FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The light in someone else’s home

Walking the dog out past dusk, or perhaps standing in the backyard after the sun sets; or, in an apartment complex looking out beyond; a light turns on in someone else’s home; we wonder, who is it, what are they like, and how different are they?  Do others, upon seeing the light switched on in your home, wonder at the owner — the possessor of the finger that flicked the contraption that illuminated the room and altered it from darkness into a visually acute arena of human activity?

Why do we spend so much time pondering about alien lives in other worlds, in faraway universes beyond our very own, when scant little attention is paid to knowing about our next door neighbor?

Some would give a quick scoff at such a thought and quip, “If only you knew my next door neighbor — you wouldn’t want to know!”  And yet, it is always the one that is “just beyond” that attracts our attention — not the person sitting next to you on a train, or the woman with three screaming children on public transportation; rather, it is the unseen stranger who flicked on the light switch afar, whom we cannot see but by shadows that pass behind the blinds that veil; that is the person who sparks an imagination that there are other lives, other ways to live, and who remind us that the light in someone else’s home means that there are other ways of seeing things, living life and having different opinions, goals, dreams and conversations.

The objectivization of other human beings is the basis by which murders are committed, wars are justified and slogans are written; it is only when the warmth of a light that suddenly illuminates the darkness that prevailed begins to permeate one’s consciousness of what it all means, is when human empathy and compassion begins to form.

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 light in someone else’s home is the one left unlit, and that is often why the harassment begins, the coworkers remain uncaring and the agency seems oblivious to your deteriorating health.

It often seems as if the world cares not; that, despite your years of loyalty shown, late-nights expended to complete an important agency project, or staying beyond the hours to finish the sorting, distribution and delivery — now it is supposed to be someone else’s turn to switch on the light and carry forth the mission.

Preparing 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.  Whatever the conditions, it is no longer the light in someone else’s home that should be of concern, but the darkness left in your own that needs to change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The avoidance factor

When does avoidance become a problem?  Say you found out something about a close friend or neighbor — an embarrassing fact, a hidden truth or perhaps a juicy tidbit of revelations that could topple a friendship or marriage — and your self-guiding principle of being honest and forthright scares you into believing that, were you to encounter the person, you fear that either your demeanor will reveal that hidden secret, or you may be a person who cannot control your emotions and you believe that you may blurt out the secret and damage, ruin or perhaps even end the relationship altogether.

Or, maybe you avoid something simply because you dislike doing it, or fear the consequences of finding out the truth, or even disregard knowing that if you seek it and find it, the discovery itself would merely confirm the fears of life’s travails that you believe are better left alone.

What we don’t know, we can deal with; that which, once uncovered, revealed and brought out into the open, we suddenly realize is a certainty that cannot be avoided.  Is work becoming that way?  Are coworkers likewise avoiding you, and you them, with eyes averted, speaking about the weather, the last sports extravaganza, how the Orioles never seem to make the final push or whether money ruins the equality of teams, etc.?

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 the Federal or Postal job, the issue of the avoidance factor looms large.

Everyone begins to avoid the obvious — that you have a medical condition; that your medical condition impacts, impedes and prevents you from performing all of the essential elements of your job; that, perhaps, even your own doctor has already hinted at the truth of your medical condition — that you should likely seek a change of career; that the ceiling of sympathy has been reached, already, and your agency has begun to grumble about termination proceedings; and many other indicators, besides, that showing what everyone is avoiding is actually just a confirmation of the elements needed to prove a Federal Disability Retirement case; it’s just that everyone has been avoiding the obvious.

For, in the end, the proof of a Federal Disability Retirement case is likely already in existence in the very avoidance factor that you and everyone else has been tiptoeing around, and it is precisely the avoidance factor that makes of certainty the issue itself: Now is the time, and not tomorrow; today is the first step that needs to be taken, and not some obscure time down the road, and the avoidance factor that leaves everyone in the dark is like the hidden secret that everyone knows about but believes that he or she is the only one with the truth that, actually, everyone already knew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Claims: What we value

We give lip-service about the things we claim to value.  One’s intentions often satisfy the guilt we secretly harbor, whether suppressed consciences touch upon the better half of our souls, or not.  We “say” we wish to spend more time with family members, our kids, our spouses and other kindred spirits, but then when the opportunity opens up for us to do so, we wallow in the self-pity of the internal universe we create.

Have circumstances forced upon us those intentions we have often voiced but never fulfilled?  If a medical condition forces one to remain at home, why are we not happy that we can spend more time with those whom we have previously cast aside with the words spoken but never followed through upon?

If what we value is based solely upon the words spoken, we would indeed be seen as a compendium of value-filled coupons collected over many years of savings; but as time in a bottle is merely an empty space of air filling a bubble of eternity, so words thrown about carelessly to listening ears may be too young to realize and otherwise cling to voices that reassure but never fulfill, like the wolf in sheep’s clothing that devours all who are so gullible as to disregard the elongated nose that defies belief.

In the end, what we value is proven by the actions we initiate, fulfill, embrace and confirm; and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal position, it is the deterioration of one’s health that becomes the very test of that which we value.

Is one’s health important?  Does one’s career override all else?  What is the meaning of “sacrifice”, and how far must one go in proving one’s loyalty and commitment?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a judgment upon what we value; it is, instead, a reflection of how we value workers who have shown a commitment in the Federal sector and the Postal Service, by recognizing that once the eligibility criteria of 18 months of Federal Service has been completed, the family of Federal and Postal workers have a vested interest in protecting the rights of a worker who has suffered from a medical condition and deserves greater consideration than to cast them aside with nothing but the shirt on their backs, or the empty words often bandied about without meaning or value.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last stands

Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians.  Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.

It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public.  We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee.  Or, is it the “last straw”?  Is there a difference between the two?  The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice.  But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.

Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents.  It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived.  Yet, Federal and Postal employees 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 job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.

But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Law’s efficacy

When is “the law” effective?  Especially when speaking about an administrative procedure such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – what role does “the law” play in its procedural and substantive aspects?

Multiple distinctions are made on a daily basis with respect to the law’s efficacy; whether something is “legal” or not does not always mean that it is enforceable, for the costs associated may be prohibitively expensive.  To have a “legal right” does not always mean that one should necessarily assert it, for there may be practical considerations that come into play before moving forward with applying that which is rightfully existent.

Further, the mere fact that the law may be “on the books” may not necessarily mean that a society will always raise it up from the dead and apply it; for, as customs and normative constraints alter, modify and become transformed by evolution of thought, it may well be that dogs best left sleeping are the ones who are never bothered.

In Administrative Law – which Federal Disability Retirement issues are a part of – there is always the question as to what role, significant, relevant or somewhat in between, “the law” plays, as many steps throughout the procedure and process must deal with non-lawyers who have no clue as to the existence, force or applicability of legal matters.

Thus, should the “Bruner Presumption” be argued at the initial stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application even though the administrative specialist who is reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application may have no clue about its impact, doesn’t much care and will likely not give much thought to its contextual relevance?

Does Bracey v. OPM matter when discussing the finer points of issues pertaining to accommodations and reassignment, or is that merely some esoteric legal argument that should be reserved for the Third Stage of the process, if and when a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied twice (both at the Initial Stage of the process, as well as at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) and is appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and comes before an Administrative Judge?

Should Simpkins versus OPM always be argued for Veterans with Service-connected ratings, no matter what the ratings are comprised of?

The law’s efficacy is ultimately determined not necessarily by the quantitative bombardment of effective methodological argumentation, but by the qualitative selectiveness of who to argue to, when to argue and for what purpose.  In the end, law’s efficacy is a strategic component that may determine the successful or otherwise outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be considered thoughtfully and with great preparation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire