OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The Crumbling Society

There is often a correlation between one’s personal perspective and how one views the greater society at large — of a personal crisis paralleling a view that the objective world is crumbling or, conversely, of a contented individual seeing the world with a less pessimistic outlook.

Is the world crumbling?  The news abounds with a constant stream of problems and disasters; of “breaking news” 24/7; of buildings suddenly collapsing, weather patterns of constant extremes, of corruption and indictments, and the political process in a perpetual turmoil of bickering and childish displays of retribution.

Medical conditions can influence the perspective of an individual, and such a perspective is often one of a hopeless and dire future.  For a more balanced perspective, it is often necessary to contact an attorney who can give you the straight facts about your legal rights and inform you about the process involved in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

If you are a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of your job, contact a disability attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and seek the proper advice on what to do for engagement in the process of a FERS disability retirement, as well as an added perspective on the crumbling society around us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal & Postal Worker Disability Retirement: Comparative Suffering

Human beings have a need — or perhaps, merely a desire — to compare one another’s status, stature, standing and state of suffering, as well as other non-alliterative issues.  Suffering is a state of existence which can be compared — of the extent, severity and qualitative basis — as well as the responses and reactions thereto.

How much can an individual endure?  Is our own suffering “as bad” as the next person’s?  How is it that some people can withstand with apparent aplomb an avalanche of suffering while the next person can barely handle a de minimus amount?  Can we really quantify suffering, or is it based upon the tolerance-level of each individual which determines the capacity of any response?  Does comparing one’s own suffering really help in the therapeutic recovery of a coping individual?

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, comparing one’s medical condition to the next person’s medical condition is actually the wrong approach in considering whether or not to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Rather, the “right” comparison is with the essential elements of your particular job, and whether or not you can perform all of them.

Contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and make sure that the comparative suffering is between apples and apples, and not between the misguided comparison of apples versus oranges, or even of comparative suffering between incomparable medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: Failure of Proof

What does it mean to “fail to prove” something?  Who, in the end, determines such a “failure”?

A benefit which is part of being a Federal or Postal employee — OPM Disability Retirement under the FERS system — must of course include “proof” that the Federal employee or Postal worker is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job; but what constitutes failure in meeting that burden of proof?

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, of course, is the “gatekeeper” at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, as well as the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process.  The “safety” mechanism is that, if OPM denies the application for Federal Disability Retirement at both the First Stage as well as the Second, Reconsideration Stage, a Federal Disability Retirement applicant can file an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — taking it out of the hands of OPM and placing it before an administrative judge for an administrative, telephonic hearing.

For, OPM’s methodology of “proving” that there has been a “failure of proof” is by selectively choosing everything undermining a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement case, then proceeding to make conclusions based upon those selectively chosen bases and ignoring everything else.  It is, in the end, not a failure of proof that defeats an OPM Medical Retirement submission, but more often than not, a baseless claim by OPM that proof by a preponderance of the evidence has not been met.

To counter this, contact an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and meet the baseless assertion of a failure of proof by proving that the failure was a failure of proper adjudication.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Identical Scene

People tend to watch things over and over again which they consider to be their “favorites” — until the repetition itself becomes monotonous through overexposure.  We can all ruin a good thing, can’t we?

We can admire an actor, novelist or some so-called “star” — until we read and learn about their personal lives and realize that appearance doesn’t quite match reality.  We can have a favorite scene in a movie or television show and watch it repeatedly — until the uniqueness of it wears thin and we begin to see beyond the wonder by which we were first captivated.

That “identical scene” is something we live in real life, as well — of getting up, taking care of our personal hygiene, commuting to work (except during these recent, pandemic times), seeing the identical scene of working, day after day — until an intervening event disrupts that identical scene, such as a medical condition.

When a medical condition disrupts our lives, those identical scenes become hyper-enhanced to the point where each day is no longer monotonous nor identical, but instead, each scene is a unique frame because of the medical condition itself.  That once “identical scene” no longer becomes a favorite one, precisely because of the medical condition itself.

At that point, you need to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Contact a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether the identical scene you once enjoyed has now become the dreaded scene of real life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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