OPM Disability Retirement: Identifying the time for change

At what point does a person finally realize that it is time for a change?  That things cannot go on “as is” much longer, and certain modifications, “accommodations” (there’s that fearful word, again) and alterations must occur, or else you feel that your head will explode or something dire will suddenly befall.  Inside, daily, your thoughts turn to the knowledge that “this cannot go on forever”, and that something must occur.  But what?

Then, the voice of hope keeps whispering that, well, perhaps circumstances will change, alterations to the objective universe may come about in the morning thereafter, and the world will somehow shift and things will get better.

We have been fed upon from infancy until the cold winds of adulthood that folklore and fairytales occur, but the reality is that unless we initiate the pathways of change, they rarely occur except in fables of miracles and mythologies told in dusty old books.

First, it should be clear that the need for change has already been identified when one recognizes that it is time for change.  That identification, however, is often not enough.  For, it is the further sub-identification in recognizing what it is that needs change, and more importantly, why?

If the reasons underlying the need are within the purview of one’s control and destiny of choices being made, then the second step in the process can be initiated by the need identified.  That is the critical juncture in the decision-making process: Of identification, the reason, the underlying need, and then the steps taken to initiate the change in order to satisfy the need identified.

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 need for change often comes about incrementally, insidiously and without great fanfare.

The “need for change” can often come at a critical juncture where frustration of a sense of impending doom collide, and necessity arises because no other alternative pathways appear to exist.  Moreover, it is the identification of the time for change that is often overlooked — that point in life where one is scrambling about desperately not quite knowing the “why” of the need, but only that it must come about.

Speaking to an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law may be the first step in sorting it all out.  For the Federal or Postal employee who must by necessity consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application , the need for change is likely now; identifying the time for change may only require the time it takes to have an initial consultation with a lawyer who has guided many Federal and Postal employees through this process before.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The price of loyalty

It is the negation of that very concept which we fear; not of loyalty, but of disloyalty.  The positive of it is what we are taught to abide by; of “honesty”, “integrity”, “faithfulness”, “reliability”, and so many other such reputation-bearing ascriptions that one may carry about within the essence of one’s being, like so many medals pinned upon the flesh and blood that constitutes the entirety of a human being, his or her life, the soul of who one is, and how others view and perceive an individual.

How many of us, however, before we cling to and so desperately fight in order to resist the loss of any one of those concepts, have carefully understood, studied and evaluated the value of each?  And thus the question: What is the price of loyalty?  When is the debt satisfied, and to what extent must we travel in order to establish the worth of it, and when does it become too costly such that we decide we can no longer afford the price?

Of course, the mixing of metaphors and analogies can confuse and befuddle, and that is often the problem with interspersing common, everyday-used “practical” realities with those that involve emotional attachments, historical assignations and prescriptions for “good living” or “successful lives”. To conflate concepts involving the “practical” world with the inner sanctum of culturally relative ideas – of “price” (as in, what is the price of a bushel of apples?) and of “loyalty” (i.e., knights in shining armor, band of brothers, filial attachments, etc.) can often lead to a confused state of inactivity, precisely because one cannot distinguish the applicability of one with the other.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that 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 question involving the price of loyalty – and its negation – comes at the critical juncture where the suffering from the medical condition exceeds the ability and capacity to continue working in the Federal or Postal job one is positioned in.

Many Federal and Postal employees continue to cling to a false sense of loyalty – that the commitment to one’s career, at any and all costs, is simply the price that one must pay.  But the price to be paid should depend upon the indebtedness owed, and in considering one’s health, such a price should never have to exceed the cost of one’s own health.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely the satisfaction of the debt owed – not by you, but by the terms of one’s employment contract with the Federal agency or the Postal Service, and the price of loyalty, whether real, false or imagined, was long ago satisfied and paid in full the moment you met the minimum eligibility criteria of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Biding time

Inmates in correctional facilities do it; criminals in wait; patients in doctor’s offices who have been informed that there will be a short delay because of an emergency procedure that the physician had to attend to; and most of us in general who live life anticipating disasters, tomorrow’s unfortunate events or the next day’s calamity to come.

We all bide our time in living our lives, and it is the time of biding that is wasted away until, near our deathbed, the expected outcome of disaster never came, the calamity never developed and the corrosion of life never materialized.  It is one thing to wait on another person; another altogether to engage in the patient virtue of sitting motionless or passing the time away in anticipation of something beyond; it is quite another, and perhaps unique, that human beings actually actively engage in the activity of “biding time” in order to start a process.

Vengeance often takes biding of time; planning for a future definitely requires biding time; and old men and women in nursing homes have nothing better to do than to bide one’s time.  To live life biding time, even at the horizon of one’s twilight in elder states of despair, is no way to exist.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of, have already begun the procedural steps to, or otherwise are in the middle of the administrative process of preparing, formulating or filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “biding time” during this complex administrative process is to have “a plan”.

It is a long, arduous, difficult and time-consuming process.  Even after it is successfully filed, the time waiting upon a decision just at the First Stage of the administrative process can now take a very, very long time, and how one plans to bide one’s time during this long process is something one needs to consider.

Will you remain on LWOP during this time?  Will you resign, get terminated, and will you work at a private-sector job while waiting for OPM’s decision?  Will temporary loss of health insurance be a consideration?  If it is denied at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, will that mean that you can endure the lengthy second Stage, the Reconsideration Stage?  And if you have to go and have a Telephonic Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which will take a minimum of 120 days beyond, will that still be within the plan of attack in biding time?

Hopefully, one’s Federal Disability Retirement filing with OPM will go smoothly; but in the event that all of the proverbial bumps on the road are encountered in your particular journey, it is important to consider the extent of biding time during the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Frustrated Purposes

The linear attempt is the methodology of direct purpose; it is the measurement of length — of a straight line from point A to point B, of a one-dimensional character.  Any obstacle placed in its path represents a frustration of that purpose, and merely delays and obfuscates the attempt to accomplish a stated goal.

How to ad lib in circumstances where obstacles appear; the consideration of options and alternatives in the face of detours and unexpected deterrences; what malleability of core values must be shown when necessity arises; these are all challenges within a universe of expectations otherwise untested.

The hardest of these, of course, relates to deliberate attempts by outside forces to frustrate one’s purposes — whether by other people, coworkers, Supervisors, Managers, or perhaps even the microcosmic body politic of an organization or entity as a whole; or by circumstances otherwise unexpected, like a medical condition.  It is bad enough for one or the other to be the sole cause of turmoil; when both conspire jointly, they become a source of angst and agony.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal job or Postal position, it is that fight against both fronts simultaneously which becomes unbearable.

Not only must the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker contend against the challenges of the deteriorating medical condition, but concurrently, at every turn, the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service works day and night to seemingly frustrate the sincere attempts of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to return to a level of functionality such that the positional duties may be fulfilled and satisfactorily completed.

Thus does preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, become an important consideration in the delayed destination of frustrated purposes.

That linear sight of myopic perspective — of a career of accomplishments set over a lifetime, with retirement as a byproduct in a future destination and contribution to society as the groundwork of contentment — must be allowed to swerve, overcome and become a series of schizophrenic lines of zig-zagging spectrums, lest the frustration of purposes defeat the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

It is an educational tool utilized to impart upon children the value of hard work and unfettered optimism, but one wonders, At what point should the harsh realities of the world be included?  How, sometimes there are situations where the obstacles are so great and the conspiratorial caverns so deep that the graph of upward mobility is but a mere mirage in life’s cycle of certitude. The balance between the benefit of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity, and tempering unrealistic expectations, is a scale of justice which is delicately configured throughout life.

While the tale of the Little Engine that Could represents the cultural and societal impetus for encouraging work, fair play, persistence and a positive attitude, some of life’s obstacles serve to cut short the capacity and ability to achieve stated first goals.  Medical conditions tend to do that.  Whether primarily physical or secondarily psychiatric, or inversely impacted, a progressively debilitating medical condition saps the self-confidence of the individual, and eats away at the abilities of the patient.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee, consideration must be given to one’s future, and that future planning should include filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits encompasses all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, so long as the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements: 18 months of Federal Service for those under FERS, and 5 years for those under CSRS (which is essentially assumed that anyone under CSRS already has at least 5 years of Federal Service).

Further, if the Federal or Postal employee is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or has not been separated for more than 31 days, then the Federal Disability Retirement application must be routed first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for the latter, the central processing point for all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Postal Workers is located in Greensboro, N.C.), then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

Implicit in this requirement, of course, is that there is a “Statute of Limitations” as to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  All Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed within 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service.  Thus, if a Federal or Postal employee is terminated, or has resigned, and a Federal Disability Retirement application is filed, the (now former) Federal or Postal employee must file within 1 year of the date of separation — but if separated for less than 31 days, then through one’s former agency or U.S. Postal Service, and if over 31 days, then directly to Boyers, PA, which is the “intake” processing office for OPM for all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Whether the Federal or Postal employee ever read or heard tell of the tale of the Little Engine that Could, the time for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is when that proverbial engine gives out, and when life’s harsh realities turns the story of optimism and hope into a pragmatic approach in order to secure one’s future; for, sometimes, life accords engines which need fine-tuning, and medical conditions represent just that sort of mechanical need, for the Little Engine that once Could which turned into the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire