Early FERS Medical Retirement: Inside Life & Outside Appearance

Each of us lives an insular life.  It is that “private” side of us which remains so at our option.

How much of it is allowed into the public arena, and to whom we may share with, those are dependent upon multiple factors — of desiring to; of releasing information about ourselves that may allow for one to become “vulnerable”; of secretive lies; of shameful pasts; of thoughts that may be considered imprudent or childish; of foolish past exploits that may embarrass; of actions committed that were long forgotten by everyone but the self; and many more besides.

Then, of course, there is the “Outside appearance” — the person who is a compendium and pieced-together puzzle.  That “person” is comprised of many facets: By those who “know” you at the office, but perhaps in a restricted, limited way; by neighbors and acquaintances; by closer family members; by people who may have only come in contact by telephone or the internet, etc.

How much of the Inside life and the Outside appearance overlap may be best illustrated by a Venn diagram — or by a multitude of concentric circles, depending upon who is asked about a particular person.  Some scrupulously guard the inside life; others, like an open book left unguarded and unmarked, allow for the two parallel streams to mix and mingle without thoughts of restricting access.

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 position, the concept of the “Inside life” and the “Outside appearance” is important to consider when entertaining the idea of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the Federal or Postal employee may be suffering from a medical condition, how much of that “Inside life” has impacted the “Outside appearance” — i.e., the medical condition’s impact upon one’s performance, conduct or attendance — will be questioned by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in determining the merits of the case.

It is, in a FERS Disability Retirement case, the “Outside appearance” that will be determinative, so that no matter the extent of pain or anguish experienced by the “Inside Life”, it is the “Outside appearance” which will be the facet of evaluative validity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Resistance

The initial reaction to such a title is the obvious one: To what?  Of course, Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes immediately to mind — of every action having an equal and opposite reaction; thus, when one posits a “resistance”, the natural query must refer to its opposition, as in, “What is it that we are resisting?”

Throughout our “stages of life”, we either comply, conform, “go along with the crowd” — or resist doing so.  There are “middle” ways, of course, and yet to compromise and resist “half-way”, or in a half-hearted manner, often seems to ruin the whole point of any resistance, doesn’t it?

If one is to be a revolutionary, the point is to be one completely, or not at all.  During the Sixties, there was the famous line (often misattributed to Abbie Hoffman, the Beatles and others) which declared that the movement’s participants would “never trust anyone over 30” — spoken by Jack Weinberg in response to a hostile interviewer.  The underlying point of the statement is quite clear: By the age of 30, most people have “sold out”, conformed, lost their youthful vigor to resist; or, put more simply, accepted the status quo and have become cynical.  Yet, isn’t there a natural inclination to “belong”, to not stand apart from the crowd, and to be able to live a quiet, unassuming life?

“Resistance” can thus have a duality of meanings — it can imply that one is part of a movement involving resistance to the status quo or, even its opposite; that one resists change and is integrally a participant of the status quo.  Resistance to change is the greater dominating force.  Change is a fearsome entity where the unknown is to be avoided at all costs.  To be a part of “the resistance” that refuses to conform — well, that is best left to those under 30, unattached and without obligations and responsibilities.

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, resistance to change is often the factor that procrastinates, and keeps a person in a “muddle of the middle” where conditions deteriorate but one stubbornly insists upon maintaining the status quo.

But as medical conditions deteriorate and as the Federal Agency or the Postal Service persists in seeking change — by forcing the issue and initiating adverse actions in order to fill the position with a person who is able to perform all of the essential elements of the position — resistance to change must be replaced with becoming a part of the resistance: By preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM and forging ahead into a future yet unknown.

Remember —even Jack Weinberg became a class of individuals that he resisted, and went on to become a consultant and an adjunct faculty member; in other words, he was once in the “Resistance”, then became that opposite and equal force to fulfill Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill,Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Private Hells

Wouldn’t a “hell” by definition encompass privacy and insularity?  For, isn’t one of the benefits of commiserating and “sharing” (in the modern parlance) that one expiates the pains and troubles one experiences?  Thus, if a hell is to be a hell, wouldn’t it be in seclusion and in solitary confinement for all eternity; otherwise, the hell described would be less than hell because it would be a lessened state of agony and torture and thus would not be the intended deterrent that such descriptive conclusions would be?

Private hells are the worse kinds of hells, if one were to place them on a spectrum of graduated scales.  It is the hell that cannot be shared with others; cannot be complained about; cannot be dissipated by describing, telling, delineating or implicitly requesting comforting words about; such constitute the worst of torture chambers left in the chaos of one’s mind.  The social animal — the “human being” — is one who derives strength, courage, determination and the will to live by engaging in the very thing that social animals do: talk; tell stories; share troubles; commiserate.

That is often the exponentially exacerbating effect of a medical condition being suffered by a Federal employee — of having to keep it a secret; not being able to be open about it; not sharing because he or she is unable to talk about it for fear of retaliation and the evils of bad intentions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from such a state of private hell, it is time to begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted and ultimately decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The private hell of one’s fears and anxieties concerning the entire administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement is often partly due to the strangeness of it all, and consulting with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often the first best step in extinguishing those flames of agony that are described in ancient scrolls, lest the private hells become public dungeons that flog the soul beyond what the law allows, which can clearly be explained and contained with a private consultation with legal counsel who can guide you out of that private hell by explaining the process of OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Disadvantage of the I-Thou Perspective

People tend to expect the best results; and when a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the applicant who is unrepresented and prepares, formulates and files the Federal Disability Retirement packet on his or her own believes that an approval is forthcoming at the First Stage of the Process.  Yet, often unaware and unbeknownst to the Federal or Postal applicant, the lack of separation between the I-Thou construct fails to provide a proper perspective of objectivity.

Allow me to expand and explain:  As the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition (the “I”) is the same person who prepares, formulates and files the Medical Retirement application (the “thou” from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), any sense of objectivity is often lost because the I and the Thou are one and the same person, and the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition is simultaneously the same one who is seeking an approval of the OPM Disability Retirement application.

Of course, that same scenario is repeated even if the application is filed through a Federal Disability lawyer (in the sense that the Federal or Postal employee still seeks to obtain an approval from OPM) with one major exception:  there is another “thou” perspective included and involved — that of the Federal lawyer representing the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved.

Objectivity is a crucial component of a Federal Disability Retirement application; that is why so many “silly” mistakes are injuriously embraced without self-knowledge or with disengaged awareness.  It is like the cook who loved the taste of arsenic, and thought that everyone else should as well; and so he sprinkled the deadly poison onto his own food and enjoyed the taste of his own creation, only to slowly die from the feed of his own foolishness.

There are many “kinds” in the arena of foolish endeavors:  There is the “quantitative approach” (“I sent them thousands of pages of treatment records”) which fails to ask the question, Who will read it all?  There is the “trusting soul”:  “I just signed a release and had them send it all directly to my Human Resource Office”.  Then, there is the person of naive disbelief:  “How could they not approve it with the medical conditions I suffer from?”

The problem with all of these is the lack of objective perspective; the I-Thou connection is now given the distance, separateness and objectivity necessary to determine the viability and effectiveness of each and every piece of the puzzle needed to put together a proper Federal Disability Retirement application.  Are there ever any guarantees in life?  No.  Can a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement laws make a difference?  Yes.

Fortunately, unlike the metaphor arising from the cook and the salsa of arsenic, there are multiple stages within the administrative process of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and a denial at the First Stage of the bureaucratic pathway is not irreversible, and does not result in the inertia of life rendered by ingestion of substances otherwise tasty but harmful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Spare Tire

No doubt the idea of a spare tire is derived from fear: fear of the unknown, concern for the future potential possibilities; anxieties related to what ifs. With the advent of advanced technology in tire manufacturing, the probabilities of a flat tire have exponentially decreased, and perhaps with it, the need for carrying a spare tire has crossed the threshold where such concerns should be allayed entirely.

But as with shark attacks, being hit by lightening, and other such phenomena where statistical concerns should make them insignificant, it is the person who experiences the calamity which defies any such argument about probability irrelevancies. For the person bitten by a shark, he fulfills the 100% chance of a shark attack.

Statistically speaking, Federal employees and Postal workers who become derailed in their careers because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are numerically miniscule. But when the need arises, Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for a foundational annuity, such that the Federal employee or the Postal worker can continue to maintain a livelihood and plan for the future.

It represents the spare tire “in case of”, and the very availability of it represents an employment package which looks upon the value of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker not only as a commodity for the present, but a secured interest for the future. While complex in its bureaucratic and administrative procedures, Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for Federal and Postal employees to qualify for disability benefits when needed, like the spare tire unused but ready for performance.

Thus, the next time you see a car pulled off to the side of the road with a jack lifting a quadrant of the vehicle in an abnormal fashion, it may be an appropriate reminder that while spare tires are best left unused, it is there for a pragmatic purpose, as is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire