Experiential Responses: Medical Retirement for Postal & Civilian Federal Employees

Life’s garbage is supposed to teach us lessons; that is what we are taught from a young age.  Thus, long lines allow for an opportunity to test patience; insults and ingratitudes, self control; imprudent behavior, an antipathy towards it; lengthy battles, allowing a lesson to forge on while others give up; and similar encounters which provide ample revelations for altering one’s natural instinct of regressive responses.

But the other force which powers its way in an insidious and countermanding manner, is the very negation of lessons learned: of finding security in habitual and repetitive behavior; of responding in a known manner, because past actions of an established quality provide a zone of comfort in contrast to an unknown future.  But medical conditions in and of themselves are unknown factors which impede, intrude, and interrupt.  Sometimes, not acting is as deleterious as proceeding against life’s lessons, learned or yet unachieved.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition not only impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties but, beyond that, has already impacted the extent of experiential encounters with one’s agency, supervisor, coworkers, etc., it may be that one must reconstitute and consider changes which may be anathema to one’s very nature: patience for long-term treatment may not work, as one’s agency may be impatient; self-control towards the ingratitude manifested may not be enough; and imprudent behavior engaged in by one’s agency may be an acceptable norm of standards to follow.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are meant to allow for the Federal and Postal employee to attain a level of livelihood in order to attend to the most important of life’s experiential encounters: one’s health.

While filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, may feel like one is “giving up” instead of forging forward despite adversity; the reality of it is that filing for OPM Disability Retirement does not constitute defeat or surrender, but rather an affirmative move to change the stage of the battlefield.  Further, in life, it is not always the “good guy” that wins. Sometimes, the guy in the white hat must walk away, only to see another day to engage the greater battle of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: ICM versus ICBM

During the Cold War era, the latter acronym was familiar to most, as fears were magnified as to the intercontinental capacity of the U.S.S.R. (those who can still decipher this immediately reveals one’s age).  In those days, one did not need to know the Eastern European countries by name; they all fell under the satellite rubric of the “union” of those with “the Bear”.  ICBMs were counted and their capacity and efficacy were determined by the exponential powers of the number of “warheads” attached.

ICMs, on the other hand, are a fairly recent phenomenon. They show the extent, or the lack thereof, in what agencies and individuals with minor fiefdoms will perpetuate.  They can also be metaphorical antonyms of ICBMs, in that when one possesses an ICM, it can result in the prevention of an ICBM being launched across the barricades of time.

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, because of a medical condition which is impacting one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to utilize one’s hoard of ICMs.

Agencies often have no need or, rather, they will often disregard the need, to engage in utilizing impulsivity control mechanisms, because they have the power to hire, fire, reprimand, reassign or otherwise penalize the serfs of this world. But for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is important to apply the various impulsivity control mechanisms available, including resisting the urge to inform a supervisor until the proper time; the inclination to make derogatory references about the workplace in one’s Statement of Disability; and other impulses which may ultimately harm the goal of attainment sought: of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, granted through an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, in the end, the ICBMs remained in cold storage [sic], precisely because the greater instinct for humanity’s survival depended upon the evolutionary relevance of ICMs.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Resilience

One often hears about the fragile ecosystem of which we are a part.  We speak of such natural orders as if they are somehow separate and distinct from our own existence, and indeed, because we create insular communities and artificial oases of cocoon-like existences, differentiated from the rest of the natural world, we can refer to such organic systems as if they are merely textbook civilizations of another universe.

The linear line of manufacture-to-production, then to commercial commodity-to-consumption, where we pick up neatly packaged goods at the local grocery store, alienates us from the harsh reality of the slaughterhouse.  Just for academic interest-sake, look up the history of polio and how interconnected the epidemic came to be as a result of cleanliness, antiseptic living, and the desire to dominate our environment.  By separating ourselves and creating our own artificial universe of separateness, one wonders whether human frailty is another one of those unintended consequences.

The counter to such a view, of course, is the known resilience of human beings.  Even devastating and debilitating medical conditions often serve to magnify the strength of human character.  That is why, for Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where the medical condition has come to a critical point of impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, such Federal and Postal employees have often waited until they cannot wait any longer.  While not the wisest of decisions, it shows the resilience and determination of human beings.

Yes, Federal and Postal employees often have the unwarranted reputation of being civil servants who don’t “really” earn their money; but that is merely the ignorant groans from an unknowing public.  Federal and Postal employees whom this author has had the privilege to represent, are to a person workers who have dedicated their lives to the detriment of their own suffering.

For Federal and Postal Workers who need to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, no amount of apologies for such a decision should be necessary.  For, in the end, the most important of ecosystems which needs to be preserved and protected is that comprised of the individual human body, which is a self-contained ecosystem in and of itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Those Welcome Distractions

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step which admits of a stark reality:  One’s medical condition has come to a point of irreversible deterioration, such that the impact upon one’s ability to continue in one’s chosen career now manifests itself to a degree which can no longer be concealed.

Interludes of distractions in life — whether a holiday, a period of inclement weather; perhaps a child’s sports event; or even watching the Olympics on television with one’s family; all such distractions allowed for needed interruptions and delays in facing the harsh reality of one’s situation, and each such delay allowed for procrastination and avoidance of the issues.  But at some point, the decision has to be made, and when one runs out of such welcome distractions, the pragmatic steps in order to successfully file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must be systematically considered.

How and when to approach one’s treating doctor to garner the necessary support; the timing of informing one’s agency; a careful study of the factual and legal criteria necessary to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS; obtaining legal advice, guidance and representation; the time involved; the costs involved; making the adjustments for one’s future, etc.

Life’s distractions are small pockets of delights; but when the distractions detract from making important decisions, it is time to reconsider the prioritization matrix upon which one’s foundation is built.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Tenuous Thread of Life

In this, our desensitized, sanitized life; in a world of virtual reality and technological complexity, the modern man has little empathy for the tenuous thread of life.

We are conditioned and trained more to cry over a movie scene than the tragedy which befalls a real entity. A well-rehearsed scene which evokes a glandular response, perfected at the 50th take with artificial lighting and poll-tested under the directorship of professionals, will tug the sympathies of our fellow man, than the unseen damage done to the psyche of a puppy lost in a world of daily productivity.

That is the stark reality which the Federal and Postal Worker must face in seeking Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; of avoiding the land mines of adverse actions by one’s agency; of trying to contain the disdain of fellow Federal or Postal Employees who suddenly begin to shun those who are not part of “the team” and who cannot justify their existence because of lack of productivity.

It is the tenuous thread of life which becomes all the more real and revealing; for, it is ultimately not what we produce or how much; what we consume or which brand; rather, it is how we tend to the weakest and the flimsy which represents the soul of a person, a neighborhood, a community.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which preserves the dignity of the Federal and Postal Worker by providing for a base annuity, and then to allow that person to go out and try a new vocation and career without penalizing that person for again becoming a productive member of society.

That tenuous thread of life; it is well worth fighting for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

USPS Postal and Federal Gov. Disability Retirement: That False Sense of Loyalty

Longevity often masks itself for loyalty; yet, when an organization is so large and impersonal such that each cog in the wheel merely represents an irrelevant fraction of the larger entity, then the relative importance of the individual becomes correspondingly diminished in relation to the greater whole.

Loyalty has always implied the concept of bilateralism; but within an organization which has become a virtual Leviathan, it becomes an unilateral concept.  For Federal and Postal employees, length of service and commitment to the agency’s “mission” will often engender a strong sense of loyalty.  But such loyalty is misplaced if it is paid with the price of one’s medical health, whether physical, emotional, or psychological.

One of the greatest obstacles which forestalls a Federal or Postal employee from filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a sense of shame and misguided loyalty to one’s agency.  Somehow, the Federal or Postal employee thinks that he or she is “letting the agency down” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement and separating from Federal Service.  But such a sense of loyalty is misplaced, misguided, and at best a self-immolation of purposes.

Look to see how the agency treats you in actions, not in terms of how you perceive how the world should be.  While honor is a virtue to be applauded, failure to preserve one’s health is a folly which cannot be afforded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Dealing with Adversity

How does one deal with adversity?  When the adversary is a faceless entity, a bureaucracy which acts as a behemoth of epic proportions, one must take care in choosing the proper battle to engage.  For, ultimately, the victory or loss of a battle is often determined by logistical considerations — of where and when it is fought.

Further, it is important to identify who the “enemy” is against whom one wages a battle.  Is it a separate entity, or is the real enemy one’s self?  When an individual is suffering from a medical condition such that one is weakened, others will often begin to smell the scent of such weakness, and begin to prey upon the deteriorated stateit is “worth the while” to fight against the agency, the system, and the entirety of the Federal Bureaucracy.

It is well and good to say, “I’m not giving up” and to fight for one’s rights, but at what cost?  At the cost of one’s health?

More often than not, it is a smart strategic move to leave the battle s of being.  That is the law of the runt; it is the rule of the world.  For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a position where one’s medical conditions have deteriorated to a point where he/she can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to consider whether cene, and go into the quietude of the morning sun, in order to find the space of recuperative peace, in order to come back to battle another day.

Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is just such a safety hatch; and whether you are under FERS or CSRS, it is a consideration worth noting, and taking, in order to regain one’s strength, to come back for another day — next time, from atop the vantage point of a hill, instead of looking up from the valley of death and destruction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Disjunctive between Words and Actions

In symbolic logic, there is the disjunctive which allows for a choice between two elements, and one must exhaustively pursue the symbolic “tree” in order to arrive at a logical conclusion.  At each fork in the road, there remains a choice; the pursuit of each road leads to the answer one searches for.

Similarly, in life, one is often confronted with such metaphorical “forks in the road“, and the choice which one embraces will determine whether the path taken leads to — if not a logically sound outcome — a reasonable judgment.

Throughout the career of the Federal or Postal employee, a sense of “loyalty” is stressed; that if one works hard, one will be rewarded; if the agency succeeds in its accomplishments, the individual worker who contributed will be acknowledged, praised, etc.  But the true test of sincerity is actions, not more words.

When the time comes when a Federal or Postal employee is overwhelmed by a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, then that is precisely the time to “cash in” on that loyalty which the agency had previously and so honorably declared to be of penultimate importance.

Don’t count on it.

If one’s agency indeed confirms the sincerity of its words, then that is an exponential benefit to the process of one’s life and career.  But short of that, one has reached a true “fork-in-the-road”, tripartite in character, and the choice is often one of walking away, being constantly harassed, or filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Federal Disability benefits were always part and parcel of a Federal or Postal employee’s total compensation package.  It was part of the reason why you “signed on” as a Federal or Postal worker.

When the appropriate time comes — when a medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — then it is time to go down that path, and pursue the tree of logic, and look out for one’s own best interest — and not merely be blinded by the words of an agency which somehow declares a state of amnesia when it comes to such vainglorious words like honor, loyalty, and the mission of the agency.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Syndrome of, “I Can’t Understand It”

In all aspects of life, both professional and personal, it is easy to get stuck in a rut where one cannot walk away from a particular irritant.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, one cannot afford to engage in the luxury of pausing for too long in attempting to understand the reasoning, rationale, or alleged justification for a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, as issued by the Office of Personnel Management.  

It is easy to get caught up in attempting to “figure out” the foundational basis of an OPM denial.  One can get stuck in a self-pity mode of asserting to one’s self that everything had been carefully gathered; the medical documentation was impeccable and irrefutable; even the Agency supported the Federal Disability Retirement application by acknowledging and conceding the fact that (A) the Federal or Postal employee’s medical documentation was of a severity such that (B) it prevented him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  

Yet, while listing each of the medical evidence and recognizing the extent of the symptomatologies, the prior surgeries, the medication regimens, etc. — despite all of that, the concluding sentence by the Office of Personnel Management states:  “We cannot determine by the evidence presented that you are disabled under the law,” or, “The medical evidence submitted is insufficient to meet the criteria for Federal Disability Retirement purposes.”  

What?  However, it is best to simply “move on”.  

It does little to no good to remain entrapped in the syndrome of, “I can’t understand it,” because that same syndrome inevitably leads to, “I am going to waste my time trying.”  Extract what can rationally be understood; present updated medical information; prepare the best and most compelling legal arguments, and prepare for the long haul of the legal administrative process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Patience and the Attorney

Attorneys have limitations.  This may be a surprise to some people; many believe that because an attorney is involved, mountains can be moved and cases can be immediately resolved.  There are always “war stories” about the worker that X knows who filed a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS and got it approved within a couple of weeks, and got paid immediately the day after.  One should always be suspicious of such stories; they may or may not be true, but there is never a way to verify the truth, falsity or exaggeration of such stories without directly contacting the individual. 

What is “known” for certainty is that the Office of Personnel Management is a large governmental entity; it moves slowly; “demanding” that something must get done immediately, merely because one is represented by an attorney, will not necessarily make it so.  If a client hires an OPM Disability Attorney because he or she thinks that the OPM Disability Retirement application will go to the front of the line and bypass all administrative obstacles, then there must be some misunderstanding.  A Federal Disability Attorney should be hired to represent a disabled Federal or Postal employee based upon the following criteria:  (1)  The application stands a better chance of approval at the first stage, and (2) in the event of a federal disability denial, a responsive rebuttal will continue to increase the chances of ultimate approval.  For, that is the point of legal representation — ultimate approval.  The “fight” may have many rounds; it is the ultimate round of success which the attorney is most concerned with, in order to secure the long-term future of the client. Yes, the immediate pain of waiting, of financial uncertainty, etc., is very trying, and hardships abound.  That is where patience must come in.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire