Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Necessary changes

Is it a redundancy to state it in this manner?  Is change by definition necessary, or are some alterations merely voluntary, unnecessary, or modifications that are not required but are desired by sheer want of replacing boredom with ineptitude of lackluster metamorphosis?

Evolution surely resists it; for, the incrementalism and subtle refinement favors an unchanging universe, and we see that in the natural world, where an anomaly or mutation is disfavored, shunned by others and excluded instinctively.  The albino giraffe may be a fascinating phenomena to witness, but in the wilds where blending in with the landscape in order to go unnoticed by predators lurking about is the key to the survival of not just the “fittest” — but the one who is passed by unnoticed by more powerful forces ready to pounce and devour.

Change can take on many and variegated forms — from a spectrum dividing a wide chasm of consequences, whether intended or otherwise thoughtlessly expounded — from the minor adjustment to the tumultuous overhaul of upheaval and irreversible impact.  Some changes are merely insularly internal and go unnoticed, such as a “new perspective” or taking on a different way of seeing things.

Religious conversions can take that cloak of alteration.  We may know a friend, a neighbor or a family member who lives at the same address, speaks the same way, dresses in the identical manner, but one day blurts out, “I have become X!”  Perhaps there are some residual modifications made, and some we notice, others go with a ripple, like the many pitter-patter of rain drops that fall upon the midnight ocean and no one ever notices.

Other changes come from without — imposing its impact and causal effect without any choice or say in the matter — earthquakes; deaths; wars that no one asked for; events that unfold with untold consequences that no one thought through very well.

Medical conditions are akin to the latter — of a vicissitude that occurs without the asking, with impact upon lives both minor and consequential.  It is not only a change, but necessitates changes in the lifestyle, manner and approach of the one to whom it impacts.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it will often become apparent that the unnecessary (or unwanted) change to one’s health begets a necessary change that must accommodate the former.

A Federal Disability Retirement application may be a necessary change, if only to follow upon the change that has imposed itself by the very medical condition itself.

Changes — necessary or otherwise — require an adaptation, both mentally and often physically, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the penultimate necessary change that must be contemplated in a universe replete with necessary and sufficient causes beyond one’s control.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For 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 Federal or Postal job, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: The key

It is both a tool of utility in order to gain entrance and accessibility to an otherwise abrupt encounter with an obstacle barring further forward progress, as well as a well-worn metaphor appropriately applied to miracles, magic and moments of mandatory martyrdom.  It is a wonder that a slight defect in the metallic shaving of the implement can allow for the turning of it, and opening into the entranceway, but for that additional indentation; or of a barcode smudged which refuses to make an allowance.  In either case, whether as a physical tool or an electronic pass embedded in the plastic sheen of society’s muse, what it opens is the foundation for its very existence.

Accessibility is the key, or so we are told; and the key, well, that is what must be sought, earned or otherwise stolen by stealth or whatever other means of perpetuity engaged in order to embrace the incantations of eternal youth.  It is that mythological “fountain of youth”, after all, which we seek; and the key to gain entrance into the club of rubbing elbows can only be obtained by smarts, good looks and intellectual prowess.

Time was that we were all sold on the idea that education and hard work was the “key” to success; but then, it turns out that the system itself was somehow unfair and weighted in favor of one class or group over another, and so the tinkering began, to right wrongs which otherwise wrongfully righted past and historical wrongs, by asserting rights previously unknown to have existed, but which now could be miraculously discovered in the subtext of originalism where intentionality could be denoted through greater concentration and willpower to discern.

The greater key, then, became who you know, what levers of power could be pulled, and the insider trading of such greater knowledge, while all the time throwing breadcrumbs to the greater masses in order to appease the rumblings of starvation times yet to arrive.

It is always a key of which we seek; whether by force, by protest, by assertion of rights unearned; and when we lose them, we scream with frustration at the unfairness of the gods of fate whom we turn to only when destiny denies the promised predetermination of an outcome-based society lost forever in the hollow utterances of vote-getters, who also seek the public arena of keys revealed in goodie-bags dispensed with public funds.  For, when doors close and open by devices of mysterious barcodes, the suspicion that something else is going on behind such closure and obstacles to accessibility somehow reverberates with a truth left undeniable.

The truth is, there is no single “key” to life’s puzzles or perennial questions remaining without answers; life itself is too wide an expanse, too great a concept, and too generalized a thought to allow for a device to insert into an emptiness of soul in order to turn and open for a final solution to a door otherwise unopened but by those who expend the greater effort.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek the “key” to questions unanswered in 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, there is no “master key” to uncover in order to understand the complex administrative process in such a greater bureaucratic morass.

Instead, the fundamental key to first determine is to prove that the medical condition suffered by the Federal or Postal employee prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  From there, the unlocking of inaccessibility will be determined by the key of legal criteria, opened only by those who possess the barcode of cogent argumentation upon uncovering the keyhole allowing for a nexus between the medical condition and the legal penumbras of technical application.  And, like all keys, it is that extra little shaving and indentation which will allow for accessibility, and turn the tides of a life otherwise barred.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Coherent Life

Coherence fails to take into the account the unexpected; moreover, a linear, systematic unfolding of events is rarely the rule, but rather the exception.  Look at nature and the traumatic tumult which follows daily — of predators and pendulums swinging between life and death, and the instability of future courses yet to be determined.

What do we make of it all?  Kant would posit that we bring to the objective world structural viewpoints in order to bring order into a chaotic world; but is rationality seen from within of any greater coherence than a world unfettered by human perspective?  Life, and more importantly for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, medical conditions and the unfolding of how a medical condition is approached, treated, proven and described, often betrays a lack of coherence in the very attempt of proving its impact upon one’s life.

Lack of linear unfolding does not necessarily defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Sometimes, we have to provide an exposition and explain the circumstances which resulted in the mayhem of confusion and the scattering of rationality.  And if you think that doctors and treatment modalities follow a systematic approach to cure and rehabilitate, you might want to rethink that view that precision of medicine as a science, as opposed to being an admixture of art and wisdom gained from experience.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, it would be nice to have the sequential ordering of coherence, in a fashion of:  A medical condition; exhaustive treatment; a clean end-point where no further medical improvement can be attained; a doctor who will be supportive in the process; a “wowing” medical narrative written with little or no solicitation; finalizing, submission and approval by OPM.

Somehow, however, the sequencing of life never quite matches to such a paradigm, and we are left with coordinating that Kantian approach of imposing what we can, where we are able to, and when we have the capacity and ability.  The coherence of life reflects a parallel universe of the circumstances which we must embrace; and, in the end, we must just deal with that which we are given, and do the best in making coherent an incoherent universe of facts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM: Major Depressive Disorder

The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”.  One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.

The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned.  Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition.  If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.

We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact.  Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases:  most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise.  But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).

It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for 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.

Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual.  But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire