OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Imperfect Lives

Bringing up the very concept itself implies that the opposite exists: That of “perfect” lives.  We perhaps attribute the existence of such; perhaps it is the same line of thought processes which persuades us by the Ontological argument for the existence of God: God is that than which nothing greater can be thought of; To exist is greater than not to exist; therefore, God must by necessity exist.  The corollary argument which persuades us of the existence of a “perfect” life would then be: The perfect life is a life which erases all imperfections; perfection is better than its opposite; therefore there must by necessity exist perfect lives.

Yet, does reality indicate the existence of perfect lives?  Certainly, its opposite is true: imperfect lives being all around us, including our own, we then assume that there must be other, similarly imperfect lives.  Yet, while perfection is a non-relative term (it cannot be dependent upon a comparison to other terms, but is the paragon of all things not imperfect), its antonym — imperfection — can be.  Thus, X’s life may be less perfect than Y’s, and Z’s life may be less perfect than Y’s but better than X’s.  Can we ever say that X’s life is “more perfect” than X’s or Y’s?  Doesn’t “more perfect” necessarily imply imperfection and thus cannot approach a definitional plateau of “more”?

The plain fact is that all of our lives are imperfect, and perfection is an unreachable goal, and perhaps even undefinable.  For, who can define perfection of a life which fails to ever meet such a standard, and given the sins of human frailty, can it ever be achieved?

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 time may be ripe to admit and acknowledge that “perfection” is a standard which can never be met, and to try and maintain that appearance of perfection is an unrealistic goal.  Medical conditions have a way of humbling us; and as we keep struggling to maintain an appearance of perfection, what we are doing is failing to acknowledge that such a standard is a harmful, detrimental one.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an admission of our imperfection; consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a step towards acting upon that admission — that, try as we might, we live imperfect lives, and that’s okay; for, to err is human, and to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is to admit to being human.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Picture We Want to See

Most of us think that we are the opposite of the designated, “Photogenic Individual”.  Setting aside those who crave to be in every picture (including the egomaniacal and perversely pervasive “selfies” which are posted daily and minute-by-minute), the picture we want to see, the photograph we would care to share and the image we would want to be presented to friends, family, third parties and others — they are rarely captured accurately, or at least to our satisfaction of how we see ourselves compared with “what” or “who” we see captured within the confined borders of an image depicted.

Similarly, we all hold an image of who we are within the framework of our own egos — whether of a successful individual or a failure; of self-confidence or lacking in great measure thereof; and of the little boy or girl we remember, before entering into the harsh reality of the world at large, with a past and background of security or insecurity, with loving parents or of cold, dispassionate and distant fathers and mothers; in the end, the picture we want to see is often at odds with the ones we actually hold on to.

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, perhaps filing for disability retirement benefits under FERS is not the picture “we want to see”, but rather, is the picture depicted and represents the reality of what we must see.

No one wants to see the picture — and least of all the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition necessitating Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  However, it is often the picture which we least want to see that represents the reality which we must see, and that is what consulting with an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Employee Disability Retirement Law is there for: To paint an objective picture which depicts as accurately as possible whether you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Fundamentals

What does it mean when a person says, “The fundamentals remain sound”?  Is it one of those “throw-away” lines which makes one sound intelligent, but upon closer inspection, means very little?  Sort of like the misuse of the double-negative that was popularly in use, where people say, “irregardless” of this or that?

Fundamentals are important to every successful endeavor, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the “fundamentals” which must never be overlooked, but rather, to be focused upon, tweaked, considered carefully and crafted with greater perfection.

Unfortunately, many people who prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, believe (erroneously) that the mere fact that one has a “serious” medical condition is enough to satisfy the eligibility criteria for an approval from OPM.  Always remember that there is a vast difference, with a “real” distinction, between “having” a medical condition and “proving” that the medical condition one has prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

It is very easy to focus upon one’s pain, anguish and despair in dealing with a medical condition, and forget that an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is by necessity a “paper presentation” to an unknown, faceless person lost within a vast bureaucracy in Boyers, Pennsylvania, and in the process to neglect the “fundamentals” in preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

When the fundamentals are sound, the rest of it is sound; and though such “sayings” may often be thrown about without much thought put into it, it is the soundness of the fundamentals that will prove to be the effective application that gets a First-Stage approval in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Weekend Survival

The segmentation of time may be artificial; the rhythms of life, are not.  The 7-day week, 30-day month (give or take a couple here and there) and the 12-month cycle constitute human constructs that impose a rigid system of divisions based upon productivity, leisure, an admixture of both (isn’t it universal that Saturdays are spent in doing chores otherwise unattended to during the week, and Sunday is that respite and escape in total destitution of depleted dreariness?) and then a reset button pushed and the beginning of the cycle all over again.

Yet, while the system itself is based upon a conceptually artificial construct, the rhythmic underpinning of nature that glides above and beneath on a daily, quiet but consistent basis remains unperturbed.

That is why Daylight Savings Time makes grouches of us all — it is another artificial construct that jolts everyone from the natural rhythms of monotonous apathy twice a year, and breaks up that flow of biodynamic symbiosis between the planetary rotations, the daily sunrise and sunset, and the body’s reaction to a natural order within the constructs of an unnatural way of living.  The only compensation we feel grateful for is that extra hour of sleep that we are “given” in the Fall — only to have it stripped mercilessly and robbed from us in the Spring.

Thank God for the weekend — those two days of respite and leisure; of restorative rest and a quietude away from the mad dash of work and productivity; and we believe that we owe to the gods our lives and sacrifice our health for those pittance of days that are given to us.  But what are those 2 days worth?

Half of one is given up to do those things that we had no time to do during the five days of labor; the other half, spent in frozen immobility in front of a screen that blasts frightful images both from news of the “real” world as well as stories that are supposedly “entertaining”.  Then, with the one day remaining, we try and compensate for the exhaustion from the previous 5+1, only to wake up the following morning to engage the rush of the work-week that suffers and harms.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition becomes a trial of survival during the week in order to make it to the weekend just to survive, it is worse because — not only is the “natural” rhythm interrupted by the medical condition itself — days, weeks and months all meld and melt into a singular whole of survival and consternation of life’s trials.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only option remaining in order to re-order the rhythm lost in the daily struggle to reach that weekend survival where the cycle of life’s natural rhythm has been shattered by the trauma of a chronic medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Usurping dreams

What happened to them?  Where did those once youthful and exuberant conduits taking us beyond the monotony of the present disappear to?  When did we allow for “practicality” and “being real”, of “growing up” and “becoming responsible” to usurp the dreams of our youth?  Did we misjudge, misunderstand and misapply the principles first taught, and confuse the two concepts – of having a “realistic viewpoint” and abandoning all dreams and hopeful fantasies?

The two are not mutually exclusive; one can still work upon one’s dreams, yet go about the work-a-day world to make a living and pursue a career.  Ah, but then, life intervenes and interrupts, doesn’t it?  Is that why children are delayed, trips are cancelled and i-phones are kept in sacrosanct altars beneath the altered photographs of our imagined pasts?  Is the procrastination invited, the delayed life intruded upon and the project-time of 5-year plans extended, precisely because if we keep pushing beyond and giving ourselves excuses for inaction, there will one day come a time when we will admit that it is too late?

Usurping dreams is the insidious encroachment of cynicism shadowing our once promising beginnings, and the pendulum that allows for the heavy turn when clocks no longer run, thoughts become stale and creativity is suddenly disposed of, then the stench of human decay begins to set in, and we slowly die a death we once mourned in the youthful hope of our former times.

Usurping dreams is like the virus that gnaws away at the flesh of joy; usurping dreams is like the broken cane that once held the weight of an old man’s hand and allowed for ambulation, and no matter how many time you tape it together or glue the fissure, the weakest point of the break never quite heals; and usurping dreams is like the Book of Plans once gathered, then put aside into the cellar of one’s forgotten memories, only to remain in haunting whispers, always calling, never being heard but in the darkness where fears are touched and enlivened by the sunlight never quite seen for want of bringing back those youthful memories of exuberant smiles and unselfish shouts of pure happiness.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the question is:  Did the career do it; did the medical condition do it; or is there still hope beyond the medical condition and the career?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, has now become a necessity.  The only real question remaining is whether the same pause which allowed for usurping of dreams those many years ago is the identical weakness of groundless fears that prevents you from taking that next step into a still-hopeful future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement Law: How Does One Know the Age?

It cannot be by counting wrinkles, or the number of gray hairs; for, some people never develop them, and in any event, new methodologies of plastic surgery, hair dyes and other cosmetic creativities can easily override such superficial eruptions of telltale signs.  Photographs can no longer be evidence of aging, for airbrushing and digital modifications can dispense with such irritating characteristics.

But when there is a personal encounter, how can one judge, and fairly and accurately assess?  Is it the eyes?  That “window to one’s soul” — does it reveal a depth of depravity over time, such that the hollowness revealed in innocence at an early age is replaced by a coldness and cynicism of reflective hurts?  And of the greater age — of this epoch, the generation and historicity of time; how does one know it, too?  Older generations tend to cling to the past, and it is through that prism of past time that the present is viewed, the future foreseen; but does such a perspective differ from those who are young and never experienced the discomfort of lack? And medical conditions and their impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue a career — how does one know?  The subtlety of warnings can be non-decipherable when asked to describe in words.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is fairly early on that one has a sense of where one’s career will be going.  Doctors can talk about surgical intervention and medical regimens and their supposed efficacy in treating a condition; but in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition itself, knows in one’s proverbial “heart of hearts” whether the Federal or Postal employee will be able to continue in one’s career.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a process which is daunting, and thereby delay of diligence is often a factor which is merely engaged despite having known for some time.  It is like guessing the age — whether of another person, or of the historicity of being a stranger in a strange land — it is the subtlety of telltale signs which reveals the future course of an already-determined process of inevitability.  And like aging itself, the fight we pretend to engage is merely an act of futility, and we know it; we just don’t want to look in the mirror and face it, lest those lines of time show us who we are, what we did, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Hostile Work Environment and the Centrality of the Medical Condition in a Government Employee Retirement Claim

Pithy quotes are replete throughout advisory or “self-help” books; it is a cottage industry involving coming up with linguistically sticky statements, like post-its tacked on to our sleeves in order to remind us of daily living tools to carry.  “Keeping the main thing the main thing” is one such quote, and numerous similar mutations, which remind us that prioritization of concepts, in any endeavor, is important to keep in mind, and to not allow for peripheral concerns to overwhelm and dominate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the centrality of the medical condition should always be paramount, penultimate, and properly placed atop the prioritized priority list of planned penmanship (such early morning alliteration is indeed a challenge).

This is normally not a concern; for, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, suffers from a medical condition, which is the primary basis for which such a life changing event must be engaged.  But in the course of encountering the adversarial administrative process — of the agency, the supervisor, coworkers, the H.R. Department, and in the end, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — it is easy to become sidetracked with issues of a hostile work environment, of harassment, increasing disciplinary measures, suspensions, initiation of a PIP, etc., and to forget that the centrality of the medical condition should be the guiding principle and light which drives the engine of success or leads to the drone of failure.

Getting sidetracked with peripheral issues remains the singular and problematic course of careening causal catastrophes; it is, as stated at the outset, the centrality of the medical condition which needs to be placed at the forefront, the mid-section, and the conclusory compendium of all carefully calibrated cases in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire