Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Weekend Survival

The segmentation of time may be artificial; the rhythms of life, are not.  The 7-day week, 30-day month (give or take a couple here and there) and the 12-month cycle constitute human constructs that impose a rigid system of divisions based upon productivity, leisure, an admixture of both (isn’t it universal that Saturdays are spent in doing chores otherwise unattended to during the week, and Sunday is that respite and escape in total destitution of depleted dreariness?) and then a reset button pushed and the beginning of the cycle all over again.

Yet, while the system itself is based upon a conceptually artificial construct, the rhythmic underpinning of nature that glides above and beneath on a daily, quiet but consistent basis remains unperturbed.

That is why Daylight Savings Time makes grouches of us all — it is another artificial construct that jolts everyone from the natural rhythms of monotonous apathy twice a year, and breaks up that flow of biodynamic symbiosis between the planetary rotations, the daily sunrise and sunset, and the body’s reaction to a natural order within the constructs of an unnatural way of living.  The only compensation we feel grateful for is that extra hour of sleep that we are “given” in the Fall — only to have it stripped mercilessly and robbed from us in the Spring.

Thank God for the weekend — those two days of respite and leisure; of restorative rest and a quietude away from the mad dash of work and productivity; and we believe that we owe to the gods our lives and sacrifice our health for those pittance of days that are given to us.  But what are those 2 days worth?

Half of one is given up to do those things that we had no time to do during the five days of labor; the other half, spent in frozen immobility in front of a screen that blasts frightful images both from news of the “real” world as well as stories that are supposedly “entertaining”.  Then, with the one day remaining, we try and compensate for the exhaustion from the previous 5+1, only to wake up the following morning to engage the rush of the work-week that suffers and harms.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition becomes a trial of survival during the week in order to make it to the weekend just to survive, it is worse because — not only is the “natural” rhythm interrupted by the medical condition itself — days, weeks and months all meld and melt into a singular whole of survival and consternation of life’s trials.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only option remaining in order to re-order the rhythm lost in the daily struggle to reach that weekend survival where the cycle of life’s natural rhythm has been shattered by the trauma of a chronic medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: “But…”

What is it about a certain voice inflection that forewarns us of that conjunction?  A long explanation is given; a reason for “why” a person is about to do something is adroitly conveyed; a detailed and rational discourse is provided; and yet something tells us that the inevitable “but” is about to be inserted, making of the independent clause just spoken merely a precursor for the real reason that the lengthy discourse was given in the first place.

It is also a metaphor for life itself, isn’t it? “Things were just great, and it was the happiest of times, but then…”.  It is like the metaphorical dark cloud that dampens the spirit, or the sudden gust of wind that topples the tower when one was just about to reach the apex; the “but” in our lives comes at the most inopportune of times.

Then, there is the causal intervention “but” in law, as in, “But for X, Y would have not been liable because X becomes the primary intervening cause that subverted Y and all other causal determinants.” But for this job, my life would be perfect; but for this minor incident in my otherwise stellar career, I would have been unstoppable; but for X, Y and Z, I would have reached olympian heights; and on and on.  Isn’t that what Bing Crosby said of Frank Sinatra (for those who are young enough to even remember such icons of yesteryears, that “But for Sinatra, I would have been the most popular singer of my time”)?

Medical conditions tend to insert that conjunctive into a life, don’t they?  For Federal and Postal employees who consider the “but” of a life to be that medical condition that has come to a critical juncture — not merely of a grammatical appendage, but of a true intervening cause that disrupts — because it prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal career, it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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.

The “buts” of life are merely conjunctives that forecast the darker clouds that rain upon an otherwise stellar experience; to alter the “but” and instead turn it into a mere “and” is what preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can do, and thereby avert the “but” word that makes the remainder of the paragraph simply an extension of an otherwise joyful phenomena called “life”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Age-based worth

That is the ultimate hub of it all, isn’t it?  Age is always a factor, whether a society enforces protective measures, anti age-discrimination laws, or simply deny the underlying existence of the subtleties that conceal the unfairness of it all.  What is it about age that compels people to judge the worth of others based upon it as the singular criteria that determines value?

If a person is expected to be at the “end” of one’s life — say, nearing 80 or 90 years old — is that person’s worth any less than the newborn who enters upon this world with the same expectancy as that old codger’s past remembrances?  Why do we consider it an honorable gesture if, on a ship that is about to sink, the older men make sure that children (and women) are the first to fill the lifeboats and rafts before considering themselves?  Are their lives not worth of any greater, equal or identical value as the young ones who benefit from such unequal conduct?

Perhaps, in modernity, such gestures of chivalry would no longer apply, and the more current perspective of “first come, first survive” would be the rule of the day.  In a society where criteria of worth and value have been cast aside and where each individual is considered without regard to age, race, ethnicity or origin, is perhaps the better approach — but is that true in all contexts and circumstances?  The fact that there should be no discrimination based upon age in the workplace — does it mean that the same rules should apply in the sinking-ship hypothetical?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, age must always be a consideration because of the automatic conversion to regular retirement at age 62.  On the other hand, the time that a person is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of service when the recalculation occurs at age 62, and so the extra percentage points will be of great benefit no matter how old a person is.

The laws seem always to favor the younger, and age-based worth is often a consideration in engaging any and every sector of life, and that is no different in considering filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Beyond the shutdown

What does it mean for the government to “shut down” because the Congress and the President were unable to come to a budgetary agreement?  It is often the question that is focused upon, but may be the wrong one.  The more relevant issue concerns the events that will occur after the cessation of the shut down.  What happens afterwards?  For, everyone assumes that the government will come to some sort of budgetary reconciliation, and that there will ultimately be an end to the deadlock.

The House and Senate will finally pass a spending bill, whether of a temporary, continuing resolution, or of a long-term bill that addresses the various issues each side is fighting for.  With that assumption in mind, the question becomes, What happens beyond the shutdown?

Essentially, nothing dramatic, other than that the bureaucracy of the Federal government will experience greater delays, and the shutdown merely becomes interpreted as a slowdown for goods and services, much like the picture painted of a local grocery store closing for a week, a month or many months, and where shoppers would have to find another venue to obtain their wares.  The difference between the private-sector shutdown and a Federal government shutdown, however, is that the former often allows for its competitors to take advantage of the situation, whereas the latter has no such “competitors”, as it is the only “game” in town.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a 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, the question of “what to do” with the shutdown should be approached with the following questions: Do we assume that the Federal Government will “reopen for business” at some point?  The general answer is: Yes.

With that assumption, should we just proceed with preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Again, the general answer is: Yes.

The “private” sector continues to operate, and so the doctors who need to submit medical reports and records can still be accessed; the standard forms still need to be prepared, and the faster one is placed into the “waiting line” for determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the quicker the “product” of an approved Federal Disability Retirement benefit will accrue, once the doors of the Federal Government and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are again opened for “business as usual”, beyond the shutdown that occurs from time to time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire