Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Mastery of Life

It is what we all strive for; as depicted in cult followings and media outlets, it is a state of representation attained through travels to the Himalayas, or after years of struggling in a Zen monastery (and engaging in Tai chi battles with inept masked ninjas) and gaining unexplainable enlightenment (why couldn’t the same happen in the living room of one’s own home?).  The truth is, the mastery of life is merely a mundane affair.

It is where one finds a rhythm within the daily obstacles of life, when recognition of distinguishing between a real “crisis” and an irritating problem is quickly resolved; and how bumbling through problems encountered in youth is replaced by smooth sailing with unruffled feathers in meeting obligations, confronting difficulties and engaging the monotony of daily living.

In the West, just when such a state of quietude is reached, society discards it all and favors youth over the aging, incompetence over experience, and slow but steady progress over fresh “new ideas” (which never are, but the discovery of which young people think they have been the first to encounter, as if the wheel on one’s car is an invention recently revealed).  This disregard and (ultimately) disrespect is magnified when a person is beset with a medical condition — precisely because being hit with a medical condition mirrors how treatment of the aged facilitates, but only at an exponentially quickened pace.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, this phenomena becomes a daily occurrence.

For years, we accumulate and derive the experience of plenitude and glean through trial and error, attaining a state of wisdom aggregated within the confines of one’s skull, with a loci traveling from home to desk, then back home again.  When a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee, one would think that a race would be on to preserve that body of knowledge, to contain it (as in futuristic movies) with aldehyde fixation in gentrified forms of cryonics in order to reserve unseen answers to unforeseen circumstances, all for the benefit of the “mission of the agency“.  But no — that is not what occurs.  Instead, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job (but normally not all), the tired routine is of commonplace doldrums of ineptitude and incompetence:  “get the bum out”.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and further suffers the fool resulting from that medical condition, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best avenue away from the madness of disregard.  But, then, perhaps we all have it wrong; perhaps filing for Medical Retirement through OPM shows and reveals that “mastery of life” we all seek, like the Shaolin Monk of yore who sought enlightenment elsewhere, and attained it within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Other Side of Work

The entanglement of work with value and worth is an inescapable aggregate of custom, upbringing, time spent, and the egoism of leaving some indelible mark upon an otherwise implacable universe.  Where work resulted in income, and income the cumulative wealth of a lifetime, the driving force behind it never mandated the fury of necessity.  Of course work has always been tied to livelihood; that is a given.  But when the doors for credit, mortgages exponentially exceeding an imbalance beyond capacity to repay, and the idea became accepted that luxury need not be left for tomorrow, the slavery of bonding work to worth became an unworthy concept.

Then, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the fear and trembling for future needs begins to encroach.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition is having an effect upon one’s performance of work, the reality of potential alternatives must be faced, and quite quickly, lest the other side of work, like this side of paradise, leaves one with neither work nor income, but a bleak future without either.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will take time to develop, submit, and wait upon in order to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is a complex bureaucratic process with multiple administrative facets.  The reality of needing to file, however, should never be confused with the bundled confusion one has concerning worth, work, and the value of one’s contribution to society.  It is the medical condition itself, and attending to the symptoms and effects of that which one never expected, asked for, nor desired, that must be focused upon .

Some things in life are, indeed, worth of greater value than work, and the value placed upon the other side of work will determine the course of one’s future, whether of joy and love, or of further puzzlement beyond the imprint of time spent without one’s family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire