OPM Disability Retirement: The Pre-planned Life

Planning is part of our culture; from birth, to plan for old age; from the first entrance into a career, to consider the options for retirement funding; from the days of schooling, to determine the course of one’s career; and multiple intermediate pre-planning considerations, often mundane in nature, such as what to eat for dinner, how many children to have, where to live, etc.  Whether animals plan for the day, and to what extent, may be debated; what cannot be disputed is the extent and complexity in comparison to the pre-planning engaged in by Man.

But life rarely follows along the neat and uninterrupted course of a plan determined days, months or years prior; instead, the hiccups of life are what make for interesting interludes of unexpected turns and twists.  The proverbial nest egg may not have developed as quickly; one’s expectations of career goals may not have blossomed; a child may have come unplanned; or a lost puppy may have appeared at one’s doorstep.

Medical conditions are somewhat like those interruptions of interludes; they may not be as pleasant as some other hiccups, but they are realities which people have to deal with.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where medical conditions prevent them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to undertake two preliminary steps:  An assessment of the medical condition and whether it is likely to resolve within a year or less; if not, to investigate and become informed about Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

One of the elements which must be shown is that one’s medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  This can normally be easily accomplished by a doctor who can provide a prognosis fairly early on in the process.

And perhaps a third step:  A recognition that lives rarely travel along a pre-planned route, no matter what you were taught to believe, and more than that, that the value of one’s life should not be reflected by veering into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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

Gradual decline or ascendancy is a concept which is difficult to grasp, precisely because one’s training to render judgements is based upon viewing an object or issue in its entirety.  Darwinian evolution is a paradigm based upon minute, incrementally selective alterations, imperceptible in any slice of time, but which slowly and progressively alters the genetic make-up of a species.  The question of consciousness and the Cartesian mind-body problem also involves the idea that, beyond the compilation of complexities inherent in the human brain, there is something more in existence than merely the physical in the wholeness of man.

Such concepts are also applicable in the administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement claim submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  For, on the one hand, the very reason why many Federal or Postal workers remain in the position at their agency is precisely because of incrementalism — in progressive decline, or in hopes of ascendancy.

Often, medical conditions are characterized by a gradual decline, increasingly debilitating, and imperceptibly deteriorating over time.  If one views one’s medical condition at the beginning of the year, then again at the end of the same year, the progression may well be noticeable; but on any given day, because of the incremental nature of the disease, one may perceive the condition as merely static.

Conversely, the hope of ascendancy — that “tomorrow brings a new day” — is likely an evolutionary paradigm built into human nature for survival benefits.  But the reality is that most people who suffer from chronic and progressively deteriorating medical conditions need to reach a period of rehabilitative rest in order to get better.

Recognition of the subtle but insidious nature of incrementalism is vital to survival.  It may be time to consider thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS before it is “too late”; for, while time passes in gradual ascendancy, the deterioration and decline of the human body and mind waits not for a better tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Hope versus Pragmatic Assessment

Hope is a peculiarly human characteristic; it is both a motivator and an incentive; yet, an unrealistic embracing of it, without reality-based assessments, can lead to a frail sense of overwhelming despondency.  Hope is the substantive element of the con-artist; for, the fraudulent plan to defraud another is based upon fostering the believer that — though it may sound too good to be true — the hope that human nature is good, and the results of such a scheme would reward one with lasting riches, is the thread which tugs at the unsuspecting and naive.  Gambling, the Lottery — despite the exponential odds against winning, are a testament to the human foible identified as “hope”.  Do animals possess it?  Perhaps in some unstated, inherent way — that the potential food source will not be as formidable as it may appear.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often the sense of “hope” which leads to procrastination, a delay to the detriment of the Federal or Postal Worker.  Whether the hope that the workplace environment will change; that perhaps, one day soon, a new supervisor will come along; that the medical condition will improve despite the doctor’s reticence and reluctance to make eye contact when the question is asked; whether the surgery just prior to, or the multiple history of surgeries, did nothing to feed any realistic assessment of hope; whatever the reasons, yes, “hope” is a uniquely human characteristic, and indeed, that which brings us closer to the angels than the apes below.

But in considering Federal Disability Retirement, hope must be combined with other human characteristics — of pragmatism, logic, analytical assessment, and the ability to plan for the future.  Hope, in and of itself, while feeding the soul, fails to feed the body; and as human beings are not quite angels, the practical needs of life must be attended to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire