Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

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 duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The stand-around guy

It is pointed out in contrast to the other finger pointed towards another — not the “stand up” guy (or girl), but the “stand-around” guy (or girl).   The former refers to a person who can be trusted at all times, is straightforward when asked about his or her opinions on a matter, and is generally known as an individual of “good character”.  By contrast, the latter describes a person who is unsure of himself; who loiters because he cannot decide what his purpose is for being anywhere; and is generally picked last, or next to last, when teams are chosen for a pick-up game of basketball or touch football.

It refers to a person who is the “extra” and the odd-man out where, on dinner dates of foursomes or six-somes or whatever-somes, arrives alone and makes it into an awkward three-some, five-some or other-some with an odd number.  She is the little sister tag-along, the younger brother pop-up character and the whac-a-mole that keeps reappearing no matter how many hints are given that his or her company is no longer needed, is undesired or otherwise disinvited; but to be direct and pointed to the stand-around guy would be cruelty in its worst form, as he or she doesn’t quite understand or would rather be subjected to the indignities of being the butt of all jokes rather than to be sent off into the lonely despair of self-confinement and isolation lost upon an island of one’s own thoughts.

He is the person who arrives and never knows where to stand; the last one to be seated, and only if their is an available chair vacated; and yet, the last one to leave despite the desertion of a party where he was unnoticed, never talked to nor engaged and included in conversations where circles and semi-circles of people gathered but no one noticed.

The stand-around guy is the “extra” on a movie-set hoping to get noticed, yet too fearful of such notoriety; and as the activity of the main set continues to focus upon the stars and central figures upon the stage which we call “life”, he or she shuffles about for years and extending into decades, unknowingly contributing to the drama of civilization’s inertness where kindness is rarely shown, humanity is concealed from history, and the cruelty to life’s misery keeps bubbling to the surface like a volcanic eruption percolating unnoticed beneath the seething surface of hidden appearances.

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, does it often seem like the rest of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is beginning to treat you like the “stand-around guy”?

Is it recognized and subtly acknowledged that you are no longer part of that “mission”, and because of your extensive leave-usage or LWOP excessiveness, or merely because you asserted your rights under FMLA, that now relegated into that status of persona non grata, the leper who was mistakenly given a pass out of the leper colony, or like the individual who says things embarrassingly in crowds of socialites who snub their noses at those who feign to be a part of the pseudo-aristocracy?

If you are beginning to be treated like that stand-around guy, it is likely time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — lest the stand-around guy becomes the invisible man whose memory is quickly extinguished because of a removal action that came suddenly and unexpectedly from the upper echelons of powers-that-be, who decided to rid the Agency or the Postal Service of that stand-around guy whose presence was no longer needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The present preference

Given the choice, it is almost always the present preference that is chosen, while the long-term goals, aspirations or necessary planning are set aside, ignored, subverted or otherwise delayed for another day.  We prefer to remain in the present circumstances, in lieu of future contexts unknown, for the familiar is always to be preferred to the strange and unrelated.

The key to change away from the present preference is often based upon the spectrum of a “tolerance/intolerance” gauge — an informal, almost unspoken manner in which we react based upon various factors that have developed over many years: tolerance/intolerance of pain levels; quality of life issues, whether consciously realized or intuitively maintained; the balance between weekends encroached and the weekdays approached; whether productivity rises or falls; and other similar factors, both involving professional goals and aspirations as well as personal perspectives upon the worth of maintaining the status quo or allowing for the tumult of change.

Medical conditions often warrant a move away from the present preference.  In reality, no one “prefers” the present when the change is imposed from external sources, or where there is simply little control or influence to exert upon stopping, hindering or otherwise slowing down the change itself.  The present preference is merely borne of laziness or the pure enjoyment of non-change, as the known is almost always preferable to instability and the strangeness of other worlds.

That is why we take short vacations and jaunts to other cultural enclaves, but return home to the safety of our known environments.  But when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, as it can with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the changes impacted from the external forces of an unwanted medical condition may necessitate the modification of the present preference for the status quo.

Living with a medical condition itself is traumatic enough; altering the present preference of a life one is used to, is almost always a further tumultuous necessity that one instinctively resists, but recognizes the inevitability of.

For Federal and Postal workers who have come to a point of realizing the necessity of modifying the present preference, preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step towards conforming to an unfair external influence characterized by the medical condition itself.

Consulting an attorney who specializes in the administrative complexities inherent in the Federal Disability Retirement process will often help to buttress some of the changes that are necessary, if only because information and knowledge allows for the decision-making process to prevail with needed insights presented in order to adapt away from the present preference of an increasingly debilitating medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sorrow behind the facade

How do we know a person’s sorrow?  Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary?  Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.

There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow?  Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes?  But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?

Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade.  Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake.  The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken.  For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.

For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career.  There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time to prepare, formulate and file 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.

In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: What we have to do

In once sense of the phrase, it denotes a duty or obligation; in another, the foundational basis of a practical, pragmatic nature – of that which we do, simply because it needs to be done in order to survive, to maintain a certain standard of living, or because we believe it is the “right” thing to do.  Each individual must decide for him or herself, of course, as to the criteria by which to determine that which we have to do, and the “what” will often be placed on a wide spectrum of moral ends that are meant to justify the means by which to proceed.

What we have to do – it is also a phrase that is said when shaking one’s head, as in the whispering to one’s self in gritting one’s teeth or biting our tongue and engaging in a soliloquy of thoughtful silence, saying, “What we have to do.”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, despite the medical condition beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, it is a familiar refrain – of working through the pain, of trying to endure the paralyzing panic attacks or the heightened anxiety and depression that pervades, and to try and hide the medical condition and do what we have to do in order to economically survive – until it reaches that crisis point where the medical condition cannot be controlled, cannot be hidden, and comes bursting out like NFL players running through the tunnel from the locker rooms of one’s mind and body.

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 just one of those other things that can be characterized as what we have to do.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition that begins to impede and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the filing itself of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is what we have to do, especially if the alternative is to stay at the job or walk away with nothing, which are actually no choices at all.

What we have to do – a familiar refrain for the Federal or Postal employee, and a necessary next step if you suffer from a medical condition that impedes or prevents you from performing one or more of essential elements of your job.  After all, you’ve been doing what you have to do all of your life, and this is just one more instance of it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire