OPM Medical Retirement under FERS and CSRS: Doubt

Is certainty its antonym – or is it too rigid and lacking of linguistic elasticity to merit such a position?  For, doubt allows for an openness to both sides, doesn’t it – whether God exists or not; whether, in the end of life’s spectrum, judgment will deem our microscopic deeds worthy or not; and of illnesses, an erupting disability, or one which cravenly lingers beyond mere chronicity of irritation, but continues to periodically debilitate, and progressively annihilate the soul of patience for furtherance to hope.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must begin to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – where does doubt end, and certainty begin?

To begin with:  Doubt as to whether one’s medical conditions are severe enough to warrant consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and certainty as to the strength of one’s own case.  Doubt as to whether the medical evidence gathered is sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence test, and certainty as to the relevance and strength of a meritorious compilation of demonstrable material.

Doubt as to whether the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will provide a fair evaluation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and certainty as to the case being a “slam-dunk” venue for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Doubt as to whether one’s Human Resource Office will protect the privacy of the medical evidence submitted (if the Federal or Postal employee has not been separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days), and certainty that any violation of privacy will likely occur, but considering the options available, proceeding anyway.

How healthy is doubt?  How unhealthy is certainty?  Is doubt more akin to uncertainty than being the opposite of certainty, and if so, why would the negation of the root word transform it into a synonym?  Is it a grammatical rule that the test of an antonym is to negate its root, and if it becomes a synonym, then by logical extension, the root was its antonym?  Is that the same with feelings as opposed to beliefs; or of rationality in contradistinction to the Aristotelian appetitive parts of the soul?

In the end, the Federal or Postal employee must contend both with doubts and unrealistic expectations of certainty; for, when dealing with an administrative Juggernaut such as the likes of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in filing a CSRS or FERS Disability Retirement application, a healthy dose of doubt, combined with an aggressive approach bordering on certainty, is the best mix of medicines one can take or – to put it more quaintly:  go it alone with doubt, take an aspirin, or consult with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that you can at least arrive at some semblance of doubtful certainty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Law: The Steps to Take

Life is often overwhelming enough.  Then, when a medical condition make its initial entrance, remains for more than a fortnight and begins to impede, curtail and prevent one from doing the things one has taken for granted –  the problem becomes more than just a nuisance, but a magnification and exponential exaggeration beyond that which was a burden to begin with:  another problem adding to a host of problems.  In life, we often know what needs to be done, and sometimes even the “how” in going about solving problems.  But the capacity to prioritize and organize, to sort a jumble into a linear coherency, and to gather the necessary components into a cogent whole, is often the problem that prevents one from moving forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the condition (or multiple medical conditions) begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the normal sequence of events often take on the following incoherent pathway:  An inquiry is made with the Human Resource Department; two sets of Standard Forms are presented to the Federal or Postal employee (SF 3107 series; SF 3112 series); the Federal or Postal employee is told to read through them and “fill them out” and bring the entire sets back to the H.R. Office.  They will be there “to help”.

When such a development occurs, 2 issues immediately come to one’s attention, or should.  First, is there a sequence and methodology one should follow, that is better and more effective?  Second, if the Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted and denied at the initial stage of the process, will that same Human Resource Office or person be held accountable, and continue to “help” for the second and subsequent stages of the process?

The answer to the first question is an unequivocal “yes”; the answer to the second question is a bit more complex.  There are, indeed, many helpful H.R. offices and personnel.  The point of creating an H.R. Office is to guide, help and assist the employees of the agency or organization.  But filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is a different “animal” from most other processes.  Think about it; it is not like setting up an allotment from one’s pay, or changing the number of deductions for tax purposes.  No, it is a complex administrative process that, once out of the hands of the agency’s H.R. Office, is under the direct control of a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Further, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can become a contentious issue – once a denial is issued by OPM, and even a second denial at the Reconsideration Stage, then an appeal will need to be filed with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board within 30 days.  Then what?  Will the Human Resource Office that was so helpful, represent you there?

Every future holds a pathway for successful maneuvering, and yes, there are sequential steps to take in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  For that, a knowledgeable lawyer who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement law can be helpful in guiding the Federal or Postal employee onto that pathway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The timeworn tale

Are there such things, or just the boorish attitudes of impatient whims?  Are adages, quips and kernels of wisdom never perceived by eyes afresh, or do tales told ever-incessantly by husbands through the course of lasting marriages, or by grandpa at each visit to the chloroform-smelling nursing homes where coughs and sputtering are interrupted by stories regurgitated between gasps filled with oxygenated rasping, merely bore us all?  Of timeworn tales – where do they come from?  When do they end?

Is there a garbage heap of stories no longer told that old men and silent women visit, and leave behind the narratives no one wants to listen to, anymore?  Is it that we no longer have the time, nor the patience, to act “as if” for the benefit of old geezers and pitiable wheezers and instead, rudely interrupt when the tale begins, by saying, “Now, now, you’ve already told that one – many times”?

Yet, a perkiness of interest, a raised eyebrow, and a playful wink to the relative across the table; and the kindness shown to the children at the table, despite the 50th or 100th time told, that we could spend the time together, take the same monotony of predictability, but turn it into an occasion of joy “just because” – just because the person telling it is worthy, and we show how much we value life’s dignity above time “wasted” by the effort we invest upon the individuals we claim to care for.

We have no time for pity; no energy left for patience; and certainly, no stamina remaining for moments beyond our pleasurable self-fulfilling wants and desires.  That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee prepares one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, with the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, along with the evidence of supportive records and medical narratives, there is no hush of anticipation by Agency supervisors, managers or coworkers.  Yours is merely another timeworn tale that they want to quickly bypass.

But the point, of course, is to get the “Administrative Specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the agency that makes all decisions on a Federal Disability Retirement application – to see beyond that timeworn tale of one’s medical condition, disability, and inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For, that Administrative Specialist is the “hard one” to persuade – having read thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of such timeworn tales.  It is thus the job of an attorney who has done this many times, who possesses the power of words in the narration of a compelling tale, that often makes the subtle but necessary difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirements: This cold and impervious universe

Of course, the title is more akin to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, as opposed to an interventionist deity of a personal nature.  Yet, even of the latter, the question of whether any real influence can be gotten, or whether fate had already predetermined the course of future actions, is certainly debatable.  If one ‘appeals’ to the guidance of a personal idol, but hears nothing, is there any distinguishable distinction to be made from that of a prime move, unperturbed by cries of tragic consequences?

Aside from the metaphysical queries, the view that we live in a cold and impervious universe is one of unaccountable ‘feelings’; and while one’s emotional response may not correlate with the firmer foundation of logical analysis, there is little basis for undermining the validity of such conclusions any more than arriving at it from a systematic rejection of a metaphysical argument.  Both approaches are equally valid, and the former may be more so, given the experiential reinforcements by most through anecdotal evidence.

That wars in foreign lands devastating entire communities, decimating whole cities and making refugees of innocent children and bystanders who merely want to live a quiet life, cannot be denied.

Closer to home, of antiseptic neighborhoods in classical suburbia – that quintessential cauldron of “phoniness” rejected by Holden Caulfield in his magnum opus, The Catcher in the Rye.  Here, where communities are defined by fences and self-imposed solitary confinement, the only time we open our doors is when an ambulance or other disturbing intrusions forces us to gawk with concern for another neighbor quietly being transported to an unknown facility of no-return.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has come to a critical point where performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties becomes an incommensurability beyond mere difficulty, but a reality that can no longer be hidden – the conclusion that this is a cold and impervious universe is merely heightened by the uncaring unresponsiveness of the Federal or Postal employee’s agency and its co-conspirators.

The legal terms are always bandied about:  “Accommodations”; “FMLA protection”; “allowance for being on LWOP”; and other such mechanisms; but truth be told, the agency and the U.S. Postal Service merely wants to shed itself, as soon as possible, of any employee who dares to whisper the heretical utterance:  “I am suffering, and need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.”

In the end, it is the law itself that allows for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that gives one pause, for the benefit itself is at least one counterpoint to the question of whether this world we live in is entirely a cold and impervious universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The expected party

It is the emptiness and void of what could have been, or even should have been; of regrets untold and remorse unuttered.

Whether for a special celebration marking a person’s birthday or an event of magnified relevance; or a turning point in a person’s life – of a 10th anniversary, exceeding expectations of mortality, in waiting, or perhaps a common achievement by others in everyday living but for handicaps and disabilities that make it challenging to meet; whatever the event, the party never thrown for it magnifies a negation of recognition, and like a pinprick into the heart and soul of a person’s life, it deflates the very essence of joy.

“Oh, it would have been nice to—” but the person is gone, and hears not the sudden want and desire of recognition.  “It’s too bad we didn’t get together and—” except that the inaction following the time of relevance has long passed, and it is such actions which derive the sincerity of words spoken, otherwise mere empty vessels of utterances without meaning or purpose.

Most can justify and minimize, and instead replace such statements of regretful remorse with offensive parries, as in:  “Oh, she wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway”, or the kicker – “He didn’t like those things.”  But that is not the point.  The party never thrown is not merely a negation of recognition earned, but a window into the heart of those who never truly cared in the first place.

Words are cheap and can be bandied about and flaunted endlessly without consequence of actions; but the negation of that which should have been, and could have been initiated but for want of selfless endeavor, is a missing slice of life that can never be replaced.  That is, unfortunately, what is often left behind during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The recognition of past contributions is suddenly no more; that party which “might” have been considered, is no longer; and suddenly the ‘golden boy or girl’ who could do no wrong, is the pariah, the dead-weight in the office, and the continuing drag upon the agency’s mission.

Whether the agency or the U.S. Postal Service will ‘support’ the Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and the unstated or concealed reasons for such support – to ‘get rid’ of the dead-weight, as opposed to showing some empathy; or to have that position filled by someone ‘more productive‘, is beside the point.

It matters not the why or even the ‘if’; for, whatever the underlying reasoning, don’t expect to received that recognition you once never sought but always seemed to get.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through one’s agency, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will know one’s ‘true friends’ and sincere coworkers, by the party never thrown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The party never thrown

It is the emptiness and void of what could have been, or even should have been; of regrets untold and remorse unuttered.

Whether for a special celebration marking a person’s birthday or an event of magnified relevance; or a turning point in a person’s life – of a 10th anniversary, exceeding expectations of mortality, in waiting, or perhaps a common achievement by others in everyday living but for handicaps and disabilities that make it challenging to meet; whatever the event, the party never thrown for it magnifies a negation of recognition, and like a pinprick into the heart and soul of a person’s life, it deflates the very essence of joy.

“Oh, it would have been nice to—” but the person is gone, and hears not the sudden want and desire of recognition.  “It’s too bad we didn’t get together and—” except that the inaction following the time of relevance has long passed, and it is such actions which derive the sincerity of words spoken, otherwise mere empty vessels of utterances without meaning or purpose.

Most can justify and minimize, and instead replace such statements of regretful remorse with offensive parries, as in:  “Oh, she wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway”, or the kicker – “He didn’t like those things.”  But that is not the point.  The party never thrown is not merely a negation of recognition earned, but a window into the heart of those who never truly cared in the first place.

Words are cheap and can be bandied about and flaunted endlessly without consequence of actions; but the negation of that which should have been, and could have been initiated but for want of selfless endeavor, is a missing slice of life that can never be replaced.  That is, unfortunately, what is often left behind during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The recognition of past contributions is suddenly no more; that party which “might” have been considered, is no longer; and suddenly the ‘golden boy or girl’ who could do no wrong, is the pariah, the dead-weight in the office, and the continuing drag upon the agency’s mission.

Whether the agency or the U.S. Postal Service will ‘support’ the Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and the unstated or concealed reasons for such support – to ‘get rid’ of the dead-weight, as opposed to showing some empathy; or to have that position filled by someone ‘more productive‘, is beside the point.

It matters not the why or even the ‘if’; for, whatever the underlying reasoning, don’t expect to received that recognition you once never sought but always seemed to get.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through one’s agency, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will know one’s ‘true friends’ and sincere coworkers, by the party never thrown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire