Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Figuring it all out

We all try and do it.  Somehow, pride’s fall and the fool’s failure arrives by way of the solitary figure trying to go it alone.  Friendship never had a chance, and the neighbor’s mended fences never allowed for any conversation of depth beyond the wave of the hand or the occasional “hello, how are you” — punctuated by a quick about-face and racing with terror into the sanctuary of one’s home.

Figuring it all out on our own; walking about mulling over, obsessing into and turning it over and over, again and again; whatever the “it” is, that is where the focus of our attentions gain the greater amount of time and wasted efforts.

What is the “process” of “figuring it all out”?  Do we ask others — experts, perhaps, in respective fields where a lifetime of devotion to details has been contributed to and energy expended for — or do we just begin trolling the Internet and various websites, hoping that unsourced and unreferenced information “out there” will provide answers to questions of which we know not what to ask?

In modernity, where “facts” have now been conflated with unverified opinions, and where truth and falsity are all relative and justified as on an equivalency of values, it has become dangerous to “figure it all out” without some rational basis, some inception-point of a reference where even a remote semblance of simplified questions-and-answers can be gotten.

Life is complex as it is; trying to figure it all out can make the complex into a conundrum; and further, we must always come back to the age-old question:  It all depends upon what the “it” is (as opposed to what the meaning of “is” is), doesn’t it?

Fortunately, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — figuring it all out can, and should, begin with previewing and perusing “The Law” governing Federal Disability Retirement.

However, as there is much information — and misinformation — “out there”, be careful in believing what sources to rely upon, as there are many bumps and pitfalls in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; don’t try and “figure it all out” on your own, as it is an unnecessary and misdirected misadventure.

Only in the movies is it acceptable to “go rogue”; in real life, consulting with an expert is the best way to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The Life of Clichés

Use of cliches allows for minimal effort of expression; the very loss of originality, of benefit derived from utterances overused but generally understood, and the utter dependence upon past acceptance of declarative thoughts without needing to consider the applicability of the conceptual connotation — these allow for laziness to wander throughout a thoughtless platitude.

The aggregate of a linguistic universe, however, is one thing; to live a life of cliches beyond merely stating the obvious, is to embrace, engage and ultimate believe in them.  “Life’s lottery has left me bankrupt”; “This is merely the quiet before the storm“; “All is fair in love and war”; “The writing is on the wall”; and as the heuristic methodology is forever forsaken, the thoughts one expresses become molded into the very character of one’s life and manner of living, with the consequential quietude of a static and emotionless construct, leading ultimately to a negation of that which defines what it means to be human.

The automaton of life’s requirements tend to beat down the creativity we are born with; as we were once “diamonds in the rough”, so the long journey of difficulties faced throughout the trials of daily toil, incrementally and insidiously wear upon us, until one day we look in the mirror and the reflection reveals eyes which stare back in a vacuum of human suffering not known in those days of former innocence.

Once, we laughed in the company of our siblings as the ocean waves rolled over the fragile sand castles we built without fear of impending doom, and not knowing was a vanguard of happiness, where delight in one another was yet unconsumed by the worries of economic turmoil and complexity of adulthood; until we somehow “grew up”, lost our sense of direction and compass of fortitude, and slowly allowed the heavy atmosphere of fear, trepidation and anxieties of living overwhelm us.  We became a walking cliche.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must face the reality of such a situation, especially when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes more and more of an urgent requirement.  Working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is in and of itself a challenge; what with the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and insistence upon squeezing blood out of a stone (there we go again), it becomes all the more unbearable when a medical condition is introduced into the equation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may sometimes seem like waving the proverbial white flag of surrender; but, often, that is the only alternative left, unless the Federal or Postal employee wants to become the modern-day version of a walking zombie, devoid of any real life left to live.

Ultimately, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether submitted first through one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for those Federal or Postal employees not yet separated from service, or not for more than 31 days), and it is often a daunting administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls.  But the alternative is to merely live a life of cliches, where you must never lose track of time, and filing in the nick of time is important, lest you fail to be as clever as a fox, but hopefully, where all is well that ends well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Adrenal Fatigue

One need not be officially diagnosed with Addison’s Disease in order to incur the wrath and ravages of adrenal insufficiency.

Life’s multiplicity of compounding and complex stresses; exhaustion beyond merely feeling “run down” or otherwise out of synchronized balance from everyday feelings of adequacy; a sense of profound fatigue, where cognitive dysfunctions develop, and where symptoms of falling asleep at meetings, where the world appears at times to become a distant echo chamber and what others view as a normal pace appear in dizzying fashion of incomprehensible clatter of distractions; and where visual disturbances occur systematically as one attempts to view the computer screen and perform work which, in previous times, was merely mundane and monotonous, but now requires an effort beyond sheer force of will.

Does modernity and technological stress contribute to medical conditions which may have no name, and often defies pigeonholing because of the mysteries of the human body and psyche?  A broken arm is easy to identify, and normally just as correctable; a cervical or lumbar disc degeneration, perhaps a bit more complex, but often manageable; chronic pain, but for a parallelism between objective testing and pain points, sometimes an anomaly; psychiatric conditions, of greater mystery which has become too often a pharmacological corridor for treatment modalities; but where profound and intractable fatigue more often than not is beyond the capacity to be diagnosed.

However one characterizes it — of adrenal fatigue, insufficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other designations of type; it is ultimately the reality of the daily toil and turmoil with which the patient must contend.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience such a state of physical and psychiatric condition, 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 be the best and only alternative available.

In the end, adrenal fatigue may be more than an endocrine imbalance; there is often a complex component where multiple medical conditions ravage the body and mind, and as with so many issues in law and life, there is a vast chasm between having a medical condition, being properly treated for the condition, and proving one’s medical condition in law such that one can be found eligible for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Fatigue, whether of the adrenal kind or of resulting impact from a lifetime of stresses, is a basis for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; attending to the condition should always be the first order of business; proving it, the second and subsequent thereafter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: The Complexity of Unpredictability

Some view human behavioral unpredictability as a declaration of the underlying complexity; others would have it that, far from any such convoluted aspiration towards mystery and intricacy, a yawn and ensuing boredom more likely represents the determinism and simplicity of humans.

Which represents the true picture?  Perhaps youth and a naive lack of experience in encountering the universe of everyday conflict is what we discover in the spectrum of opinions; and cynicism abounds upon greater enmeshment and entanglement with the human condition.

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 question often arises as to whom, when and the timing of divulging the intent to file.  As the saying goes, discretion is the greater part of valor; unless there is a compelling reason to do so, limiting the information where relevant; restricting the venue of information to the extent possible; and keeping mum until and unless necessary, should be the guiding principle.

Why?  Because, first and foremost, medical information (which is obviously the primary foundational basis of a Federal disability retirement application) is sensitive in nature, confidential in scope, and entails vast privacy concerns for all.  Further, one never knows how an agency and its representatives may react (thus the charge that human beings are complex in nature), but the predictability of big-mouths and lack of discretion (alas, the corollary charge of simplicity of humans) should restrain and constrain any urge to divulge earlier than necessary.

“Necessary” is the key word, and that applies to people, timing and context of dissemination of such confidential information.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the general rule, always, should be to believe in both contradictory assertions:  Because human behavior is complex and unpredictable, be discreet in revealing information; and because human behavior is simplistic and unimaginative, similarly be discreet and restrained in providing sensitive information.

As one side of a coin is worth just as much as the other, it is best to feel the nature of two faces in a world replete with two-faces.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Layer: Cartoons & Carnivals

In exclusively representing Federal employees and Postal workers to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the stories that are shared, the frustrations felt, and the tales left untold, collectively boggles the fragile mind.

Yes, by now, perhaps it is a truism that nothing under the sun can further be revealed that is of a surprising nature; but it is often just the sheer cumulative absurdity which, in their aggregate compendium of events, could only have occurred in cartoons and carnivals.  By contrast, there is the seriousness of the medical condition itself.

That is always the starting point, and the essence of why Federal and Postal workers contact an attorney who handles OPM Disability Retirements, based upon whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Eligibility rules must first be met; then, the issue of entitlement must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

The comical relief and the sense of a carnival atmosphere, where cartoonish characters collide with the sobering reality of one’s medical condition and the potential end to one’s career in the Federal sector, arises inevitably through the actions of the agency, and their complete lack of empathy or concern.

Yes, agencies must continue to remain efficient; and yes, they must continue in their mission and course of work; but in the end, all we have left is family, community, values and vestiges of human interaction, and the littered graveyards of silent skeletons where marked graves and unmarked cemeteries speak not of efficiency, meanness and uncaring residues, but only where fresh flowers and wreathes of caring surround the frozen ground of time; yes, only in cartoons and at carnivals do people act with the absurdity of loss of humanity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: At What Cost?

The introduction of the “cost-benefit analysis” (CBA) by the French (who else?) is a quantitative approach in determining whether to go forward with a given project.  There are other approaches, of course, but the popularity of such a utilitarian paradigm is especially attractive to Americans, precisely because it allegedly places a determinable value upon the project, endeavor or issue in question.

But not everything in life is quantifiable in monetary terms; and while the CBA approach can take into account complex factors and assign methodologies of evaluating such that otherwise unquantifiable terms can be converted into numbers, the question still comes down to a simple issue of self-reflection:  Is it worth it?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, a cost-benefit analysis is often taken with a singularly stark question:  Can I survive on the annuity proposed by statutory authority?

But this often ignores a parallel query, just as stark and similarly singular: What other choice is there?  If the medical condition arose as a matter of a work-related incident, certainly the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset should file for OWCP/DOL benefits; but even then, Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, and there will likely come a time when it is still necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The unquantifiable factors in any CBA are those more personal, intangible issues which we rarely desire to face:  What will happen if I ignore the present course of settings?  If I continue to work with my medical condition and somehow reach retirement age, what kind of shape will I be in to enjoy my “golden years”?  Will the agency tolerate my reduced productivity, and what will their next move be?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is never an easy decision, and should not be taken without a thorough and self-reflective analysis; but it is often an approach tantamount to negative-theology which will bring out the true answers to a dilemma — of what will result if one does NOT do X, as opposed to a quantification of values — and provide the necessary framework for a future reference of positive closure to a human condition which always seems, at the time and moment of suffering, to be a calamity beyond mere dollars and cents, and for which the famous Utilitarian Philosopher, John Stuart Mill noted, that actions are right “in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Another similar article previously published: Federal Disability Retirement pros and cons