FERS Employees Disability Retirement System: Isolation

Isolation is not accurately reflected by the image of an individual stranded on an island; rather, in modernity, isolation is the real-life situation of a person who is fully connected on Social Media, is surrounded by crowds of people, is seemingly engaged with others — and yet remains in isolation.

That is the conundrum of modernity, is it not?  Greater “busy-ness” in the social arena = a wider sense of isolation.  Activity is not the same as productivity; having less time does not result in greater wealth; and working harder doesn’t mean that you are any closer to the goals which have been set.  Somehow, pushing buttons on an electronic keyboard or on scratch-resistant glass is not quite the same as the touch of a human hand.

Medical conditions only magnify and intensify one’s sense of isolation, precisely because the medical condition itself makes one feel that one’s own body is a pariah in a universe of contentious forces.

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 growing sense of isolation felt is often part of the problem — the “pariah” effect, where others tend to see you as the wounded prey who must be abandoned in order to save themselves.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether the growing isolation felt will allow you to continue in your Federal career, or whether it is time to leave the isolation behind and find an endeavor where your talents will be better appreciated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Unexpected

It can be exciting, yet disconcerting; a pleasant surprise, but moreover an unwelcome event; and perhaps even a pleasurable moment but with an uncomfortable edge.

We live by routines but thrive through tumults.  The “unexpected” is what jolts us out of the doldrums of daily repetitiveness, and is sometimes that which is needed in order to bring us out of the complacency of comfort and monotony.  Some thrive on it so much that they seek the adrenaline that accompanies, and attempt to make it as the mainstay of life — like the high of addicts which is constantly needed in greater doses in order to return to the baseline of euphoric feeling itself.

Some forms of the unexpected are unwanted; others, tolerable and endurable; and still others, perhaps gleefully embraced with open arms.  Much of the unexpected, or course, was fully expected; it is just that procrastination and disregard allowed it to remain out of our consciousness for a time such that, when the unexpected finally arrived, we forgot that it was to be expected but wanted it not to be so.

Isn’t old age expected?  Aren’t the chances of an automobile accident to be expected if you commute 100+ miles every day?  And aren’t medical conditions to be expected over a lifetime of stressful living?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who encounter the unexpected — a medical condition — which begins to impact you in an unexpected way — of preventing you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job — it may be time to consider the unexpected: Of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the unexpected bureaucratic complexities involved in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM should further complicate the unexpected, and so that the unexpected can be exposed to reveal the greater expectations of a future yet unexpected.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Certainty of Defeat

There is nothing more demoralizing than to “know” the certainty of defeat.  But that is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?  How does one “know”?  Certainly, one can balance the odds for and against; to take into account the factors which determine a statistical chance of success or failure; but does one ever have “certainty” in anything, or is it often merely a perspective of the glass being half full, or half empty?

Where the odds are overwhelming and objectively insurmountable: a 100-to-1 advantage that the opposing force has; a predetermined outcome that cannot be reversed; in such circumstances, then, what hope is there?  For, the only counterbalance to “certainty” is the glimmer of hope for some unforeseen “X-factor” that somehow saves the day.  On the other hand, it is the determination of “certainty” which extinguishes any flicker or flame of hope.

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, there is often the sense of an inevitability — a “certainty of defeat” — where the medical condition reveals a progressive march towards greater deterioration.

The counterbalance of hope is in the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement.  Yet, even that benefit — of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity — is not a certainty; it is, instead, a benefit which must be fought for.  The Agency which oversees the approvals and denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — does everything to try and find reasons to deny, deny, deny.

Does this mean that every application will face the certainty of defeat?  No — but it must be carefully prepared and effectively pursued.  To provide the greater counterbalance against the certainty of defeat, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement; for, as hope is the countermeasure to the certainty of defeat, so the lawyer is the one who can provide an objective perspective as to the potentiality for success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The messes we make

We observe the facade and conclude too quickly: Others live perfect lives; mine?  What a mess it is.

Have we evaluated all circumstances in an objective, rational fashion?  Isn’t the corollary and natural next question to be: That “other” person — what does he or she see when observing me?  Does the same conclusion follow: The facade which reveals calm and competence — It is a life nearer to perfection than my own; mine?

And so the cycle of discordant irrationality continues to feed upon itself.  And, of course, the Internet only further enhances and exacerbates such folly — of Facebook and Instagram, where “perfect” lives are lived in a 1-dimensional existence; of selectively chosen photographs of perfect couples, perfect meals, perfect vacations and perfect existences are somehow depicted in appearances of perfect lives.  Then, the truth somehow leaks out — this person just got a divorce; that person committed a crime; the other “perfect” person was publicly doing this or that, etc.

It is funny, that phrase — of truth “leaking” out, like a cracked glass that slowly seeps with agonizing revelations or a pipe that drips until the flooded basement overflows with a deluge of falsity.

The messes we make are often mere minor anomalies; they become messes when we try and contain them, hide them and act as if ours is the only mess in the world because comparing messes never reveals anything; everyone hides well their own messes; we just think that everyone else is perfect.

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 messes we make are often a result of failing to act.  The Agency is no fool — they see the excessive use of SL and request for LWOP; or the loss of performance acceptability; or the loss of attendance continuity, etc.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is not an admission of the messes we make; it is, instead, the truth behind the reality of the medical condition, and the real need to attend to one’s health, which should never be concealed, but openly acknowledged in order to move beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Wants and needs

One often encounters such discussions, about the difference between “wants” and “needs”.  Needs are dictated by a loose definition of survival or existence — that which is required by or necessitated of the things which satisfy the criteria for continued existence or maintaining of a given modality of the status quo.  The other — “wants” — are defined as those “extras” that are not required for existence, but go beyond the prerequisite for survival and add to the comfort and meaningfulness of one’s very existence and survival.

There is always a grey area between the two when one engages anyone in a discussion involving the two — and it often depends upon the paradigm and perspective one takes, which leads to conclusions not only about the subject concerning wants and needs, but also about one’s own character, upbringing and attitude towards life in general.

Take the perspective of a member of the British Royal Family, for example — of a person who knows of existence entirely from the perspective of wealth, privilege and undiminished wants and needs.  Such a person will often have a widely differing view of the distinction between the two, in contradistinction to a person born in the ghettos of an inner city, whether here in the United States or of more underdeveloped countries elsewhere.

Can one who has never lacked for needs, or even of wants, recognize the objective criteria that determines the differences between the two?  In other words, can the poor person even have a logical discussion with a wealthy person by pointing out that food is an example of “need”, as opposed to a Ferrari being merely a “want”?  Or, will the member of the Royal Family retort with, “Well, yes, I can see how cheap caviar of a subpar quality could be a need as opposed to wanting a Rolls Royce.”

Such a response, of course, tells one immediately that there will be a difficult road ahead in attempting the bridge the gap between understanding, comprehension and the art of logic and discussion.  What we want, we often do not need; and what we need, we merely want for want of sufficiency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to continue their careers despite a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will often cross the threshold between wants and needs.

You may want to extend your career, but need to end it because of your medical condition.  Your agency may want to be compassionate, but may need to follow directives from above.  You may want to remain, but need to depart.  The conflict between wants and needs is one of life’s ongoing clashes between the two, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM, may need to be initiated in order to satisfy the ultimate need of one’s existence: The need to want to look after one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those intersecting connections

We hear all the time about the shrinking world, the smaller universe, the global village – all metaphors to help and understand, to comprehend and be able to withstand within the insanity of a world that continues to intrude, intersect and impose itself upon every corner and aspect of lives lived and daily interrupted.  It is a way for people to cope with the fact that we can no longer avoid the reality of those intersecting connections from worlds, cultures and universes that make up the daily reality of our walking lives.

The newspapers globalize each and every issue; the television and cable news outlets care little for local news unless it, too has some national consequences; and so we live with the anomaly that the only time you might hear about your own hometown is if some horrific event occurs that other people in other towns might care about.  And, even when a story is reported about an event that occurs just around the corner from the news station, headquarters or whatever manner of identifying the central place where all of the equipment, studios and personnel gather to emit their airwaves of newsfeeds, they act as if it is occurring in some distant county or country, with perhaps a bit of weeping as an afterthought with a statement like, “And it makes it all the worse because it happened just in our own neighborhood!”

The world is indeed one comprised of intersecting connections, and we voluntarily allow for those connections to make our own perspectives molded into “theirs” by inviting various cable channels into our living rooms.  Do we really have a choice?  Can we just remain ignorant and ignore the reality of the global economy, the extended village and the universal concerns of the day?  How do we live with the complexities of intersecting connections, when we can barely deal with the local problems that beset us within the cocoon of our own lives?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the daily ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the microcosm of intersecting connections may well be magnified to a level where it competes with what is occurring on a more global scale.

Suddenly, the Federal Agency is moving to put pressure on you – like those competing foreign companies you hear about in the world economy.  Or, the Supervisor is no longer being cordial – somewhat like the world leader who doesn’t return calls to the President.  Coworkers no longer treat you as an equal – like nations that suddenly go rogue without explanation.  You have to file a complaint – like submitting to a U.N. vote for sanctions.

We have all been groomed and prepared to think in terms of intersecting connections, but for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, it all comes back to a more local and personal connection: one’s health, and the need to focus upon one’s personal life.

No matter how global the world has become, never forget that it is the personal life of close connections that really only matters in the end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Meaningful turns

How many turns do we make on any given day?  Not just actual ones, like those turns while driving a car, but figurative ones, as well.  If a person approaches you and asks, “Did you make the right turn?” — what is the response?  Is there a “right” answer?  Is there a relationship in the English language between the terms “right”, “left” and the physical attributes we possess?

If a person tells of another, “He’s way out in left field,” is that because we attribute the term “left” with residues of the negative?  And, how did the terms “left” and “right”, when referred to in politics, come to have a meaning of equivalency?  Was the fact that right-hand dominance was historically preferred to left-handedness, to the extent that teachers once used to punish those students who naturally attempted to utilize their left hands in handwriting, drawing, etc., account for the linguistic dominance and preference given to the term “right” as opposed to “left”.

Do we understand the concept with greater presumption when a person says, “He made a left turn and got lost,” even if the person actually made a right turn and found himself in an unfamiliar neighborhood?  And what of “meaningful” turns – are there such things, as opposed to spurious and meaningless ones?  How often we confuse and conflate language with figurative speech and objective facts; and then we wonder why most people wander through life with confusion, puzzlement and an inability to cope.

Russell and the entire contingent of British linguistic philosophers, of course, attempted to relegate all of the problems of philosophy to a confusion with language – and, of course, only the British, with their history of Shakespeare and the sophistication of language, its proper usage and correctness of applicability could possess the arrogance of making such an argument.

But back to “meaningful turns” – in one sense, in the “real world”, every turn is meaningful to the extent that we turn and proceed towards a destination of intended resolve.  But in the figurative sense, it refers to the steps we take in mapping out consequential decisions.

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 the Federal or Postal worker’s position and duties, the “meaningful turn” that one must consider should by necessity ask many questions:  How long can I continue in this job?  What are the consequences of my staying, both to my health as well as from the Agency’s perspective?  How long before my agency realizes that I am not capable of doing all of the essential elements of my job?  Will my excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP become a problem with the agency?  And what about my health?

These are just a series of beginning questions on the long road towards making one of the meaningful turns that confront the Federal or Postal employee in the quest for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire