Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing 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, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Was it all worth it?

It is that penultimate question – the one that has multiple cousins and unwanted siblings, illegitimate off-springs and uninvited guests, like:  What is the meaning of my life (refer to previous posts concerning Russell’s quip that such pedantic queries are often the result of indigestion)?  Did I do the right thing (such lines of interrogatories often emerge from a guilty conscience, so you might not want to ask that one)?  Did I spend enough time with my kids (almost always, “no”)?  Did I remain true to my marriage vows (sadly, according the statistical analysis, most people would have to answer in the negative)?  Have I behaved honorably throughout (it would depend upon the definition of the term, and of by-the-way, we tend to have private dictionaries defining words these days in a subjective, self-serving manner)?

“Was it all worth it” goes in so many directions, it is like the catch-all phrase or the “general aegis” over which all other questions and queries reside.  To whom?  By what measure?  In contrast to what other “it”?  And the more important one: Can we clarify and “flesh out” what the “it” refers to?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prompts a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the interrogatory itself often means that the point of “worthiness” refers to the delay and loyalty shown by the suffering Federal or Postal employee before taking the next needed steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Often, to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, such a query means that you have already pushed yourself well beyond that which is actually for your own good, and while loyalty, faithfulness, hard work and such similar attributes are laudable and “example-setting” characteristics reflecting well upon the one who asks the question, the answer may be – at least from a medical perspective – formed in the negative.

For, isn’t part of the point in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application to do so before the medical condition gets to such a severe crisis point of deterioration so that there is actually a retirement to enjoy?

Remember that the standard of proof in obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is not to reach a state of “total disability” (which is the standard in a Social Security case); rather, it is to show that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, when you ask the question, “Was it all worth it?” – it is indeed important to know what the “it” refers to, both in the second word of the question as well as the fifth and last.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The defeating question

It is the question itself which is often “telling”; it informs us of where the line of answering and posited queries is likely to take us.  It is like the map that guides in a certain direction, the compass that informs one of the vantage point of one’s existence or the gravitational pull which pulls in order to remain cohesive with other heavenly bodies; the question itself may not even need an answer.

The latter, of course, is referred to as a “rhetorical” one – that which needs no answer, is asked without necessarily seeking a response, and the one that, standing alone in the silence of an unsolicited reflection, cuts deep into the queried subject in order to provoke a contemplative reaction.  But of the “defeating” question – is it ever asked or, if it is, what is its purposive intent and deliberative content?

It is the one that is avoided, and left unasked because the facts, circumstances and surrounding context will almost always already be known to the inquiring mind.  What is the purpose for which it is asked?

No, not to defeat, but rather, to admit to the already-obvious answer that is readily known, by virtue suspected and thus absented and avoided.  Plagues reported, germs suspected and sneezing people avoided, the defeating question is the one that you already know the answer to, but by the mere fact of not vocally articulating it, is intended to remain unspoken and thus carefully avoided.

It is like the neighborhood bully that requires running after school at full speed over fences and back alleys; and like the dog barking in the early morning requiring one or of the other of the spouses to get up and let out, each hoping that the other will think kindly of the fake snoring and each avoiding the direct obligation and love for the animal itself; the defeating question, once asked, is in danger of being answered and therefore brought “out in the open” for no one to ignore, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may require the Federal or Postal employee to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question unasked and avoided, and the one feared as the “defeating question” is quite simply: Do I need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

Already answered.  The only difference is, what is meant by “defeating”, is often within the purview of the inquiring mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The phony smile

We have all seen it; the question is, how is it recognizable?

Well, one way is by the contrasting identification with other features of the human façade.  Here, Plato’s attributed observation that the eyes are the window to one’s soul, is that comparative characteristic that reveals the veil of the phony smile that uncovers more than words will tell.

It is that disarming act that defies sincerity but only is manifested when it is too late; of the knife that stabs one in the proverbial back just after the smile has been issued, like a letter that arrives with such anticipation of joy and yearning, only to begin with the proverbial warning, “Dear John”.

The phony smile is well known; it is perverse and pervasive throughout literature.

“Did you see that smile?”

“Oh, I can’t stand that person – what a phony!”

The eyes – did you get a look at the cold stare as he smiled?

“Yes, he smiled, but those teeth that bared could have cut your heart in two!”

And so the phony smile has made its way through the analogs of time, truth and tempestuous and temperamental tumults, but has survived precisely because it is a smile that phoniness cannot always be certain to be questioned.  It is, as with words in insincere voices, the action that follows that determines the validity of the smile itself.

The analogy for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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 position, is in the way the Federal agency or the Postal facility treats the Federal or Postal employee when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

The “smile” is what the Federal agency or Postal Service promises; the contrast to the “eyes” that tell of the sincerity is defined by what they actually do; and the determination that the former was “phony” is when they proceed to stab you in the back.  That is when preparing an effective 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, needs to be initiated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Joy and trials

It is the defining of life itself; of the spectrum across a wide range of peaks, valleys, proverbial mountaintops and chasms of tumults like a groan beneath the terrain of the earth.  We attempt to avoid the latter and quantitatively expand the former, thinking that if we fill our experiences with joy, the trials will be lessened or the impact less eventful.

There are gauges of summer, the plateau of fall; we sense the discontent of winter and the exhilaration of spring; and like the subtle pull of the orbs afar that impact the tides and moons of horses galloping in the night, the shudder of sensations unfelt and the future yet untold make anxious of us all.

Joy is the experience of human beings; trials, the objective world impinging upon the subjectivity of our daily refrain.  Can we even have one without the other?

We posit fictional hypotheticals that probably never were; of Rousseau’s “State of Nature” where savages roamed in scant loincloths without a care in the world; and of paradise lost like Milton’s foreboding of a utopia now crumbling into the dystopian paragon of untruths and Orwell’s misinformation where totalitarianism becomes the choice of self-immolation.

As Being cannot mean anything without its opposite, Nothingness, so is it not the trials of life that magnify and make relevant the joy felt on any given day?  Can one truly exist without the other?

And yet we attempt to minimize and diminish the latter in thinking that we deserve the former.  But as the inane philosopher now long forgotten once stated with annoyance and greater impertinence, “It is what it is”.  Whatever that means.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are experiencing the “trials” period of one’s life because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the attempt to jump over and across the great divide so that one can get back to the “joy” part of life’s offerings by trying to “work with” the Federal agency or Postal service, or to “seek an accommodation” with one’s Federal department or Postal facility, there is another proverbial adage that comes to mind: “Banging one’s head up against the wall.”

It is often the case, unfortunately, that in order to get from the “trials” to the “joy” part of life, the Federal or Postal employee will have to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee wants to or not.

For, in the end, the truth of the matter is, the “trials” part of life is something you have little or no control over – such as a medical condition; it is only the “joy” part of the deal that you can assert some dominance over: by taking the affirmative steps to file an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The festering mistake

There are mistakes; then, there is the compounding one where we fail to identify X for what it is, and continue to make excuses by deflecting with Y, excusing with Z or replacing it with XX.  This is called the “festering mistake” – that mistake which, like a wound that could easily have been attended to, is allowed to become infected, then spread, then become so serious as to require further and drastic means to save a life.

Think about it: it may have begun with a minor cut; it is dismissed and ignored; and from there it can develop into a spreading infection, sepsis, incurable and incalculable damage.  That is what often results from ignoring a mistake; failing to recognize the mistake and attending to it; refusing to identify the mistake and attend to the symptoms; avoiding the direct confrontation and culpability of it with unintended consequences of greater reverberations beyond that which was originally the core of it.

We all make mistakes; it is the festering mistake that leaves us devastated – not only for the mistake itself and the growing complexity of trying to make up for lost time in failing to attend to the mistake itself, but further, for the failure of identification.  Just as the seat of wisdom is the recognition of one’s own ignorance, so the engine of success is the identification of mistakes early on.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to a successful outcome – no matter how long the process, and regardless of the difficulties to be faced – is to recognize the mistakes potentially there to be made, identify the pitfalls to be avoided, and realize that you cannot put “blinders” on OPM once they have seen that which was neither necessary nor any of their business to review or entertain, and to never allow a festering mistake to occur in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: The running of days

How does it happen?  Where did it all go?

One day, you are a young man or woman, full of promises and hopes, dreams that defy any limitation or restriction of potentiality yet to be unleashed; and the next, an old man or woman, rocking back and forth, awaiting the grim reaper with its scythe and faceless chasm of darkness and despair.  In between, of course, there is a memory – of a blur, a constant rush from this activity to that, of emergencies, turmoil and tumults, of the proverbial peaks and valleys; in short, it is called “living life”.

It is the running of days, one upon the other, one mixed into the two, then weeks, months and years, and finally decades that turn into a half-century.  Was it all worth it?  Did we stop and perform that salient act that became so popular during the 60s – of stopping to “smell the roses”?  And if we did not, what wisdom was gleaned from the lack thereof, the absence of pause, the semicolon of interludes?

Or, did we follow upon the admonishment stated in that 1974 folk song by Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, where all we did was to teach our kids to be “just like me” and roam the universe in search of meaningless trope and allowing for the running of days to overtake us?

Or is it simply that our memories fail to serve us, and there were many days and some months where enjoyment, relationships and meaningful engagements were in fact embraced, but that the living of life often erases, smears and obscures such that our recollection is so cluttered with valuable connections and so consumed with overflowing “moments” that we just cannot even contain them anymore?

The running of days is ultimately just a metaphor, like running water and leaks that just keep on; but it is one that sometimes needs fixing, and it is the repair work that often cannot be performed within a lifetime of such disrepair.  Regrets hit us all, but the greatest one that never seems to close the wounds of time is that one where time was wasted upon frivolous acts of unrepentant entanglements.

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 job, the other proverbial saying is that one which refers to “spinning one’s wheels”, and yet knowing that no good will come out of staying put.

Preparing an effective 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, may be the only solution left to a career that has come to a standstill.

Medical conditions tend to trigger a running of days – where the chronic pain or the illness extended seems to make no difference or distinction whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, and the only way out of such a mirage of misgivings is to “move on”; and as filing an OPM Disability Retirement is often the best and only option that can accomplish that, given the timeframe that it now takes to get an approval at any stage of the bureaucratic process, it is probably a good idea to file sooner than later in order to get ahead of the running of days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire