FERS Medical Retirement: Meeting the basic requirements

As with any endeavor, meeting the basic requirements is the minimum standard.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to understand the basic eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Here are a few: The minimum Federal Service requirement (18 months); of having a medical condition during the tenure of one’s Federal Service that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and an inability by the agency to provide reasonable accommodations or reassignment; and some further factors to be considered, as well.

Beyond the basic requirements, of course, are the technical issues that have developed over many years and decades, primarily through statutory interpretation as expounded in court cases and decisions handed down by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  There are, moreover, legal refinements and interpretations that go beyond the “basics”, and while meeting the basic requirements is an important start, it is critical to understand the technical legal refinements which have evolved over the years. “Always start with the basic requirements; and from there, consult with an expert for further details.”

Such is the sage advice often given before involving oneself in a complex process, and Federal Disability Retirement Law is one such administrative endeavor that should take such counsel into account.

Start with meeting the basic requirements — of the minimum 18 months of Federal Service; of having a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job; and from there, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — another “basic requirement” in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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 position, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Under the clump of olive trees

There are certain phrases that turn one’s attention, and daydreams of exotic lands and foreign places become projected onto one’s imagination, like camels, Arabian nights and sand dunes in faraway corners.  But, then, reality imposes itself; such places probably exist a few miles hence; those distant lands are now war-torn and deemed by the State Department to be forbidden avenues for sightseers and tourists in cut-off shorts and Hawaiian Shirts (did you know that the latter are apparently “back in style” – as if they ever were?), with warnings and cautionary predictions where officialdom has already evacuated the premises.

The soft snore from a picturesque scene:  the shepherd with a crooked walking stick, the flock grazing in the near distance; a straw hat edged slightly over the forehead, an arm lazily twisted behind as a pillow against the rocky surface; under the cluster of the olive trees, where a partial shadow allows for the coolness in the heat of midday slumber.  Or, what of a child’s delight in fairytales and picture-books, of Arabian nights with camels chewing silently while tents alight with shadows from within reveal the soft mutterings of foreign tongues, yearning for the delectable offerings sizzling atop the burning fires glowing in the star-filled twilight of the vast ocean of sand dunes and shadows.

Of course, those days of yonder years are now gone forever.  There are no scenes of picturesque quietude; in modernity, every corner of the earth has already been visited; the Himalayan monk sits with earphones and scans the images of Facebook and the world he abandoned for prayer, meditation and enlightenment; and that herd of camels has now been replaced by hooded terrorists lurking to kidnap and maim.  Yet, we all retain and preserve those images of quietude and peaceful reserve; in an insane world, a virtual universe of sanity is necessary, even if non-existence must be acknowledged and admitted to.

For each of us, perhaps it constitutes a minor variation:  becoming lost in a sports league; watching movies in regularity of escaping; a hobby in the cavern of one’s garage; physical labor or forlorn love with strangers; this is a society which requires distraction.  Or, as Heidegger puts it, varying projects in order to avoid the ultimate encounter with Nothingness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition creates a working hell at work, what comprises the image of resting under a clump of olive trees?  Certainly, not the daily grind and antagonism experienced by supervisors, managers and coworkers who disallow any meaningful contribution because of the limitations imposed by the medical condition itself; and, certainly not the enduring of pain and anguish implemented by the constant fight against the illness.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pathway, for many Federal and Postal employees, to a state where one can attend to, and focus upon, caring for one’s self.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is part of the employment package for all Federal and Postal employees, and utilization of it requires a proper formulating, preparation and filing through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to prove one’s entitlement to it.  It is a “means” to an “end”; and the means provide for a pathway outside of the daily pain and suffering which defines one’s life; the “end” is that virtual image we all strive for – to lay one’s head upon a comforting pasture under the clump of olive trees.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Consistency

For over twelve years, the lack of intervening language contradicting the narrative as put forth by the NBC news anchor allowed for an intended image to prevail; it was only when language from other sources began to intersect, and to refute or otherwise unravel, the factual underpinnings as propounded by the individual, that retractions, admissions and apologies had to be declared and conveyed.  But for those other intervening statements, the language game as played by the news anchor would have continued to dominate, and history would have been remained unquestioned.

Language games, as described and discussed by Wittgenstein, are funny animals; there are, of course, the “facts” and the reality as first encountered in the objective world surrounding us; but once that encounter has occurred, what is left is the correspondence and communication through the medium of our language.  It is through language that past historical occurrences are communicated; and so long as the language used by all others do not contradict or otherwise make misfits of the language game one is playing, all goes well.

It is like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; the longer one stays at it, the greater the picture becomes entrenched; but once a piece of the greater puzzle manifests a misfit, or it becomes clear that there are either pieces missing or ones that don’t belong, then the entirety of the whole begins to crumble. We tend to place all of such occurrences under the general aegis of “consistency“.

Submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker has a parallel effect.  You begin with a factual basis:  the medical condition.  Beyond the factual basis, one must then begin to formulate a “Statement of Disability” as propounded on SF 3112A, where the description and delineation must include the logical connection to one’s positional requirements and why you cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position.

Here, consistency is crucial; how one characterizes the nexus between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; the manner of one’s description; the consistency of application and bridge between the two elements of the case, the medical condition and the positional requirements of the job.

It is, ultimately, a language game precisely because a Federal Disability Retirement application is a presentation submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and whether the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the pieces of the puzzle which make for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application all must fit to make up the wholeness of that which matters most in any language game:  consistency.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Word Additions

When viewing a landscape, does the utterance of words add anything to the beauty or desolation?  When rage wells up within a tormented soul, do words which convey a rational thought process ameliorate the temperament in any way?  Whether, in the evolutionary progression of one’s biological apparatus, the appearance of language beyond fundamental communication (e.g., for advanced warning of dangers, conveying of location, and similarly basic devices of informational immediacy) enhances the meaningfulness of the thing itself, is a question beyond mere pedantic interest.

Does a person add anything to the beauty of a red dawn, by describing it with words and conceptual constructs?  Or, better yet, do we glean any greater understanding by descriptive means, or does it merely camouflage the exquisiteness of the thing itself?  There are exceptions.

Medical conditions, and the need to understand their origin, impact, treatment modalities and prognosis allow for individuals to makes decisions based upon information gathered.  The pain itself, or the destructive and progressively debilitating nature of a medical condition, may not require descriptive devices of deciphering linguistic dalliances; but for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must map out one’s future course of actions, the words which one chooses to employ can make all the difference in the conceptual world we live in.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available to all Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS (which most Federal and Postal employees are under, inasmuch as CSRS and CSRS Offset employees are becoming rarer by the year), a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service must be accumulated; but once that threshold is met, it is the evidentiary sufficiency based upon the legal criteria as mandated by statute, the courts, and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which must be complied with through the use of words.

In viewing beauty, words rarely add; in experiencing feelings, language often merely complicates; but in engaging a complex bureaucratic process, words and conceptual constructs add to the future viability of one’s capacity to meet the complex challenges of an ever-changing world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire