Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Artemis for Our Age

Perhaps the most venerated of the Greek deities; but why?  As protector of young girls, the Greek mythological figure is always associated with the hunt, carrying with her a bow and arrow, accompanied by a loyal deer; is it chastity and fidelity that make her so attractive?  Do we have an Artemis for our Age — someone whom we can look up to, to feel the warmth of love and pure presence, if only to provide comfort in times of turmoil?

We give lip-service to terms like “community” and how it “takes a village” to bring up a child; of the importance of “family” and “family-values”; and yet….  When words are merely utterances without an action to follow, do they ring as hollow as the sound of an echo in a dark cave where no one can hear?  Is it because we have become so cynical in modernity that we cannot fathom an Artemis for our Age?  Does believability depend upon ignorance, and does ignorance result in the greater bliss where faith and happiness can coexists despite the dreary conditions of daily existence?  Did Greek Mythology develop because of a need for human beings to explain the anomalies of the universe, and was it science that destroyed the structure of such paradigms?

Without an Artemis for our Age, the promise of creativity in the innocence of childhoods yearning for something more than the reality of daily existence becomes a mere hope without even the scent of faith.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are seeking to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the ugliness which develops in the very process of such seeking is often what destroys any faith in an institution.  Medical conditions, once revealed, tend to bring out the worst in agencies: Suddenly, “loyalty” is no longer a concept discoverable; “empathy” is a far cry from reality; and “accommodation” becomes a foreign concept even when there are laws to try and protect it.

The Artemis for our Age has simply become the use of laws as the weapon to wield; and when a Federal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, legal representation is what forces the Agency and OPM to comply with the law, and that is about as close as we can get to in finding an Artemis for our Age.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Meeting the basic requirements

As with any endeavor, meeting the basic requirements is the minimum standard.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to understand the basic eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Here are a few: The minimum Federal Service requirement (18 months); of having a medical condition during the tenure of one’s Federal Service that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and an inability by the agency to provide reasonable accommodations or reassignment; and some further factors to be considered, as well.

Beyond the basic requirements, of course, are the technical issues that have developed over many years and decades, primarily through statutory interpretation as expounded in court cases and decisions handed down by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  There are, moreover, legal refinements and interpretations that go beyond the “basics”, and while meeting the basic requirements is an important start, it is critical to understand the technical legal refinements which have evolved over the years. “Always start with the basic requirements; and from there, consult with an expert for further details.”

Such is the sage advice often given before involving oneself in a complex process, and Federal Disability Retirement Law is one such administrative endeavor that should take such counsel into account.

Start with meeting the basic requirements — of the minimum 18 months of Federal Service; of having a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job; and from there, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — another “basic requirement” in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Hope springs

“Eternal”, of course, is the ending and attachment that most would declare if asked to fill in the blank.  How many of us know of the origin of the statement, what it means, from whence it comes (yes, yes, a Google search is only one finger button away)?  It is often an afterthought – a “throw-away” line that one scatters about in response to someone else’s statement about “hoping to do X” or having “hope that X will happen”.

The reactionary response that is commonly stated is, “Well, of course hope springs eternal.”   The origin of the saying comes from Alexander Pope’s work, “An Essay on Man”, where he wrote:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

What was he referring to?  It could be interpreted in many ways – of a reference to a life hereafter and the reason for living, struggling and being tormented in this life, with a view towards an eternal reward; or, that so long as there is hope, things will change for the better if you just stick around long enough.

Without hope, the devastation of life’s turmoil may never allow for a person to get beyond this day; it is with hope that is kept in the human breast that the eternal promise of a better tomorrow becomes possible; for, otherwise there is just fatalism to look forward to, or as Pope stated, a state of existence where “Man never is”.

The word-pictures evoked from Pope’s work are beautifully put, and provide images that allows for multiple interpretations.  The word “springs” is a carefully chosen word, for it gives the idea both of calm (as in the tranquility of a running spring) as well as a jump forward (as in “spring forward”), and thus establishes multiple meanings when tied to the reference point of “hope”.

Hope, ultimately, is the ingredient that allows for life to live for a future yet undetermined and yet to be defined.  That is what is important for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  For, what other hope is there than Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

As the ongoing medical condition and the deteriorating aspect of the medical condition begins to squeeze out any hope left; and the impact it is having on one’s career and future starts to question the viability of any hope to be had; it is hope from X to Y – i.e., a future with a difference – that allows for hope to foster and thrive.

That is why, for the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes that hope in continuing in one’s job is no longer a reality, it becomes important to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because hope springs eternal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Which Forms, How to Fill Them Out, and What to Put

Filling out forms is a part of life.  At some stage in our lives, we are required to complete forms.  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 positional duties as a Federal employee (which encompasses the full spectrum of positions, from secretaries, administrative assistants, to scientists, Information Technology Specialists, 1811 Law Enforcement Officers, etc.) or a U.S. Postal worker (including Craft employees, Managers, Postmasters, Supervisors, etc.), preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.

Thus, the act of “form filling” must be confronted.  On computers, of course, if you have been completing online queries, the “autofill” option may be presented.  But the limitation of such an option, and the unavailability of that choice, should become readily apparent when attempting to complete the various “Standard Forms” required of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For any remaining CSRS employees intending to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, the series embodied under the designation of SF 2801 must be completed, along with the SF 3112 series.  For all of the rest of the Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who came into Federal or Postal Service after around 1985, and who are under FERS, the SF 3107 series must be completed, and as well, the SF 3112 series of standard forms.

Thus has the question, “Which Forms?” been answered.  As for the remaining two questions:  How to fill them out and What to put —  the “how” is, to put it mildly, with care and trepidation; the “what to put” is too complex to elucidate in this forum.  The series of “informational” forms — SF 2801 series for CSRS employees and SF 3107 for FERS employees — are fairly straightforward (e.g., full name, date of birth, Social Security number, agency name and location, military service, etc.).

It all comes back to the SF 3112 series which becomes problematic — for that is where the Federal and Postal employee must “prove” the nexus between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions by which one is prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  For that, the Federal and Postal employee must go “outside” of the boundaries of the forms themselves, and consult documentation obtained from the doctor, and make legal arguments based upon wise counsel and advice.

As with much of life, it is never as easy as a bureaucracy promises; indeed, the complexity of life is in the very bureaucratization of administrative forums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Cackle around Us

Often, the noise emanating and pervading is nothing more than the raucous shrieks and glass-shattering sounds like the cackle of birds; neither intelligible nor pleasant to the ear, it fails to inform, engender pleasure, nor spur substantive advancement for the intellect or one’s emotional well-being.

People talk; talk is limitless; and the louder one talks (or so the theory goes) and endures past all others, the last voice establishes the truth of the matter.  The problem in modernity is not so much the boisterousness and overpowering continuum of noise; rather, it is the inability to recognize the lesser argument, the weaker factual basis, and the mesmerizing conduit of enjoying the sound of one’s own voice.

There is, indeed, much information “out there”; the question is not one of volume, but rather of quality in the vast overload of content dissemination. When one seeks  information, how does veracity get established?  When one chooses representation, what criteria is applied?  And when one receives answers to queries put forth, where does the confirmation begin to concretize?  The world is replete with information; what parcel of it is useful; how much of it is relevant; and to what use or pragmatic application can it be devised?  In the practical world of living, the cackle of information must be sifted through in order to survive any given ordeal.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from 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 preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must by necessity encapsulate the issue of relevant, pertinent and substantive information.

Gathering the proper medical document; formulating an effective Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A; presenting updated and relevant legal argumentation in order to persuade OPM into approving one’s Federal Disability Retirement application; these are the criteria in the pragmatic application for sifting through the cacophony of information clutter, and it matters not whether the cackle avoided represents that originating from crows or vultures; the point is to keep from being the meal of prey, and instead to prepare one’s meal of information in the quietude of thoughtful reflection, away from the disturbances of those who seek merely to hear the sound of their own voice, as opposed to the satisfying sonata of substantive and helpful information that will actually help the Federal or Postal employee secure one’s future in the preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Things That Just Happen

Rarely do things “just happen“; that is why most of us believe in a purposive, teleological universe, and seek reasons and rational foundations in origins, contexts and logical consistency.  Whether that is how the human mind is structured, and for evolutionary advantage gained for survivability, conferring dominance and favorability weighted towards those who seek explanation and intelligibility, thereby preventing the making of mistakes multiple times; or, perhaps, it is merely a sense of humor bestowed by the gods.  Look at Aristotle’s Metaphysics; the very definition of knowledge is inextricably intertwined with seeking and grasping first principles, causality, and the origin of effects.

Thus do writers become a member of a profession by writing; airplanes fall out of the sky because of mechanical failure or an intervening cause; and economies crumble because market forces respond to human foibles.  But medical conditions which intervene and disrupt a person’s career, future and health, are often viewed as unfair anomalies precisely because there is often no adequate explanation as to their manifestation upon a particular person, at a given time, for a known reason.  They merely disrupt.  There may be “medical” reasons — of why an injury occurred, what the probable origins of genetic proclivity, etc.  But the reasons sought out by the one who suffers — why me? — can never be answered.  It is one of those rare occurrences that “just happens”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition interrupts and disrupts the linear career path because the medical condition itself prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the option of 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 something which must be seriously considered.

Life is often unfair, and the difficulties which are encountered in the tenuous path of those who seek to live by reason and rationality, are fraught with bumps and cavities if disruptive interludes. Medical conditions and the reasons for their onset — not the medical reason of origin and sterile voices of genetic predilection — but the “why me?” question, is often unanswerable.  It is usually just a circumstance which must be dealt with, and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a way of “buying time” in order to maintain a causeway of teleological illusions in order to further avoid those things that just seem to happen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire