Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Pushing Forward

This is a society that always pushed forward.  Older societies; countries and groups that have been around for a long time; established families and ones declaring aristocratic lineage — they all rely upon the past.  It is the glory of the past that gives credence and status to most other societies; ours is a personality for the future, and so it is difficult when an illness, injury or disabling medical condition holds us back, keeps us static or restrains us from pushing forward.

Forward progress has always been the gauge of success, the measurement of merit and the stature of upward mobility.  The frustration felt because of this recent pandemic is emblematic of our inability to remain in place.  Pushing forward has always been our identity, our force of attraction, and to hold back goes against our very nature.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is holding you back from performing successfully all of the essential elements of your job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the way to push forward.  Yes, it is a sort of “pulling back” — but only as a temporary measure.

Federal Disability Retirement encourages the medical retiree to work in the private sector and make up to 80% of what your former position currently pays, and in that sense, retiring on a medical disability is simply another way of “pushing forward” — just in a different career.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: Into Manageable Slices

That is the only way that we can survive; for, to try and solve all of the problems which come our way, all at once; to allow the burden of the world, the weight of all that concerns us; to think about, ruminate over and battle against all that must be resolved — would lead at best to a state of frustration, or at worst, a level of insanity.

We have to slice up the world into manageable ingots; otherwise, the world will devour our very existence because of the sheer chaos that ensues.  That is why the advice often given is: First, make sure that some of the fundamentals of living are taken care of — keep the sink clear of dirty dishes; take out the garbage once a day; make sure and spend a few moments each day with loved ones, etc.; then, once the foundational ingots are taken care of, go on to some more complex issues in sequential order of priority.

This is how we divide up the world into manageable slices.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers with FERS coverage 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 the medical condition itself which becomes the “fundamental” of life; all else becomes secondary — even the Federal or Postal job itself.

Of course, the Federal Agency and the Postal Facility does not see it that way.  From their perspective, it is performance at the job which is primary, and your medical condition is secondary, and that is where the conflict arises.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, lest the universe of troubles and concerns are no longer able to be effectively divided into manageable slices.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Righting the Mistakes

Some have posited that we actually need 2 lifetimes: One for living, and another for righting the mistakes made in the first lifetime.  Then, a “Mark-Twain humorist” once quipped that, No, human beings need at least 3 lives — the first to live; the second to right the mistakes of the first; and another to do all of the things we always wanted to do but didn’t get a chance to because we were too busy worrying about it.

Life, indeed, is a series of regrets, and most of us still have consciences such that we worry and ruminate about the mistakes we made; how we go about “righting” those mistakes; and finally, on our deathbeds, to simply cry out for forgiveness because the weight of our past is too much to bear.  We can spend most, if not almost all, of our lives trying to correct the errors of our error-filled past; and, if not that, to worry about it.  Often, we don’t even know that we are making the mistakes until it is too late, or until that moment of revelation when we say to ourselves — How did I get myself into this mess?

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, it is important to try and file an effective and — as much as possible — an error-free Federal Disability Retirement application.  There is much to be worried about in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application: the complexity of the process itself; the legal hurdles which must be overcome; the bureaucratic morass that must be fought.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and try and avoid the mistakes at the outset. In Federal Disability Retirement, you surely do not want to spend your “second life” righting the mistakes of your first life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The Steps

There are many of them; throughout, even in a small village or town; steps to enter a restaurant; steps to get to the front door; steps down the back porch; then there are baby steps, giant leaps and small steps; hesitant ones and confident strides; steps that are loud and stomping; steps which are heavy, evoking images of a haggard day full of dashed hopes and downtrodden emotions.

Then, there are metaphorical steps — as in what steps you must take in order to “reach your goals” or the steps that have to be endured in order to “climb up the corporate ladder”.  Steps are many; some are few; and whether in a metaphorical sense or in a pragmatic statement of reality, they either take you up or down, and sometimes merely on a plateau of equilibrium where gravity and reality pulls at you in either direction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the steps you take at the initial stage of the process are important in establishing where you want to go, how you want to go about it, and whether or not you will make any progress in reaching your destination point — a receipt of an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with a Federal Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the steps you take lead you backward, instead of forward, in the complex administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Managing Stress

Stress is the outside world impacting without guardrails the inner world of a person’s life, resulting in ravages upon the health and well-being of even the healthiest of individuals.  We can never completely be free of it; for, as every living organism is defined by movement and alacrity of purpose, so the forces of the objective universe are there to interfere and impede.  The most that we can do is “manage” stress.

Management of stress, however, will ultimately fail, inasmuch as stress over time, in incremental steps and microcosmic, subtle degradations that take its toll over time, will ultimately prevail.  How we manage it; to what extend we are able to withstand it; and to what base-line we begin this life of tolerating its consequences — these all play a role depending upon the uniqueness of each individual.  In the beginning, in youth and ignorance, we shrug it off and believe ourselves to be invincible; but as time and age begins to take its toll, we whimper at its incredible impact.  Health — whether mental or physical — is the wall that begins to crumble, whether by pock-marks of slow destruction or large chasms of gaping holes.

For Federal employees or 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, and where stress has over time eaten away at the guardrails of invincibility, you may want to contact an Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before proceeding with a FERS Disability Retirement application.

Stress Management having failed, the next step is to consider extricating one’s self from the destructive forces of stress itself, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be the best next course of action to accomplish that which everyone fails at: Managing Stress.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Human Nature

There are other “natures”, of course — of a dog’s or a cat’s; or of a vulture’s, and perhaps of lower order species which we barely give notice to: of spiders (except when they crawl near to us), mice, grasshoppers and frogs.  For species we deem to be less intelligent or possessing the capacity for “free will” (i.e., making decisions and performing acts outside of a predetermined view of what they are “supposed to do”), we tend to have an opinion of, “X does Y because that is the nature of X to do Y”.

Thus, when we read about a traveler who went to a game reserve and got mauled by a lion whom the traveler thought — just a moment before —was “friendly” enough to approach and take a close-up picture of, we shake our heads at the fact that the individual ignored the clear and visible sign which read: “Caution —Do NOT leave your vehicle. Dangerous Animals” or some similar preemptive warning.

Then, of course, there is “our” nature — of Human Nature.  What is it?  We are an animal species which is able to adapt, possess the talent for a thousand things but remain mediocre in all of them.  We cannot run as fast as a cheetah, nor have the ferocity of a lion; we cannot fly like the birds, nor have the venomous bite of a snake.  Yet, we can build cars which can outrace a cheetah, create weapons that do greater damage than a lion’s claws; we can build airplanes that travel greater distances than birds and manufacture bullets that pierce flesh beyond what a snake can deliver.

Of course, we like to think of “human nature” as being, as Aristotle would put it, “rational” first, and vicious somewhere down at the bottom of the list.  But wars, the devastating trails of what we leave behind — they attest more about Human Nature than our rationality.

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 issue of Human Nature as one comprised of cruelty, retribution and back-stabbing is probably not a surprise.  As your medical conditions worsen, you may have noticed a lack of empathy and a growing sense of animosity and contentiousness from your Agency or the Postal Service.

Chalk it up to “Human Nature” and the capacity of human beings for lack of qualities which — while we may like to think of as comprising the essence of humanity — comes out at the worst of times.

Consider, at such a point, whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement might not be the best option available, and consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Silence

Whether of the historical novel by Shusaku Endo or of the film adaptation by Martin Scorsese, the powerful images evoked (or provoked?) by the contrast between noise heard and the silence following can be felt only with the “before” and “after”.  The novel itself is Endo’s masterpiece, although he has written many; and, of course, Scorsese has a long list of accomplishments and commercial successes, but Silence is not one of them— at least not by commercial standards.

It is a serious movie with few bright moments; of contracted theological arguments and disputations revealing cultural chasms so deep that only a simple metaphor can make it comprehensible; of an agonizing series of endless torture; of the anguished, linguistic divide apparent between two countries which fail to understand each other because of the subtleties of language’s disconnect.  And then there is — silence — in contrast to noise; of a “before” and an “after”.

And the questions which foretell of the quietude: Does the lack of God’s intervention mean that there is no God?  Does “speaking” of denying and renouncing, or the act of stepping upon the image of God, determine one’s faith, or can faith be alive within the silence of one’s inner soul?  Can the Peter-like character, Kichijiro, remain a “faithful apostle” despite his breaking of his silence in actively renouncing and apostatizing?  And who has the greater faith — the priest who grudgingly passes judgment each time the apostate comes for confession and forgiveness, or the one who renounces but then confesses and asks?

In the end, Silence is too heavy a movie to be considered “entertainment”, and most people will not want to spend an evening watching a movie that has little joy and less to laugh about; for, the pain that is experienced by so many in this world in the silence of one’s own suffering is torturous enough without asking to view an even greater expansion of such pain and silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, similarly, suffer in silence because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consulting and being guided by an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is likely the wiser course to take, as the bureaucratic morass that one must be guided through can be likened to the foreign country that the priests in Silence had to endure — through the pitfalls of dangers and caverns of unknown territories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: The isolation

Generally, we accept the statement that Man is a “social” animal, and by that we mean that he or she prefers, all factors considered, to live in communities and interact voluntarily with others, as opposed to living in isolation, apart and separate.  That we congregate in bunches of aggregate intercourses is not uncommon; that we enjoy the company and camaraderie of social discourse is considered “normal”; but on the other hand, that we like to be alone at times is also not disputed.

There are those who cannot stand being alone; others who must always be in the company of someone; of still many who fear being alone in life, and desperately cling to partners who one neither deserves nor should solicit for the sake of one’s own well-being.  For, in the end, even the loner was born into the communal world; that he or she decided to betray the conventions of society and isolate himself is not an argument for normalcy of being.

It is, in the end, the isolation that is most daunting; of being targeted and separated and placed into a proverbial-type of sequestration or solitary confinement.

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 concept of “isolation” is not a new one.  Whether because the Federal or Postal employee feels isolated because he or she cannot tell anyone about the medical condition or, having told about it, the Federal or Postal employee is deliberately being isolated because of the medical condition, matters little.  Both result in the same consequences.

The “targeted” employee; the one who is no longer “part of the team”; the one who has dared ask for an accommodation; the one who is no longer invited to meetings or in the general sharing of information; the isolated Federal or Postal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, lest the isolation results in the continued harassment and ultimately ends in a termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire