Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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, it is important to recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Predictions

How did the first person accurately predict the oncoming change of weather?  Of course, some would contend that no one has accurately predicted such a thing, and would scoff at the thought.  Was it merely by observation?

Why did logic not overtake the attempt at prediction — of Hume’s contention that there is no such thing as a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, but merely a repetition of events that can be defied when, in the next instance, what one expected may turn out to be wrongly presumed?  Or of other events — of the outcome of a contest between two teams; of great horse races, the Triple Crown, or even of Olympic events: Can accuracy of predictions be statistically enhanced by observation, analysis, careful scrutiny and always with a bit of luck included?

And in the field of medicine — is a “prognosis” the same, or similar to, a “prediction” of sorts?  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 requirements necessary in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset includes a “prediction” of sorts — a prognosis that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months from the date of the application.

This does not mean that a Federal or Postal worker must wait for 12 months to establish that the medical condition itself will last that long, but merely that the medical condition itself will last a minimum of 12 months from the time one applies for Federal Disability Retirement — which, as a practical matter, makes sense because it takes about the same amount of time, on average, to get an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and there would essentially be no point in filing if, upon an approval, you no longer suffer from the medical condition itself.

A “prognosis” is, indeed, a type of prediction, and most doctors will be able to provide “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” as to the lasting effects and enduring nature of a medical condition, based upon experience, analysis and clinical encounters.

Now, as for the weather…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Landmines undetected

Landmines, or other similar devices left undetected, whether improvised to explode and damage, harm or otherwise maim and kill, are constructed and implanted precisely for the purpose of being hidden until it is too late — until, unaware and unconcerned, the unwary enters into the foray of the device and suffers from the resulting potency of mayhem.

Landmines undetected do exactly what they were intended for: to catch the target unaware, and to perpetrate the greatest extent of harm and destruction possible.  Undetected, they lay in wait in camouflaged veils of surreptitious decoys meant to project an aura of innocence and harmlessness, until it is too late.

Then, of course, there are those landmines which could have been detected, or should have been; where the unwary should have been easily apprised of the potential harm, but for whatever reason — apathy, ignorance, lessening of one’s resolve or suspicion, or whatever the excuse or reflective rationale — failed in the process and suffered the consequences.

The term itself — “a landmine” — is often used allegorically and metaphorically, to emphasize a point of danger, potential hazard or other undetected potentiality, whether concealed, veiled or ignored as irrelevant and insignificant.  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, the landmines undetected in Federal Disability Retirement Law may become the very ones which lessen and diminish the chances for a First Stage success.

While most mistakes are correctible, the single greatest landmine that is left undetected, and which often results with the most dire of consequences, is the one that should have been known or otherwise thought of, but was left as a mere inkling ignored and unresolved.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is a good way to avoid those metaphorical landmines left undetected, and while the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may falsely believe that he or she is unable to afford an attorney to guide the Federal or Postal employee through the process, it is the very opposite thought that should be entertained — of failing to afford the prevention of a potential harm upon stepping on a landmine undetected — which should make one pause and reconsider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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 become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: House versus home

What is it about terms that possess those subtle distinctions that evoke emotions that can be differentiated between “objective” and “subjective”, or distant versus close, impersonal as opposed to affectionate?  Advertisers, of course, play upon such words, and pollsters apply research results as to the emotional input received by throwing in certain words, terms, concepts and voice inflections as opposed to others.

Thus, a “house” is some impersonal structure that may or may not be occupied; whereas, a “home” is where one’s memory resides, of warmth and gaiety, cookies fresh out of the oven and a swift kiss on the forehead when a boo-boo occurred that brought tears to the little child’s rosy cheeks.

“Friends” are reserved for the special smile that knows the secret; an “acquaintance” is still the arms-length feeling of perhaps, but not just yet and maybe; and the tear that is shed in the quietude of a theater’s relative darkness is the one that is let loose when amongst those who are close and secure; but the house that sits beyond can never be the home that warms one’s memories unless the childhood memory runs through the kitchen where aromas of love and cookies can embrace the hurts that were left behind long ago.

What words we use; the emotions which accompany the choice of our language games; and the vehicles of communication that leave hollow the empty vessels within out hearts; these are the breadcrumbs that fall to the wayside and leave us empty within the souls of our being.

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 positional duties, the feeling that one’s Agency or the Postal facility one works at has suddenly become a “house” versus a “home” is a natural one.

No longer are you the valued employee, but just “that one” who takes too much sick leave or LWOP; you are not the golden boy or girl who did a great job last year, but the one who is placing a burden on other workers because you have been absent; and while your performance reviews remain as they were, it is only because apathy continues to prevail, not because anyone has actually noticed how you are struggling despite your medical conditions.

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 left, in order to return to one’s home, as opposed to the house that is visited and has become empty of any feelings or fond memories of childhood dances through the empty halls of a soul that is left hollow by the cruelty of those about and around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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, the process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire