FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Fooling ourselves

It takes extraordinary intelligence to play the fool, and an even greater cleverness to fool oneself; just read a few lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the interaction between Lear and the Fool, and one realizes the extensive capacity of self-indulgence in the deception of man in his need to guard his own ego.

In fooling one’s self, does one fool others, as well?  If a person takes on a persona, lives in a fantasy world, creates an identity separate and apart, and yet becomes consumed by the double-life to the extent that he or she comes to believe one’s own creative imagination, does the fact that others who knew the person from childhood onward destroy the fool’s own universe of make-believe?

Of the old adage and Biblical admonition that prophets are never accepted in their own hometown — is this because those who know a person from early life, “know better”?

If we fool ourselves only within the contained universe of our own thoughts, and never let the fantasies “seep out” into the objective reality of other’s awareness, have we fooled ourselves?  Others?  Is living a “double-life” the same as fooling ourselves and others, or is it only when we fool those closest to us where the “double” makes a difference?

What about hiding a medical condition?  What if a person is on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medication regimens, and yet everyone else believes that person to be the envy of the world, of the very definition of “happiness” exponentially quantified, until one day that very person is committed to an intensive psychiatric hospital and it comes out that he or she is the most unhappiest of individuals — has that person fooled himself, others, or both?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from 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 Federal or Postal job, a great deal of “fooling” must go on in the interim.  You may overcompensate; you may appear to others to be “just fine”; and the tailored seams of normalcy may continue on for some time, until the wear and tear of self-deception begins to take its toll.

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, is often the first honest step towards being “true to one’s self”, and like the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is the capacity of the King fooling himself, and not the honesty of the fool, that makes for the tragedy that ensues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The direction of life

We are told from a very early age that we must have one; like winds that carry seasonal warmth and jet streams that bring unseasonable temperatures, we are ingrained to be purposive, teleological and focused upon the goal in mind.

Wisdom-filled proverbs echo beyond the history of instructional transference from parent to child, community to individual and generation to modernity: aiming for the target; sticking to a task; seeing things to their completion; being patient in everything you do; treating others fairly; 5-step, 10-step or multi-step plans for one’s life; we are admonished throughout of the importance of having a direction in our lives, as if the destination has been predetermined and arriving is merely being pointed in the right direction, traveling some distance and getting there without thought.

Some people clearly follow such a linear route – like the proverbial straight line from point A to destination B; then, there are others who never seem to get a handle on such a concept, while most of the rest of us meander through a confounding maze and are stuck somewhere “in-between”, like those kids in the middle of a brood of accomplishments lost in anonymity between the oldest who is the star of the family, the first born and who gets the greatest amount of attention, and the last one who is the “baby” whom everyone fawns over.  But what if a community, a society, the nation as a whole, no longer embraces a cogency of purposive goals?

It is like that “cause” we all live and die for; where modernity scoffs to expunge such lofty ideals, the residue of the populace must abide by its dire consequences, where echoes of past vestiges haunt in cave dwellings of paintings now faded and meaningless, lost forever to the history of silent voices.

Once, there were causes to fight for – of man’s manifest destiny; of fascism to defeat; of the great “Red Scare”; of the domino theory occluding freedom and resulting in totalitarianism; of patriotism and the flag upon a hill; and other images, all the while where the fighting and dying is accomplished not by the sons or daughters of the wealthy and privileged, anymore, but by sons of southern belles and minorities who die or get blown to bits.

Of what door does one knock upon to get one’s direction of life?  Where, in life, do we get a free pass to obtain the map in order to even know where we are, where we are going, and how to get there?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from 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, the direction of one’s life becomes fairly linear whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

There are three “pathways” to steer upon: Stay in the job and suffer; Resign and walk away with nothing; or, the best direction in such a life, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  And, even as to the second of the three roads taken (Resigning) – remember, you have up until one (1) year from the date of separation from Federal Service to file a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.

It is, in the end, good to have a compass in order to lead onwards in the right direction of life, wherever that may be, however one may obtain it, and whenever it is finally achieved.

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

 

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: The Aftermath

We like to think in linear prose; that is why, when E. E. Cummings showered the literary world with typographical disarray, a collective groan of discomfort visibly shook the foundations of the art form.

In daily life, it is the capacity of seeing a beginning, continuum and conclusion to a segment of a bifurcated visual horizon, which makes for sanity.  Closure and a sense of termination allows for satisfaction of an accomplished deed.  To be required to maintain a project, a task, an obligation, etc., is to engage in an eternal hell of unendurable agony; but that is, in the end, what must be done for most things, which is precisely why life is a challenge of inestimable proportions.

Federal Disability Retirement is no different; once obtained, one would like to think that closure has been accomplished, and that life is nothing more than forward-looking deeds to be reached like ski slopes allowing only for downward spirals of travel, never needing to look back.  But maintenance of effort is always a requirement; making sure that one is preserving the rights which one has fought so hard to gain, is a daily task, a present obligation, and a necessity of life in Federal Disability Retirement law, as in other sectors of life.

Whether to recognize the earned income cap for Federal Disability Retirement annuitants while still under a certain age, or making sure to be able to re-certify one’s ongoing medical condition and disability — these are never tremendously onerous tasks, but ones which can only be satisfied if one is fully aware of the laws which govern them.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first step in securing one’s future; the aftermath is the second and many subsequent steps, in ensuring the viability of that which one fought for in the first place, lest history should be repeated and goblins be allowed a resting place where none should be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Continuity of Care

Most things in life require a continuity of care.  Yes, projects will often have an inception date, and termination point where, once completed, no further maintenance of effort is required.  But other concerns require further and elaborative engagements beyond the linear horizon of attendance, including:  teeth, dogs, children, marriages, and Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

When a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker obtains that vaunted and desirable letter of Approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the tendency is to think that one may then fade into the proverbial sunset, ever to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and focus upon one’s health, medical conditions and the medical care required.

But then there comes additional contacts from OPM — perhaps not for a few years; perhaps not for a decade.  But the potentiality of the contact is there, and one must lay down the framework of preparatory care in order to respond appropriately.  If not, what will happen is this:  A fairly innocuous request for employment information can result in a termination of the disability annuity, based upon a “finding” that you have been deemed medically recovered.

That “Final Notice” from the Office of Personnel Management does, fortunately, allow for Reconsideration rights, as well as further rights of appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Additionally, there is a proper methodology for responding to OPM, to enhance and greatly ensure the continuation of one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

Wrong steps can lead to negative results; unresponsive panic without proper legal argumentation can have the unwanted consequences of an unnecessary loss of one’s Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  The best approach is always to respond with the legal armaments and arsenal one is provided with, and to maintain a continuity of care for preserving one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: The Insular Universe

The self-containment of society has reached a point of no return; when the universe of virtual reality becomes the focus of dominant conversation, where movies depicting historical events replace the factual narrative of serious discourse; of twitter terminals constituting serious haikus of accepted profundities; the age of human innovation and creative destiny has indeed come to an end.

So where does empathy fit into the maze of humanity?  For a bureaucracy, processing paperwork and finishing tasks satisfies the requirement of emotional output designated for responsiveness.

For the individual awaiting a decision on one’s application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the dealings with “life issues” are comprised of:  first and foremost, attending to the medical condition; second or third, the increasing vitriol of the Federal agency, its agents and assigns, or the U.S. Postal Service through its supervisors, managers and other thoughtless coworkers who engage in various forms of harassment and pushing of pressure points; and further down the sequential order of priorities, waiting upon the administrative process of filing for, and anticipating, a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In a universe where reality and virtual reality no longer have a distinctive bifurcation of differentiating margins, the qualitative conditioning of terminating that video drone is of no greater consequence than denying an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The key, then, is how best to awaken the sleepy eyes of the Administrative Specialist at OPM?  In real life, medical conditions have a traumatic impact upon life’s otherwise uneventful discourses.

How to convey that narrative to a bureaucracy and administrative process is the question of paramount importance.  How to shake up the slumbering mind overtaken with years of callous disregard, and pull from the insular universe of self-containment the reality of one’s condition, depends upon the medical documentation, the statement of disability, and the legal argumentation propounded in a compendium of discourse which will touch the soul.  That is the ultimate art of legal training.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire