Disability Retirement under FERS: The Pressure Cooker

As a practical device, it retains nutrients and cooks various foods faster because of the intensity of the heat, thereby quickly forcing nutrients out into the cauldron of mixed vegetables, all the while tenderizing the tough meat.  As a metaphor, it represents a symbol of the human condition: Stolid on the outside, reaching uncontrollable and explosive currents beneath the surface.

Other metaphors often accompany the picture of the pressure cooker: The “walking time bomb”; the “short fuse”; the “screaming boss” and the “fragile psyche” — these and many more describe the state of modernity’s human condition.  And the picture of the final straw that breaks the camel’s back — of the slow, subtle, incremental and progressively destructive forces which cumulatively burden the back of the beast until the final straw breaks it under the weight of stresses no longer bearable.

Life is difficult; and when a medical condition adds upon the pile of troubles we burden ourselves with, the image of the pressure cooker comes to the fore.  The chores that we leave undone; the work that demands; the relationships which wither; the time that is irredeemably lost; these, and many more, fall into the mixture of the pressure cooker that has no more nutrients to offer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has added to the pressure cooker of life’s travails, it may be time to contact a FERS Disability Attorney to consider representation for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The pressure cooker is meant to serve, not to destroy; but if the pressure building gets to a certain level beyond the danger point, it is well past the time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Keeping it all together

It is hard enough to keep things together without those “extras” impeding, interrupting and infringing upon one’s time.  Then, when that proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” is placed before us, a sense of doom and gloom (another trite, overused and ineffective phrase that is applied as a euphemism to conceal the crisis-point of our existence) pervades and blankets, like the undisturbed blanket of snow covering the desolate fields of an abandoned farm.

We say to ourselves, “Well, if I can make it to the weekend, I will be able to rest and recuperate” — unless, of course, it is Monday morning, or even Tuesday, and the “weekend” seems like an eternity away.

This is a stressful world.  The very busy-ness of life; of the daily demands placed upon the psyche — even of those stresses we don’t even notice, of impinging and daily overload of factors whirling about us; traffic; news; information from emails and other Internet demands; and then there is the question as to how many other people around us, unknown to us, are barely themselves “keeping it all together”.

We live lives of pressure-cookers; whether the top explodes or not is barely a matter of thin lines and close calls.  Then, when a medical condition intervenes, it is as if the excuse to keeping it all together disappears — precisely because the very foundations for the reason to continue as always have all of a sudden disappeared.  Medical conditions shake the foundation of one’s existence: What is this all about? Why am I killing myself doing this, when the stress of this life merely exacerbates the destructive force of the medical condition itself?

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 ability of “keeping it all together” often falls apart when it finally becomes apparent that the price one must pay just to maintain a facade and semblance of “keeping it all together” is too high.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option to consider. Consult with a FERS Attorney to discuss the viability of your case, and then take the advice into consideration in the ongoing effort of keeping it all together.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Pace of Life

Although we try and control it, it defies such control; and the best that can be accomplished is a paltry attempt at managing it.

Whether with the five minutes to feel the warmth of a steaming cup of coffee, a fifteen minute meditative stance of inner quietude, or a 2 mile run with earphones on to become lost in the rhythmic monotony of jogging within the insular world of a musical beat; despite it all, the pace of life quickens, and we feel that there is nothing that can be done about it.

Life is stressful.  Giving lip-service to the fact of its pace somehow seems to help in overcoming it; or, at the very least, in disarming the ravages of their impact.  What little things we do; from taking a deep breath to isolating ourselves into depressurized tanks of meditative quietude — is palliative at best and self-delusional at worst.

Then, when a medical condition or other interruptive nuisance of life further adds to the already over-burdened pace of life, we often wonder whether we can even “handle it all”.  But what choices are we left with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to split the seams of sanity, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, is often the answer to the unanswerable question: What will lessen this unbearable pace of life?

To dissect the various elements and tentacles that wrap themselves around and strangle, then to bit by bit dislodge and separate, then get rid of — like the process of cleaning out a basement or an attic that has accumulated the junk of unnecessary hoarding.

The pace of life will always be a burden; filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is a step towards lessening the burden for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that when the peripheral and surrounding stresses are unpacked, the central focus of attending to your medical conditions becomes the singular pace of life’s embrace.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Growth Stopper

In life, inertness is considered “bad”; it is progress, the ascent of man and the constant striving towards attaining and achieving which are considered “good”.  “Growth” and the incessant need to extend, expand and extoll the virtues of acquisition and accomplishment remain the medals of success; and whether we agree with such values, it is as if we never had a choice.  Isn’t how we define the parameters of what is important to us the basis of happiness?

For Aristotle, the world was seen in terms of constant potentiality striving to reach the actualization of an entity’s intended fruition.  Thus, a stone does what it is meant to do when it constantly falls to the lowest point in the chaos of the world; a lion achieves its value of Being by being what it does best — of being the aggressor and catching its prey; in other words, by being a lion qua lion-being.

And what of man?  To reach his or her potentiality by achieving the essence of what each individual human being was meant to strive for and accomplish, but in a moderated way without the excesses of either extremes upon the spectrum of choices (read his Nicomachean Ethics).

Growth, for every organic being, is crucial to the very essence of its reason and value for existence.  It is thus its opposite — the “growth stopper” — that is considered as “bad”, “evil”, and contrary to human nature.  But sometimes, in life, we have no choice in the matter, and having a medical condition is that “growth stopper” that must make one pause and redirect one’s focus and value.  Ultimately, 2 things have to always be done: Define what values constitute “growth”; then, determine the best course of action to progress in that endeavor.

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 job, “growth” will need to be redefined.  Is “growth” worth it at the expense of one’s health?

FERS Disability Retirement is not a “growth stopper”, but a growth enhancer — for, it is a retirement and a basic annuity to allow the Federal or Postal worker to pause, refocus one’s priorities upon one’s health and well-being, and then take the steps to progress toward other endeavors and vocations in life.  In other words, to re-prioritize.  Yes, the medical condition can be seen as a “growth-stopper”, but it is how we define our values which makes all of the difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

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