FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The prosaic life

That is the lot of most of us; yet, the contrast seen in the “entertainment” world is its very opposite.  Does it breed discontent (or malcontent)?  Does the “make-believe” universe that we surround ourselves with actually enhance one’s quality of life?

We not only welcome it; we pay for it, and gladly, so.  What does the contrast do to one’s soul — of watching movies involving fearsome technologies that destroy; of bank robbers, murderers, high-stake gamblers and every character imaginable; of dangers that never result in injury or capture; of adventures beyond one’s wildest imagination — and then, there is the actual life that one lives: Of a prosaic life that is often humdrum, unimaginative, mundane, pedestrian and…boring.

Is it “prosaic” to simply go from high school to college, then to a career, a family, old age and death?  Do we regret the repetition of our daily lives, so unbearably “normal”, such that we embrace this spectator-sport of adulation for the wealthy, over exuberant prostration in paying homage to sports heroes, and the unfettered interest shown towards everything and anything “glamorous”?

Until, of course, our health begins to deteriorate.  Then, suddenly, we wish for the “boring” life of normalcy; of the mundane when we took for granted the things we used to do; for the prosaic life that we once had.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows one to do that which was once taken for granted — being able to go to work consistently; performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, etc. — filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may yet return you to the prosaic life that you now yearn for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: SF 3112C

As a “government form” it purports to provide guidance in general terms, and it is doubtful that the lack of clarity as to its purpose or utility will assist the medical professional into writing an effective report.

The plain fact is that SF 3112C is a confusing form — confusing both to the doctor or Nurse Practitioner who is presented with it, as well as to the FERS Applicant who is attempting to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  It refers to a “position description” being attached, but fails to provide the necessary explanatory nexus between the PD and the medical opinion sought.

What part of the position description should be focused upon?  Is it the entirety of the PD, portions of it, or just the “essential elements”?  Is it relevant whether a person can work part-time, full time, or an erratic combination of both depending upon the severity of symptoms that may arise periodically?  Is SF 3112C meant to confuse, or like so many “government forms”, is the language inevitably misleading because it is (A) meant to be that way, (B) unintentionally written in an unclear manner or (C) is meant to be wholly unhelpful because OPM doesn’t want to go out of its way to help the Federal Disability Retirement applicant?  Must the SF 3112C, the “Physician’s Statement”, be used at all?

If you are still working with the Federal Agency or on the rolls of the Postal Service, or at least not separated for more than thirty one (31) days, must the prepared physician’s statement be sent directly to your H.R. Office without first being reviewed and validated by the applicant?  The form itself certainly makes it appear so, but is that really the case?

In the end, the applicant who is preparing, formulating and filing a 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, must make some initial and important determinations concerning the substance and content of the application itself.

Forms are tricky; the laws that oversee them, often vague; but if you are relying upon instructions written and formulated by the very government agency that will be making a determination on your application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in the very law that governs Federal Disability Retirement, before you begin “filling” out forms or having your doctor fill one out.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Conspiracy of life

Tabloids lead us to suspect it; odd coincidences force us to confront it; and the amassed aggregate of life experiences allow us to consider seriously the implications of it.  Are there such deliberative interconnections that make seeming chance encounters more than the arbitrary clashes of random events, such that they are planned, coordinated and precipitated by human activity beyond mere statistical anomalies?

If the creation of the natural world can be acceptably explained by evolutionary forces without a grand designer of some relevant intelligence quotient, and if randomness can be explicated by instinctive forces based upon a genetic predisposition for survival, then certainly the conspiracy of life can be readily accepted.

Often, we dismiss and refute sequential events that “could only happen” with some modality of deliberative intent, with a dismissive declaration of, “Naw…it just couldn’t be…”   Yet, we believe in those inane, proverbial truisms, like – “When it rains, it pours”, as events seem to come in bunches, bad luck follows upon acts violating superstitious conduct defying the supernatural, and we still try and avoid making major life decisions when the stars become misaligned during a winter solstice.

And so we remain careful when coming upon the path of a black cat, or refrain from making major life decisions on those Fridays which fall upon an unlucky number; and, beyond, believe that a conspiracy of life may yet manage to subvert, pervert and preemptively undermine the dreams we dream, the fantasies we pursue and the follies we hope for.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 the Federal or Postal position, it is not a far stretch to conceive of, believe in and otherwise suspect a conspiracy of life – precisely because Federal fiefdoms and Postal power-centers are replete with bands of marauding rogues whose sole purpose in life is to harass, intimidate, make life miserable and force the issue of “who is boss”.

Little people with evil souls tend to congregate in places where the frustrations of a personal life spill over into the professional arena of employment contexts.  Always remember, however, the singular focus in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application:  To have it approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus, if you get “drawn in” to the tangents by invitation of the conspiracy of life, you may regret the wayward course and the detour compelled by losing your way, direction and compass-driven focus that should guide you to ignore those unverified and arbitrary chance events as depicted in superimposed photographs besides outlandish editorial exclamations seen and surreptitiously viewed while standing in line at the grocery store.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire