that the former had fulfilled the natural course of a life while the latter was the victim of an early tragedy, unnaturally ended and interrupted for all of its promise, hope and anticipation for the future – surely, there is a qualitative difference between the two sad tales?

Or of someone who was recently fired from a job and is desperately trying to seek new employment; say that person is looking through the want-ads in the employment section (yes, yes, that is entirely outdated nowadays with special apps for resume-sharing and online submissions, etc.), and in the course of searching, reads a story about a far-off country where war, famine and general devastation are ongoing, and discovers with interest a sub-story about a family that is homeless and is being hunted down by enemies, etc.  Does one at that point straighten one’s posture and declare, “Wow, even though I am jobless, I have it pretty good in comparison to that family in country X”?

Yet, if sadness is relative, does that necessarily negate the sad tale completely, or does it merely reduce its impact and value until another comparative judgment is made?  Do we go and search out a less sad tale after debunking the sadness of one’s own with a sadder tale, in order to “restore” the sadness of our own?  Or, does each sadness remain a sadness in isolation regardless of the comparative sadness to another’s?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the sadness of that medical condition becomes such and to an extent where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sadness aside, every tale of ending a career is a sadness in and of itself, but the key to getting beyond any such sadness rests in the next steps, not in the footsteps of one’s past or those of others, but in getting good legal advice and moving on into the next phase of one’s future.  Anything else would, whether in comparison to another’s sadness or not, be the truly sad tale of sadness defined.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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, is never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Balance of Body

Have you ever noticed that, if you attempt to compensate with one extremity over another, whether because of pain or temporary incapacitation in an attempt to alleviate and relieve the lesser limb, that the one in use becomes slowly debilitated as well?  The body is a balanced mechanism; it is designed to work in coordinated fashion, as a unit of entirety.  It may well be that if one component of that working aggregate requires temporary suspension, that another unit may, for a time, serve as the greater replacement by working “overtime”; but in the end, all workers are expected to return to full labor, lest the entire operation itself shuts down.

That is why pain and similar symptoms serve as a warning system for a greater condition.  People often think that compensating for a medical condition can be derived through persevering and ignoring; instead, what happens is that the other parts of the body begin to shut down and deteriorate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector, the attempt to overcompensate often leads to greater exacerbation, both in terms of the medical condition itself, as well as for the agency through bringing greater attention to one’s self.

It may be that a Federal or Postal worker may, for a time, get away with persevering and neglect of the warning systems; but in the end, the intricate and delicate balance of body, like the greater ecosystem of nature, will begin to reveal signs of wear and decay, and the time lost in taking the necessary steps will merely be unrecoverable segments of lapsed periods, where commas and pauses needed to be overcome in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those Days of Mental Clarity

One often remarks that we live for such days; when energy, motivation, clarity of mind and enthusiasm for life surges through our veins; one’s outlook is positive, the mystery of life is resolved, and no challenge is too onerous to overcome.  But then the mundane monotony of repetitive thoughtlessness returns; and life is back to the normalcy of day-to-day living.

Do we really live for such moments?  Or is it actually the opposite effect — that such days are mere reminders that living constitutes a linear course of relative quietude, interrupted by interludes of awakenings, like dreams impeded by nightmares in the solitude of self-contained solace.

Medical conditions have a similar impact; days of chronic pain, of lethargy and depression; and the cycle of becoming momentarily pain-free reminds one that there exists a plateau of health where the negation of illness or loss of wellness is the actual normative lifestyle, but where a medical condition reverses such a state of consciousness such that we adapt and come to accept a life of pain and chronic illness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the daily pain and impact of psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress-induced somatic disorders, as well as lesser-accepted physical conditions of Fibromyalgia, unspecified cognitive disorders, etc., can be the foundational basis of a Federal Disability Retirement claim.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available to all Federal and Postal workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, once the minimum years of Federal Service is met, and the preponderance of the evidence proves that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional requirements of the job.

Like those days of mental clarity, the necessity of filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits becomes a reality at some point in the evolution of one’s career, in the struggle to maintain sanity of health in a world which allows for chaos in this bureaucratized phenomena called the Federal system of government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Law Firm: The Fear of Change

The concept of a person, of what constitutes the differentiating identity of person X as opposed to Y, or multiple others, derives from the Greek etiology of “persona” — of actors on a stage wearing costumes and masks, and able to portray a certain character in mostly tragic narratives entangling gods, men, love and jealousies.

It is those differing masks which we put on — of the joyful father, the loving husband, the implacable worker, the tireless servant, and so many others — which in their constituted composite, represent the personhood of who we are.  It is also, sadly, the interference and uncontrollable crisis which begins to fracture and break apart the very essence of being of a person.  Medical conditions have a tendency to do just that. For, the pervasive and insidious nature of a medical condition crosses the lines of the multiple masks which we wear, and begin to sully the demarcations and sharp divisions of character.

For the Federal employee with a disability who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERs or CSRS, the invasive intrusion, unsolicited, unwanted and uncalled for, of a medical condition, may involve the sudden realization that priorities must be reordered and reorganized — not the least of which, work, the mission of the agency, and the divergent interests of what is best for one’s self as opposed to that of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement benefits allows for the recapturing of one’s personhood when it is most needed; and while every Federal employee and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must still put on various masks in playing the role of life, it is the one born of tragedy which must be put aside, by filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits in an effort to change the inevitable conclusion of a Greek tragedy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire