Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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, the necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Perilous times

It can refer to the particular or the general, interchangeably almost without thought.  To refer to these “perilous times” is to ascribe to a particular period, an epoch or an era, an acknowledgment that the surrounding days and months are unique from all other timeframes of perceived dangers and tumultuous upheavals.  Or, it can be quite personal — where one describes specific circumstances concerning one’s own life, one’s situation and the peculiarities of a life otherwise undisturbed by circumstances that stand out.

There is that expansive “we” form that can distinguish between the particular and the general, as in, “We live in perilous times.”  Or, one can personalize it and declare to a friend in confidence, “I live in a state of peril” or “My life reflects these perilous times.”  The latter, of course, implies both the particular and the general by including not only the personal aspect of one’s upheaval but the generality of the historical context within which we all walk about.  Perilous times, indeed.

Medical conditions tend to specifically impact individuals in this way — for, in the particular, it hits upon us as a crisis of quality.  How we have lived; the lifestyle we have chosen; the priorities of what constitutes “worthiness”; all of these are challenged by a medical condition that begins to insidiously eat away at our body, our mind, our spirit.

Whether by intrusion of pain or something within us that no longer “works” normally; of private functions that have become worn out, or perhaps it is the memory, mental capacity or ability to cope with daily stresses; but of whatever origin or outcome, we look about for cures and comfort and often find none but some palliative form in a pill or a surgery that fails to correct.  Times become perilous because of circumstances beyond our control.

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 the Federal or Postal job, perilous times often require perilous choices, and preparing, formulating and filing 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, becomes a necessary next step in attempting to forestall the inevitable results of these very times that we deem to be perilous, whether in a particular sense or in a more generalized historical context.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Life’s mortgage

We all know well the concept behind it – of borrowing against the object itself, in order to “half-possess”, occupy and enjoy it presently against a future promise that it will be paid over an incremental period of time.  Sort of like life itself, or at least of one’s health.  Borrowed time; life’s mortgage; banking on a better tomorrow; relying upon a promise being kept based upon today’s favorable circumstances over a lengthy period of time well into a future we can never be certain about.

Yet, because the collateral is the object itself – normally, the house that is being mortgaged – the loaning institution actually doesn’t take any gamble at all, even if the value of the collateral plunges below the agreed-upon amount to be paid; one is still obligated, no matter what.

It is sort of like life’s challenge itself – of the promise of a promising life based upon an anticipated health that will last until the day when one is suddenly gone.  But life doesn’t always work that way, just as the mortgage, lien and promise of financial growth doesn’t quite always fold out as planned, like the scrolled blueprint that keeps trying to roll back into an obscured cylinder with each attempt to lay it flat.

Sickness occurs; health deteriorates; the 30-year mortgage that was promised at the onset of the contract signed doesn’t unfold as anticipated, and sometimes a default occurs – like the health that deteriorates and the career that must be ended.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, based upon the idea that recognizes that while a long-term commitment to a career is reasonably anticipated, there are instances where such a commitment may need to be modified in the event of failing health.  Unlike the bank’s position in a mortgage-relationship as lender-to-borrower, however, it is not quite all that one-sided.  There are options still open.

Thus, because Federal Disability Retirement requires only that a person be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position being occupied, the Federal or Postal employee is allowed to go out into the private sector and work at a job somewhat dissimilar (so long as there are “essential elements” which are not identical to the former Federal or Postal position), and make up to 80% of what the former Federal or Postal job pays currently.

For, in the end, life’s mortgage is unlike the home mortgage where the lender holds all of the proverbial cards; at least for the former, the great thing is that the reliance is upon the capacity of man’s ability, and not upon the fine print hidden within the banker’s contract.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Chaldean and Pythagorean Numerology

Is it a submission to determinism, or is there some hint of validity other than a self-fulfilling prophesy?  Can names, dates and events be translated into a numerical construct such that predictability of one’s future can be ascertained?

The differences between the two are apparently substantive; the algorithms and numbered “personalities” are altered when the spectrum of equations (1 through 8 under the Chaldean system, and the addition of the next number in sequence under the Pythagorean methodology); and under the Pythagorean Numerology, the system pays greater attention to the full name at birth rather than to the nickname daily used by an individual, where weighted significance is granted upon an emphasis of letters included.

Historically, the Chaldean system has remained staid since the times of Babylon, whereas the Pythagorean Numerology has evolved into modernity, with minor changes and methodological alterations utilized to adapt to modern day applicability.  Both are forms of ancient Astrology and Palmistry, where the interaction between the novice who approaches for foretelling encounters a “system” utilizing numerical alignment, predestined aura and the wisdom of the one who is schooled in the ancient cosmos of rational defiance.

Is it all puff and nonsense?  Perhaps; but of what percentage of our own beliefs constitute a similar system of mystical ambivalence?  Do we read the horoscope?  Are some days more hapless than others?  Do dogs bay at the full moon, and do wolves and horses run wild in their full light of darkness?  Or, when Mars is aligned with the satellites unseen, when the reflection of a full moon’s embrace upon a pond’s quietude in twilight’s shadow, are there greater crimes of the soul committed?  Why are streets filled with rows upon rows of Palmists where long lines of anticipatory trembling and drops of sweat tickle down the side of the armpit while awaiting the foretelling of our soul’s destination?

Yes, for some, it is mere fun after a night of drinking to dare one another to have the inner essence searched and revealed; and yet we live still within the confines of our own mystical abandonments, do we not?  Do we curse the universe for the bad day we experience, or buy a lottery ticket despite the numerical odds of wasting that dollar?  Is science the pinnacle of human achievement that squeezes out the possibility of gnomes, hobbits and angels who fly in the midst of foggy mornings to garner the sins of fallen souls?

Yes, Chaldean and Pythagorean numerology are systems largely outdated and unmasked as unscientific, largely because we have replaced them with paradigms that are acceptable to modernity.  But mysteries still abound.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition which impacts or otherwise prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in one’s chosen career, the question with the background of Chaldean and Pythagorean Numerology is the following:  What methodology are you going to adopt and apply in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal disability Retirement benefits?  Is it thoughtful, methodological, sequential?  Is it based upon current legal precedents?  Do you understand the pitfalls and the underlying import by the cunning questions asked on Standard Form 3112A?  Or, is it tantamount to Palmistry and a reliance upon an outmoded mystical aura of Chaldean or Pythagorean Numerology?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Indeterminate Deterioration

Some events come with it a specific date, and even a time; others, within a span of identified moments and blocks of weeks, sometimes months; the rest, undetermined, unspecified, like the lost soul who wanders the traversing echoes of eternal reverberations left to the sifting cleansing of a foaming ocean washing and lapping, ever repeating the comforting sounds of surf and salt strolling like the footprints gone in the sands of countless castles disappeared.  But that medical conditions would conform to the science which attempts to treat, and approach one with technical precision and certitude.

When did you first notice the symptoms, the kindly doctor asks, as you scratch your head and stutter forth an incomprehensible gibberish of a response.  A similar question is posed on SF 3112A, concerning the “date” (approximate) the Federal or Postal employee became disabled from one’s position.  How does one answer such a question?  Fortunately, it asks not for a day or time, but merely the month and year, and to that extent we can be thankful for its inherent foresight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who attempt to answer this question without much thought or reflection, be forewarned and with a hint of suspicion; trap doors abound everywhere, and while one may overstate issues like the paranoid cousin who points a telescope not at the moon and stars, but directly at the next-door neighbor’s bedroom window, it is well to consider carefully the answer to be given.

The context of intermingling meanings:  Was it during one’s tenure as a Federal or Postal employee (for those separated but contemplating filing within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service)?  Will it prompt the question, Does the medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months, including the time encapsulating the prognosis of the doctor?  Does it coincide with any event or issue arising at work?  Does the date identified precede any adverse action promulgated by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  Truth is always the guide for integrity in all cases, but the reality of a medical condition is that time is often discovered on a spectrum, where chronicity and deterioration spans over many months, and often years.

To pinpoint is to be precise; but where deterioration is progressive and indeterminate, the fading sounds of an unspecified echo which bounces from cave walls to the expansive skies beyond the realm of certainty, the date recognized may be one which floats and fades like the dust of angels left as a residue of virtue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement: The Deeper Recesses of Unwanted Caricatures

Caricatures often depict an exaggerated degree of undesirable characteristics, whether for comic effect or sleaze of meanness.  The totality of the person or entity described is rarely the reality of the grotesque aggregate of the negative characteristics, but one can still see the relative truth of validation in the aspects shown.

Such caricatures, too, can be either internal or external; the latter being the depiction from the perspective of someone “other”; the former comprised of the totality of one’s self-image, how one projects from the perspective of the other, and the reflective thoughts of one’s self.  When others describe one in caricature form, you may laugh, but inwardly shy with horror and fright; and in the deeper recesses of one’s privacy, the truth and impact of such unwanted caricatures may pull one into a psychological chasm of despair.

Medical conditions, especially, can exacerbate an already-existent fear and loathing, precisely because they attack and undermine those areas of the physical, emotional and psychological vulnerabilities most open and revealing.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who becomes impacted by a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the unwanted caricatures which frighten and demean are often twofold:  Loss of productivity (resulting in reduction of income), and devaluing of self-worth, both in the eyes of coworkers as well as from the deeper recesses of one’s own perspective.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement may not seem like the perfect solution in dealing with a medical condition, but as this is not an infallible universe, so we must accept the imperfections offered.

The generous parameters promulgated within the legal regulations of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement, allows for the Federal and Postal worker to entertain a second vocation or career beyond the Federal Disability Retirement annuity (one may earn income in the private sector, up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal salary was, in addition to the Federal Disability Retirement annuity).  More importantly, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to first and foremost focus upon attending to the medical condition itself, while receiving a base annuity during the crisis point in determining the course of future actions.

Unfortunately, what often holds us back in securing one’s future is not the actual realities of an imperfect universe, but rather, the deeper recesses of one’s perfect world, as depicted in an unrealistic caricature within one’s own imagination, precluding progress where pantomimes may perform.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Life’s Dispensation

It is often a word which is accompanied with the adjective, “special“, as in “special dispensation”; but a close review of such a phrase would reveal the redundancy of placing the two words together.  For, to have a dispensation is to be offered a unique situation where one is already exempted from the usual and customary rules applicable; and to insert the adjective, “special’, adds little to the exclusionary nature of the occasion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition is beginning to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties occupied in the Federal sector and U.S. Postal Service, it is the disability and medical condition itself which gives rise to the dispensation requested, demanded or otherwise warranted.

That is precisely why resentment, hostility and exclusion occurs as a reactionary response by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service: because special treatment outside of the normal rules of employment tend to engender such negative responses.

Filing for FMLA; requesting an accommodation in order to continue working; becoming entangled in EEO Complaints, grievances and the like — they all set you apart, and require actions outside of the normative parameters of daily relationships within the employment sector.  And that ultimate reaction by the agency, of “sticking it to the guy” even when it involves a medical condition impacting one’s employment and livelihood — one wonders, how can others be so cruel?  It is justified precisely through the psychology of the “herd mentality“, reduced to its most natural form in a single question:  “Who does that guy think he is?”

For Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often becomes necessary to follow up with the ultimate dispensation of that which one’s employment offers — that of filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is not always the case that an employment package offers an annuity which (A) provides for continuation of insurance benefits and (B) allows one to work in a different vocation while receiving the annuity; but Federal Disability Retirement allows for both, so when the situation arises and there is a dispensation which reveals a solution to a problem, it is indeed a special circumstance which should be recognized as such, while ignoring the redundancy of life’s tautology.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire