Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Ruins

We take extraordinary steps just to visit them; of the Parthenon, the Athenian Acropolis; of the Great Wall of China; of unspeaking relics where life once bustled, and still does but in a different way; of mere onlookers to a civilization once vibrant, but now twice removed — first, in the incremental abandonment of a society no longer relevant, and second, by the implicit concession that tourism establishes the death of the substantive content of any collection of structures.  Or of Aleppo, where modern-day devastation intersects with the ruins of old, and where actual suffering echoes throughout the ancient cascades where antiquity overwhelms the current screams of flesh and blood.

Why visit ruins when they are mere shadows of a former civilization unable to speak of its gradual decay and deterioration?  For, it is not the crumbling structures of haunting architectural tenacity which represents the truth behind the concealment of that which we visit to observe; it is the hidden narrative of human suffering which fails to utter the words in silence.  And what of lives untold?

What “ruins” have we failed to visit, right in one’s home, in one’s neighborhood, or just across the street?  Why be a world traveler, when the devastation imposed upon those who depended upon the promises given and assurances uttered mean nothing but some slices of memories of a yore-time of laughter and gaiety?  Is that what life is all about — of a good time here, a shared cackle of laughter in drunken states of unspoken ruination?

In the end, it matters not of crumbling structures and photographs taken of cavernous hollows in distant places where footwears matter; we trample great lengths to ooh and ahhh, and snap shots to send back to the origin of our trail of selfish devastation; but it is the ruins of human lives which touch upon the essence of a human soul, and not the marble and concrete which we gather to observe.  Flesh and blood rarely bespeak of decay and crumbling, but for the wrinkles of time which gather around the furrows of brows and corners of unsmiling lips.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the devastation of a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short the career of intended purposes and teleological foundations of a future untold; the consequence of other actions, the worker sitting beside, or the supervisor behind the private door of an office uninviting, can exponentially increase the devastation already felt by the medical condition itself.

The tendency is to become a tourist of sorts, by standing about like so many detached onlookers — when, in fact, the solution is to become a part of the society itself.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, takes you out of the realm of mere tourism and into the arena of actual living.

Visiting the ruins of another culture is one thing; allowing for the ruination of one’s own career, future and livelihood is quite another.  To be ruined; to visit a ruin; to allow for ruination; all such forms of linguistic allowances become stalwarts of reality unless you take the necessary steps to advance forward.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is the first step towards ensuring that one will not become another ruin to be photographed, but a living, vibrant entity who has escaped the devastation of an ahistorical context.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Systems: The mindful gargoyle

In architecture, they serve a pragmatic purpose of duality:  they divert unwanted seepage of water by redirecting it away from the side of a structure, but moreover, they serve the equally important spiritual task of keeping evil spirits at bay.

In everyday life, the concept can take on multiple meanings; of a grotesque figure unattractive on the outside, but encompassing an unseen beauty within through his or her thoughts, concerns and conceptual constructs; or of the monster which stays hidden within a tortured soul, where the fantasy of our own imaginations loom larger than the realities we may face; or, further, denoting phantasm from Medieval days where knights and dragons slayed have returned in more subtle forms of windmills left churning in the fields of fear of our own making.

All of them are barely noticed, now; onlookers pass by the structures which jut with such figures of antiquity; of monsters and grotesque figurines, we barely notice in this technological universe of pragmatism where fantasies of spiritual fears are dismissed as mere shams abbreviated from the shamans of yore; and of those looming monsters which haunt us in the nightmares of sleepless hours?

Pharmacology and the innane science of hope have become the masters of our fate, as Darwinian determinism has replaced the Oracles of ponderous paths.  There are no more mindful gargoyles; only materialism and the tactile reality of a virtual universe we have created in repose of empty caverns, where vacuity of thought is mistaken for profound moments of cognitive clarity, when in truth it is the dissonance of our own creation which leaves us trembling in the corners of our own fears, paralyzed with haunting thoughts and haunted imaginings.

But that we could return to the days of Tom and Huck, and win the heart of Becky Thatcher in braided pigtails of forgotten innocence; but, then, we would have to give up all of those “advances” we are lectured about by insistent voices booming in megaphones of self-interested diatribes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, the mindful gargoyle is of utmost importance.  For, it is that symbol and pablum of life that interjects and disrupts; the fears which prevent us from progress are precisely those which loom larger in the creativity of our own minds, where such phantoms preventing steps taken to move forward are the ones which need to be slain in mind first, then in the world outside.

That is why, often, the first step in the long bureaucratic process of preparing, formulating and 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 to speak with an Attorney, in order to “objectively” assess one’s chances and develop pragmatic steps towards a potentially successful outcome.

For, in the end, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should reflect a pragmatic purpose — somewhat like the architectural utility of the gargoyles seen on structures of Medieval contortions, and not left in the dusty attics of fearful minds and monsters unslain in the deep recesses of cringing thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The labyrinth of human psychology

Daedalus, in Greek mythology, constructed the complex maze for King Minos of Crete; it is reported that the multicursal patterns were so elaborate that even the designer himself could barely find a pathway out.  That is, indeed, reflective of the complexity of human beings.  Cynics are quick to dismiss our own species as predictable, untalented in any specific category but only in general terms; boastful beyond a simpleton’s ego and successful in self-promotion and propagation only because it is too lazy to do otherwise.

Repetition, the need for habituation of purpose, and forever seeking a quietude of reflective pastures in solitary reserve, the human animal both and at once can be definitionally reduced as a mere afterthought in the Animal Kingdom, yet cunning in its predatory mastermind in a universe otherwise devoid of sophistication.

Human begins are nothing if not complex; and the psychology of humanity in the linear history of conflicts, wars, greed and hatred of group behavior, only touches upon the depths of a labyrinth that even Daedalus would not have been able to figure out.  And yet we try; and despite our best attempts, the moment humanity deems to have declared the discovery concluded and forever ensconced in determined coordinates, whether as genetic material established with certitude or some mythology of a variation of a Freudian narrative, Man pauses for a moment, then surprises to turn upside down the paradigm of conventional explanations of behavior.  It is only the hermit who, within an iconic security of an ivory-tower observatory, can issue declarative narratives establishing uncontested truths of unequivocal certitudes.

The rest of us who must interact and maneuver through the unmapped waters of societal upheavals, are left to daily hiccups of unpredictable encounters with fellow human beings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must — in addition to dealing with mercurial managers and unpredictable outbursts from supervisors, coworkers and unnamed (and unnamable) agency heads — “deal” with a medical condition, such that the illness or injury results in an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the U.S. Postal Service or the Federal agency, the daily encounters will often quickly take their toll through exhaustion and profound fatigue beyond mere tiredness from a rough day’s work.  You become “pigeonholed” as that “unproductive employee”, and thereby reduced to a category, a name, a label and a farce.

But the labyrinth of human psychology can never be constrained within the convenient categorization denounced by fiat; the complexity may become repressed, but like the boiling pot gurgling to explode, will remain simmering in the quietude of suppressed restraints.  Then, and probably long past and overdue, it is time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is the only and best option available, lest the unpredictable and complex labyrinth of human psychology boil over into an uncanny cavern of a despairing tidal wave yet to be revealed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire