Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Persistence versus giving up

The latter should never be an option, although it is too often contemplated; and the former requires either a dull sense of reality or an in-born stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge defeat.  Both are often the result of the countermanding characteristic of the opponent who relies upon the fact that a certain percentage of the population either lacks the characteristic of persistence or otherwise will ultimately give up with nary an effort or will to fight on.

How many battles in history’s billfold of forgotten memories resulted in defeat because of a ruse portrayed by the enemy?  It is the bold pretension that tests the resolve and allows for victory or defeat; the knowledge that there will always be a certain number of people who, upon facing any resistance or adversity, will simply “give up” and surrender.  Thus is it left up to those who will persist no matter the challenge, where adversity and contention will be endured no matter the cost.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who enter the arena of a Federal Disability Retirement process, one should always expect and prepare each stage “as if” the battle at the next stage will ensue.  If a denial is issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement application, of course it is going to be written and conveyed “as if” the case never had a chance, “as if” none of the medical evidence had any relevance or significance, and “as if” you don’t even come near to meeting the criteria for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement.

By sounding “as if” you never had a chance and failed miserably to meet any and all legal criteria for eligibility, OPM is banking on your lack of persistence and the concomitant reaction of simply giving up.

However, persistence is the key to success, and giving up is merely a prelude to a victory near at hand if only one steps back, takes a deep breath, and realizes that, from the very beginning, Federal Disability Retirement was never going to be an easy road to bear — but a consultation with an experienced attorney may well lift the burden of the beast where persistence is the key and not giving up is the pathway to a successful outcome at the next stage of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Information: The pleasure robbery

There are “highway robberies”, “train robberies” (distinguishable from THE great train robbery, which has become a historical feature of mythical proportions) and “bank robberies” (is there a single one that overshadows all others, or are they better identified by the characters who perpetrated them, like “Bonnie and Clyde”, Ma Barker, John Dillinger or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc.?); there is the “car jacking” which is nothing more complicated than the robbery of a vehicle, except perhaps by violent means and confrontation with the driver and/or owner; Skyjacking or Hijacking; and then there are “grand” or “petty” larcenies, depending upon the amount stolen, as well as special formulations with particularly distinctive and distinguishing details, like “embezzlement” (which often must possess an employer-employee relationship) or exerting “undue influence” in the act of stealing (as in cases of elder-abuse where a child or relative begins to siphon off wealth from one’s own family member); and many other types of simple criminal acts of absconding with that which is not one’s own to possess.

But what about the daily occurrences of the most prevalent incidents — that of the pleasure robbery? You know — those simple acts of mental anguish, where worry steals and robs from the pleasure of the moment; where an anticipated future event not yet having come to fruition constantly overwhelms where one is obsessed with the expectation of disaster, and thus robs the person of any pleasures taken for the moment?  This often happens on the weekend, doesn’t it?  From late Friday until Monday morning, the worry and anxiety sets in, robbing from the reserve that the weekend itself was meant to preserve and restore; and it is the pleasure robbery that leaves one with the greatest of devastating effects: profound and unrelenting fatigue, and not just from the imagined catastrophe that has not yet occurred, but moreover, from the anxiety and worry itself.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition, where the medical condition is impacting and preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of the pleasure robbery is a familiar one: for, one’s future, one’s career, and one’s livelihood are often at stake.

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, may not be the “total solution” for the anxiety that it may cause — whether because of the knowledge of a reduced income or the admission that the Federal or Postal employee must face the reality of one’s medical condition. However — despite being a complex administrative process, it is nevertheless a benefit that may resolve some of the perplexing questions that often accompany a medical condition, and set one onto a path of future hope and greater certainty in order to stabilize a world of unfathomable uncertainties, and at the very least, to stop the pleasure robbery from any further stealing away the needed rest and peace that weekends, vacations and a good night’s sleep are meant to provide.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Admitting defeat

It is probably the single most difficult thing to do in life, and its inability reflects upon the abysmal state of education, both higher and lower.  The manner in which education is perpetuated – where “right answers” receive accolades and admitting of defeat merely alters the pecking order of who is admired and who are relegated to the detritus of human society – merely reinforces the greater loss of empathy, the destruction of civility and the coarsening of society.

Facebook, too, merely perpetuates the focus upon destroying an opponent and quieting any voices that may provide a quiet revolution, as alternate voices are silenced into submission by mere meanness of bombardment and repetition.  Some would applaud this all-too Darwinian approach as merely reinforcing the innate nature of “survival of the fittest” – for, admitting defeat is tantamount to revealing weakness, and the weak are mere fodder for the strong and stronger.

Whether in argumentation of discourse or fighting battles, wars – real or virtual – or verbal encounters characterized as harmless skirmishes on the Internet, it matters not anymore the manner in which one prevails, only that one does reach the apex of any endeavor, profession or undertaking.

Once upon a time, there were some rules of engagement – of a civil discourse where debates were conducted in quiet tones and respectful venues, and where humility called for admission of recognizing the greater argument which results in establishing the goal for the greater good.  Now, it matters not the means; for the end justifies the means and if you can shout down the opponent, lie about the facts and cheat around the strategy, it is the winner who is looked up to and the victor who walks away with the spoils.

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 positional duties, it may be that the best way to avoid admitting defeat is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, but somehow one’s priorities have become skewered in this obsessive-world where admitting a medical condition is tantamount to admitting defeat, as opposed to merely recognizing the limits of human endurance and the frailty of the human condition.

Fortunately, the rules governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal or Postal employee receiving Federal Disability Retirement benefits to go out into the private sector, or even into the state or local government, and work at another job or vocation and make up to 80% of what one’s Federal Government or Postal job currently pays, and thus, to that extent, obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is not considered admitting defeat, but merely a change of venue in the pathways of life’s complexities throughout.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The smile

Some say that dogs don’t do it, but dog-lovers know better.  Cats certainly do, but with a slyness that betrays sincerity; and chimpanzees, hippopotamuses and elephants.  Birds cannot because of the rigidity of their beaks; and squirrels, certainly, with their flitting movements as they run joyfully across lawns and up treetops where nuts galore await their anticipation of delight.  But of human beings; we all engage it, but whether with sincerity or to conceal, that is always a question that needs pondering.

The eyes often tell all; as Plato and others have described it in metaphorical terms, the window to one’s soul; and so one may walk about and force upon the watching world the curl around one’s lips, but the vacant stares or the look of pain, the distant eyes that betray the insincerity of the smile will often manifest the anomaly of what the expression means.

Only human beings can portray the opposite of that which is natural.  For, with animals (and yes, that includes dogs, as well, despite what the so-called “experts” say) the smile is just that – an expression of the facial features that impresses upon the world that happiness, contentment and a tummy rub (i.e., for dogs) produces the effect that naturally comes about – the smile.

For humans, however, it may be to conceal; of the smile that says to the world, yes, I am happy by all appearances, so leave me alone and allow me to wallow in my own secretive misery.  Or, the expression on the face that curls the lips just before the smiling face stabs one in the back.  Or, in a group of people where everyone is talking and smiling, you spot across the room the person who is also smiling, but still you wonder, for the eyes don’t quite match the curling expression.

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 the Federal or Postal job and position, the smile that conceals is often the one that is worn day in and day out – to conceal the pain, to hide the truth, to cover the anguish.

One cannot be genuine and continue on in life if the inner turmoil does not match the outer reality of life’s living.  It may be time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if only to have the smile on one’s face return where the genuineness of the expression matches the reality of one’s situation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Private hells

It is a familiar refrain to note that everyone has a self-contained “private hell”; and an even greater understanding that it is well that such thoughts of other hells are both private, and for the most part, left silent without conveyance or communication.  But that is changing, in large part, because people believe that mass dissemination of information has now unleashed any unspoken decorum of dignified discretion.

We believe, now, that everyone should “tell all”; that private matters once left as remnants of shameful self-confessions should be publicized because it is healthy for the inner soul to be uncovered.  But if that were really true, wouldn’t utopia have descended upon the Western World by now?

Revolutionary experimentation is often a good thing – at least, in limited dosages of consumable quantities with tolerable levels of tenacity.  But the mass acceleration of unlimited informational discharges, as evidenced by the Internet, Smartphone usage and widespread hacking and release of information of such great quantities that we cannot even begin to sift through the volume, has resulted in less, than more.  Is it because of the consumer age of technological advancement in which we all presume that “more” equates to “better”?

Once upon a time, in the quietude of an asceticism viewed with reflective consternation, the serious young individual considered shame, hesitation and discretion of public pronouncement; now, however, we have lost faith, abandoned decorum, and relinquished sovereignty, such that we have sold our souls for a mere pittance in return.

We can “tell all” so that expiation of sins once reserved for Dante’s circle of hell could be replaced with and substituted for a therapeutic society which never quite treats effective, rarely cures and always costs.  The cost of what we have given up never returns that which we have invested, and what was once sacrosanct is now mere fodder for comedians and irreverence for late night chatter and laughter of the belly-aching kind.

Somehow, private hells no longer exist; instead, they end up being confessed on a daytime show by a host who is deemed to be a doctor, but of what kind, we are never told.  Private hells imply two consonants of behavioral conflicts:  of a secret and limited access of information (privacy) combined with a torment unimagined and unfelt by others (hell).  Does the former (privacy) exacerbate the latter (hell), such that there is therapeutic value in publicizing that which is private, which would then allow for hell to become transformed into heaven?

We tend to believe so, and this generation of modernity has begun the journey down that path without any empirical evidence to support its belief-system.  Whether it will work, or not, time will tell.  For the time being, however, the private hells which consume the islands of individuals will result in the devastation of souls and psyches, as it has throughout the history of mankind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who endure through such private hells, suffering from a medical condition only exponentially creates a greater hell than the earthly one which most people already experience.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.

The means is the administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The “ends” will come about in order to escape that private hell, which is the slice of heavenly gratuity we are given with the birth of an unasked-for life, impeded by uncalled-for harassment, by unapproachable supervisors and managers unabashedly unconscious of the private hells they themselves have created.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: And then we die

(It is the parenthetical previous statement that ultimately matters, left blank to be completed, and never to be presumed).  Actions of finality, or seemingly so, tend to create an aura of despair and angst.  Once, in a world where purpose was never questioned, and the teleological end of man never brought forth the hint of doubt, the cohesiveness of society’s resolve was never a pause.  It is the modernity of hesitation, trepidation and loss of judgment that brings us to the pit of incessant questioning, as opposed to “doing”.  This is a maddening world, where the rise of Existentialism and post-modern impotence leaves us to seek therapy at every turn.

What we do in our lives before that terminal event; what dreams we once possessed before the souring of cynicism overwhelmed us; and of those lazy summer nights when the dancing illumination of fireflies dotted the canvas of a blackened void, when thoughts would drift beyond the mere mediocrities of present lives, current circumstances and seemingly unassailable realities which constrained, restricted and limited the dreams shattered by the reality of our travails; it was then that a glimmer of hope, an expectation of possibility, and a hint of potentiality yet unrealized, would creep into the essence of our souls.

Fairytales matter, because youth cannot survive another day without some fantasy of hope; and doors left unopened and locked with the resolve of “forever” will only diminish and destroy, where the need for tomorrow yet shouts in a rashness of desire.  To shut the pathway to dreams or to construct obstacles for the mere sake of obstruction is to strangle that parenthetical gleam of light yet unextinguished and to betray the angels who look down upon us with the remnants of wings to be unfurled, in hopes of fluttering to pass by with a smile.

Perhaps, one day, there will still be such follies to believe in.  For now, there is only the toil of daily grind, and thus are we left with the question implicit in the statement:  And then we die.

In Muriel Barbery’s work, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a youthful life of advantage but of seeming meaninglessness is traded with an older woman’s upward trajectory once lost in the anonymity of class distinctions, and the theme throughout encompasses the essence of a life’s worth.  We all want to embrace meaning and value in the life which has been given; have we fulfilled our potential?  Did the dreams we once possessed, handed to us like jewels on a plate of limitless infinity, become realized, or was it a wasted phantasm like a handful of sand squeezed and escaping through the crevices of our closed fists?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the questions garnered by thoughts of future insecurity are natural and plentiful.  It is, in many ways, similar to the refrain repeated herein:  And then we die.

Once a Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee is separated from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, one wonders:  Was my work of any lasting value?  Did I leave an imprint upon the shifting sands of a prior existence?  Did I make a difference?

But those questions should be cast aside and left behind, and instead, it is still the future of one’s unfinished work that should always be focused upon, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to continue the narrative in working upon that familiar refrain, that the future still promises a fulfillment of unfinished potentiality, and the unmarked grave need not be one which is unvisited even in the twilight of our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire