Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The distant bark

A lone dog barks in the distance.  We cannot determine where, or even from what direction, but the echo of wailing, sometimes of whimpering, reverberates like a mist in the early morning that quietly pervades but can never be grasped.  Perhaps it persists, and we leave the safety of our own home in search of the cry, as the forlorn sounds made wavers between a spectrum of hurt, pain, loneliness or urgency of need; no matter the reason, the bark is desperate.

We begin the journey in one direction, but suddenly the winds of voices heard shifts, and we believe it may be coming from a completely different direction.  We shift course and walk in the exact opposite direction. The barking continues, now with greater tones of reverberating alarm, drifting from over there, somewhere out there, never to be determined.  The barking stops.  You pause, listen; but only the quietude of the midnight air breaks the stillness of the echo that now sounds within one’s imagination.

You begin to doubt yourself; was it my own fears, my own fantasy?  Did the sound ever break upon the dawn of objective reality, or was it something that originated from deep within my own needs and wants?  You go home.  Then, a few minutes later, after turning off the lights and drifting off into the slumber of night’s call, a lone dog barks in the distance.

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 the Federal or Postal job, that Federal or Postal employee is the distant bark, and the help that never arrives reflects the situation that so often describes the events that unfold.  Federal Disability Retirement, as the analogy may be stretched, is the person who reaches out to try and find the source of the barking.  Failing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the metaphor where the searching man and the barking dog never meet.

Federal Disability Retirement is not just another “benefit” or a “give-away”; rather, it is part of the employment package that the Federal or Postal worker signed on to, and once obtained, allows for the Federal or Postal worker who is on disability retirement to pursue other careers and vocations, and more importantly, to focus upon regaining one’s health in the process by being separated from the work that has become problematic in the meantime.

And like the lone dog that barks in the distance, the Federal or Postal employee who fails to take the next step by not preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will end up like the dog that wails pitifully deep into the recesses of midnight regrets.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Life erasing

In youth and early adulthood, we add; in later years, life erases.  Kids grow up and move elsewhere; vigor depletes; living spaces are downsized; mementoes once meaningful are discarded into a trash heap of forgotten memories; and health deteriorates, with diminution of lives by incremental depreciation both in appearance, worth and human value.

Life erasing is the natural decomposition of matter; the energy that we expended in bringing up our kids has now been complete, and transference of that vigor has become a permanent fixture.

Somehow, what we gave never seems to be enough, and no matter how much we tried, loved, cared for and nurtured, that part of all has separated and journeyed away, never to be sought in unenlightened venues of thoughtless abandonment.  It is as if life reaches its pinnacle, as the arc of never-ending geometric feats of engineering and technological defiance; and then it tapers, becomes warped and disappears into the far horizon.  What ever happened to those youthful dreams once embraced, promised, forever committed to, and now a dash of trailing dust left behind like so many of life’s erasing features?

Medical conditions and deteriorating health tends to symbolize that; for, as one reaches the pinnacle of an incomplete life (is it every complete, even at the point of oblivion, and do we not hang on for a moment more?), the tawdry reality is that we fear the vanishing of all that we have surrounded ourselves with, because we do not walk about this world with a mirror to appease our own insecurities.

Isn’t that why people amass great wealth; invoke power-plays to demand and command loyalty; hoard possessions as if they reflected quantifiable worth; and apply every cosmetic trick into believing that appearance of youth is the same as easing life’s erasing by concealing the decay beneath?  Why is it that such a natural deterioration is fought against, when the peaceful calm of wisdom tells us that life erasing is the easing of burdens amassed in youth and adulthood, and thus to be enjoyed?

Life erasing means that responsibilities garnered previously have now been alleviated, but instead of accepting that natural digression, we buy into the advertising colonnade that age is merely of deceptive appearances and a “mind set” that can be averted merely by acting more foolishly, accepting cosmetic alterations by stretching the wrinkles away, and taking on greater obligations for self-aggrandizement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beset with medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal employee from extending a career chosen, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement is actually an acceptance of the natural course of life erasing – by the proverbial course of “downsizing”, of recognizing the medical conditions impacting one’s life and pursuing Federal Disability Retirement so that life’s erasing can attain a level of focus upon a priority long ignored:  Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Comfort in regularity

There are those who relish the seas of daily change and the excitement of altered circumstances in daily discourse.  But as the rhythms of a seasonal perpetuity teach us of Nature’s need for regularity, so the biorhythms imparted can often form avenues of predictable patterns.  There is comfort in regularity (no, for those with singular minds, we are not here referring to the constancy of utilizing bathroom facilities; although, there is also some truth in that perspective, as well); of engaging in the monotony of expectations, unchanging circumstances and boredom of daily redundancy.

If we interpreted Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy to the extreme, each time we were to leave a room, the physical world we left behind would vanish; upon our re-entrance into the “same” room, it would again materialize, but who knows if the armchair in the corner with the slight tear in the seam of the cushion has not been moved several inches to one side or the other?

Wasn’t that always the fear in Star Trek, when Scotty would push the lever for the transporter, and the molecular deconstruction of the individual would occur – but the danger involved the potential interference within that short timeframe, when the reconstitution of matter might bring about a missing limb, a lesser intellect, or leave on the dinner table in the previous location one’s eyes, nose or mouth?  But the digression into science fiction merely points out the obvious; whether via molecular transporter or physically walking from one room into another, the expectation of “sameness” is what we rely upon, in order to maintain a sanity which otherwise would be lost in a sea of constant change.

It is, ultimately, the paradigmatic confrontation between the age-old perspective of two old philosophical grouches – of Parmenides and Heraclitus; of permanence seen in a world of a singular whole as opposed to the constancy of an ever-changing universe.  Note that, in either perspective, there is a regularity that is sought and discovered:  the expectation of consistent change constitutes that regularity we seek; and the regularity of a singularity of permanence reinforces that comfort in the same.  That is what we forever sought and continue to seek – and it is in the comfort of regularity that we maintain our balanced perspective.

That is why the turmoil of change is often devastating 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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  The inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties is frustrating enough; such alterations often require accommodations, but when such requests are rejected, it is like a verdict upon one’s worth by the agency or the Postal facility:  You are not worth the trouble of change.

Yet, that change or alteration in the schedule, flexibility of attendance, or other minor adjustments, are often of no greater effort by the Agency than Scotty pushing the lever to initiate the power of the transporter.  But, then, Captain Kirk was quite good at making adjustments and ad-libbing as he went along – something that most Federal agencies and the Postal Service are unable to do; and that is when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes an ever-present need that will ensure the comfort in regularity of purpose, goals and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The divided relic

If an ancient relic of sacred origins must always travel with wherever a community, a tribe or an individual must go, can its essence remain intact despite being divided into multiple forms?  Can a divided populace split into two its sacredly-held relic, whether for theological reasons of disputatious incommensurability, or simply resulting from an old-fashioned “I don’t like them anymore” conflict that has erupted into an irreconcilable fissure?  In other words, is the sacredness of the relic contained in the essence of the thing itself, or by the bonding influence of the people who view that item of antiquity with awe and frightful respect?

Whether a sacred scroll or a Bible (which, obviously, would be difficult to divide), or a crystalline object, an ancient arrow holding magical powers or an assortment of divinations empowered by a rich history of spiritual conquests — whether such relics can retain their efficacy for a community divided, might depend upon the strength of the belief itself, and the foundational reliance upon such antiquities of thought-processes.

That is, perhaps, one of the many problems of modernity; we no longer have the capacity to believe in the power of ancient relics, divided or not; and, instead, we put our faith into the predetermination of a Darwinian paradigm, where the gene pools of those who have survived merely contribute to the greater sense of invincibility within a genetically maladjusted populace of pure materialism.  Thus do we abandon all sacred rites of passage and living – of entrance into adulthood, marriage, the sacrament of forgiveness and the commodity of grace.

The divided relic does not lose its powers because of the division into pieces greedily and hastily fractured by human conflict, but because the very act itself merely reflects a broken heart no longer tethered by faith, belief, community or commonality of belonging.  No – it is because we have accepted fractured lives as a justification for dividing sacred relics, that the very sanctity of the relic itself has been diminished and sullied.

Indeed, that is what happens in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, with people and the workplace itself.  No, there are no sacred relics to be divided in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but there can be – should be – a sense of commonality of purpose and an empathy undivided such that the work and missions of the entity itself can be carried forth with a purposeful intent.  The strength of that sense of cohesion, however, is often reflected when a Federal or Postal employee is beset with a medical condition, and must file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

If the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility responds with supportive empathy (rarely seen), then that sense of an undivided and worthy relic remains like a residue of bright hope; but, more often than not, it is the opposite effect that is seen – of a divided relic reflected in the pool of harshness and indifference revealed by human depravity, by harassment, intimidation and scorn within the community of Federal and Postal workers.

Such a state of affairs when responding to a Federal or Postal worker who is in the process of going through the administrative trials of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is reflective of this state of modernity, where the divided relic can so heartlessly be accomplished without concern for the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Ruminations upon wrongs committed

Why is the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal Worker often accompanied by a history of discrimination, harassment and persistent wrongs committed?  Perhaps, because a person who files for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement is reflective of a general consensus of human nature itself:  the microcosm of a delimited universe does not subvert the greater truth of humanity as a whole.

Despite all of the legal protections accorded – of required attempts to “accommodate” the Federal or Postal employee in conjunction with anti-discrimination statutes affording protection to those with identified medical disabilities; and, further, with a concomitant greater “social awareness” of the unacceptability of certain attitudes and behavior towards individuals with medical conditions that restrict one’s capacity to maneuver through the public access and spaces of business and buildings – these should all combine to reduce the actionable allegations committed and the legal entanglements ensuing.

Moreover, there is often a parallelism between the extent, severity and chronicity of a medical condition, and the ruminations of the impacted individual upon wrongs committed, with a proportionality between the lengthy history of one’s debilitating medical condition and greater increase of harassment and intimidation by a Federal agency or U.S. Postal facility – leading to deeper resentment and high incidence of filing an EEO complaint or other legal tender.

But for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, the question that one must consider as to the interplay between wrongs committed and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is this:  To what extent will one impact the other, and will there by a negative interplay if both are concurrently pursued?  The answer is somewhat complex and complicated.

While most EEO cases that are filed concurrently with a Federal Disability Retirement application, or where there is some time-overlap between the two, there is little interplay or impact with respect to the Federal Disability Retirement side of things.  On the other hand, it is important that a Federal Disability Retirement application be prepared such that the essence of the Federal Disability Retirement case is reflective of the core duality of issues that comprises an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – that of the medical condition itself, and the impact of the medical condition upon the ability or inability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position – and not upon peripheral and ancillary issues that may be more relevant to a discrimination genre, such as “workplace harassment” or “retaliation”, etc.

In the end, to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is best to avoid any lengthy diatribes which reflect a greater consensus of a wider societal problem, and ruminations upon wrongs committed will not be helpful in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: That sigh of regret

It is released without consciousness of foresight, or random expectation of hope to come.  Often, merely an involuntary deviation from a carefully-guarded appearance, that sigh of regret escapes with a haunting echo of mirthless exhaustion.

Is there a time when past regrets catch up to present dismay, obfuscated by the loss of any future hope to reinvigorate?  What is regret but a deed left undone, a trepidation leading to inaction when flight of carefree abandonment embraced us for a moment, where craziness of freedom from the fetters of caution allowed one to pause and jump without fear of tomorrow?  And the sigh that follows, but a mere refrain denoting the commonality of experiences, withheld, where caution pulled us back because of pragmatic considerations we once beheld to be more important than the liberty of our means.

Rare are those lives whose self-assurance in the meandering days of feckless travels reveals not a morsel of remorse, but a fullness of memories neither unrestored by neglect nor needing any touch-up or photo-shopping imputation.  Some have warranted that to regret is to die a slow death, while others accept it as merely the general populace’s lot in life.

The sigh of regret is emitted during that lapse of unguarded exposure when vulnerability is allowed to reveal, where openness – whether because of insanity, inebriation or a raw moment of “being real” – stands in line behind the impenetrable fortress of layers carefully shielded in order to construct that wall of mystery.  But the other side of regret – like the turn of midnight as the clock strikes its 12th toll – is the knowledge that something else could have been, that better tomorrows might have been, and the “what ifs” of life keep coming back to haunt, each whisper followed by a louder intonation of incessant reminders.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who having that sensation – of a pause, a consideration or even an inkling – that it is time to begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, there are “better times” than others where timing in filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be weighed and balanced within the greater context of all other considerations.

What one does not want to happen, is to allow for a later event to emit that sigh of regret, which is what so many people, in so many circumstances, end up doing.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee has already let loose a sigh of regret, is the best pathway forward to ensure that – whatever accumulations of life’s regrets one may already hold within the bosom of one’s soul – future actions will fail to predict the sorrowful din of tomorrow’s hope for a better future, where that sigh of regret may be muffled because an act today was taken in light of yesterday’s remorse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire