Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Goal of What?

Goals are important to have.  They provide for a destination point; a place where dreams have been projected unto; the ends for which we strive.

We often live by metaphors, and the one which pervades often encompasses sports and competition, of “goal posts” and “end zones”, of the last second buzzer where the swish of the ball sinks into the netting and the crowd roars in a unison of applause (although, even that has now been taken away with the Coronavirus pandemic); or even of a “finish line” in a marathon or the checkered flag for the fastest car.

It is, in the end, the goal to win, the goal to pass through, the goal to reach.  But what about the road taken, the path traveled, the route that is considered?  What if all of that changes, and the goal itself can no longer be reached without doing harm to one’s self?  Should a quarterback continue to play despite an injury?  Should a runner continue to “press on” despite doing harm to him or herself?  Shouldn’t the goal change in order to accommodate the altering circumstances of an individual’s trek?

The question thus becomes: The goal of what?  Is it worthwhile to reach retirement age if to do so will leave you in a debilitated state?

For Federal employees and U.S Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the goal may well remain the same: Of retirement.  It may just be necessary to take the retirement a little early by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the goal of what becomes too poignant a question such that the goal posts become too far removed and beyond reach.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Perfect Day

For those with a literary bent, the natural inclination is to complete the title with, “for banana fish” — the erstwhile J.D. Salinger short story.  For the rest of us, it may be defined in other ways, different manners and varying definitions: Perhaps it is a day where one’s favorite football team wins; or, a quiet day of reading beside the fireplace, where snow drifts slowly upon the world outside, but not so much as to need shoveling or snow blowing, just enough to provide a picturesque scenery of calm and repose.

Or, perhaps it is one of negation: No work; no present worries; no children clamoring for attention; no arguments; no in-laws visiting without invitation.  Different definitions depend upon different perspectives of differentiated debacles; for some, “perfection” is what we will settle for less than the official dictionary definition; for others, the high standards we demand do not allow for anything less than.  If one of positive accomplishment, the taskmaster is never satisfied; but if it is based upon mere negation, then we may accept something less.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the perfect day may be just an ordinary one — where one’s medical conditions are temporarily tolerable.  But such a standard cannot last forever, and yet one can hope that — with the worry of work behind you, the concern for the future still before you — if a Federal Disability Retirement annuity can be obtained, at least the stress of work can be set aside so that you can focus upon regaining your health.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider the perfect day that may yet be achievable: Of a day where your health may be somewhat restored, perhaps not even reaching a level of perfection but merely of acceptability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Rational Discourse

In the world of academia, whether as a student or a professor, the ivory-tower atmosphere tends to de-couple and de-link reality from perception.  There is, to begin with, “the world” and its events, causations, occurrences and peoples intertwined by engaging in the politics and activities of daily living; and then, there is our “perception” of such events, which — in their aggregate — is comprised of and by our backgrounds, our beliefs, our interpretive faculties and the paradigms from which we operate.

In college, the world within which one operates is a limited, protected, self-contained universe in which ideas, books, deadlines for term papers and testing for knowledge retained are all experienced through the tunnel vision and narrow prism of a fantasy-world created for rational discourse.  The fact is that the universe is comprised of much irrationality and phenomena otherwise unknown or not capable of explanation.

In a Kantian manner (uh-oh, here we go with the rational discourse prism), we bring to the world the belief that everything must have an explanation, all events must be able to be explained by a rational discourse — but reality hits us hard in the face, or upon the backside, whichever metaphor you prefer.  Perhaps that is what is meant by “growing up”.  For the cynic, the universe has become a jumble of irrationality; for the proverbial optimist, everything yet to be explained can simply be set aside for future revelation.  Somewhere in the middle is where most of us belong.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition, and where that medical condition betrays the fond memories of our youth when health was taken for granted and mortality was never even considered, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like an ugly choice.  In a world where rational discourse should prevail, the irrationality of a chronic medical condition seems to be an unfair event that requires explanation — or, at least a good defense.  We can question and puzzle; we can fret and worry; but in the end, the stark choices are there before us.  Whether, ultimately, there is a rational discourse that can adequately explain the medical conditions by which a person suffers — or not — is often besides the point.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS and begin the process of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, and let the questions concerning rational discourse remain a mystery to be solved in some unknown days ahead.  Life is difficult enough to maneuver without worrying about one’s future, and getting a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at least softens the blow in a universe that often seems impervious to the private hells of individual troubles.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Extending One’s Career at a Cost

Our identity is often bundled up and inextricably intertwined with the careers we have chosen.  It is therefore understandable that, even with a medical condition that begins to debilitate, we would want to extend the chosen career to the furthest extent possible.  The question then becomes one of performing a cost-benefits analysis: Does it make sense to try and make it to the proverbial “finish line” of retirement if the cost of doing so is to end up in such a debilitated state that any enjoyment derived in those “sunset years” is minimal, at best?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are, as a whole, a committed workforce dedicated to accomplishing the mission of the Federal Agency or the Postal Unit — often at the cost of one’s health.  There comes a point, however, when the cost of one’s health is not worth one’s contribution to the mission identified, and when that critical juncture is reached, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.  Extending one’s career at the cost of one’s health is one thing; to do so where the cost means accepting an actual harm to one’s well-being and a permanent loss of enjoyment in one’s retirement — well, that is often termed as a decision that only a fool would make.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider retiring early so that the cost of one’s health doesn’t become the payment overdue for one’s over-zealous commitment to the mission at large.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Qualifying Standard

What if a group of individuals gathered to compete in a race, of sorts, and trained, engaged in strenuous preparatory work and did all of the things necessary in order to “qualify”? They all gather on the agreed-upon date and, in customary athletic clothing, run a predetermined distance where 3 individuals out of ten cross a white line in sequential fashion. There is no doubt as to who the 3 “front runners” were. Yet, when the prizes are handed out, they are given to the 10th, 7th and 5th place runners. There is an understandable uproar. A protest is filed.

Umpires and referees gather (are there such people, or is that just in baseball, football, soccer and basketball?) and discuss the situation at length. Small, hand-held rule books are consulted and the audience sits in anguished silence as the outcome is debated in a deliberative fashion. Furrowed eyebrows are mashed in faces of concerned silence; the crowd that had gathered to witness the sporting event argue vociferously over the unfairness of it all; television crews have arrived, having been tipped off that a major scandal has been scented and the sharks have gathered for the afternoon kill.

No one notices that a little old man who has stood watching the entire spectacle with a peaceful, quiet calm has slowly made his way onto the platform where a microphone has been set up. He approaches the podium, adjusts the contraption and begins thus: “Ahem”. He pauses, waiting for everyone at the event to recognize the point from where the clearing of his throat originated, and continues on: “I am Mr. X; I organized this event. If you look at the last paragraph of the rules-book, it specifically states the following: ‘Mr. X is the sole determiner of the qualifying standard’. I am, as I said, Mr. X, and I determined that runners 5, 7 and 10 are the winners. End of story”. The little old man then turns around and walks back down, and away from the event.

Now, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition leads the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, this story may appear to parallel the manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management acts: As a law unto itself.

Fortunately, they are not the sole arbiter of the qualifying standard and, instead, there is such a thing as “The Law”. In order to apply the law and force OPM to follow the true and only qualifying standard, however, it is necessary to “know” the law; and, in order to do that, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. Otherwise, you might be subject to the same standard (or lack thereof) as the little old man who does what he wants on any given day depending on how he feels on that day, or in that moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Fathoms and farthings

They are words seldom used by ordinary people, and are instead found within contexts now of limited usage except by reference to anachronistic novels and reference manuals, or perhaps in sea-faring settings where such terms are related to between seasoned old-timers in the field.

The former term refers to the unit of measurement for the depth of the ocean’s topography; the latter, a unit of currency so small as to have become obsolete by now with the inflationary course of history having relegated such amounts to irrelevancy, and ceasing to be recognized as legal tender by 1960.  Besides, it was a “foreign” currency as well, and was not a currency used in current usage within recognizable current vintage, anyway (yes, yes, a bad attempt at alliteration and a play on words).

What do they have in common?  They both measure a unit of X, of course; they are also words that have “meaning” only within certain contexts, whether of specialized oceanographic particularization or, as to the latter, within a historical context if one were writing a play, screenplay, novel or short story that included anywhere from the Victorian to the Elizabethan periods.  It is a reminder to us all that words come in and out of “meaning” and relevance based upon the context given and recognized.

Language games”, as the term Wittgenstein ascribed, retain their relevance and applicability depending upon the context of the usage adopted.

It is no different when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is thrown into a “language game” that has been ongoing for decades, but is new to the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Such terms as “The Bruner Presumption”, “viable accommodation attempts”, “Persuasive legal effect of other disability ratings,” etc., come into play.  Yes, you may be able to research and understand some of the terms, but the particularization and the anachronism of such terms may come back to haunt you unless you, as the Federal or Postal employee trying to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, can fully comprehend the specialized nature of this complex process called Federal Disability Retirement.

For, like fathoms and farthings, it may be best to consult an attorney who has a long experience with such terms and usage in order to better heighten the chances of a First Stage Approval from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Tone and tenor

In music as well as in grammar, the first word remains somewhat constant, in that it refers to the sound itself – how it sounds, the decibel level, the texture and coherence, etc.  Between the two, it is the tenor that alters, for in music, it refers to the male voice intermediate between the bass and the alto, while in grammar it is the content and substance of that which is said.

Thus, in either manner of usage, whether in music or in grammar, the combination of both is a bifurcated distinctiveness that goes to the duality of the following:  How it is being played or said, as opposed to what is being emitted or posited.  Both in verbal communication, as well as in written delineation and presentation, each are important.  In the former, one can often modulate the first upon the second, and even adapt the second in order to “soften” the first.

Thus, a person might say, “Go take a hike” in an angry, unforgiving manner, and the words spoken are consistent with the tone granted.  Or, one can say it in a joking, soft-spoken manner, and suddenly the tenor of the words take on an entirely new meaning – for, no longer do you actually mean the words themselves, as in “Please go away, I don’t like you and I don’t want to see you”; rather, stated in the second manner, it can simply be a cute retort, a friendly quip or a joking gesture.

In writing, however, one must be quite careful – for the tone of a sentence is encapsulated within the tenor of the written statement; the two, being entangled by the written mode of communicating, can easily be misinterpreted unless carefully crafted.  That is why texting, emailing and other written modes of delivery can be dangerous vehicles easily misunderstood and taken with offensive intent that otherwise was meant in a different manner.

The “tone” of a written sentence, paragraph or page must be intimately woven with the context of the “tenor” presented; and how the reader or recipient reads it, what internal “tone” is ascribed, can be misguiding.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must prepare 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 tone and tenor of a Federal Disability Retirement packet is important to consider.

Will a somewhat “third-person, objective” persona be assumed?  Will the SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, be presented in a cold, clinical manner, where the tone is set “as if” someone else is describing the personal issues of the medical conditions, as well as their effect upon the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, or will it be more likened to a weeping bundle of hysterical cries begging for approval, or even closer to an angry shout that deafens the ears of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s assigned “specialist”?

Tone and tenor need to be decided upon early on in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it may well be that consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing such applications will ensure the proper modulation in both the tone and tenor of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Game changers

Rarely do we have advantages in life.  Instead, most challenges are full of obstacles in our way, advantages tipped in favor of another’s, and an imbalance that seems to make life’s lottery of spectral choices a weighted unfairness that no amount of complaining seems to make a difference about.  We hear about them; yet, they rarely attend to our own needs nor join “our team”.

Game changers are those influences or components that suddenly make winning more favorable.  They normally become a part of the “other” team, but every now and again, life may throw a ray of sunshine down our path, and game changers become an element of one’s own “team”.  Perhaps it is a secret piece of knowledge no one else is privy to; or a piece of information that others have not yet been provided access to; or a person with exceptional talent who has given indications of sympathy to a particular cause; or even a new methodological approach that has not yet been widely disseminated.

Whatever the element of advantage, game changers open up circumstances that favor the success of one side over another, and appear at an optimum time when others have yet to prepare for the surprise addition.  At least, that is what they appear to do in novels, movies, plays and fictional life.  In real life, there are rarely such advantageous elements that make a difference.  Instead, most of life is a steady monotony of hard work, less complaining and a representation of the tortoise-like ethic as opposed to the hare that dashes off and runs ahead of everyone else.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of a “game changer” should be a familiar one.  For, when the medical condition first began to impact one’s health, that– in and of itself — was a game-changer: against you.  And when your work began to suffer because of the medical condition — that, too — was a game-changer: against you.  And when you needed to take excessive Sick Leave and Annual Leave, then LWOP, that was again a game-changer – again and too familiarly, against you.

It is perhaps time to begin preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; that, too, may be a “game changer”; but this time, in your favor, so that you can perhaps begin to focus upon the changing games that need a true game changer – your own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Annuity after a Disability in the Federal Workplace: Formulaic writings

It is both of predictability and boredom that we seek when enjoying such genres of form and content – of the “formula” in a who-dunit, or a love story that brings together two unlikely individuals in their awkwardness and geekiness, but somehow overcomes the considerable odds and obstacles placed in their way (and we don’t ask, in a 2-hours snippet, how can so much happen to two people when not even a smidgeon of such events were faced in our entire lifetimes?) and ending with an orchestral crescendo that brings tears that raises handkerchiefs throughout the audience, which we all quickly stuff into our back pockets with embarrassing quickness when the lights are turned on.

But that formulas could be applied to real life, and not just in presentations that appear slick, without error and marketed with such efficiency that we think it is just that the “other person” is naturally good at it, and we are not.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  Formulaic writings, formulaic plays, formulaic movies, formulaic – lives?

Perhaps it exists in the fictional world of fairytales and corporate pathways where certain individuals – whether because of the family name, the tradition of old wealth, or those “connections” that the inner circle depends upon for their very survival – are groomed towards reaching the top in some predetermined formulaic manner.  But for the rest of us, our lives are more likened to the undisciplined ocean where storms come at unexpected and unpredictable moments; strong surges and wind currents destroy that which we have so carefully built; and our ship’s rudder suddenly fails to guide or lead us towards our intended destinations.

There is no formula.  We are left without a map, less a compass, and more and more without the guidance of our parents or grandparents because, they, too, have become as clueless as the rest of society.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition has interrupted their career goals, hope for the future and dreams of security – preparing 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, may become a necessity.

Then, when one researches and looks at SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, one realizes that the questions posed are the same posed to everyone who files – and so the information requested is based upon some “formulaic” approach from the agency’s side of things; but what about the individual Federal or Postal employee’s side of it?  Is there, also, a “formulaic” approach to winning a Federal Disability Retirement case?

Like everything else in life, it always seems as if the slick advantage that the large bureaucracy possesses is overwhelmingly in favor of going against the Federal or Postal employee.  However, there is, indeed, a “formulaic” response – and that is the “laws” that govern Federal Disability Retirement.

Life in general may not always have a winning formulaic approach, but in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to at least garner the formulaic support of the laws that protect and preserve.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire